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


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Old September 12th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #1
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Need some camera suggestions for weddings.

Hi,

I am looking at buying some new cameras for my wedding business. I would like some suggestions. I would like to use the Panasonic AG-DVX100a but I am not sure how the focus-low light capabilities are. I am not a fan of the xl1s for weddings because of focus issues. Or should I go the HD route yet, and if so which cameras.


Thank you!
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Old September 12th, 2005, 09:31 AM   #2
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My advice is that you need to find the camera that is right for you.

On this board (and others) your going to get different people giving you different answers on what to get. The Panasonic 100a VS. Canon XL2 debate is still ongoing with no end in site (they are both excellent cameras in my opinion).

Many will say to go the HD route, and many will say it's best to wait awhile - since the HD market is still up in the air - I myself thought it was best to wait a few more years to see what happens - but again, what's best for me might not be best for you.

I use the Canon XL-2 myself, as it had all the options and features that I wanted - but that doesn't mean that it's the best camera for you. I love the XL-2, even though some people pan it for being bad in low light (I think it's actually decent/good in low light myself!)

The Panasonic AG DVX-100A is an excellent camera, with good low-light quality. I have used it on numerous projects and always had good results.

I really don't thing you can go wrong with either of these choices.

My advice is to go to a rental house and ask them if you can play around with a few cameras. Try them out and find the one that's best for you - even if you have to spend some money on rental costs to try them out - it's better than spending 5 grand on a camera that might not fit your needs.

Hope that helps
Ryan
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Old September 12th, 2005, 09:38 AM   #3
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My Gl2

I love my Gl2, it's worked for me to get started. I use a couple of PV-GS120s as side cams. I'll probably upgrade my main camera next years, but this setup with some good sound equipment has gottten me started. I agree, find the best camera for you. Another choice is that you will need other stuff like good audio, so the analogy goes, as silly as it is, don't spend everything on one thing, because it's hard to film a wedding if you were never able to afford batteries.

Spread the wealth so to speak.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 09:47 AM   #4
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I love my DSR-PD170's and they do just excellent LOW LIGHT.. Which is perfect for the weddings we do, since they seem to always be dimly lit..

:)
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Old September 12th, 2005, 10:46 AM   #5
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Focus?

How are these cameras in auto focus mode? Xl2 and the Panasonic AG-DVX100a?

Thanks!
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Old September 12th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #6
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DVX-100a

Hello,

I own two DVX100a's that I use for wedding videography. I like them. They give you options like 60i, 30p, and 24p. They are well balanced (good for moving camera work), nice big viewfinder, large LCD screen, mechanical zoom ring, focus ring with a number scale that tells you where the lens is focused (00-99) for repeatable focus. I have used both 30p and 60i for weddings, both formats have advantages and disadvantages. Overall the DVX's have better low-light than my Canon GL2 had. This is partly due to the larger CCD chips. DVX = 1/3'' and the GL2 = 1/4''.

Don't way your decision to heavily on the DVX's ability for 60i, 30p, 24p. Before I got the cameras I thought the progressive capability would be a great asset. Now that I have the cameras... eh... I'm leaning back towards shooting just 60i. It is a more flexible format for post, and when doing weddings I believe you should have as many post production options available as possible.

The DVX also has a great audio system. 2 XLR ins, switchable between Line and Mic Level, both XLR jacks provide phantom power for shotguns, etc...

I have heard alot of good things about the Sony PD150 and PD170, but have never used them. They are said to have superb low light performance, you can really crank up the gain with relatively low noise. I'm not complaining about the DVX's performance in lower light, but if the PD150/170 provides a substantially cleaner image in dim settings, I would gladly trade my progressive capability for the cleaner low-light picture. I'm pretty sure Glen used to use DVX's and switched to Sony PD and VX models, which makes me wonder......

Good Luck!

I would second the recommendation of going and trying out some of the different cameras, and deciding which camera fits you best.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 12:06 AM   #7
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I like Opturas. Small, lightweight, excellent color, good lowlight. We run them handheld/shouldermounted for 10-12 hours; couldn't do that with something heavier.

