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


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Old August 29th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #1
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To Light Or Not To Light

People's reactions to a camera light (even far away - 10W) tend to be... fear, panic, or the "ooops that thing shouldn't be pointed at me and I need to get out of the way quickly" reaction.

I'm interested to know any tips or tricks on how others deal with this?
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Old August 29th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
People's reactions to a camera light (even far away - 10W) tend to be... fear, panic, or the "ooops that thing shouldn't be pointed at me and I need to get out of the way quickly" reaction.

I'm interested to know any tips or tricks on how others deal with this?

Work with a light that dims and diffuse it. I use a Frezzi Mini dimmer (thanks Mark V.) along with a softbox. Not only does the diffusion of the softbox help eliminate hot spots on subjects but makes the light bearable to be under and makes images quite pleasing looking...ie very smooth even lighting.

With a dimmer you can adjust the amount of wattage your using- and conversely the closer you are to your subject the less light you'll need. Which is great because the light will become more obtrusive the closer you get. I can't imagine shooting without a dimmable light source now.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #3
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Hi Glenn,
What is the model number of your mini Frezzi? Also I was looking into a Sony Hvl20dw2 10watt or 20 watt, do yoiu know how well this works?
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Old August 29th, 2005, 05:07 PM   #4
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The Sony seems to be the lite of choice for many if not (it seems) most wedding videographers. Personally, I use an Anton Bauer 20W with a softbox and not only does it work fine but I've only occassionally had the person or 2 that makes a face and scurrys away (like a rat on a sinking ship ;-O)
In this area at least most people are used to seeing some sort of light especially since the rooms go so dark that some photographers I work with ask me to turn my light on so they can see to focus.
Personally I think 20W is enough. If I need more I get closer. A 20W light has about an 8 to 10 effective throw and if you're farther than that you're too far to get quality footage, at least IMO.

The Frezzi dimmable, Sony 10/20, NRG dimmable are all fine lights and will work for you, just remember to have enough battery power to carry you the time you need.

Don
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Old August 30th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
People's reactions to a camera light (even far away - 10W) tend to be... fear, panic, or the "ooops that thing shouldn't be pointed at me and I need to get out of the way quickly" reaction.
What your're describing sounds like my early experiences with a 10W undiffused on-camera light. Once I realized this wasn't working I started buying lights with built-in diffusers, and that's made a big difference. With 10W diffused I can stand right next to people on a dark dance floor and it won't bother most folks. But that's not enough light for more distant shots, so for that I'm finding 20-40W (diffused) to be about right. My recommendation is to get some new lights, and my latest favorite is the Bescor KLX624D kit with two 20W bulbs.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 10:10 AM   #6
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i also use a frezzi mini fill (with dimmer), np1s connector, fnp-1s battery, ftc-np1 charger. originally, it came with the xl1 kit (item 91027), but since i've shelved the xl1 for the sony vx2100, the ma-200 mounts sit in my xl1 case.

i prefer the dimmer version because it lets me slowly crank up the light, which is easier on the eyes (also minimizes the "deer in the headlights" fight or flight response from guests). i use the frezzi original soft box (mfsb) with the mini fill, and highly recommend it. it diffuses the light evenly and is easy on the eyes of your subject. it's also easy to pack and set up.

that said, i can usually get enough available light via the vx2100s, even during dark receptions. i prefer to not use a light at all, but it's always good to know that it's there if i need it. mostly, the frezzi is used for the guest interviews near the end of the evening.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 01:22 PM   #7
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I don't always use light on my vx2000 and 2100, but when I do it is the Sony 10-10 or whatever it's called. I've recently started covering it with a used dryer sheet to help diffuse. It works well, and I think there will always be the occasional "deer in the headlights" reaction. If I have a few moments with the bridal party before the reception I'll tell them the light will be on for a few minutes and to pay no mind to it. Usually helps. Also - if I'm close in on a small child or elderly person, I try not to use it.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 03:16 PM   #8
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Light it right!

That is also the title of a lighting book out there.

Soft lighting, like Glen, is the way to go. Harsh lighting is obtrusive and spoils the mood for a wedding.

Receptions are notoriously badly lit and these are where most would/should light. The mood at a reception is also usually less sombre and formal than the ceremony in the church and people are more receptive to lighting in this environment.

I light as necessary and ALWAYS clear this with the B&G before the time and have not yet had an objection, only referrals.

Use a softbox for lighting, there's nothing worse than a hrash light in your face, especially when the groom wants to deliver his speech! - poor buggers!

Cheers
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Old August 30th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #9
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For the speeches that never end, I inform all participants prior to their arrival at the lecturn that there will be lighting for the stage. I also inform the entire wedding party one on one about the two light locations. Once they know, they will not comment about the bombs 'o photons upon 'em. Works great.
As for the interview and the on camera light, 10 or 20 watts with diffusion is perfect. Dimmer control is a bonus but not essential. The buffer is in the technique. I always (absolute intentional) use young talent to act as reporter to bring the guests into conversation. They're cute, known to the guests and hard to refuse. This way the adults won't whine about the light when they see a 10 year old handling it like a pro.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 07:13 PM   #10
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Lighting and watts

I shoot with a Sony PDX-10 and a Wedding videographer friend of mine suggested i use a 100 to 150 watt lamp. Is that overkill? When i am shooting in a dim reception hall would a 10-20 W lamp be best?
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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:33 PM   #11
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I don't use additional light. I do my best (Esp. useful at a reception) to frame my shots to take advantage of existing light.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 08:34 PM   #12
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what about a Lowel Rifa?

I've been thinking about using a Lowel Rifa in some situations. Has anyone tried this? I know it will look better. Softer less direct light, but I'm wondering if you all think it would be too obtrusive.

I've been doing commercial production about 15 years, but am moving into wedding work. I've been following this forum for a month or so and gained quite a bit of practical information from you all.

Thanks in advance,

Marion
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Old September 7th, 2005, 12:07 PM   #13
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Matt:

Using a 100/150w light should not be a problem. Remember to, at the absolute minimum, to diffuse it or better, run it through a soft box. Harsh lighting at receptions don't go down to well. Also, clear lighting with the B&G first rather than surprise them. It would be advisable to have a dimmer on the light as well to light just enough for the shot - there is a mood which pervails at a wedding - don't spoil it by making it commercial.

Marion:

This will depend on the situation and B&G - what camera do you use?

Always try and use the available lighting. I always check with the B&G first before just doing my own thing.

Cheers
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