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


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Old January 7th, 2013, 01:20 PM   #16
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Peter, the X900 is the successor to the TM900 so I would expect it to be the same or better performance in low light. There have been one or two reports of "worse" but I suspect that may be caused by user error.

I have several TM900's. They easily compete with the 5DII until the conditions are very dark at which point you are pretty much stuffed anyway ..... you're not going to put up a C300 unattended or use a bank of video lights in a church :- )

The wide end of the TM900 is about the same as 35mm on full frame dSLR's. The X900 is a little widerYou can add wide angle convertors and these are quite cheap if no-name from ebay but you don't really need them if you have multi-camera coverage since you can always cut to alternative views anyway. Plus the use of brackets / magic arms / suckers on windows etc enable you to get the units into positions that are impossible for their larger tripod-dependent brethren - meaning that the extra distance you can put between the cam and the subject compensates for the not so wide maximum wide angle ..... if you see what I mean :- )

Its that time of year when product updates come around and there may be a revision to the X900. That may be why they are so cheap now. I haven't done a comparison in ages but you can compare side by side using a table on Panny's site. There were reasons why I didn't go for the next model down from the 900 but I can't remember what they were.

I have the type with the built in 32gb flash drive but I would just buy the SD card version in future. I only ever use 32gb class 10 Sandisks and I can download these very quickly using USB3 rather than faffing around with USB2 direct from the cams.

Sony and Canon have similar offerings all be it more expensive in Canons case. However the pannys have features that make them very desirable for unattended lockdown at weddings 1) the autofocus is very effective and intelligent 2) the backlight compensation feature means you can fire and forget as they will compensate continuously on the fly for changes in backlight to couples standing in front of sunny windows. Dunno if the Sony and Canon are likewise.

Of course the small size means you can carry several on a belt pouch etc making speed of placement and breakdown attractive. But we are venturing into the "small handicams for weddings" thread territory:

Shooting weddings with small handicams

One other factor I meant to mention for the OP is that once you start adding multiple cams you must have some regard for how you are going to deal with all that data. Typically I have 3 x TM900 tracks all at 1920 x 1080 50p, several 5DII clips at 1920 x 1080 25p, multiple audio device WAV tracks, and a GoPro track.

My main desktop can play all that back in Vegas Pro at a high quality setting without the need to transcode (and in that process make the files much larger). But using the new GoPro Protune setting kills it and I do have to transcode those files to AVI in Cineform before they are usable for a mid-edit playback.

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Old January 7th, 2013, 01:28 PM   #17
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Thanks Pete - you've convinced me to pick one of those up - it'll be a good replacement for my Sony A1E which was my 'little' camera of choice for tight spots which has now bitten the dust.

I'm pretty much used to mixed formats in my CS5.5 timelines - 25i footage from my Ageing Z1 (soon to be replaced with the new EA-50) and Fx1 cameras, 25p from my 5D and GoPro - haven't tried protune yet though! Also Wav files from my Zoom and .wma files from my Olympus audio recorders!

Currently finding the X900 for about 600 with the TM900 still going for about 850

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Old January 7th, 2013, 04:08 PM   #18
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Yes that sounds about right for the X900 card only version.

The cards I'm using are these 32gb Sandisks:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004Q3C98S/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&psc=1&s=computers
At little more than 20 each you can't go wrong and at class 10 they ought to be future proof up to a point.

They also work with the GoPro 2 - but I think you need micro cards for the GoPro3.

That price for the TM900 is probably for the one that has an internal flash drive as well as an SD card slot. They are well respected and in demand so the 2nd hand prices are not low.

Pete

p.s. you probably know this but for USB3 use you need an expansion board for a desktop motherboard or an expansion card for a laptop, plus suitable cables, plus USB3 external drives and a USB3 reader. But its so quick its bliss. I do all my editing direct on external USB3 drives now.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 04:23 PM   #19
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Already there Pete - Invested in a new editing desktop with USB 3.0 a few months ago and have just ordered a fast laptop to use when my editing PC is busy - also with USB 3.0 - I have duplicates of my projects on external hard drives as well

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Old January 8th, 2013, 03:23 AM   #20
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

The X900 replacement has been announced:

Panasonic X920 flagship camcorder adds Wi-Fi and triple BSI sensors - News - Trusted Reviews

Not sure whether the wifi capability would include operating the cam via a smartphone - that would be good.

