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


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Old September 14th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #1
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Camera 2 for weddings

Howdy folks, I'm hoping to draw on the knowledge of all the wedding videographers here.

I shoot weddings using a Sony Z5 as a main camera, a VX2100 as a camera 2, and a GoPro as a camera 3 (nice wide shot from the back)

My VX2100 is on the way out; it would cost about 500 to have a look at and fix, and it's just not worth it.

So I'm looking for another Camera 2 to take it's place. The main thing I'm looking for is that if I were ever to fall over and break my main camera, I could just pick up this camera 2 and continue on shooting for the day (luckily it hasn't happened yet!) My VX2100 actually wouldn't actually be suitable for this (no XLR inputs, image quality isn't as good).

My first thought was a Sony Z1 (good picture quality, HDV if needed, XLR inputs, etc.) Would this suit do ye think? Only thing is, even 2nd hand ones still seem kind of expensive considering how old they are. Anyone have any ideas?

You're help is much appreciated!
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Old September 14th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #2
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Check out the handycams CX730 is a little beauty
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Old September 14th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #3
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

I like the idea of the Z1. Here's why. You shot the job, you've got another the next day. You charge all the batteries, etc go to the next job and BAM! The Z5 died for some reason. With the Z1 you still have a primary camera that is almost the same. You've got pretty much the same feel, 2 XLR inputs, yeah it's not quite as good in low light and has a shorter lense throw but still...
Here's another scenario. You're shooting after the ceremony at the party. All of a sudden, BAM! The Z5 stops working. It shouldn't take but a couple of minutes to switch over to the Z1 and finish the job. Don't laugh. It's happened. If it hasn't happened to you yet, hang on, at sometime it will. It happened to me with my PD170 early on when I first got it. During the formal photo session, I was shooting some stuff and my LCD went goofy. From the look of it I knew one of the chips in the camera all but died. I knew from reading something here at DVi that there was a silent recall on the camera so I imediately switched to my trusty old PD150 and finished the job. No worries!
I prefer to have similar cameras as A, B and C cams...but that's just me.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Thanks for the replies Colin and Dom.

Colin, a handycam like that was my first thought, but I'd be afraid of my Z5 dying and then having to rely on it as my main cam for the rest of the day. That's whats important to me, making sure it's a good reserve main camera as well as a good camera 2.

Don, that's exactly why I want a camera that is similar to my Z5, without splashing out on another Z5. I'm all about back-up (shooting onto both tape and card, 3 clear audio sources and an okay-ish fourth one etc.) My biggest fear is that my Z5 dies in the middle of a wedding and I'm stuck with nothing but two GoPros!

Z1 still on top of the list so far it seems.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Ronan, I'm still using a Z1 for weddings and it is still going strong. I use it as my 2nd cam with a Panasonic AC160 as my first cam. The Z1 holds it's own well.
If you can get one with low hours and one that has been well looked after, grab it. For years, the Z1 was my prime cam and I think it has a great slightly soft look (which is good for weddings)..loads of people ask me how I get the cam to look so good. I would never go for a camera with a hard look, for me resolution is not the issue, it's always the picture.
I personally would look very carefully at a new second camera if it was me buying...would it be preferable to my Z1....bottom line, the Z1 will last for years more if it's well looked after. Don't go shoving tapes into the transport chassis, you have to treat it with kid gloves. Good luck!
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Old September 14th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

I migrated from the PD*** and VX*** line to the tapeless workflow of the Sony Z7. I wasn't impressed at all with the Z1 in low light situations.

I think you should look at the NX5 as your new main cam - or it's possible replacement coming next year I predict. (Or a 2nd hand NX5)
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Old September 14th, 2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronan O'Conghaile View Post
Colin, a handycam like that was my first thought, but I'd be afraid of my Z5 dying and then having to rely on it as my main cam for the rest of the day.
If you are doing weddings there is nothing wrong with that, I use 2 cx730's as main camera's for important events (like church) and dslr's for creative parts (and I shoot solo), I used to have a canon xh-a1 but the Sony's outperform the xh-a1, I can easily do all important parts throughout a weddingday with those small handicam's. They have excellent autofocus and stabilisation.
I also use a beachtek to get xlr connection if needed and all my audio is external anyway, using zoom h1, h4 and a yamaha c24. I have just one backpack now that carries 5 camera's (2dslr's, 2 cx730's and 1xr520) where that used to be 2 camera's (my xh-a1 and the xr520).I might get a sony nx70 as well but for now my current combo does very well.
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Old September 15th, 2012, 01:52 AM   #8
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Knight View Post
I migrated from the PD*** and VX*** line to the tapeless workflow of the Sony Z7. I wasn't impressed at all with the Z1 in low light situations.

