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

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Old September 12th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3
To build a videography studio (equipment)


I am going to start wedding videography business. I am photographer and getting more into video now.

In order to start doing wedding I need some basic equipment, and I need your advice about it. What brand/model do you suggest? I know you will ask about my budget. I don't know - I want to spent as less as possible, but equipment bust be good. I can't buy the most expensive (because sky is the limit), but I want the best for the money to produce excellent quality. It is better to buy a good tripod from the start then to buy something mediocre and then to realize how bad it is and to buy good one and spend more money overall. For example with camera: what is better - GL2 or used XL1s? They are about at the same price now.

1. camera
2. tripod
3. on camera lighting
4. wireless mic
5. steadycam
6. extra lighting on stands
7. editing software
6. second camera
8. interview mic.
9. some people use iRiver. what for?
10. Please, feel free to add something if I did not list it here.

I want good equipment to get excellent quality video. Please, advice equipment you would buy for yourself.


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Old September 12th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #2
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Location: Bloomington, IL
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I would suggest going and working for some videographers for several weddings. You'll gain a knowledge of what you like and don't like, without the initial investment cost. You'll also learn some about the craft as it can be different than photography in many ways, depending on how it's produced.

The equipment also depends on the budget your looking to create for. Sounds like you want have your video services as a add-on to your photography, and thus make it as simple as possible. Moving pictures with sound right? Well, you can go cheap for that and you won't regret it because your reaching your specific audience who's just looking for video as an add-on rather than a full production.

So my question is what level of production work are you looking at getting into? That will determine your needs.

Ben Lynn
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Old September 12th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3
wedding videography equipment

I worked with few of videographers on weddings. They all use different equipment and technics. I am going to keep photography as the main service, but videography is not just simple add on, I am going to study and work on it to produce great videos. Yes, I want to start with small budget to buy only basic necessery things, which have excellent reliability and reputation, so I will not regret later that I bought them and If I need something very fancy later, will be able just to add it to existing system.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 04:48 PM   #4
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Get two cameras.. Get two cameras that are solid performers. Saves your equipment headaches later. I personally use Sony PD-170's and PD-150's.. I like them because I have always used them and they have excellent low-light abilities and with the onboard XLR ports and DVCAM format they are overall a good camera. I have a DSR-400 and DSR-250 but I don't use those for weddings.. So whatever fits your budget..

Now.. Make plenty of time to learn the in's and out's of the camera and not just read the manual. Learn and practive adjusting exposure, focus, etc..etc.on the fly know what your camera limitations are and what works best for them and not.

Wireless Mic's I use the Sennheiser 112 G2's and the standard shotgun as a second source on the PD-150 and a AT825 for the 170 as a second source.

I have 3 RT.X100 editing suites with Premiere Pro 1.5 and use them daily. I can't say I have ever had a serious crash or data loss with them. Avid has some nice products but they may be a little outta budget. I heard the Canopus Edius is a good product as well..

For tripods I use 2 of the MB 501 Heads and 525MVB sticks, they work well and have the 75mm bowl on them. As well as the spreader works out well also..

Steadicam.. wait awhile...

Lighting.. Sony camera mounted light and Frezzi with dimmer and softbox camera mounted.. No stands needed.. I never light ceremonies and only use them as a last resort for those real dark receptions.

Irivers - More mic sources, get a couple with some Giant Squid lav's drop one on the podium if people will be doing readings, and maybe another by the piano or singers.. Just gives you more quality sources of audio in POST.

So with all that jargon, blah blah blah.. Equipment plays a role, but overall camera work and editing skills is what will set you apart in my opinion. I've seen some awesome stuff on older cameras. So hone them skillz to pay the billz..
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Old September 12th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3
Thank you Pat. Since I am going to start to see how it all works at first. I want to buy some used camera:
1 if I don't like it I can resell it without loosing a lot.
2. I can buy used camera higher level then brand new. this way i can explore more features and possibilities.

what would you suggest? since it is used, it should bew reliable one. something like Sony VX2000 / Canon GL1 / Canon XL1s or some Panasonic? Or they all are good, it is just matter of personal preference? (like Nikon or Canon).

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Old September 12th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #6
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Again, this is my own personal preference with cameras.. I would highly suggest looking at some yourself and getting a feel for them.. You can pickup a used PD-150 and PD-170 for around $2500 typically on E-Bay my first 150 and 170 were used and they have been rock solid since.. I just picked up another 170 for $2500 with tripod, head, tripod case, 2 batteries, petrol camera case, wide lens.. So keep looking..

I have never used the VX series, always been in the PD150s and DSR-250's and up..

I would just encourage you to talk to maybe some friends with these cameras or check out local high end camera shops that sell video cameras.. Then make the decision.. Trying to get a camera nailed in the forums can be a lengthy process as everyone has pro's and con's for all the different models..

Just look for cameras with low hours, pd150s and 170s have a menu screen that show all the hours on the camera and different parts broken out in the hours menu.. So be sure to check that out..
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Old September 12th, 2005, 10:53 PM   #7
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Pat has some good advice.

2 cameras a must, Most people like SOny PD170 or vx2100 for low light capability, I own a DVX for other reasons. Figure $2k to $3k each (less 15% for used)

XLR/mini adapters if you buy 2100's

1 good fluid tripod with 503 head ($500+), one cheaper one ($100) for locked-down cam

2 good UHF wireless mic sets (Senn G2 or you will wish you did) $500 each

Shotgun Mic ($300) & cable

dimmable on-cam light Bescor makes a decent one cheap ($400) or you can go with SOny10/20 if that suits you ($100? + more batteries)

monopod ($100) with Bogen 501 head ($125) to allow quick change to tripod

iRiver and a mic for it will be handy and save your butt sometimes.($200)

Lotsa batteries

Cleaner Tape, lens cleaner kit, antacids.
You are either growing or dying.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 06:58 AM   #8
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My 2 cents.

As Bob suggested you will absolutely need to buy a microphone. The microphone that comes with that PD-170 is good for nothing more than playing fetch with your dog. Sony's supplier for that microphone must be Fisher Price.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 10:17 AM   #9
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I have had actually good results with our sony shotguns.. Although I would never want to use them for ambient sounds of say a reception, since they will overload rather quickly. However for ENG they work pretty darn good.. I have a couple ME66's as well so if you get a couple mics and use them you'll know what to use and when use to what when.. :)
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