Pete

p.s. it does include wifi smartphone control:

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/4900...s-and-hands-on

Next challenge will be how to control several cams at the same time :- )
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Old January 8th, 2013, 08:19 AM   #21
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Hey Pete,
Could you elaborate or list the clamps that you use? Perhaps ones to stay away from, too?
I really like the way you find discrete placements.
Thanks for posting all the pictures to illustrate your methods.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 11:14 AM   #22
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

I will be putting details on my website when I get the time but meanwhile:

My default supports are lightstands rather than tripods. This is because they are far more discreet as single column rather than 3 leg support. So they do not dominate compositions from other angles plus they a lot easier for moving guests to get around than tripods in aisles are. Also they can get your cams a lot higher than even the tallest tripod so work great when the shooting position is behind guests who may be standing for some of the time.

I use three Cheetah C12 Air lightstands. These are man enough to take a dSLR with lots of extras so easily cope with smaller cams. The Air feature helps you lower the stand quickly without shocks to the cams. I have a tripod sling on each so that they can be carried to and from together easily. They all have the auto-ollapsing feet so are quick to reposition and that can be done with one hand whilst your other hand is holding / doing something else such as holding a dSLR for stills shooting.

https://www.cheetahstand.com/Cheetah...r-p/c12air.htm

Its tempting to put a simple ball socket on top but these are far from ideal for quick and accurate framing or recomposing so I now have Manfrotto 701 pan and tilt heads on each lightstand:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Manfrotto-701HDV-Professional-Fluid-Video/dp/B001D2LJ3Q
You can drill these heads and arms to put in your own 1/4 x 20 screws if you wish to attach equipment such as audio recorders. They use the standard sliding plate which is interchangeable with other Manfrotto heads such as the larger 503, and the 577 adapter:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/MANFROTTO-577-ADAPTER-SLIDING-PLATE/dp/B00009XV3M
So it makes sense to have plates on each cam by default and so to save setting up time.

The Cheetah C12 / 701 combo will also take a cage such as the P&C GB02 or a shoulder rig such as the PR-1 if necessary (use of Manfrotto 577 quick release adapters or the Calumet cheaper equivalent recommended):

GearBox GB-2 - Video Accessory Cage w/ 15mm Rod Adapter by PNC | Photography and Cinema - Store

PR-1 Prime Video Shoulder Rig Kit by PNC | Photography and Cinema - Store

I also have 3 of the smaller Cheetah C8 stands and these work on the same quick fold principle as the C12. They are just about man enough to hold the X900 type cams; they are great for GoPros audio recorders and LED lights.

If stands are not practical or desirable its over to various clamps.

By far the most used are the magic arm ebay knockoffs. They come in 7 and 11 versions. 7 is rather short for cams but is great for audio devices. You also have a choice of one end terminating in either a hotshoe adapter or a clamp of some description.

11" Adjustable Friction Power Articulating Magic Arm | eBay

New Articulating Magic Friction Arm Large Super Clamp Large Crab Pliers Clip | eBay

These make placing audio recorders securely in flower arrangements / on lecterns etc very quick and easy.

Hama does a more discreet version but it is not nearly as grippy and is only really suitable for things like the Zoom H1 when used in its clamp rather than in its tripod mode:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-Clamp-Table-Tripod-opening/dp/B00006JAXB
For extra strength or for wider mouth opening I have several large Manfrotto superclamps:

Super Clamps - Clamps - Photo | Manfrotto

These have several screw and socket options for attaching just about anything. Two can be fastened together if necessary.

These Manfrotto heavy duty flexible arms attach to superclamps and work great for getting around corners etc:

Manfrotto 237HD (237) Heavy Duty Flexible Arm with hexagon stud to fit Super Clamp 035 (520mm)

These Delkin Fat Gecko Dual Mount units work great on windows and other flat surfaces. Ideal when there is a window in front of the couple but you cannot get in front of them at one side. Just use one on a window offset from centre so as the celebrant does not block the view.

