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


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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:17 PM   #91
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Noa, with my limited experience with the XHA1, I agree the video would be much different. The XHA1 is so poor in low light, it would be difficult even with footage from ceremonies to match. Same with the Sony FX1- Z1, but not quite as bad. I did edit some weddings shot last year with an XHA1 and a GH1, and it was really impossible to match.

With the newer cams, which is what I was thinking when I commented before, the differences are not as significant, as the sensors in the newer cams are so much better in low light. The Canon XA10 really has a look that works well with DSLR, there's just something about the camera, it works.

Also, if you camera sensors are CCDs, which I think your XHA1 has, the differences will be much more pronounced, I think.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; May 9th, 2012 at 09:51 PM.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #92
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I like video cameras because I shoot solo and their amenities favor that method making my job easier not more difficult. For DSLRs users, how do you pay for all the other camera operators, justify the extra time editing all those cameras together to covering up gaps and unusable footage? Like someone else said a client is going to notice missing footage, out of focus, bad audio, improper exposure, and shaky hand held filming or rough zoom.

There is no arguing DSLRs image quality and light sensitivity are superior to traditional cameras but in all the other areas you are at a disadvantage. If we are going to compare the two lets be fair, solo video camera vs solo DSLR (not 3 DSLR). If I had mic boom operator and multiple camera operators my video would be also superior. It would seem to me multiple DSLR operator method there is more to go wrong and you have to charge more just make the same profit. And while you might be an expert who can over come the challenges of shooting DSLR how do you depend of finding operators with the same level of expertise that you can pay for and still turn a profit? While I could hire on the cheap an inexperienced person as a 2nd video camera operator and expect to get back usable footage, the same could not be said for DSLR (more like a recipe for disaster).

In my experience, equipment that demands my attention, distracts me from the most important thing, being aware of what going on around me (the subject that I'm filming). Simple setups means less chance for errors. You don't want to be fidgeting with your equipment during highly fluid, fast moving events such as weddings.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 09:39 PM   #93
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Peter-I'm a solo shooter and recently did a wedding with 2 canon t3is with magic lantern installed.. Fairly easy to do the ceremony when you have the auto recording restart enabled with magic lantern.. So I had one camera for wide angle that just recorded by itself. Yes there is a 1-2 second cut off for each 12 minute clips that's when I switch footage to my other camera.. So it aint too hard.. To make it even easier there's the GH2 who can record non stop as long as you dont run out of power or run out of card space...

Don't get me wrong a regular camera is easier to manage and it was frustrating at first when shooting with DSLRs.. But after getting use to them and seeing how they can produce an image that is as good if not better than a $5k camera its definitely worth it! Also learning how to shoot with a DSLR has really helped me become a better shooter and more knowledgeable about photography..

As far as camera shakes or shaky footage.. That can happen with any camera but if you have good lenses with image stabilization the footage handheld are the same as any non shoulder mount camcorders.. I dont get why there's so much hate for DSLR shooters from Camcorder shooters.. I'm guessing its probably because video camera users spent $4k for their camera while i only spent $1000 T3i w/ Sigma 17-50 lens and getting the same if not better IQ... I remember reading back in the days when FCP first came out for $1000 and Avid users were spending $50k for their editing system many thought FCP was a scam.. Little did they know..

To video camera users.. I would highly recommend you try out a DSLR first.. You can get a t3i/t2i for $500 and if it doesn't work for you either sell it or keep it! They also take pretty darn good pictures as well.. A lot better than your video cameras!
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Old May 9th, 2012, 10:28 PM   #94
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I actually don't hate or even think about the difference in cost between the equipment. Depending on the lenses and the DSLR it could be as much if not more than a video camera. I'm more curious than anything else. Although sometimes I find proponents of new technology defensive to the point of down playing or not disclosing all the disadvantages. I can't help but imagine someone new getting into DSLR and discovering the pitfalls during someone's wedding.


"I dont get why there's so much hate for DSLR shooters from Camcorder shooters.. I'm guessing its probably because video camera users spent $4k for their camera while i only spent $1000 T3i w/ Sigma 17-50 lens and getting the same if not better IQ... I remember reading back in the days when FCP first came out for $1000 and Avid users were spending $50k for their editing system many thought FCP was a scam.. Little did they know.. "
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Old May 10th, 2012, 01:29 AM   #95
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Also, if you camera sensors are CCDs, which I think your XHA1 has, the differences will be much more pronounced, I think.
The xh-a1 was a first gen hd camera and it starts to show, it does outperform my canon dslr's in resolution but like you said, low light sucks, even compared to my sony xr520. But it's not jus the lowlight that's causing issues, it's just a totally different look when matched with a dslr and it shows too much. I am looking for a new camera this year and was doubting between a pana agac 130/160 or a af100 because I really have started to like the ability to add that bit shallow dof. I think I will have to buy a agac 130/160 because when shooting alone I really need controll in certain situations, I don't see myself running and gunning with the af100.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 01:42 AM   #96
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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Originally Posted by Jay Corcuera View Post
To video camera users.. I would highly recommend you try out a DSLR first.. You can get a t3i/t2i for $500 and if it doesn't work for you either sell it or keep it! They also take pretty darn good pictures as well.. A lot better than your video cameras!
I am a solo dslr and videocamera shooter (using two 550d's starting from the reception and regular videocameras for the first part of the day) and all I can say that t2i alike camera's can give you a better looking image in certain situations and a lot worse looking one in others and by that last I"m referring to moire which can be very nasty at times.

