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


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Old June 28th, 2012, 06:28 AM   #76
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

Hi Noa

Not really..just sensible shooting..I would never attempt to film a black cat in a dark cellar at midnight. As Colin says it's all about using light .. My 2nd shooter will go and do a bridal prep and afterwards she will comeback and tell me how bad the lighting was..I can do and do the same shoot and get really nice footage. However I firsly use available light to my advantage and I'm also not scared to clamp a 6 x power LED light onto the camera. In fact at receptions the light goes on the camera before the reception even starts!! If I need it, it's there....It's amazing how just a tiny bit of light on a couple's face can spice up footage...in fact at my last wedding the photog was using a video light as he said a flash just lights up everthing like a football stadium and ruins the mood..a tiny LED light keeps the background lit only by ambient light stunningly lifts exposure on faces. I wouldn't do a reception without one!!

Sure I can use the GH1 with a 45mm F1.7 lens that would set me back over $1000 or I can snap a light on my Panasonic HMC and use that.

Chris
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Old June 28th, 2012, 06:29 AM   #77
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

People often choose a venue because of it's "atmosphere" and that always translates into dark places here, just like that place I mentioned with candlelight only. There is a reason why canon 5dIII and sony fs100's are so popular, not only because they can shoot wonderfull images but because they can shoot in near dark. Just crank up the iso real high, close down your iris a bit so you have a bit more dof to work with and you are good to go with these kind of camera's, if my budget would allow it, both camera's would be in my gearbox already. I will capture an event like it was, not how perfect I can make it because then I would be flooding it will light, like in a studio. I can capture an event like I can perceive it with my eye with my dslr and even the cx730, only when I have no other option I will switch on the light of the cx730 and that would typically be a first dance when they kill the lights almost completely.
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Old June 28th, 2012, 06:36 AM   #78
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
in fact at my last wedding the photog was using a video light as he said a flash just lights up everthing like a football stadium and ruins the mood
See, even the photog knows that adding too much light will ruin the mood :)
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Old June 28th, 2012, 09:29 AM   #79
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

Noa,

Here is a highlight that was shot with the mix of the CX550v, and in this teaser, I used 80% of the small camera shot. You can see the small camera on a light stand while they were doing their first dance.

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Old June 28th, 2012, 02:58 PM   #80
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

This is where a SMALL LED light with a dimmer comes in VERY handy... I see Manfrotto has just released a whole series of them, no doubt responding to all the cheap import lights out there - discovered the smallest one when it was in a Big Box advert! May look into them, as they claim to have 0-100% dimming, and pretty small light designs (12 LED with 1 AAA battery!), all the way up to bigger LED arrays.


I mentioned the DIRT cheap (barely over $16US from one eBay seller!) CN-560... got a chance to use it Saturday, and noticed that everyone was taking advantage of the extra light it brought - it allowed all the "consumer" guest cameras to get decent shots I guess!

The cake cutting was in a particularly dark area, and the "on camera" (actually on a bracket) light was PERFECT, although I actually had to crank it up - didn't see anyone squint, cringe, or try to run. I almost felt it was "too" small, but it did the trick at reasonable distances.

There are some good small lights that have dimmers, and for the low amount of investment, a couple of them should probably be in your "kit"... combined with the good low light performance of some of the small handycams, which can "make do" with just a "little" light boost, it opens up the options.
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Old June 28th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #81
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

the cx730 has a light build right in and it spreads very equally, but it is quite sharp to look at, from a short distance you can't look at it for sure, like I said, only if there is no other option that light will save your shot for sure, as long as you are not to far from your subject. Just having that build in is awesome, almost like a swiss knive :)

Quote:
Here is a highlight that was shot with the mix of the CX550v
Thx for sharing Rickey, looks great! :) Can I ask what the other 20% was filmed with? I"m going to pick up a lightstand as well, mainly for some indoor ceremonies where I can use 3 camera's so I can put one on a lightstand in the back high enough over everyones heads. Especially when the photog passes in front of the camera he/she won't be in the image.

