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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 14th, 2011, 12:50 PM   #1
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Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

OK, so I just finished editing my first live shoot with my new 60D's. I have some major more training to do! Here's my questions:

FOCUS: I had f/stop all the way open at 2.8 on my 70-200L IS and my focus was off for the audience to the kids on "stage" (actually up front on risers) in a school gym. The lights were turned on and off during the "show". Any stopping down led to under-exposed metering on my cam. Is the answer one of these?

1) Turn up LCD brightness-how fast does this burn up my batteries? Will this really help me see what I need better?
2) Buy a loupe-the problem with this is if I need to raise up the cam on a tripod, right?
3) Buy a monitor-in a wedding situation, isn't it hard to have this extra equipment attached to the cam to move around quickly between monopod, tripod, glidecam? And on the 60D, isn't the monitor lower res so you can't really tell the focus?

SHUTTER SPEED: In a low lit wedding with stain glass windows is it best to shoot at 24p, f/2.8, shutter 60 or 50? if you switch from 24p indoor to 30p or 60p outdoors, does this lead to stuttery or strobing footage in post on a 24p timeline after converting the 30p or 60p to 24p since the majority of it will be 24p?

ISO: Is 1600 the highest you should go or can you go higher? I think I had mine at 1250 and it's pretty blown out.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 06:19 AM   #2
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

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Originally Posted by Lisa Maxwell View Post
if you switch from 24p indoor to 30p or 60p outdoors, does this lead to stuttery or strobing footage in post on a 24p timeline after converting the 30p or 60p to 24p since the majority of it will be 24p?
I'd highly advise against mixing frame rates within the same production. Your 24p footage will look jittery in comparison to the 30p/60p shots -- there will be a noticeable difference, especially if the pulldown isn't applied correctly.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 08:48 AM   #3
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

OK, so I guess I'll be needing a filter then for outdoor shoots if it's sunny.

How about the focus issues? Anyone? Advice please?

Monitor or loupe?

Or is it just as simple as turning up my LCD brightness?
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:53 AM   #4
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

are you saying you are having a hard time looking at the screen to pull focus or you are trying to get the kids and audience in focus at the same time? If you are referring to the screen then maybe brighten it up or buy a viewfinder or use your magnification but to get exact focus before hitting your record (if 60d has that). If it is the latter then you will need to close down f stop and ask to add light in the room to get exposure(when you are maxed out on iso). I don't go any higher than 1250
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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

Hi Joshua,

Yes, I thought it was in focus during the shoot, but apparently it wasn't when I put it on the big screen during editing. So yes, I needed magnification. I wear contacts but these poor ole eyes o'mine are gettin old.

I couldn't close up f/stop any more due to lighting to get deeper DOF, and I couldn't ask them to turn lights on as they had the show all planned out.

I was wondering which magnification for focus is better: monitor or loupe for weddings.

I need to do a test too to see if just turning up the silly brightness would've helped. I keep hoping for a free solution! But I would die a thousand deaths if I had to deliver the footage I just shot at this local school to a bride, so I'm willing to do what it takes to make sure any wedding I shoot is in focus!

Thanks for your advice in advance.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 04:45 PM   #6
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

An External monitor will not give you any more resolution since the output after you hit the rec button drops to SD resolution.
You definately need a loupe.
on a 60D you will lose the ability to close the screen facing in (there are some solutions to that but I personaly don't find them good enough) but that's a small price to pay.
I suggest one of the following: LCD Viewfinder for Canon 5D Mark II 7D T1i T2i 550D 60D | eBay
3" LCD ViewFinder Extender 2.8X for Nikon D90 D300s D3 | eBay
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Old May 15th, 2011, 07:04 PM   #7
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

Thank you Spiros!
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Old May 15th, 2011, 10:42 PM   #8
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

While the HDMI out of the 60D downconverts to SD onto your external montior even when recording on 1080p, my question is: does this really matter? The monitor itself is only 800x480 resolution (SD), unless you have the top of the line at 1280x800. Even then, it's not full 1080p and you will have to use a smaller 5 or 6" monitor, rather than the 7 or 8" monitors available at 800x480.

I shot with a 7D which does output 1080p to my 800x480 8" Lilliput monitor. It helped focus tremendously, but still not perfect, especially for low lighting. Very hard to get critical focus when you have your lens wide open at 1.8 or even 2.8. I'm not sure what the solution is going to be...I've debated loupes or the Cinevate Cyclops, but those are just LCD magnifers, which means it depends on the resolution of your LCD screen.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:43 AM   #9
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

If the camera image looks sharp but isn't I'd suggest you check whether the camera is performing correctly.

The other thing which you may or may not be able to do (I'm not familiar with your camera) is to turn off the colour - assuming you don't have the option of a true mono viewfinder. One of the reasons professional cameras invariably had mono viewfinders was because at any given resolution it's easier to focus. It did produce a few problems when shooting snooker matches but that's another story.

