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


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Old August 29th, 2011, 08:26 AM   #1
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Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Okay so I finally got a DSLR ( Canon t2i), I have a variety of lens available to me. I have a Takumar 55 f2, 18-55 f5.6, 70-200 f2.8 , 28-105 f5.6 and a Canon 50mm 1.2.

I still have my Sony HD1000U

My questions would be:

1. How many shoots before you decided to go full DSLR for your weddings? I am shooting a wedding this weekend, plan to use HD1000U as main, and the t2i as B-Camera

2. I was pretty sure I nailed my focus but when I viewed the footage on my 42" Plasma, it seems I got a soft focus. Any tips on focusing.

3. Lens selection, I plan to use the following. Any suggestions

Bride Prep- Takumar 55
Ceremony- 70-200
Park- Takumar 55
Reception- 18-55

Thank you.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 12:38 PM   #2
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Your not going to be able to use the 18-55 during the reception. Lens' at 2.8 usually barely can make it at most receptions unless its very well lit. Most likely you'll be using your 50mm 1.2 the entire time. Even if you do have enough light to use your 5.6 lens', you'll definitely be going to the 50mm during the dancing when they dim the lights down further.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

I would consider always using two to three cameras anyway, and going full DSLR as a general rule may not be the best thing.

Regardless, we cant' tell you when you're comfortable, only you will know that. It depends on how proficient you are, and how fast you get to a point where you are able to feel proficient.

I suggest your f/5.6 is not feasible for any part of wedding work other than outdoors. My F/2.8 zoom cuts it close for reception work, very close. Not sure where you got the recommendations for those slower lenses, but I woudn't rely on that source for information in the future, that's for sure.

But try using your f/2.0 lens for the reception, for a nice 2nd cam shot, that should work nicely.

Are you shooting with your t2i often and downloading footage and going over it? Shooting live subjects? At the park or whatever? You should be if you are not, it's almost required that you practice much before doing a paid gig with these things.

For going full DSLR it seems you lack an adequate wide-angle zoom for sure. But I'm a Panasonic user, so I can't make specific recommendations.

I imagine the t2i has focus assist, that is a big help in nailing focus, but won't help for moving subjects. You have to learn how to follow focus, which takes time and experience, unfortunately. You must shoot, focus, etc, then download your footage and go over, and then do it again. I went through a spell of about 8 weeks where almost daily I was going out and practicing. Then again I'm a very slow learner, so I needed to.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Thanks Travis. Great advice.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 01:08 PM   #5
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Thanks Jeff. I toyed with the T2i last Saturday. The footage is awesome but you are correct I would need to practice with it some more. I will be using the t2i on the more controlled environment and use my Sony as a main camera. Until I get enough practice, I won't be using the t2i as my main.

I have an engagement shoot this long weekend, I think it will be the best time to practice and get my feet wet.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 02:59 PM   #6
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Hey Noel...

For me it only took one wedding to know that I wanted to shoot all DSLR. I did the same as you, bought a t2i to use as a b cam to my JVC200U. During the reception of that wedding I had realized what I had been missing.

My Thoughts:

I would imagine that your 2.8 and your 1.2 will be your go-to lens's... IMO anything over 3.0 will be to dark for a church or reception. I use neat video for a noise reducing plugin. This allows me to get decent looking footage while using a ISO of 1600 (3200 sometime when desperately needed). If you don't have a noise reducing plugin then I wouldn't recommend shooting above 800 ISO.

Pulling and staying in focus can be a pain. I would pick up some sort of rig that will allow for a follow focus, this has made my life 1000x's easier. When focusing use the magnification key to make sure you are 100% in focus before recording.
Another thing to keep in mind is finding the "sweet spot" of the lens... For example, if you shoot objects to close with the 50mm, you might have the nose of your subjects in focus but the ears will be blurred. Generally I stay about 5 to 6 ft away with my 50mm.

Best of luck,
Steve
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

What's up Noel!

Got rid of our HD1000Us and we've gone DSLR (2x60D and a 5D) this year for full weddings and we're very happy with it. A good time to try the DSLR full time would be for smaller events like a baptism or 18th b-day since it will give you good practice...however I would still use the Sony cam for backup if shooting a wedding....we still use a Canon HG10 for back up.

As for your lens..the 18-55 f5.6 and 28-105 f5.6 are slow lenses that would only be useful for outdoor shoots...The Takumar would be good for preps and early reception..but as the night grows darker your 50mm 1.2 would do the job just fine...

Also, don't forget to update your CPU and software and a handful of class 10 SD cards.