I also saw this rig on ebay which would seem compact enough for my use and you can use filters with it to keep the shutter at normal levels in the sun: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DSLR-rig-set...item20c4abe8f2 Almost looks like the same you got, Rickey? Price at least seems decent and it seems shipping is "free" from China to Belgium without any custom taxes and so on compared to ordering in the Usa, that always adds quite some costs. I won't be using the flags but without them I think it will be a nice addition to my cx730.
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Old June 28th, 2012, 05:49 PM   #82
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

"Can I ask what the other 20% was filmed with?"

The prep outdoor was shot with FX1, most indoor shot and in the grapevine was the CX, ceremony and the dancing was FX1. Ring shot was with the DSLR.

The rig you showed me is almost the price of the Genus rig that I have. If I were you I'll go with the Genus, at least you have the grip and the breast support that comes handy and useful, and if you don't like it, just remove it. Some are still selling this rig for $599, B&H sells this for $299, perhaps in your place you could get a better deal since Genus product are made somewhere or near there.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 03:48 AM   #83
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

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Originally Posted by Colin Rowe View Post
Noa, light is our friend, there are times when you will need to use light, regardless of the cameras you use. Ask yourself this, would you rather shoot on a nice bright day or, a drizzly, cloudy day, which resulting footage would you prefer to watch!!
Especially with DSLRs & wide aperture lenses we can now shoot & get adequately exposed images in just about any situation but the images will look flat & lifeless because there is no modelling or shadows. Professional photographers use flash for fill & modelling not because there isn't sufficient light & for video we need to do the same. It's not always practical to add light but with modern cameras we don't need to add much & LED lights don't have to dazzle the subjects. It's really worth adding light when necessary as it can really lift the quality of the video.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 03:58 AM   #84
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
It's amazing how just a tiny bit of light on a couple's face can spice up footage...in fact at my last wedding the photog was using a video light as he said a flash just lights up everthing like a football stadium and ruins the mood..a tiny LED light keeps the background lit only by ambient light stunningly lifts exposure on faces.
We likewise shot a wedding with a photographer who did not use flash but had an assistant holding a Lowel iD video light on a pole & it was a complete revelation. The assistant was really helpful & would hold the light so that we could grab the shot too & the difference in the footage was just amazing. Now we often will shoot either with a 160-LED video light in one hand (never on the camera as that doesn't provide the modelling & shadows that we want) or one of us holding the light while the other takes the shot. Just shots of simple stuff like the wedding cake or table decorations really sing with some added light.
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Old June 29th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #85
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

As a stills photographer I ALWAYS bounce flash from ceilings or other suitable surfaces when the subject is inside. The light then becomes much more even and with no nasty pronounced shadows. using a slowish shutter speed ("dragging the shutter") also ensures that where there is nice ambient light it will also feature in the image. The flash can give a nice twinkle in the eye, adding life to what might otherwise appear to be a lifeless subject. When I say always I of course mean nearly always. If there is no suitable bounce surface (rare) then I use small softboxes that clip to the flashgun heads. The light then becomes more directional but still passable.

Panels like the Z96 can also be in effect bounced off surfaces so they don't need to be directly into the face. They are also light enough to sit atop a handheld cam and when used with a 12" articulating arm in the hotshoe will get the output higher than eye level and directed slightly downwards.

Video lights have become the must have accessory for stills photographers in the past year or so, promoted by many self-proclaimed "high end" photographers who have seen their bookings plummet and therefore turned to the seminar and training disc circuit to milk the newbies. I'm not a huge fan myself as I think the results look over-elaborate and over- constructed for weddings (as opposed to fashion and glamour). I don't like the circus that can ensue when using assistants / 2nds either, but thats more a photographer marketing ruse than bringing much real benefit to the clients.

Pete
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Old June 29th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #86
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

I just came back from a wedding and have another one tomorrow, my footage is importing as I type, I made a bold move and left my xh-a1 at home today and filmed the ceremony with the sony cx camera's only and the rest of the day a combination of my cx730 and my dslr.

For those that are used to work in this way this might not seem a big deal but for me it was, leaving my trusty xh-a1 at home in the bag made me very nervous yesterday but I wanted to know how the workflow would be with those small cams.

