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


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Old July 24th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

just curious if anyone here has gone back to a traditional video camera for most of the run and gun work during events? I am using a 7D alongside an EX1, and more and more I tend to grab the EX lately.
Maybe I'm just not that thrilled with the 7Ds low light capability. Yes, I may need a 5D2, but I shoot stills also and the 5d2's AF is horrid.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Regarding low light, your lens choice is, in my mind more important than camera selection.

Otherwise, I can easily see why you'd want to abandon the DSLR for run and gun. They are a complete, umitigated pain to use, at least for me, but I'm running nothing but them, but then I am also insane. The insanity is partially due to the use of the cameras I chose, partially it was a pre-existing condition. But I digress.

How can one do better than a F/1.4 for low light? Hard for even the EX1 to beat, but a f/1.4 lens is not always what can be used either, especially for wide shots.

We have to choose what is more important, ease of use, or creativity. If your creativity is not enhanced because of the inconvenience of the DSLR , but is instead hampered by it, you have made the right choice.

I find I am preoccupied with simply getting a good shot, and my creativity has not yet been increased, but instead has actually been stifled by the GH2. This is not the fault of the camera, but instead is because I do not mesh well with the shooting styles needed to fully utilize the camera's creative potential.

For one-on-one shoots, I do attempt some fun stuff, but for wedding work, the damned thing is just a complete drain of my spirit. Just maintaining focus and getting the right exposure is a challenge to me.

On the other hand,once I have learned the ways of shooting with these cameras, and when I have a system (the key to the whole thing) and workflow for shooting with them, it will become easier, and I will grow as a shooter, but in the meantime I am not enjoying the experience much. I find the DSLR thing has taken the fun out of shooting for me. It is now like work, and tedious work at that.

This is a personal decision, that we as individuals must make, and in light of the pressure to deliver ever-higher quality images and "amazing" moving shots, is not an easy decision to make.

I'm sticking with it for now because I'm committed to it financially, but am looking hard at new videocameras. Videocameras such as the EX1 are made exactly for what we as event videographers do, DSLRs and Hybrids such as mine are not, and therein lies much of the difficulty.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Jeff, using a few f1.4's and f1.8s, so I got me some speed. I was in a venue last night that
was excessively dark, and it's probably the 7Ds high iso performance that has me scratching my head
a bit. It was really pushing it last night, even with some lights.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

I thik Jeff pretty much nails it when he describes DSLR shooting. It's not easy, and often times not real fun either. There's a bazillion settings to remember and try out to see which ones work best. Recently I have kicked around buying some video camera just to have something where I can turn it on, push the button and just shoot. Oh those days were so much simpler. We forget how our footage wasn't that awe inspiring though, as we remember how easy it was to point and push the button and come away with something.

Then last night I had the opportunity to remind myself exactly why I went to DSLR.


Five years of shooting this band and five years of every shot of the lead singer in the spotlight and she's always coming out as Casperette the Friendly Ghostette !!

I shot her with 5 different video camera models over that time and came away with the same results from all of them. I couldn't begin to count the number of posts I have had about this situation, and number of suggestions I have used to try and fix it. I basically resigned myself to considering that because of her hair color and complexion she was going to be the anomaly when in hard bright light.

Last night with the GH1, 14-140 and Spot Metering, I finally pulled the proverbial rabbit out of my hat !!!

The clip is just a test clip from trying this new type of exposure control for me. If you watch it through, pay attention to what happens when she walks to the left of the frame out of the Spot Metering and what happens when I pan to her and bring her back in.

So as of right now, I'm not baling, too much potential to investigate yet.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

There's no way I'd give up my GH1's at this point. I love shooting with them -- they're small, light, and deliver incredible visuals.

I don't think they're all that difficult to shoot with -- but then again, I have a lot of photographic background . . . film, darkrooms, developing, etc. And I started in wedding videography using Panasonic AJ-D700's, which are all manual -- exposure, focus, WB, etc. (that was of course after a handful of wedding gigs on full-auto SVHS cams).
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Old July 24th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Hi Scott

I'm still one of those who still uses video cameras (as Philip calls them "proper cameras") and probably the main reason is convenience. I know I can grab the camera flick it into auto and "point and shoot" if I need to just to grab the event because I just wouldn't have the time to play with focus and exposure cos the bride is only probably going to be picked up in the air by the groomsmen for another 30 seconds anyway!!

