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


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Old June 21st, 2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Hey guys, I'm going to be shooting my first wedding next weekend, and I'm just a tiny bit nervous. I'm doing it on the super cheap for them so I have it on my portfolio, and they're super chill, so I'm more nervous for my own sake of being happy with it more than theirs haha. I have a couple questions to ask, but I was also wondering what your guys big tips would be. I'll have 2 t3is, an H4n, a shotgun and a lapel mic, 2 tripods, a slider, a flycam nano, 2 kit lenses, 2 50mm 1.8s, a rokinon 85mm 1.4, a Tamron 24-70 2.8, and a Canon 70-200 2.8. It's an outdoor ceremony around 5pm. My brother is assisting me, and doing some simple second shooting coverage.

Thanks,
Evan
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Old June 21st, 2012, 02:51 PM   #2
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Have you loaded Magic Lantern onto your T2i? That's great help such as Movie Restart, and audio display.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

I haven't yet, and I've been debating it, but I'm kind of wary of doing it so close to the wedding and not being familiar with it. I'm kind of leaning towards installing it right after and learning it really well for the next wedding.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 03:36 PM   #4
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Actually there is nothing to learn about using Magic Lantern. it's something add on to the camera that enhance your T2i to more like a camcorder.

So are many incidents I thought i was recording.. but then I realized I wasn't. Now ML has this big RED box with a cross line showing you that you are not recording. That's really helpful.

There was one time I forgot to turn on my RODE mic. Good that I noticed that after 2 guests interviews. With ML, you can have the audio meter display that you can monitor if you are recording, or even, what level you are recording with.

I'm sure you are aware of the 12 minutes mark. With Movie Restart, it will continue to record. Loose about half a second in between recording. I'm okay with that.

Then there's Focus Peaking, and Magic Zoom that assist better focusing.

So my advice is, go install it. besides, if you don't want it, just format the SD card and it will go back to normal.

And if you find it useful, make a donation to the ML community too. I did my part. :)
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Old June 21st, 2012, 03:36 PM   #5
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

For the ceremony I wouldn't try anything fancy like shallow dof, shoot with a wider dof, lock your camera's onto a tripod, choose your frame and let them roll. place one on the right and one on the left of the action, let your brother shoot wide at 24mm with the 24/70mm (and use that angle as safety) and you use the 70-200mm for close up but be aware that 70mm already brings you pretty close with the cropfactor so you have to rely on the wide shot from the other camera if you mess up with focus or whatever.

Audio will make all the difference and having a bulky h4 limits its possibilities, maybe the officiant is willing to put it in his pocket and then attach the lapel mic to it, don't know how the wedding tradition is but if the officiant stays close to the couple all time you can mic him so you have him and the couple to record their voices. The shotgun is of nu use, unless you can get real close with the camera. You could also try placing the h4 nearby a sound speaker.

For the rest of the day ALWAYS keep one dslr with you with the 24/70 attached permanently to it so you can use all other lenses on the second dslr, if something important happens you where not aware of you"ll be happy to grab a "wide" angle lens instead of a 85mm, it can be the difference between having or not having the shot.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taky Cheung View Post
Actually there is nothing to learn about using Magic Lantern.
I'm with Evan not to use ML just before a shoot if you never used it before, it's not like you install it and a magic wizard appears on the screen telling you whats all new, what each function will do, and how to activate and/or access it. :) That you still have to find out yourself. I at least would only use ML if I new it inside out, what it does and what the consequences are for each choice I make. Your recording a once in a lifetime event so better safe the sorry.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 03:59 PM   #7
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Get outside today and tomorrow and practice shooting people simulating some of the moves you will have to cover on Sat. Get to know your equipment and be better prepared for what to expect.

Does your mics have a windscreen, either foam of fuzzy "deadcat"? Any kind of wind is going to rumble in the mics.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

There're so many additional features provided by ML. Having ML doesn't affect the basic operation of the camera. Then, I think this 3 features audio meter display, movie restart, and the big red cross box signaling not recording is great have. Imagine this once in a lifetime event you actually didn't hit the record button, or forgot to turn on the microphone.

