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


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Old April 19th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #46
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Er - I don't know any camcorder wedding film-makers who run on 'auto everything' Nigel, do you? They won't be here, that's for sure.
David Chien for one. Autofocus is top of that long list he posted of the supposed advantages for a camcorder closely followed by autoexposure. Plenty of camcorder users take advantage of the auto functions even if they claim to run everything on manual.
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
And I assure you that when a DSLR (rather than my NX5) is held between my palms it doesn't 'make me think more about framing & what I am filming'. A viewfinder is a viewfinder, both are inanimate idiots until a brain points them in the right direction.
Composing for the edit is different when shooting video with DSLRs. Almost by definition it must be a multi-camera shoot as there is more wasted footage because of issues with focusing, lack of motor zoom & all those other things that make using DSLRs challenging. You are always thinking about framing, cutaways, what shot will follow the next etc. You can't just have a camera on a tripod with a single viewpoint relieved only by some zooming back & forth to re-frame the subjects. Well you could but then it would be as boring as all those old style wedding videos shot with a camcorder. I am not saying that you cannot produce lovely wedding videos with a camcorder of course you can but they do allow lazy camera operators to just coast along producing uninspiring videos whereas with a DSLR there is nowhere to hide as you have to concentrate so much more on what you are doing to produce acceptable results.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 06:58 AM   #47
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

The bottom line in the "debate" to me seems to be exactly as Greg F has pointed out.

You look at what the leaders in the field are doing. In the wedding biz, the leaders are using DSLRs.

I agree also very much that DSLR shooting causes you to shoot completely differently, just as described. I've experienced it.

I still shoot, even with DSLR style cams, pretty conventionally, but I'm very slow to pick up new things, it's an age thing, sadly.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 09:11 AM   #48
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
You are always thinking about framing, cutaways, what shot will follow the next etc. You can't just have a camera on a tripod with a single viewpoint relieved only by some zooming back & forth to re-frame the subjects. Well you could but then it would be as boring as all those old style wedding videos shot with a camcorder.
I must be an exception then since I work with 2 dslr's and 2 videocamera's during a weddingday, both used in the right place and time as I work alone. I am thinking all the time about framing, cutaway's or what shots to take next and each time thinking about how I will be using those shots in the edit. Why would you even think a videocamera would make you lazy? Because it has automodes? My dslr has auto ISO as well if needed, does this make me a lazy dslr operator? My videocamera's are on manual everything 90% of the time and the other 10 procent it's ONLY autofocus because there are certain situations (and this I know by experience) my videocamera can focus faster and better then I can.

I use my videocamera mainly in areas where I cannot afford any mistakes and a dslr is being used in areas when I have the time to set up right, when light is low, for creative shallow dof shots or when flying a small light steadicam. The only biggest negative difference I see is that a dslr is MUCH more difficult to operate as it simply is not designed to be a videocamera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I am not saying that you cannot produce lovely wedding videos with a camcorder of course you can but they do allow lazy camera operators to just coast along producing uninspiring videos whereas with a DSLR there is nowhere to hide as you have to concentrate so much more on what you are doing to produce acceptable results.
I think you should stop putting a label on the person behind the camera just because they don't use a dslr, I have been saying this before and keep on repeating it, it's the person behind the camera that makes the difference, the camera itself is just a tool that helps you to make that difference. There is an equal amount of weddingvideos done with a dslr on the net that look amazing as there are that look like crap and the same applies for a videocamera, one last time: it's the person behind it that makes the difference...
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Old April 19th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #49
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Noa I totally agree with what you are saying you particularly
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The only biggest negative difference I see is that a dslr is MUCH more difficult to operate as it simply is not designed to be a videocamera.
We use camcorders too for what they are good at e.g. big motor zoom up on a crane or locked off wide. We use DSLRs for what they are good at e.g. cool arty shallow DoF or ultra low light. I was responding to a long list of why only a camcorder with auto functions was the correct tool to use for shooting weddings. There are some people who just don't understand why anyone would want to struggle with a DSLR to shoot video just as there are people who think any video camera is a toy if you don't carry it around on your shoulder.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 08:59 PM   #50
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

i have both dSLRs and Camcorders and i reckon the biggest thing for me is the form factor. I've tried taking stills with one of the Camcorders, a shoulder mount with still capture facility and I just didn't feel right with it, the still camera is so much more ergonomic for stills, but not as good for video without changing the form factor!
two different tools that can do similar tasks, it's up to the operator to get the best out of them.