I'm an experienced stills shooter with 10 years wedding experience before I even thought about video and yes, I really like the control of DOF especially on a full frame DSLR. Personally if I WAS to use DSLR's I think I would still shoot the main event with video and use the DSLR for creative shots during the ceremony with shallow DOF and probably during the photoshoot. As you have found out, sometimes receptions are even too dark for your 7D so you might as well have popped a light on the EX and shot with video there.

I still think DSLR's work best when combined with another camera as you have..that way you have the best of both worlds and always have a choice....so what if you use the 7D more or the EX more...whatever does the job best!!

Chris
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Old July 24th, 2011, 10:13 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Every tool has a job and every tool handler has a favorite tool and a tool that they feel works better than any other tool.
What I'm saying is you use what you feel is the best tool for you to use on that job.
I too have an extensive photo background from back in the very early 70s, using all forms of media in everything format from 35mm to 8X10 view camera. But I haven't used a SLR in any serious fashion since probably 1985. It certainly would take me some time to pick something up today and do a proper job but my job is video so I stick to video cameras. Thats what I feel works best for me for the type of work I do. Everyone is different. Makes the world go 'round.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 10:50 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Chip, thanks for the reminder as to why we are using DSLR to begin with. I just showed some prospects some footage from a recent wedding, and they were blown away, as I am when I look at the footage from my shoots.

This is the footage I've always dreamed of getting, and now it's a reality. I also find when I download the footage from a wedding the aniticpation is pretty intense, can't wait to see it.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 12:56 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

I don't find it any harder at all... perhaps just a little more stressful.

I've always been an all manual shooter for video, so there's nothing extra to worry about on a DSLR. And I don't think I could ever go back to an electronic focus ring after using a proper mechanical focus. It's great being able to hit your marks every time (as long as you've found your marks beforehand).

For sound, I actually love using an external recorder and having it on me at all times and being free to wander around, rather than constantly being attached to my camera via a 4ft headphones cord. I have to sync it in post, but I usually have 2-3 video tracks anyway so it's just one more thing to sync.

And of course, the images blow away anything I've captured with a camcorder. Not just the shallow DOF, but because of the colours, perspective, dynamic range, and the quality glass (no more flare when shooting backlit brides!).

But, despite all this, I constantly have this fear in the back of my head that everything is going to go wrong, that all the cameras are going to overheat, that the SDHC card is going to fail, etc, etc. Dealing with this uncertainty (even though I haven't had a disaster yet) is the only thing about DSLR videography that is harder for me.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 02:57 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Hey John

I think it's called trust!!! Equipment is pretty well made nowdays and is unlikely to fail. I avoided moving from tape to card for nearly 12 months. I had this vision in my brain of the computer saying "Corrupt Card" and I would have lost an entire wedding!! In fact the operation on card has been faultless at weddings!!!

Your old MiniDV camera had tapes that could jam, idler wheels that could slip and motors that could just die ....the newer technology at least seems to have less working parts which is great!!

Chris
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Old July 25th, 2011, 04:17 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Well, it's good to know I'm not the only one who has those 'visions.'

The difference is that with the DSLR's you are using camera's for something they are not primarily designed for. There are known faults, and while you can safegaurd yourself in some ways, it's almost playing with fire.

Of course, I put my DSLR's through paces thoroughly before using them for critical events, and didn't come across any issues, but there are just so many horror stories online that it feels almost like a matter of time before something goes wrong. So currently I am concentrating on minimising the issues as well as having a contingency plan at all times.

For me, I feel it is worth it for the images I am getting. For others, I could certainly understand if they weren't comfortable.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 07:49 AM   #12
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Love using my 60d but I'm using my hv40s more and more, you cannot use the dslr all the time, it's impossible!! The hv40s on 560bs mono is absolutley my way to go. The past three weddings have been a nightmare, from the car's arrivals to change of plans and ridiculous toastmaster's plans, so the dslr would not have coped for sure. My two pence worth.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 09:25 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bleasdale View Post
you cannot use the dslr all the time, it's impossible!!
it is possible, you just need more than one, however, I still use EX1 for stedicam work and HF G10 on the crane, I hope to replace most of my cameras when RED scarlet will be available, but no matter what 5D, 14mm and 70-200 will stay
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Old July 25th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

I'm shooting with nothing but Panasonic GH2s and GH1s, no video camera. It's a pain but it is not even close to impossible.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone given up on the DSLR for event?

a 7D and 2 60Ds all day. Video camera's collect dust.
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