I would not reccomend a dslr as main cam for a solo shooter if they have a documentary style, in that case they are worthless as you will get over/underexposed and out of focus footage. You can adjust both live ofcourse but those adjustments are very obvious. When things move fast I can have spot on focus and exposure with my xh-a1 and I can't say that about my dslr, also whitebalancing is much easier with a videocamera which is critical with a dslr to get right color.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 02:13 AM   #97
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Hi Noa

I agree too!! If you remember Jeff was devasted whilst using his 4 x GH2's at a wedding to find the ceremony was out of focus. He now uses a video camera for the ceremony and gets the creative footage on the GH2's... I also shoot solo and documentary style so I need a video camera. I would have thought that I might find a DSLR really nice during the photoshoot bit with the shallow DOF but my photoshoot is all on stedicam and unless I invest in a fancy follow focus then I couldn't use it on the stedicam.

I already own two Lumix cameras but I don't use them for video ..however if the need arises I would certainly use them ...there are unfortunately times at a wedding when you just have to have autofocus as everything is happening around you and you just don't have time to adjust exposure and focus ...I guess that's why it's called run 'n gun????

My market is a bit like yours and my prices would have to skyrocket if I had to hire extra camera people to shoot with the DSLR's .... my costing and edit time suits video cameras...I cannot afford to have 60 hour post editing times and charge under $2K .... I'd love to shoot weddings with 3 of us using 5DII's but my market just wouldn't support the pricing.

Chris
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Old May 10th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #98
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Chris, you don't need or use a follow-focus on Steadicam unless you are a pro operator with a wireless FF & focus puller. The trick we all use is a wide lens stopped down for maximum DoF & set at the hyperfocal distance. I use either a 14mm or 16-35mm stopped down to about F11 on a Canon 5D which by my reckoning (or rather by consultation of the Online Depth of Field Calculator) when I focus at 10ft gives me everything from 2ft to infinity in focus.

The other trick that DSLR shooters use is to have a locked off traditional camcorder grabbing a wide shot so that it can provide cutaways when we miss focus, screw up exposure or fluff the shot from the DSLR in some other way. We use a Canon XF105 & I believe that Jeff Harper uses an Canon XA10 for the same purpose.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 07:41 AM   #99
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Actually for the ceremony I use the GH2s exclusively as stationary cameras, as a solo shooter it's the best I can do. My two XA10s are so good for the ceremony they are what I focus on. I don't get the amazing shots that other guys get using the DSLR's creatively, but I get very solid footage, and at my price point that's all you can ask for.

As you point out Chris, I use one XA10 stationary pointed at the altar from the rear, and then go back and adjust it after the processional as needed during the ceremony. Keep in mind 90% of my wedding ceremonies are full catholic masses, so I have LOTs of time to discreetly move around from cam to cam and adjust as needed.

The DSLRs provide superior footage at half the cost, and they are a godsend for a solo shooter, not a hindrance. For quick paced handheld work I use a 12mm lens (24mm equivalent) that gives superior low light performance that blows the XA10 out of the water.

DSLRs are a strange concept to videographers who know only videocameras, and most of those that are fighting it or arguing against it haven't tried it. Those that have tried it and given up didn't stick with it. I was tempted many times to give up, it is very challenging to learn. And many try to do it with slow lenses that do not work well in low light, because they will not spend the money on a decent fast lens, and hence they "give up".

Most videographers are self taught and know little to nothing about photography, as was my case. It's like learning to walk again, and it's tough, but it can be done.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 08:39 AM   #100
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I have both of them. I use the DSLR for controlled environments like the Bride Prep, Park, details at reception. I use my Video Camera at the ceremony and reception. I am a single shooter as well, so would be difficult for me to use 2 DSLR's, I know some videogs has perfected it but not me.

