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


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Old June 20th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #1
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how much gear is too much?

I'm struggling lately, which camera do I shoot with, do I need my slider, my glidecam, etc.. lately
Its been switching between the 7D and the EX1 for prep, and then to the panasonic hmc150 for receptions because of its low light performance and audio inputs. Yes, call me nuts, but I happen to think the 150 does better in the dark than the EX1 does. In addition, its carrying around a monopod, and glidecam and slider for prep shots. I am at the point i need 3 people with me instead of two. How do you all manage your gear on a wedding day. right now, I am going to buy a Kinesis belt system for my 7D and lenses since I only use 3 of them during the day to avoid carrying my rolling bag everwhere. Some days, I feel like just taking the EX1, shooting with it and be done. One man, one camera.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: how much gear is too much?

That sounds far too much for me.
I'm not someone who seduced by gear. I carry gear that I need not what I think might be useful. I work solo and a wedding day, to me is about quick reaction. I have one JVC-HM700 and tripod, a spare battery, two radio mic kits, a 126 LED light, one Sony CX550 and a clamp/mini tripod. Apart from the JVC and tripod everything else will fit into my pockets. At the reception venue I use two more Cx550s and lighting stands to fix them high.
I do carry another HM700, two tripods, lighting stands & tungsten lights in my car. Oh, a few SD cards.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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Re: how much gear is too much?

Your nuts :)

Why all those cameras? The 7D will merrily film the preps as your EX1 does. Sure, theres all those well documented reasons not to but the work around is a lot less.

We film the preps with a DSLR on a monopod and a shootsac with a few lenses, spare batts, filters, lens cloth, memory cards and a bottle of water. Yet still manage to look quite compact. In the car lives the tripods and bags with more gear for different parts but at any one time its us, a DSLR and a bag o' lenses.

If you spend your life switching to the best camera for the job you will do just that, your whole life.

While its a lot of stuff are you happy with how everything looks? Would you be unhappy if you just went for the EX1? Would your work be better if you stopped worrying about the little things and concentrated more on getting the shots with what you had? You say you use the HMC for the low light receptions, well a 7D with a f1.4 prime will do even better in low light so thats the HMC dropped right there.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 05:14 PM   #4
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Re: how much gear is too much?

We have 2 Pelican cases, two tripod bags (one of which carries monopod and slider) and a large hard-case (golf club case) that carries our other tripod, lightstands, etc. We only take 1 Pelican case and the monopod/slider bag to preps. Everything else goes to ceremony and reception, though. We do film the preps by switching between a 7D and a 60D because it's faster than switching lenses.
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Old June 20th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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Re: how much gear is too much?

How much is too much ???

If you are married and your wife isn't complaining then you don't have enough stuff yet !!!

I went from a 1600 Pelican and a duffle and laptop bag to one large cam bag and you would surprised at how much nicer it is to get out the door for a gig. Before with tripods, monopods cases etc it was at least three trips to the car with crap. Then at least 15 minutes unloading on location blah blah blah.

Owning tons of gear is fun... dragging it all around with you all the time is a real PITA !!!
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Old June 21st, 2011, 03:06 PM   #6
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Re: how much gear is too much?

Great topic here.

Yeah, I've wondered the same thing myself. I shoot with an assistant, 2 DSLR's and 3 HMC150's. We do sliders, glydcams, monopods, tripods, etc. It's a ton of stuff. We finally purchased a little cart to lug things around. I really miss the days shooting with just my DVX100 and a shotgun mic...ahh simplicity...
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Old June 21st, 2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: how much gear is too much?

For big gigs... with cameras, tripods, steadicams, jimmy jib, camera platform, SDE playback equipment, 10' screen, plus backup equipment, my cargo van is full. However, I never carry anything. Everything is loaded on separate carts, which I wheel off my van with a ramp. When it's time to load up, Everything goes back up the ramp into the van. I have straps to tie the carts to the floor.

For small gigs, I load up only the carts I will need. These are the carts I'm using, you can load all kinds of stuff on it.
Rubbermaid Media Master Audio Visual Carts: Rubbermaid | 9T28 | Audio-Visual Cart | 3 Shelves
They're ok, just watch out for the wheel assembly that comes out of their socket if you lift the cart too high!
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Old June 21st, 2011, 04:00 PM   #8
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Re: how much gear is too much?

I'm all about simplicity. I'm not into the slider fad, and I own a steadicam but never take it along -- I've never had the desire to use it at any shoot (other than personal film projects). I use 4 cameras and an array of mics/audio recorders.

A couple camera bags, a couple misc bags, and tripods. That's it. I work alone and can carry everything comfortably in one trip. Makes for quick setup and quick teardown, so I can concentrate on more coverage.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 07:27 PM   #9
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Re: how much gear is too much?