Fat Gecko Dual Mount - Delkin Devices

These Delkin Gecko clamps can be better than superclamps. They do need a ball socket on them though to assist composing or use the extension kit.

Fat Gecko Vise Mount - Delkin Devices

Any ball heads need to be small yet strong. These ones work great:

FLM CB18 Ball Head - Ball Socket

Lesser ones may sag under weight.

For audio recorder placement during the speeches and sometimes at other points as well I use a combination of the above ball head attached with this screw:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kaavie-Adapter-Trigger-Microphone-Digital/dp/B004KIVTQ2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1357664306&sr=8-6
slotted into standard flashgun feet:

Univeral Flash Stand Bracket Foot F Flashgun Speedlight | eBay

Best to get the feet with the longer fronts as above for extra stability the ones that come with Canon and Nikon have short front feet so equipment may topple forwards. They look very neat on tables and are not easily knocked off axis by guests :- ) Look for ones with metal tripod sockets underneath as well so ou have even more options. Its this arrangement that I used for the small cam featured in a photo in my earlier post the one that is sitting on a stone shelf above a grooomsmans head.

Pete
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Old January 8th, 2013, 11:36 AM   #23
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Outstanding detail, Pete. Thanks for taking the time!
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Old January 10th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #24
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

What do people think about using a steady cam as one of the cameras for a wedding?
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Old January 10th, 2013, 05:19 PM   #25
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

If the operator has the strength to hold it still for an hour, it's proabably only a little worse than shoulder mount. I personally put everything on sticks during ceremony.

If you can dedicate a camera to steadicam, and use it for entry, exit, and cutaways, rather than for one one of the main coverage cams during, then that's not a bad option. Saves on a lot of fiddling.
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Old March 26th, 2014, 12:30 PM   #26
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
I had a GoPro on a lightstand immediately left of the camera position, a clamped cam on the rails behind the vicar, a locked off cam on a lightstand at the rear, and the main cam with me for this:
Thanks Pete for all the links you have supplied.
With you advice I have just ordered a Manfrotto Super Clamp (035) and Manfrotto 237HD Heavy Duty Flex Arm for my GoPro3+

Thank you again.
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Old March 26th, 2014, 01:46 PM   #27
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Instead of light stands, have you considered microphone stands? Instead of legs, they use round base plates. Some can get to 8 feet. Smaller footprint and most base plates have a little weight. If you're worried, add a sand bag or slip a 5 - 25 pound weight over it (the kind that goes onto a barbell, that has a hole in the center).

For using a steadicam style device at a wedding, most folks who do it seem to only use it at certain points. Watching the Joe Simon BTS, or StillMotion, they might use it to trail the processional or recessional, but don't seem to use it during the ceremony proper. I've thought about it as a *someday* idea, but would probably designate a camera that stays on the Steadicam/Glidecam all the time.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 05:01 AM   #28
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

Previously I've just operated on a DSLR on tripod in one front corner, with an unmanned autofocus handicam in the opposite corner.

Recently however, I've decided to free myself up. I realised that in 90% of my wedding I could have moved around if I needed to.

So now, I'm doubling up and having autofocus in both front corners, and my DSLR is on monopod with an 85mm lens. I take this and go where I wish to get the best 'beauty shots'.

For the record - my DSLR beauty shots are mostly what my highlights trailer is made up of. The handicam footage is fine for the final DVD however mixed in with my DSLR footage.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 05:15 AM   #29
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
For the record - my DSLR beauty shots are mostly what my highlights trailer is made up of. The handicam footage is fine for the final DVD however mixed in with my DSLR footage.
The danger in doing this is that your customer (and potential customer) is expecting the entire DVD to be the same quality as the highlights, especially if they see the highlights in advance of the full DVD.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 05:25 AM   #30
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Re: Wedding Video Camera Placements and Number of Cameras

During the ceremony and speeches, my handicams make up about 20/30% of the finished edit. The rest of the day is all DSLR.

I think at those parts of the day, the clients are content to watch a difference in quality.

I don't believe that documentary style and cinematic are totally separate - I think they have their place.

My clients don't expect the mass to be cinematic, and they couldn't give two hoots about how that part of the dvd looks, as long as they can see what is happening.
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