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Old August 30th, 2011, 03:08 AM   #8
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen J. Williams View Post
Pulling and staying in focus can be a pain. I would pick up some sort of rig that will allow for a follow focus, this has made my life 1000x's easier. When focusing use the magnification key to make sure you are 100% in focus before recording.
The 5X/10X magnification feature cannot be be used while actually recording so as we use Canon lenses the easiest & fastest way to focus is to use the Quick AF button when in Live View. This flips down the mirror & nails focus then flips the mirror up again. The 5X/10X magnification feature is useful for manual lenses. A follow focus is more trouble than it is worth if you are changing lenses & in any case doesn't greatly assist. All you need to do is practice, practice, practice.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 04:05 AM   #9
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Hi Nigel,

How does Quick AF work exactly? I have a handful of Canon EF lens (24-70mm L f/2.8, 17-55mm IS f/2.8, 70-200mm L f/2.8 both IS and non-IS version I, and some primes). I think all of them have AF as well as MF, but I never could figure out how the Quick AF is enabled...so I always manually turned the focus ring until I got the focus I wanted, but sometimes I was a bit off and ended up being slightly out of focus.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #10
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Thanks for the pointers Stephen & Kren.

I have been doing research apparently, you can download Technicolor Cinestyle Style preset. It shoots flat and ideal for color grading in post. Do you mind sharing what your pictures tyle preset you shoot with. Here's a link to the Technicolor preset

Canon Technicolor Cinestyle Test and Film Look - YouTube
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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:14 PM   #11
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Noel, that 50mm on a T2i is going to be extremely difficult to focus during the reception on a crowded dance floor. It's almost useless. I've shot exactly 119 DSLR weddings. The first 10 I used an XHA1 alongside my 7D. So I've shot 109 full DSLR weddings.
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:02 PM   #12
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Michael is right about the 50mm. It can be used, but it requires non-stop attention while being used. From a tripod, if you have a someone to man it continually during dancing, it will capture excellent head shots of people, facial expressions etc., but the subject only has to move a bit and they are out of the frame. It's almost too much to be worth it, but on a third or fourth camera it's great. If people are spaced just right on the dance floor it's cool.

I'm editing a four camera reception now where I used it, and out of an hour's worth of dance footage I might have 10 minutes worth of shots, if that, but the good shots are killer shots. I left it unmanned most of the time, hence the large amount of unusable footage, but it gave me another source of audio, which was the camera's primary purpose anyway.
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Old August 31st, 2011, 04:01 AM   #13
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhong Cheung View Post
Hi Nigel,

How does Quick AF work exactly? I have a handful of Canon EF lens (24-70mm L f/2.8, 17-55mm IS f/2.8, 70-200mm L f/2.8 both IS and non-IS version I, and some primes). I think all of them have AF as well as MF, but I never could figure out how the Quick AF is enabled...so I always manually turned the focus ring until I got the focus I wanted, but sometimes I was a bit off and ended up being slightly out of focus.
If it is a Canon EF or EF-S lens then it definitely has AF. EF is an abbreviation for "Electro-Focus". The Canon DSLRs have two forms of focus when in Live View. Quick Mode & Live Mode. The latter is slower & less accurate but can be used when shooting. Quick mode flips the mirror down then does a proper focus & then flips the mirror up again ready for you to start shooting. On the 5DII you need to set up in the menu to use Quick Mode AF when in Live mode & then you can hit the AF-ON button to access it. I don't know how it works on the other Canon DSLRs but on the 600D when you are in Movie mode it operates when you half-depress the shutter button. It's a really excellent feature to quickly get perfect focus so that you can then be ready to make adjustments manually as your subject moves.
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Old August 31st, 2011, 11:56 AM   #14
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

I did the cutover to all DSLR starting this year. The final hurdle for me was trusting the audio captured from my wireless into an audio recorder (Zoom H4n) vs direct into the camera. The focus issue is still something I'm working on. I did pick up a SmallHD monitor to help me focus better but as mentioned by others, the skill required to pull focus accurately takes a lot of practice. The biggest challenge is the walk down the aisle shot with bride coming toward you. This is where I miss my trusty autofocus video cam.

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Old August 31st, 2011, 07:45 PM   #15
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Re: Comfort Level to go full DSLR

So let's say I am filming a processional (it's already recording, red button pressed)...they get to the altar but now I'm not sure if the bride is truly in focus. Hard to tell on a small LCD or even external monitor. Even a Z-Finder has given me faulty focus before. The camera is still recording, but I to make sure I have the focus right, I do Quick AF and the screen goes blank for a second and then finds my focus. Do I have to press the record button again? Or does it record the black screen?
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