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


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Old March 26th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #1
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Camera

I have been out of the industry for about 5 years.
I have previously shot weddings for years before that. My last cameras were Canon GL2's

I am a bit stumped and inundated with the new cams, If I am looking at getting
back into the business, what camera would you suggest on a fairly limited budget while remaining a pro cam. I want HD but I am unsure about avchd.

I will be editing in FCP.

Ideas?

Stephen
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Old March 26th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: Camera

Hi Stephen

What car do you drive?? and why??? It's all about personal choice and all the big manufacturers have reasonable pro-cameras out there. If you like Canon then stay with Canon. I have liked the results Panasonic give me and have shot with them since the mid-80's!!! I'm currently using the AC-130's which for me are great value for money and give an outstanding result. Just for guidelines AVCHD is very convenient and an efficient file system. I would most definately go for a card camera not tape unless you look at used models to start with.

You really also need to be rather specific on your price range..it's no good people suggesting a Sony EX3 if your budget in only $3000 - $4000!! Also are you planning to shoot documentary style or more cinematic?? If the latter then you can also consider using Canon DSLR's

Chris
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Old March 26th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #3
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Re: Camera

Stephen welcome to DVinfo .. I'm not advocating you should buy a Sony FS100 but I found this thread very interesting ..

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-avc...-fs-100-a.html

including Thomas Wongs comments in post 23 ..

"Here is some reasons that make me move back to camcorder from a DSLR (beside the quality and features)
I lost a line of jobs from an advertising company after the first job. Why? because i was using a (Canon) 5D, they expect tv commercial need video camera to shoot. They have 5D, and even more choices of lens too. And then they notice 5D have the capability to shoot great video, and i have never been called for video production. And I ask them after months, they said, oh yes, we can take the video ourselves.

DSLR is just too common, when i did wedding video, there are 5-10 people using a 5D, and they are just a guest! It also happen to me many times when doing video with 5D at wedding and events, people keep asking me to take a photo for them. Even I insist i am just the videographer, they will insist me to take a picture for them.

If your clients are more corporate side, it is better use a professional camcorder, because it's not something too common that everyone could get one. If your jobs are mainly non-commercial such as wedding, DSLR is enough, even (tho) you will be asked to take pictures."

Cheers.
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Old March 26th, 2012, 09:27 PM   #4
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Re: Camera

Hi Allan

Sad but true!! If you are the photographer and turn up with two old and battered DSLR's BUT with "honking" great tele lens attached then the comments are "Wow!! that must be the official photographer"

The consumer, be it corporate or wedding, seems to expect BIG impressive cameras to do the job. Even if you are the best in the business and can produce stunning video from a tiny camera you will be scoffed at but arrive with a massive shoulder-mount camera and the client is always impressed!!

At wedding ceremonies I very discretely hoist a tiny GoPro Hero on a lighting stand behind the guests so I can get "semi-aerial" views of the entire wedding and the results are often quite delightful. I just let it run the entire duration of the ceremony and footage is VERY useable but heaven forbid if the bride and groom thought that was what I am using. I still, of course, use two Panny AC-130's as my main cameras!!

Stephen, your bottom line is that you need main cameras that have at least a decent lens and decent size chips and professional audio inputs too as audio is so often neglected!!! The average pro camcorder meets all these requirements so the choice is yours!! Probably your choice will be dictated mainly by how much money you want to spend!!

Chris
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Old March 26th, 2012, 10:18 PM   #5
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Re: Camera

Different jobs require different equipment.
For example, as was stated, for corporate type work; IE seminars in particular, I prefer some form factor of true video camera with my favorite being JVC HD200/250 with a HDD. This way I can record the long winded ... uh, I mean the presenters and still am able to give the client the raw tapes if thats what they request OR do an easy load in if I have to edit the seminar.
For weddings, I still prefer a real video camera or 2 or 3. This way I can attach my light and wireless and shoot the run and gun event without having to worry about having 3 hands to hold and adjust the cameras while on the move. The DSLR is GREAT for certain aspects of the wedding but I am and always have been a firm believer in getting the shot then getting creative. You can't edit what you don't have and wedding can be fast movers in the sense that thaere are virtually no retakes during the ceremony and even the reception.
I agree, tape is going the way of film in still cameras (which I still fondly remember using many many years ago) so solid state is the way to go but which one? Well it really depends on your budget. Also remember the computer you use today may not have the horsepower needed to edit any of the codecs that are being used today, IE, MXF or AVCHD.
So it starts with how much are you willing to spend for your tools and then you can pick gear that will do the job for you.
Have fun and rememebr, all of us here at DVi LOVE to spend other peoples money! ;-)
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Old March 27th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #6
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Re: Camera

I'm a fan of purchasing good used gear. Then take care of it. Plus, think carefully how everything will work together, your cameras, your microphones, your computers, your software, cases to transport your gear. Take a systems approach. Make sure you have more than one of anything that's really important.

