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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 25th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #76
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Dave - What you asking for the pair?

Jeff - That's still a thought if things fall through. I just got the wife onboard with the switch to HD after pointing out all of the advantages compared to the way I shoot now - especially eliminating the addition of more of the countless miniDV tapes packed away. Another advantage is the ability to set up cameras away from me that I don't have to "babysit". Right now, the constant adjustments between just two cams and a soundboard sometimes carrying six channels of audio are nerve wracking on top of the anxiety I deal with wondering if one of the cams is going to give up on me during a shoot. If only to make my life easier... :)
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Old August 25th, 2011, 03:28 PM   #77
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

With a PD150 or 170 you'd have much better audio options with two inputs. For what you do I'm not sure HD would be any advantage at all. The low light on these HD cameras isn't even close to what you're using (the Sony).

Dave cameras are great ones, for sure. But only if you can accept a significant loss in low light ability compared to what you're using now. If they made a 16:9 version of the VX2100 I would have bought it, and I'd still be using today. I would skip HD altogether if I could but I couldn't, so here I am, in editing hell where everything takes forever and a day to process.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #78
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

I hear ya...and fully agree. However, I no longer feel like I can compete and expand into recital videography without the upgrade to HD. The customers may or may not notice in the end product (except for better framing via widescreen), but clients that have made a verbal commitment to us for the coming year expect more angles and no missed shots because of tape changes.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 04:01 PM   #79
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

If your're running mulitple cams tape changes shouldn't even be a factor. You change them at different times. I do catholic masses and had to change tapes every time, but the customer never noticed. You make sure your other cam has a good shot, change tapes, and you're done, no issue. I used 90 minute tapes as well. I'm sure you know this.

You're already set on the HD, go for it.
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Old August 25th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #80
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

1. With tapeless, tape changes are NEVER a factor. Much nicer to be able to not worry about that "extra thing". hit record, let 'er run. Hit the button again at the end.

2. If it's so dark you can't see with your eyes, you're not going to get a decent image anyway, I know the older VX's have a reputation, but the newer Sonys (anything 500 series or later) with the EXMOR R sensor technology will do just fine, thank you, if you set them properly. There are limits with any camera, but the backlit sensors stepped up quite a bit, I have yet to worry about shooting any "stage" show with them.

3. While you have to INVEST in the necessary hardware to process HD (AVCHD especially), it's like anything else, it's an investment. MAYBE the end user won't see the difference, but if they expect "HD" image quality and you can't deliver, you're out of the game, and I'm sorry, but SD footage shot 4:3 or buying equipment to shoot such footage is a poor investment decision. If it's not obsolete already, it's going there sooner rather than later.

Shooting stage shows wide screen will simply look better (better format, less "dead space"), shooting in HD will give you more options, even if ultimately you deliver in SD for another season or two (or since DVD's are still the most common delivery format, for the foreseeable future!). Yes, it can take more edit time, and rendering is a pain IF you're maintaining a full HD workflow on an older machine that can't handle the data rate. There are workarounds, some better than others. BUT, you save substantial time on "ingest" over tape (1/3 real time vs. real time), which adds up with multi-cam, and if your computer is up to par, editing should be about the same, just be prepared for longer rendering times and go have a little time off while the computer does the work!




If you shoot HD and you and the customer don't see the difference, then you're doing something wrong...
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Old October 17th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #81
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Okay, things have finally begun to fall into place! I have acquired a new Sony NX70U and two used Sony CX500Vs. The NX70 has been here a couple of weeks and the CX500s just arrived a couple of days ago. Now, here's the problem...
One of my major clients has asked me to come out TONIGHT to tape their choral show. They are fully aware of our equipment changes and asked me to tape because they know that I need the practice and hands-on experience with the new cams, as well as wanting a DVD of the show. I have barely had time to get these cams charged and date settings done. I have not had ANY time to learns the in and outs!

Can anyone who uses this type of setup give me some pointers on settings, what to expect and be on the lookout for, what not to do, etc.? The NX70U will be my main cam - used for closeups, different angles, pans, etc.. One of the CX500s will be set up right next to it and locked down as a wide angle. The other CX500 will more than likely be placed near the front of the stage off to the side for a locked down closeup. I may be able to monitor this one from where I will be, but unable to make changes once the performance begins.

It's difficult enough getting the sound set up for this event (even though it's very small and low key compared to their usual shows), but dealing with three new (and very different from what I am used to)cameras is daunting and puts me in the weeds. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old October 17th, 2011, 04:49 PM   #82
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Without knowing anything about the location, and not having any first hand experience operating an NX70 it is really hard to think of what could be said that would be helpful.