R.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 10:35 PM   #51
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

We need to understand that DSLR and video cameras are only tools.
I have been using both, the 7D and the FX-1000, even though my primary is the 7D.
There were times I knew that there is no way I can follow focus with my 7d, especially when there is so much movement in a small space.
As well, when I shoot by my self, I will not use DSLR for the ceremony or reception.
The times we are 3 videographers then it is 3 DSLR and 2 FX-1000
Lately I started covering the dancing only with FX-1000, I fell I get much better footage then the 7d for that scenario
The 7D is a great tool for me and I have been capturing great images with it, but i do feel that I can do even better with the FS-100, and the fact that it is $4000.00 over the 7d does not bother me since I fell that I am getting my money worth.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #52
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Lol. Guess many skipped over my target market? The sub-$1000 crowd, often sub-$500 per wedding. The points I gave were for shooters coming from that point of view.

Yes, my recommendations would be different with unlimited budgets-roll in the Arris or Canon 300s on Steadicams. But, my target market isn't paying for that equipment.

The equipment they will pay for through the fees I can charge them means camcorders over DSLRs. And one shooter because of that, too. At most, a voice recorder up set aside up front because the more gear setup everywhere simply means the more tied down I will be if something comes up-eg sudden changes in schedule to pack and move on.

I'm not afraid to use AF almost all the time because I know from the ol' Canon AE-1P days that for events where everyone's moving about-parties, graduations, etc-a good AF camera/camcorder does it faster, more reliable, and in lower light than I can see clearly in. This doesn't mean you can't follow focus a bride and groom as they walk and dance at f/1.2 - it simply means it is not as easy to do so reliably across a variety of situations quick enough.

The Canon Instant AF feature using IR and passive focusing works! Everyone snaps into sharp focus in less than 0.5 sec. day or night, moving or not. And the tracking as they approach or change distance is just that-rock solid reliable.

What all this automation allows is that I can focus on more important things as a lone shooter-getting a good shot.

I do lock down color balance for consistency. Shutter speed when it gets dark. But not having to worry about general exposure levels, dof, etc works for me. (zebras on just in case for a quick ev comp, but camcorder usually is smart enough)

Now, is this going to beat a $10k+ job with multiple DSLRs, camcorders, wireless mics, multiple shooters? Let's not kid ourselves. My clients aren't paying for that level of quality, coverage, or equipment or labor costs. They're happy with what I demo and produce for them because I let them know upfront what it would really cost and take to do pro level work (and some even turn me down after to look for higher end videographers-thank god I showed and taught them what to expect at various price levels. Not just get ripped off with a one-set-price).

I was clear from the start who my clients are. Other, more generic posts-oh, all top shooters use dslrs-really fail to differentiate what kind of client are you getting at what price point to make the roi possible. We can all say that with an unlimited budget, roll in the cranes, helicopters, 35mm sensor cameras, stedicam operators, wireless mics, wireless hdmi transmitters for the broadcast quality, liveswitched, one day.

But, really? None of my clients can afford that. As the price point drops, moving to more reliable, automated equipment simply helps ensure delivery on a tight budget, one-manned.

At most, I'd tripod an extra camcorder wide as a backup, but camcorders are so reliable, practically unneeded. Batteries and cards fail more often! But again, my clients accept this up front,I tell them clearly it's a one man, one camera shoot because they're cheap/can't afford much, so no backups. I even tell them how they can go cheaper if family can hold their own camcorder, too.