It costs far less, plus mature technology tends to have most of the bugs worked out. Purchasing the latest and greatest can bleed a business dry. It's not called the bleeding edge for nothing.

Everybody has their favorites.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 07:18 AM   #7
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Re: Camera

Hi Roger

If cash is tight then that's a good idea!! However I don't know how your IRS works with regards to capital expenditure depreciation or losses on gear sales but it actually pays me to replace cams every year and sell the 12 month old ones..my accountant can claim the new cams as a business expense and also the difference of the used ones that were sold too. It helps a lot with the tax bill each year so my "camera running expenses" are fairly low!!

Your comment about having more than one of everything is an important one..it's no good buying a camera for $4900 from your $5000 savings and then realising that you need 4 cards, 4 batteries, multiple mics, in fact just about double of everything so purchases need to be looked at as a "gear group" rather than a single item.
If a radio mic fails during (or even before) the vows you are in big trouble so you do need to have a backup for everything and sometimes even a backup for the spare gear!! When I talk cameras I always mean at least two and with weddings that's how it has to be!!

You raise a very good point there and it's important to budget for all your gear not just a camera. You just cannot go out and buy one camera and a battery and start doing weddings!!!

Chris
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Old March 27th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #8
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Re: Camera

The two cameras that I would look at are either the Canon XA10, $1899 each, or the Panasonic AG-AC130.

If I could afford the Panasonics, I would buy two of them in a heart beat. 22x zoom is unbeatable, the image quality of superb, the cards are cheap, and it offers all the shooting modes you could ask for.

Both cameras have XLR audio connectors, both are excellent in low light. The Canon XA10 has no grain at up to 18db gain. It's close to a perfect wedding camera (for the money) , but it lacks some manual controls which can be frustrating.

The Panasonic has it all, but also costs more than twice as much, and it is a close to perfect for wedding work as you could ask.

Canon XA10 HD Professional Camcorder 4922B002 B&H Photo Video


Panasonic AG-AC130 AVCCAM HD Handheld Camcorder AG-AC130PJ B&H

Last edited by Jeff Harper; March 27th, 2012 at 09:35 AM.
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Old March 27th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Camera

Hey Jeff

If you can live without variable frame rate and SDI then the 130 is $400 cheaper but at $3600 it's still a lot more than $1899!! I look at it from a wedding POV too... if you want a couple of 130/160's just to have them but with no future income from them in say, the next few months then yes, that's a lot of money to spend... I got my two 130's last month and by Easter they are virtually paid for!! Even $1899 twice over is an awful lot of money if there isn't anything coming in to compensate!!!

Because I update every year, my overall cost is substantially reduced from selling the old cameras but yes, starting from scratch is tough!!

I'm truly blown away with the 130's performance so far!! It was tough moving from shoulder mount cams but a little rig and extra viewfinder helped a lot. I really don't need the extra features on the 160 at the moment. The low light is unbelieveable especially going from 1/4" chips up to 1/3" chips!!

Chris
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Old March 27th, 2012, 09:34 AM   #10
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Re: Camera

Chris, you are right, about the AG AC130, it is much more practical purchase. I had forgot about it and would be the one I would choose as well, as the 160 would be overkill for most wedding shooters. I'll correct my post above to reflect that.

Adrian, there you have it, two good choices for you, the AG 130 or the XA10.

If you're on a REALLY tight buget, the XA10 and it's little brother the G10 might work pretty well, I think, but just remember you're limited to a 10X zoom with those cameras, and the G10 has fewer shooting modes, and a kind of fake or mini shoe mount for which I think you need an adapter to use standard shoe accesories like mics and lights.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; March 27th, 2012 at 11:04 AM.
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