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

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Old November 17th, 2012, 02:10 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Rio de Janeiro
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Wedding long form with DSLR

Although I do offer a short form edit, I do mostly long form (full ceremony and one hour edit of the reception)

Currently I lug both camcorders and DSLRs with me. DSLRs for the bride prep decoration etc, camcorders for the ceremony and party.

Two cameras (manned) is the minimum I shoot with and usually a third fixed during the ceremony.

I want to move fully over to DSLRs but know this is going to be a challenge delivering a long form edit compared to using the camcorders.

Does anyone deliver long-form using just DSLRs? I hope to buy a C100 when they're available which should ease some of the caveats of DSLR shooting.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 02:19 AM   #2
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
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Re: Wedding long form with DSLR

We have done long form edits mostly with DSLRs but for the set pieces of a wedding (ceremony & speeches) we will also usually have a Canon XF105 locked off on a wide shot. To be honest we mostly use it as an audio recorder plugging the wireless mics into the XLRs & we could produce an edit that didn't contain any camcorder footage. It's always nice to know that there is a safety shot although a GoPro or two would serve the same function.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 02:31 AM   #3
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Re: Wedding long form with DSLR

Hi Nigel, yep, during the ceremony if there is a place to put a camera on a tripod then we do it, saved my backside more than once!

The ceremony I think wont be too dificult to do DSLR only with back up camcorder. It's the receptions I am worried about.

Where I live (Rio) weddings are almost always at night, the receptions are different to UK ones, no speeches and after the first dance its basically like a nightclub for the next 5 hours.

As an experiment I used my 5d Mk3 with the new Rode Video mic (the stubby one) for the party. I basically left the ISO at about 5000, turned on my light just enough to illuminate faces near to me and rode the iris on my 24-105. Staying at f/4 most of the time. Using the iris at f/4 most stuff stayed in focus which I was pleased about. Once the DJ pumped up the volume nearly all of my sound was distorted though, defo need 3rd party sound recording!
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Old November 17th, 2012, 01:32 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Re: Wedding long form with DSLR

Hey Dan,

I normally shoot on DSLR alone; no camcorder. Current setup is four DSLRs for ceremony, three for speeches, two during most of the rest of the day. Two person team, sometimes three. Out of this, we're producing continuous coverage of ceremony and formal parts of reception, plus more highlight style coverage of the rest of the day.

The main sorts of challenges are just battery life and recording time and card space, and thinking about what lenses to use where and when. So if you wanted to cover a two hour Indian ceremony with Mk2s, you'd have to be conscious of pressing record every ten minutes and have another camera rolling while you're fiddling. Batteries last 60-90 min, so with four cameras shooting for hours, you may be quickly accumulating a pile of them. I take around 20 batteries to full-day weddings, and have six chargers going during the reception. About 14 32gb cards as well, but usually only end up with about 200-250 gb including audio from four recorders. Extra cards necessary so that you can swap out before any of the important parts and deal with unexpected rituals that involve filming for ages. I wonder if the C100 will let you swap cards while the camera is rolling.

Some Serbian people in Sydney expect more like 6-8 hour DVDs. For that sort of thing, DSLRs are probably the wrong choice. But your long form sounds doable on DSLRs, as long as you've got the battery and card situation sorted. Overheating may be a problem depending on how long you're rolling, but if you swap out the battery when your screen suddenly freezes, that usually fixes it... I've seldom had issues with Mk2 and Mk3 though.

One thing that's only recently coming home to me (I'm slow) is that it's hard to shoot highlight style and doc style at the same time. If you're shooting any sort of ritual or stage show, then you want your cameras to be pretty static for easy watching. But this means you're not running around getting tonnes of interesting angles and camera movements and fiddling with gimicky grip gear and holding shots for mere seconds. If you want the most creative highlights you can get, you really need a person dedicated to that role who's not worried about also getting safe, continuous coverage.

That's just my thinking anyway, and what do I know? Not very much. Your mileage will definitely vary.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; November 18th, 2012 at 01:31 PM.
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