And unlike others, I tell them they only pay upon delivery. If I don't make it or video is lost, they pay nothing.

So clearly, everything's out on the table upfront, and none of my happy clients complain later because I'm totally clear what to expect at such low price points. Not DSLR like, they know. Not multicam, they know. Not shallow DOF, not one has asked after I tell them "Do you want to see what everyone's doing front and back, or blurry?" Grainy at dance lighting levels, they take it or have the lights brighter.

As for moire and such, you can get that on a camcorder, too. But usually not an issue unless that hatching is just so. Nothing that can be done about it unless you have a Foveon or 3CCD sensor, and I.m sure other artifacts will popup.

In the end, with my camcorder kit, I can reliably get wedding after wedding at the low end price range, get a decent roi, and keep customers happy. DSLR? I can't even film 1/6th of a 3 hour Catholic wedding with Mass before the dang camera stops recording on its own!! Just how do I replace the unreplaceable?-at my price point, it's called a camcorder.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 03:24 PM   #53
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

60p. Right. Lcd/led tvs may display what is on the screen 60p, but the input is likely 60i for my customers on dvd players. 60p merely increases the bitrate, without doing anything for such viewers. Even those with Bluray players must also need 60p tvs, which is a very small subset, if any, of my customers. Most tvs they have are years old, just a small handful have Bluray players.
Thus, 60i being universal is the easier and best pick of frame rates period, ime. Easier to process, render, output w/o worry as to what it'll look like client side.

And this week, nhk japan.having demoed their latest 145" 8k! Super HDTV setup with 24 channel sound, I'll just hold off on anything but 1080i for now. No point, at my price point, to be going crazy with 60p, 4k, etc.

What will get me more $ is an idea to bundle an inexpensive BluRay player +BluRay video for $100. If I make $50 or so off this, easy 10% bump in profits. (assuming $500 job) Doesn't make much sense if the clients can't see HD, having only DVD players
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Old May 1st, 2012, 03:18 PM   #54
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

True, but why wouldn't your target market just buy a $300 camcorder for their cousin and have them record it?
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Old May 1st, 2012, 03:28 PM   #55
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I don't know David, I'm not high end, and 90% of my customers do have bluray. I ask them before I burn their videos, and nearly everyone I've shipped, particularly over the last couple of months, has wanted a BR disc. Of course Cincinnatians tend to be homebodies and big tv watchers, which may explain a lot.

Additionally, DSLR style shooting can inexpensive. For example a $900 GH2 outfitted with a 25mm F/1.4 lens can be used for getting ready, photo session, and as a wide cam for your ceremony. At under $1500 you have an amazing low light camera that will blow away most any sub- $5k video camera's image quality. Put a shotgun on it, which I do, and your ready to go.

I use a prime lens for all my getting ready footage now, the image quality is just too good to pass up. Even though my shiny new XA10s are great, they cannot touch the GH2s footage in many circumstances.

I think it's important to have an open mind. If you're in the sub $1K market, by investing a small amount you can produce videos that will allow you to increase your prices.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 07:02 PM   #56
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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by investing a small amount you can produce videos that will allow you to increase your prices.
I think that all depends where you live and what the "culture" is towards weddingvideo, where I live at least dslr's don't justify higher prizes, here they are just surprized when you say you use a dslr but they certainly won't reach deeper into their pockets. At this moment I stopped mentioing to my clients what gear I use unless they ask, instead I just show my demo's.

I see it more like I choose the tools that work best for me, taking into account what people averagely are willing to pay and then investing accordingly. I use dslr's together with videocamera's just because they are so cheap and help getting shots in areas where my videocamera's fail.