And if one breaks just run to Bestbuy and get a new one. Mighty convenient.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 02:04 AM   #8
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Are you targeting high-end or budget-conscious clientele? If it's the former, I recommend taking a good look at current high-definition options, especially the Sony HDV cameras. A year or two from now it may be difficult to sell SD video to high-end clients, so might as well start planning ahead for that now. The main drawback to current HDV cameras is that they're not the best low-light cameras available, but you can work with them in most typical wedding situations once you learn how to work within their limitations.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #9
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the good replies!!
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Old September 18th, 2005, 06:02 PM   #10
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"How are these cameras in auto focus mode? Xl2 and the Panasonic AG-DVX100a?"

Auto focus of all the cameras.... the DVX wins hands down, blindingly fast, except when shooting in progressive which is about half the rate. Back focus issues n zoom in sometimes, but the camera allows for manual overide of all the auto settings so its a brilliant piece of kit in that regard.
The stabiliser sucks when u get past 75% zoom though, but with practice, u can work around this..
For those that feel that progressive scan is NOT a viable option, think about the resolution of your image, you either get 2 half fields, or one full res frame.. the choice is yours. Its not just about flm look wow factor... but the obvious benefit is resolution
Personally i prefer progressive scan 576p SD as oppsed to 1080i... but thats just me.. i liek the rawer look of SD the HD...
In the end though, youre still working within comparable resolutions, only presented in a different manner on an SD delivery format.. that is of course unless ur delivering to WMV HD which i woudl only recoomend with 720p... also, with WMV HD, its still only pumpin at about 8000kbps so compression WILL be an issue.. especially ifshooting with a z1 (as an example) editing as HD or wavelet, then delivering to WMV9 HD 720p or 1080i... on a high res true HD plasma, that compression leaves many artefacts.

i also prefer the "film" look as oppsed to the super glossy interlaced look of an edited wedding piece which is so common....

HD and HDV are the way of the future, but until the clients can actually view these without having to build a media centre pc, and acquire a HD panel, theres no point in punching through when HD is still so early (for the consumer that is...) i dont see people paying 4grand for a plasma, then to pay another grand for a media centre pc just to see their wedding in HD.. theyre has to be something else in it for them..

me, im waiting until my clients can go to the video shop and hire a HD dvd... once they can do that, THATS when im going to start offering HD... and even with that, i'll be upscaling 576p to 720p... which really isnt all that much of a difference between the 2.. ill be gettin rid of my Z1's and replacing them with 1 HVX.. but we'll wait and see..
And before anyone asks, the reason i dont use z1's for weddings is that he camera DOESNT give me the kind of imaging options the DVX can...
I was thinking of the HD100, but a good friend at JVC here told me to hang back a bit.. ;)
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Old September 19th, 2005, 08:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin Holiday
Hi,

I am looking at buying some new cameras for my wedding business. I would like some suggestions. I would like to use the Panasonic AG-DVX100a but I am not sure how the focus-low light capabilities are. I am not a fan of the xl1s for weddings because of focus issues. Or should I go the HD route yet, and if so which cameras.


Thank you!
Was one of the folks saying to hold off on going HD ... until day before yesterday. Was in a seminar Sat with DSE where he showed side-by-side images of the same scene shot in the same camera (Sony FX1) and recorded both in SD direct from the camera versus recorded in HDV and rendered into SD in post. The image quality was dramatically better for the footage recorded in HDV even though both of the final images were in standard definition. Was headed in the direction of purchase of an XL2 but now am seriously reconsidering my options. I think there's something to be said for wedding/event/corporate to shoot and edit in HDV and deliver in SD for now but with the ability to deliver in HD in the future. And for indy film or aspiring broadcast uses I'm starting to think HDV is the ONLY way to go.