Incidentally I can't see what practical benefit enlarging the image will be, regardless of how you do it.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:18 AM   #10
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

In low light I usually have my shutter speed a 1/30, ISO 1250, f as low as possible if needed. I've had it in the past where we thought the camera was in focus, and it wasnt! It takes practice and after more experience I was able to focus safely even at f2.0. If the object is static and you have multiple cameras, you can make sure its in focus by tapping the display zoom button, adjust your focus and then roll from there.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #11
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

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Originally Posted by Johannes Soetandi View Post
In low light I usually have my shutter speed a 1/30, ISO 1250, f as low as possible if needed. I've had it in the past where we thought the camera was in focus, and it wasnt! It takes practice and after more experience I was able to focus safely even at f2.0. If the object is static and you have multiple cameras, you can make sure its in focus by tapping the display zoom button, adjust your focus and then roll from there.
Yes, this is exactly what the problem was...lack of experience. With that shallow DOF I had a hard time getting the right part in focus in the large array of people in the audience then up to the kids. With all those little heads in the LCD it was hard to tell which was actually in proper focus on f/stop 2.8.

I'm guessing with a wedding, there's only one or two persons filling up my LCD for the most part so I'm hoping this will make it easier. I'm still getting a loupe to make sure though! At least during the ceremony. I can't afford to miss those once in a lifetime shots! It will probably help too during other shoots to have that extra point of contact.

Man this place is great! I'm so swimming in videography in my brain all my friends are absolutely sick of hearing about it. At least here I can find answers!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:33 PM   #12
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

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Originally Posted by Lisa Maxwell View Post
Yes, this is exactly what the problem was...lack of experience. With that shallow DOF I had a hard time getting the right part in focus in the large array of people in the audience then up to the kids. With all those little heads in the LCD it was hard to tell which was actually in proper focus on f/stop 2.8.

I'm guessing with a wedding, there's only one or two persons filling up my LCD for the most part so I'm hoping this will make it easier. I'm still getting a loupe to make sure though! At least during the ceremony. I can't afford to miss those once in a lifetime shots! It will probably help too during other shoots to have that extra point of contact.

Man this place is great! I'm so swimming in videography in my brain all my friends are absolutely sick of hearing about it. At least here I can find answers!
Lisa, don't use the loupe all the time. I have a Z-Finder and only use it on a sunny day so I can see the viewfinder. If you use it all the time, your eye will be locked so tightly on the back of the camera that you won't see anything else going on around you.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #13
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

Michael,

Ahh, good point. But during the ceremony, do you think it's better to use the loupe to make sure focus is right?
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Old May 16th, 2011, 03:04 PM   #14
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

For focus, I've had a short stint using a Sony monitor with the GH2, and I can't believe SD out isn't good enough for focusing purposes at a wedding. It was for me. It is bright and clear and beautiful. I find loupes a pain, and echo what Michael pointed out, but that is just me. For run and gun outdoors I bought a LCD hood that works well, and allows me to keep my eye on my surroundings. Heck the Sony monitor comes with an effective hood as well.

You do not, IMO, an HD monitor to foucs, IMO.

I reluctantly abandoned my monitor for reasons unrelated to it's effectiveness, but never in a million years would not have one if I could. My camera will not utilize a monitor when shooting at 720p (bizarre as it sounds) which is what I shoot in.

For run and gun shooting, I use auto ISO, as my camera will not allow adjustment of ISO on the fly. There are those who will scream and holler that they will never use auto anything on a camera, and that's fine. But I run 4 GH2s for weddings for unbroken and continuous video and I cannot shut down my cameras everytime I need to adjust ISO. If you have a fast enough lens, your ISO will not usually go unreasonalby high anyway. I run in Movie mode using Aperture Priority for ceremonies with auto ISO and it works beautifully. You can also run in Shutter Priority in some cases, but then you will have the iris hunting and adjusting on the fly, which is disruptive and not nearly as smooth as the ISO adjusting. I don't know about the Canon, but the GH2 is grain free up to at least 1600 ISO. I use fast lenses, so the chance of the camera going above that is pretty remote. I have the option of putting a limit on the ISO anyway, but haven't bothered. It's not necessary.

Those that use DSLR, etc for snippets and highlights only can adust as needed, but if you're going for continuous filming you must run in some kind of automatic mode, I just haven't found a way around it.

There is no perfect way of running these cams continously, but it can be done.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #15
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Re: Focus, Shutter Speeds, Timelines, ISO

+ 10 Jef... You sound like me? busy busy busy, no time and got to be ready.....admit it everyone auto is a must??????? auto wb? auto iso? auto focus? cmon now admit!!!!!!!!!
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