It took getting used to the lcd screen to do spotfocus and the small wheel to ride the exposure but after a half hour I got more and more accustomed to it and the spotfocus feature actually works really well and also the iris wheel. Only if I want to go to auto exposure for a while but the button that you have to press is not that responsive, sometimes nothing happened, sometimes I got that selection menu to assign focus etc, so pressing that button needs exactly the right amount of pressure to function right, can be a bit frustrating at times but probable I will get the feel for that after using it more.

it was not easy handholding the camera and adjusting the exposure or operate other functions through the lcd screen, especially when you are used to a xh-a1, but it does getting used to. I absolutely loved the light wheight and easy moving it from one to another place, we did a photshoot in a big town and I just had the cx730 attached to my belt in a small bag and the dslr and monopod with me. Soooo easy to quickly switch from dslr to the cx730, that was a revelation, never felt so light when doing run and gun.

I also saw some footage just know and it's just amazing, you have to know that I come from a xh-a1 so that's all I can compare to from experience and this small cx730 blows my mind, we went in a very dark pub to make photo's and the camera did cope extremely well, the footage just looks so ridiculous good.

Tomorrow I have to take my xh-a1 with me as I need to do interviews and I have to use my large azden setup with my wireless handmicrophone, I must get me a small sennheiser kit asap, my beachtek also arrived this morning but need some experimenting time with it before I use it in the field.

I"m getting more excited every time I use this small camera :)
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Old June 29th, 2012, 07:17 PM   #87
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

Noa, the only thing that I use in the small wheel in front is the exposure, if it's outdoor sunny and bright I meter on the grass or something gray like the road, pavements and lock my exposure. During night time, I auto expose it and let the camera decide than lock it once Im happy with the result.

Holding the camera without the grip is a little bit cumbersome, but you will get the hang of it. When I bought my CX, I also bought the grip, since then, it never leaves the camera, unless I have to mount it on a light stand or tripod. The CX alone has a great stabilization, and with the grip while walking is almost like a having a steadicam.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 04:03 AM   #88
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

I actually find that the right exposure is quite important to get good footage with the cx730, I have been doing the exposure manually the past 2 days, it's just that I have been doing that with my xh-a1 as well and it has become second nature :) The xh-a1 has beside zebra's also has a meter which gives you an indication what the camera thinks is accurate so you can adjust to that or over- or underexpose depending on the situation, like inside a house with a backlight. With the cx 730 you only have zebra's but I feel confident enough now using that only as a guide. The zebra's together with the the very good lcd give me good feedback about where I am with my exposure.

Based on the zebra's I have noticed that the cx730 get's it wrong in automode quite a lot, usually resulting in overexposure, it might not be much but it doesn't do your image much good. That's why I find the addition of the zebra's a godsend, with my xr520 you don't have that and the lcd screen is not that accurate, this has caused me to get overexposed images before eventhough the lcd screen looked all right.

About your handgrip, I definitely need something extra to hold the camera for longer periods yet stay mobile enough, so a monopod is out of the question, I do need the camera to go on and of the tripod quickly so will be looking for a small grip that does allow the tripod plate to be attached as well. Yesterday I almost dropped the camera when taking it out of the bag, it's so small it just slipped my hand so need something solid to grab on to, something really simple like one small handgrip on the side of the camera.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 06:28 AM   #89
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

Hi Noa

Just like Colin has made!! I had these when I was still shooting in the late 90's with Panny DS30's ..Just two strips of aluminium bar and two bits of pipe with cycle foam handle bar grips on them....you can tap a 1/4" hole in the bottom bar and screw in your quick release for your tripod too plus the top bar is great for mount other stuff onto!!

Here's mine back when I had the DS30's

Chris
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Old July 1st, 2012, 07:06 AM   #90
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Re: Shooting weddings with small handicams

thx for sharing this Chris, I am thinking about just one handle on the right side very close to the camera's body, I stll need to be able to fit it in a small bag and I also need to reach the zoom and record button with the same hand that holds the handle. I have some time this week to try some things out.
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