Quote:
And unlike others, I tell them they only pay upon delivery. If I don't make it or video is lost, they pay nothing.
I shoot alone as well and I think that we all know what the consequences are if your camera fails, had this happening to me one time years ago where my brandnew xh-a1 failed to transfer footage to a brandnew unused mini-dv tape (expensive "hd" branded tapes) and I lost nearly one hour of church footage. I can tell you it was the worst day in my career having to tell the client what happened. Right after that incident I bhought a external recorder to attach to my xh-a1 and I bought a second small b camera, these where 2 costs I didn't plan for but I didn't care, I felt I needed to do whatever possible to prevent this from happening again. It just shows videocamera's are not fail-safe either. Only if my client asks what I do to secure their footage (a valid question for a videographer that works alone) I tell them I have 4 camera's (a canon xh-a1, a sony xr520 and 2 cheap 550d's) with me all day so in worst case scenario I have enough backup. Yet still any camera can fail (like my xh-a1 did) but I never tell them, I can only hope they don't.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 08:32 PM   #57
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Noa, you misunderstood my comment. I said with DSLR you can produce videos that will allow you to increase prices (ie., better looking samples which will bring in clients willing to pay more).

Higher quality work draws clients with a more to spend, but you cannot begin down the road to moving up in price until your work reflects a higher quality. That's all I was saying. My friends here that bring in $3-5K for 20 minute wedding videos have high quality sample on the web that draws customers and causes buzz on their facebook pages and blogs.

You are right that in certain areas the market is limited for sure, but mine is not one of those areas.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 11:37 PM   #58
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Hey Jeff

I do understand David's comments about target markets and also yours about DSLR's like the GH2 being a cheap alternative...Brides over here are mainly budget people so if they book it's often a sub $1K package that attracts them. I think there is a big gap between the "video at any price" and "normal" brides..the threshold here is probably around $1500 tops ..My standard package for a wedding is $1400

I tried upping prices with more cinematic looking and creative footage about 2 years ago and the orders just vapourised..probably because I had placed them into a dead zone...under $1500 and you are in the market for low end stuff...push the price to say $2K and you are simply just expensive but I'm sure that a $4K tag and pristine footage would attract the brides that want to pay more.

Now, do I want to shoot 5 weddings a year that are in the $4K bracket or 30 weddings in the $1.5K bracket..I know I can easily achieve the $1.5K target BUT I really have no idea if I would even get 5 weddings a year doing high end...it's untested water!!!

Brides here never, ever ask what cameras I use...(In fact I have been using a GoPro Hero as a back camera mounted 20' up in the air and they love the footage...cost ?? $400!!!!) If shooting with DSLR's would assure me of 30 weddings a year at $5K a pop ..I would be on it in an instant ...!!

My attitude is that I use the tools that work best for the job...when I shoot the bride a video guestbook during pre-dinner drinks ..yes, I shoot on full auto and it works everytime...there is no time to setup when you have to grab tons and guests and make them stand in front of the camera and talk.

My ceremonies are in full manual of course as are speeches but stuff like the first dance I shoot in full auto but I do have the ability to over-ride at any time with lens rings on the 130's

Chris
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 01:56 AM   #59
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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Noa, you misunderstood my comment. I said with DSLR you can produce videos that will allow you to increase prices (ie., better looking samples which will bring in clients willing to pay more)
I did not misunderstand, here you can't charge more because you use a dslr, clients don't care what you use to produce your videos. If those "top" videographers that charge 5000+ for a wedding would live in Belgium 98% of their assignments would be in another country, that I can assure you.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 02:32 AM   #60
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Hey Noa

It must be a USA thing!! Brides here also have no idea what camera you are using or how many!! As long as they look pretty and the bridesmaids too, they are happy..all they want is a record of your day....Now, if you shoot with DSLR or video and you forget to film Grandma when she asked you to, or try to put events out of order, THEN she will have something to say!!

I think I have had one groom who asked me if my camera shot in HD..otherwise they just don't ask and they probably would be put off if you started telling them how great your gear is!!!

Chris
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