Really like the look of the new Canon XLH1! (drool)
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Old September 19th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #12
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hey stevem what your seeing is the different compression algorythms.. the z1 for example, is a 4:2:2 unit, where as DV is 4:2:0 or 4.1.1 depending on where you are

MPG2 on the other hand is 4:2:0, but DV itself is an "ugly" compression method, so image abberations and colour bleed are prominant compared to HDV (even though theyre running at the same bitrate) also sharpness makes a huge difference with HDV, but comparing 1080i and 720p, 720p is far more superior to my eye, when running on a HD panel or LCD monitor

for bradcast or xfers to Digibeta, HDV is an awesome solution, and has saved me countless thousands in camera gear, but its not perfect either..

Me, im just waiting to work with dcvprohd before i decide which hd format ill be jumping to
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Old September 20th, 2005, 12:12 AM   #13
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Well first of all you don't need a $4000 dollar plasma television to view high definition content. All this is is an urban legend. The fact is that many inexpensive cathode ray tube televisions are perfectly capable of displaying high definition images. When DVD was first introduced did people think that you needed a special digital flat panel television to view DVD content ? As it turned out even though the technology was digital it was perfectly compatible with the old analog televisions.

Yes there are many people that say that high definition television is too expensive. But these are the same people that are paying 80 bucks a month on their cable bill. If they owned an HDTV they could get free HDTV signals off of the air and they would actually be saving money. Of course they wouldnt be able to get 500 channels for free. But doesn't quality count for anything?

As far as the delivery of high definition video for 250 bucks you can get yourself an AVel Link player that can play high definition content.

A lot of people will say why bother shooting in HD when the clients don't have an HDTV. There is a good chance that these newlyweds will get an HDTV the very first Christmas after they are married.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #14
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i dont think you understand my point..
noone is sayin u need a plasma.. but the viability of a plasma in this australian market is virtually non existant.. at the moment its more the people who are out to make an impression to OTHERS as oppsed to enjoying the benefits of HD
Being a supplier to producers as well as consumers, i see alot of stupid decisions being made with regard to HD, however there is still NO market penetrations here in aus.. sure afew advertise the use of Z1's etc but in the end, theyre still delivering in SD..

As for HD delivery, there is WMV9 HD, as well as the TVIX HD unit which offers HD playback off a HDD with digital audio and component video signal..
noones saying there arent any options... hell even teh Bravo D3 offers HD WMV playback from disc...
There are quite afew, however the only thing to hav any market penetration at this time is MediaCentre...
Here in aus, the clients find it hard enough to fork out 2500 for a DVD, let alone another $500 for a device to play this HD footage on...

Noone dissing any technology, but there has to be a line which is SEEN whereby the MARKET value of the product is worthwhile, the workload is streamlined, AND there is i fact a market for this... no point in offering something at a premium price when the clients arent even educated on it..
With weddings, NO CLIENT wants to take a risk, and in their perspective, this would be a risk until it becomes the "norm" as its so new right now...
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Old September 20th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #15
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At the WEVA Expo in Las Vegas last month, we heard from at least two presenters who are making good money selling HDV-based wedding videos to high end clients for a premium price. And we keep hearing from people who swear that HDV footage encoded to standard SD DVDs looks better than the DVDs they've been able to create from their DV cameras. And no one disputes that HDV displayed on HDTVs is clearly higher resolution than footage from similarly-priced SD cameras, so obviously this is an advantage for any customer who might ever view their wedding video on an HDTV. As far as WMV compression is concerned, a while back I encoded some Sony HDV footage to WMV 1080p resolution and posted it on the internet, where it was picked up by someone who said it looked great on his 14 foot home theater projection system.

So what we have here is an option to buy an affordable video camera which can deliver impressive output at both SD and HD resolutions, and you can also run it in standard DV mode if you're so inclined to do so. Seems like a pretty obvious choice to me. I'm recording all my weddings now using two Sony FX1s and hope I never have to shoot anything in SD ever again. Once you've seen HDV displayed on an HDTV or projected on a wall-sized conference room screen, it's apparent that SD video is doomed, especially for something personally important like a wedding video.

By the way, Douglas Spotted Eagle is reporting that even native 720p video is proving to be inadequate for one of his pickier clients with expensive 1080p HDTV displays, so he's convinced that 1080i recording is a preferable solution.
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