I think you should look at the NX5 as your new main cam - or it's possible replacement coming next year I predict. (Or a 2nd hand NX5)
Can't see myself dropping a few grand on a new main camera; was hoping to get something cheaper and have that as camera 2.
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Old September 15th, 2012, 01:59 AM   #9
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
If you are doing weddings there is nothing wrong with that, I use 2 cx730's as main camera's for important events (like church) and dslr's for creative parts (and I shoot solo), I used to have a canon xh-a1 but the Sony's outperform the xh-a1, I can easily do all important parts throughout a weddingday with those small handicam's. They have excellent autofocus and stabilisation.
I also use a beachtek to get xlr connection if needed and all my audio is external anyway, using zoom h1, h4 and a yamaha c24. I have just one backpack now that carries 5 camera's (2dslr's, 2 cx730's and 1xr520) where that used to be 2 camera's (my xh-a1 and the xr520).I might get a sony nx70 as well but for now my current combo does very well.
I had a brief look in the "handycams for weddings" thread so I was aware that some people used them.

Two things pop into my head straight away, do you not get qeustions about the camera you use when your there on the day? As in, people saying "sure I have a handycam, I could have done this". I'd think the bride and groom would assume someone would be along with a professional or semi-professional camera, and not a handycam (I'm aware of how well they can perform, but I have a feeling the general pubic would think you're an amateur)

Also, how well do they perform handheld? Great thing about the Z5 and other cameras of that size is that it can easily be braced against your shoulder and cheek, creating four points of contact when you count your hands. This give me a very steady image when going around handheld. I go handheld a lot as well as it gives me more freedom of creativity and speed when getting shots. Only times I really use a tripod are the ceremony and the speeches.
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Old September 15th, 2012, 05:20 AM   #10
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Ronan.
A couple of my weddings with the TM900.
I wouldnt give a second thought to what people may think about the equipment you are using. If that were the case, what are clients going to think when people turn up with the box, that is, the Black Magic camera!!!!!!!!!!!????????????
BTW. Most of the top end handycams will give you much higher IQ than a Z1
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Old September 15th, 2012, 12:21 PM   #11
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

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Originally Posted by Ronan O'Conghaile View Post
Also, how well do they perform handheld? Great thing about the Z5 and other cameras of that size is that it can easily be braced against your shoulder and cheek, creating four points of contact when you count your hands. This give me a very steady image when going around handheld.
if you"d buy the sony cx760, the stabilization will be better then your z5 when doing handheld, it's only not a formfactor that's comfortable to hold, I have a xh-a1 and like you said, brace it against you and you have got much controll over any movement you make, with the small handicams there's not much to hold on to but the stabilisation on the new Sony's is remarkable to say the least. Just look at this comparison I made with my xh-a1 which I considered having very good OIS, these shots where both handheld with the small sony just holding in front of me, there's also a shot from a horse fair where I just held in in my hands (I noticed afterwards I held the camera not exactly horizontal, therefore I now enabled these guides in my viewfinder so I know I"m shooting straight next time :) http://youtu.be/Sn9WmN8nBmo

Therefore I got myself a cheap shouldermount to place the small sony on and it works much better to keep it steady and paired with a beachtek (rig - YouTube) I can brace it against my shoulder and cheek as well when I need to do handheld and it works great.

Quote:
do you not get qeustions about the camera you use when your there on the day?
No, the first time I used that small handicam I felt a bit silly, not when it was on a tripod but when I needed to handhold it when they where doing the vows, I felt like everyone was staring at me in church. That's why I got that shouldermount, hoodloupe and beachtek and it makes all the difference to me, not only because I have a better setup when doing handheld work and can use xlr input if needed but because it had more mass. It feels more like holding a dslr with a bigger lens and I feel a lot less "naked". :) and still it's very small and light.

After doing a few weddings with the sony cx730's only (and a dslr for creative work) and leaving my xh-a1 at home, and after seeing what those small things can do, I don't have any doubt anymore and I don't care what people think, I only care what my demo's look like on my website and what result the couple gets when they get their dvd.

On the other hand, I would never go to a corporate shoot with a small handicam (I think it would be very difficult to explain that it performs good enough for their purposes) but for weddings, I see now that it's perfectly usable with, like Colin states, great results. I think Colin's referal to the BMC is a good example, that looks even more silly then a handicam but just look at how it performs, would you leave it at home just because people might think your holding something that looks like a alarm clock?
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Old October 5th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #12
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

Thanks for all your help folks. I sourced and bought a second hand Z1 for a pretty good price. It was used by a professional so it's in pretty good shape.

Thanks again for the help! This forum/site delivers as per usual!
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Old October 6th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #13
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Re: Camera 2 for weddings

how do you much the colours Ronan?

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