My 2 cents.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 03:30 PM   #101
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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The trick we all use is a wide lens stopped down for maximum DoF & set at the hyperfocal distance
I actually fly my dslr with a 14mm f2.8 lens wide open all the time, since I use it at darker receptions it needs to be at F2.8 and iso 800/1600 to get decent exposure, my samyang lens has no autofocus so I focus first using the magnifying function and try to keep that same distance to my subject during a shot, focus on my 35/85mm is much more critical then on the 14mm, even if it's wide open.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:23 AM   #102
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

like I said - if you can show me a traditional camera that works in low/no light then I'm interested - I don't really have a preference.

we need to be clear on something here - DSLR does not equal Canon - there are alternatives

I chose the Panasonic GH1 because of:
unlimited recording
continuous auto-focus during recording
optical stabilisation on factory lenses
adapters for any lens you can name
small & cheap - I got 6

I DONT want to start a camera war - I just get tired of shooters saying "but what about the 15 minute limit"

I have always used a 2nd shooter so I guess it was an easier transition for me. for prep I usually stick to prime lenses, I might have an extra camera on a slider or glidecam (at that price, why not) and I usually leave the stock 20mm lens on - light, bright, & autofocus - you can even mimic and rack focus with a bit of care.

Ceremony - 2 manned cameras (I don't move during the ceremony - personal choice) with lumix zooms and a 3rd up the back on a lightstand for the wide shot - either autofocus or stopped down. on occasion I'll even throw an extra camera behind the alter

** I'm just working on an edit at the moment and the groom walks up behind the alter and grabs a chair in front of the camera - bumps the camera and in doing so spins it around to get a perfect shot of the signing!! - thank you!

I have a camera on a glidecam to catch the brides arrival & entry and the rest of the ceremony is static positions. as the ceremony progresses we'll shift from a 2 shot to a wide to capture the bridal party from a different angle or one of us will swing round to get parents & guests.

the edit in Edius is no problem - it's just matter of syncing the clips & audio at the start and then cutting from one camera to another. they are all one continuous clip.

it's the same basic setup for all the formal parts of the reception except we'll be on different focal length primes again with the 20mm on the lightstand getting the guests wide shot for cutaways and toasts etc.

It's been a while but I don't think I'm taking any longer in the edit that I used to - but I am bloody slow and always behind. (I should be working now - damm you DVInfo!)

I don't know what other DSLR shooters do - this just makes sense to me and gives me the coverage I want.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 01:32 AM   #103
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

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like I said - if you can show me a traditional camera that works in low/no light then I'm interested
In the sub 6000 euro category a panasonic AF100 or Sony FS100, they don't have the same set it and forget it auto function some camera's have but if we are talking traditional camera that's also a professional (shouldermount) cameras to me as well and those supposed to be operated all manual, just like a dslr or like above mention camera's. Both are videocamera's to me.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:49 AM   #104
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

Hi Paul

The GH series has always interested me...yes, no time limit on recording and a huge amount of value for a very small price too!! I truely don't even think about low light except in a Church ..at the reception I just zap on a video light..end of story ...I don't believe in having to struggle with light so DSLR or video I would have a light on the camera anyway..in fact I worked with a very well known stills guy at the weekend and he doesn't use much flash at receptions..he had a video light on his still camera.

I think the war is over by now so you have no fear in starting it up again. In fact if one wanted to a have a shoulder mount camera then you can also you that with a GH2 ...stick it on a SM rig, add a big matte box and a loupe on the other end and you have an ENG style camera !!!

With the release (one day??) of the GH3 we might even expect more from these cameras!!! It's only a tool that we use to shoot weddings anyway so people shouldn't get so excited about preference...!!

I would be quite happy shooting weddings on a couple of GH1's!! and yes, due to my preferences it would be on a shoulder mount rig and I would still use a video light too!!!

Chris
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Old May 11th, 2012, 03:50 AM   #105
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Re: DSLR vs. Video Camera

I've got an Af100 and it's no shoulder mount camera - not without a seperate mount just like the GH1 or 2 - in fact the lenses I use are exactly the same on both so the only advantage the AF100 has is built in ND, peaking, gain and a proper viewfinder. There's no way those make it worth using on a wedding. Don't get me wrong, I thinks it's a great camera and I know Oleg is shooting some great stuff but I figure he could do that with a box brownie.

I think the great thing about these discussions is that we realise different people see and do things differently and therein lies the opportunity to learn. I'll certainly be taking a close look at the XA10 that someone mentioned.

Chris, I'm almost tempted to ship you over one of my spare GH!'s and an FD 85 1.8 to see if I can tempt you over to the dark side :-)

Don't you have a problem with the on camera light? don't guests or the bride comment? - I guess not. I'm not game to use them - I do have 4 LED lights and lights stands and I've set them up at a couple of really dark venues but that's as far as I'm game to go.
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