1 back pack with my dslrs, lenses an audio gear, 2 tripods and a slider.

In the car lives a couple of spare sticks, and a box of spare batteries, mem cards etc...

Solo shooter, the 1 backpack and 1 tripod are with me most of the day
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 07:28 PM   #10
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Re: how much gear is too much?

a very difficult question to answer.... you can never have to much gear in my opinion... weather you use it all or not is another issue... I always say its better to have it and not need it.. then to need it and not have it.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:55 PM   #11
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Re: how much gear is too much?

Hi Ray

I usually have to make 3 trips with my gear to the reception venue...I think I must definately organise a super trolley system that will allow me to do it in one trip. I have what I think I will need plus a backup of everything. Thank goodness the Stedicam sled, vest and arm can stay in the car!!!

The biggest bug is shoulder-mount cameras don't fit easily into hard cases so I probably need some sort of warehouse trolley so the two cams will fit in custom boxes on a top tray and then cases and such underneath....I made vinyl covered and foam lined timber boxes that sit in the car so the cameras sit upright and safe....but when it's time for the reception I usually carry one in each hand on the first trip!!!

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Old June 22nd, 2011, 10:10 PM   #12
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Re: how much gear is too much?

Maybe it's my time shooting news and feild sports or maybe when I was in the service, you carried what you needed in 1 trip. Man I could never do 2 or 3 trips for a wedding.
When I was shooting fullsized cameras I had 2 cameras and 2 tripods. Loaded me down but I got it in in one trip. Since I've been using small form factors cams its 2 camera bags, 2 tripods and a set of whells for the ceremony carried in in 1 trip and for the reception it's 1 camera bag 1 mic stand and 1 monopod OR small bag with my DVMultirig. One trip. I keep it small, light and simple. I just can't see any reason to do otherwise. I don't use extra lighting, I don't use tripods at receptions anymore (haven't for years) I run 1 camera.
Corporate work is of course a different thing but weddings, if I can't carry it in 1 trip I don't need to bring it in. That's not to say I don't have other stuff (extra/backup) in my car. Maybe it's where I live. Maybe it's my age, maybe it's just me, but 1 trip is all I do.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 11:47 PM   #13
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Re: how much gear is too much?

Hi Don

Usually I'm parked close to the reception at wedding centres, but in the City it's often a walk of a few blocks!! I'm now looking at making a custom aluminium frame that will hold the lighting case, mic case and extras on a bottom shelf and then the cameras will drop into foam inserts on a top tray.

I'll just bolt on some wheels and hopefully that will solve the multi-trip issues!!!!

Hmmm maybe small form cameras are the answer for us old guys??? My HMC's are pretty big (around 20" x 7" x 15" space will be needed for each on the frame!!

Hopefully I will be a one trip person after that???

Chris
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 05:41 AM   #14
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Re: how much gear is too much?

Dhris, I can appreciate what you're saying. I have mixed fullsize and small form factor cams together for years. Sony DSR models, JVC5000/5100s with a full load of Anton Bauer Hytron 100s/120s at 5.5 pound each. Carry 3 per bag plus the camera, audio, tapes, a few misc things like cleaning tape, a small roll of gaff tape, on board light and before you knew it the bag could weigh up to 50 pounds. Don't forget the Portabrace quick draw bags weigh a ton each by themselves and while over the last 10-12 years I have been mixing big and small cams I discovered that although I loved my big cameras they were slowly killing me. By the end of the day I was as stiff as a 2x6. Finally about 4 years ago I gave up the last of my fullsize cameras and have been using small cams exclusively. The weight has literally been taken off my back and the quality is exactly the same. Here's what I miss though...the ability to pull a camera out of the bag and be 100% ready to go NOW! Light was already on the camera, receiver was already on the camera, tape was already in the camera, grab another tape, put it my pocket, (if not shooting fullsized tapes which both the Sony and JVC allowed me to do) grab a mic (lav or HH with a 20 ft. cable) and off I go. I could shoot anything (pretty much) with that setup. Of course the rig weighed about 22 pounds of so and my shoulder hurt by the end of the day but the stability of the shot and the convenience was worth it.
So many choices, so little time!
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 06:12 AM   #15
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Re: how much gear is too much?

I shot a ton of weddings from circa 1995-2003, and for the most part hated it. Two giant shoulder-mount cameras in hard cases (you had to wheel each around), two extremely heavy tripods, multiple battery belts and power supplies with all the related cords . . . it was hellish.

But now that all the equipment is a fraction of the size and weight, shooting weddings is fun again. I'm in it to be creative, not for excessive manual labor :)
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