Here is one thing, though. If the stage is reasonably well lit, the CX cams will do a pretty decent job on full auto mode. If you have strong contrast (say, spotlights or direct overhead lighting), there is a spotlight function in the menu which works pretty well. For zooming with the NX70, I would suggest riding the exposure control. The view screen will give you a pretty good impression of what is too bright or too dark.
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Old October 17th, 2011, 07:01 PM   #83
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Hi Rey - sent you an e-mail - call me if you hit a snag! It should go smoothly though, these cameras should match pretty well overall so you've got consistent footage in post.

I and others do recommend setting AE shift 2-4 to the negative, other than that, should get good results in straight "auto" if it comes to it!
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Old October 17th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #84
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Hey guys!

I did go back through the notes I have been taking on this whole matter for four months and shifted the AE down -3. :)

I know that sound came out great. The two CX500's looked about the same, but the NX70 was a little dark. Not too bad, so I don't know if it was an exposure matter or just the LCD screen brightness. I'll take a look at it in editing tomorrow and make adjustments to the cams from there.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 03:40 AM   #85
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Hi Rey,

With the NX70, be sure to use the zebras and histogram, and learn to use them. This only comes with practice, but you can detect overexposure (with the zebras) and overall exposure (with the histogram) quite reliably.

The NX70 does a pretty decent job in full auto, it might be worth trying that out. Unless lighting conditions are challenging, the computer inside that camera is a lot faster at correcting exposure and focus than my brain is!

Also, don't forget to check out the NX70 forums on here, for advice and ideas, the users there won't necessarily be dipping into the wedding forum!
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Old October 18th, 2011, 06:07 AM   #86
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Thanks, Mike!

Honestly, I have never learned how to read and interpret a histogram. That is something that I definitely need to take some to time to do. Up to now, I have relied solely on the LCD for exposure. Yes, I know, that's a horrible habit to get into. :)

Another thing I need to check into on my end and possibly ask on the NX70 forums - the sound was very low on the camera. I was using the XLR inputs to record the sound from my mixer. I tried the auto setting and then turned the manual up to about 8 and still got a low reading. I then decided to pull out the Zoom H2 to record the sound as a backup. There could be a setting on the mixer that I have overlook since I have never used the XLR outputs from it before.

This event is not normally recorded and they brought me into it just because they knew I needed a "guinea pig" as they called it. I think I can make the necessary corrections in post, but luckily no one will be upset if something went terribly wrong.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 10:42 PM   #87
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

The really great thing about these little cams is that nothing ever goes "terribly" wrong.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 07:30 AM   #88
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

I posted a rough edit on our Facebook page. In it, you can see subtle differences between the NX70 (main cam) and the two CX500's. I think it's just an issue of some slight adjustments to bring the two models together. By the way, the third angle (only shown briefly) was used for testing only. I hope to have it better framed in a better location in the future.

It's the top clip entitled "Preview of 'Night of Music'":
Magical Memories Productions | Facebook
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Old October 19th, 2011, 09:46 PM   #89
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

Looked pretty good overall, a bit hard to tell because the image quality wasn't all that high, but offhand it looked like this was one of those few times you actually might have to bump the exposure/exposure shift or leave it on "auto".... looked like the NX was on "auto", with the CX's AE shifted down a bit? It also could have been just the overall composition of the frame...

With the dark background and all the black formal style outfits, you actually have to let the camera give a little more brightness to the overall picture - carefully, as it may tend to "overexpose" to compensate for the majority "dark" frame, and you don't want to blow the highlights either, but in this case I would have suggested let the CX500's ride up a little more, OR use the AE shift on the NX70 to better match. Generally these little cams are pretty good at not blowing highs, so you can give a little in a dark situation and adjust in post.

Probably use the zebras on the NX to judge where the limits are, and dial in the other cams to match.

It's always tricky when you have either a "bright" overall stage or a "dark" one... adding to it is if there's either too much or not enough contrast... black on black is a bugger anytime, especially if you also have bright whites... and non-optimal lighting. On top of that, you zoom out to a room with light wood finish, and that changes the overall brightness of the frame...

I'd guess the client is happy overall?
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Old October 20th, 2011, 05:55 AM   #90
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Re: Opinions Needed, Please

This client is always happy with our work. And they were well aware of the learning curve we were facing. They love the clip.

I was setting up for this show three hours early (call it OCD :) ), but did not know how they planned to set up the stage. Normally, the stage lights are up, house lights down, curtain open and risers set farther back. Since this event was very short, informal and staged so differently, I really had no way to prepare and adjust the cameras as I normally do. With the show only lasting 20 minutes, they also did not have a sound tech on hand, so I was left to my own devices to get a lead from that one mic they were using for this song.

And just so you know, that clip is not the final edit. It was more or less to get a gauge on how the three cams play together and to see if my computer was capable of handling the new file type. That wide shot toward the end and the third angle to the right will more than likely not make the final cut.

I did end up purchasing Cineform NeoScene for future use to avoid the stuttering I was getting in Vegas while editing, though. Vegas 11 actually seemed to handle it better, but playback was still choppy.
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