Oh the above 3 features I mentioned is just an On/Off setting in the ML menu. :)
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Last edited by Taky Cheung; June 21st, 2012 at 06:24 PM.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 07:45 PM   #9
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

I might try ML on a few random videos I'm making for youtube next week and see how it goes.
Jim, I have foamies for the lapel and the shotgun. Noa, sounds like some smart choices! I figure for non-ceremony I can be flying the 24-70 and have him doing tripod/slider stuff with a 50 or a kit, then we can swap for the ceremony and I can pop on the 70-200. I have to talk to them still about whether they want the whole ceremony or a more cinematic video, they've been kind of hard to get a hold of. I'm loving this info! Keep it coming guys!
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Old June 21st, 2012, 08:20 PM   #10
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Hi Evan

Since it's your first ever wedding keep it as simple as you can and don't try and get too fancy at all. The ceremony vows are critical ..there is only one chance to get them and you cannot reshoot them so pay a lot of attention to the audio too...without audio the ceremony is useless so make absoltely sure that your zoom IS actually recording and do a couple of tests before the wedding so make sure that side doesn't let you down. Your shotgun is a really poor substitute but I always keep mine on as an emergency backup.

So many newbies disregard the audio with disasterous results...Are they having readings??? You might need a second recorder if they do readings from another spot at the venue.

Now seriously, IF they have a rehearsal go to it!!!! It's a perfect opportunity to decide on camera position and also test your audio! The officiants are normally flexible so if you have just a mic on the groom and someone is reading a poem 15' to the left, ask if they could maybe stand between the couple.

Chris
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 12:40 AM   #11
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taky Cheung View Post
Imagine this once in a lifetime event you actually didn't hit the record button, or forgot to turn on the microphone.
When you record without ML you get a red dot telling you are recording and sound is recorded automatically with it, don't see the advantage with a red cross telling you are not recording. :)
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 07:08 AM   #12
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

I wouldn't ever use Magic Lantern at a wedding especially not my first. It's just too unreliable for an event that cannot be repeated. I know that Taky is an enthusiast but even he was complaining recently that the focus peaking had lead him to shoot out of focus because it was just plain wrong. I also see far too many reports of cameras locking up & requiring the battery to be removed for a hard reset. Magic Lantern is very ingenious & I take my hat off to the guys who have accomplished this amazing feat of reverse engineering but the trouble is that while there are features like zebras & peaking they are actually not very good & not at all of the standard that you would see on a proper camcorder. I cannot think of a single feature that ML offers that would improve my use of a Canon DSLR.

Canon DSLRs are so very simple to use that all you need is a loupe, a monopod or tripod & some practice. Use Quick AF to hit focus before you start recording. Don't use AWB as it's better for the colour to be consistent between shots & cameras than for it to be perfectly correct & there is some latitude for fixing it in post. The exposure meter is pretty accurate but err on the side of being a little underexposed as blown highlights at a wedding means a featureless wedding dress. Just remember that the metering is an average of the scene so make allowance if the subject is backlit or there is a lot of sky.

I don't know how experienced you are shooting video on a DSLR but following on from another thread here I would strongly suggest that you borrow/hire another 'proper' camcorder even if it's just a little handycam. You really do need a nice wide safety shot that you can cutaway to when you do a crash zoom or fluff focus or need to stop/restart recording as you hit the 4GB file limit.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Nigel- Thanks for the tips! I'd call myself relatively experienced with DSLRs, I have been doing photography and videography in full manual for a solid while now, I haven't run in to exposure issues in a few months.

Basically to sell the couple on the wedding video I tagged along to their engagement shoot (the photographer is a friend of mine) to shoot an engagement video for them. It definitely has some issues, I didn't have my flycam or my new tripod head yet, so there's a lot of technical imperfections, but thankfully she loved it and hired me haha.

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Old June 22nd, 2012, 11:52 AM   #14
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

I think you guys are right. For someone new to DSLR or never done weddings before, it's best not to do with ML. For me, I operate three T3i every weekend. It happened to me my second shooter many times that I look at the LCD screen recording till I realize I didn't hit the record button. Then another issue with forgetting to turn on the microphone not knowing because there is lack of audio display. And recording long catholic wedding the recording stopped at the 12 min mark. These are the things I found ML help tremendously.

Regarding Focus Peaking. I would say, it works 90% of the time. I stop using it and use Magic Zoom instead to assist manual focusing.

Evan, since your wedding is next weekend, like other suggested, practice more. And if you decided not to install ML, just make sure your microphone is on, stop and restart recording every few minutes. Check the RED dot on the top right to ensure you are recording. AND... check the remaining time left in the SD card. If you need to replace SD card and miss the "you might kiss the bride" moment, even ML won't help :)

Good luck and let us know how it goes at the wedding.

I have several of my wedding exported in Flash posted online. If you are interested to see how I put the menu and navigations, email me and I'll send you the link and password to see the entire wedding DVD online.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 03:53 PM   #15
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Re: Shooting my first wedding next weekend

Hey, ordering another quick release plate for my 701hdv so I can switch between the flycam and tripod easy, any other stuff I might not think of I should order?
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