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


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Old February 23rd, 2013, 03:53 AM   #46
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Well, I can tell from experience that if I put a f2.8 lens on my 550d and use the standard profiles and set it at 1600 iso my cx730 outperforms my dslr in low light
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Again, my cx730 can be placed side by side with my 550d when it gets dark, it even is close to a f1.4 lens on my 550d and using 1600 iso......
Noa, I can agree that the 550D is not great. Had one for a while and sold it along with the 60D and 7D. I only kept the 5D2 bodies and then eventually replaced them with 5D3. Now, if you put your camcorder next to the 5D3 I guarantee a whole new story. I can use the 5D3 quite happily at ISO6400 and beyond.

Also, I'd like to bet the camcorder you are using is applying massive NR, which the 550D isn't, but it can be added in post. With the 550D I topped out at about ISO800. After that it was too noisy for me.

The result is, I don't recommend the 550D for weddings, though some people use them quite happily. Coupled with magic lantern and a grip it worked quite well for an unattended camera for a while but I got tired of the not-so-sharp pictures coming from it, even with primes.

The 60D's only good point is the swivel screen. The white balance adjustment is buried in the menus so you can't see the picture as it changes colour. Again, I topped out at about ISO800 on this one then it got too noisy without NR.

The 7D was useful, but only up to about ISO1250 then it got to the point I was wanting to de-noise it.

The 5D2 was useful up to about ISO2000 and then I had to start de-noising..

The 5D3 is unbelievable and I've used shots up to ISO6400 without NR and pushed it to 12,800 with a slight kiss from neat video and it's been totally useable! The only gotcha with the 5D3 is it does need some sharpening in post.

We live in interesting times. I can't imagine what we're going to be like in 5 years, with the likes of the 1Dc showing the way things are going....

Oh, and the Nikon D800 was sharper than any of the Canon bodies straight out of camera, but it starts to get noisy around ISO1600 and is not really usable beyond ISO2500. Sold it.

Quite simply, unless you're in love with the DSLR look and are wiling to put up with the much harder workflow I don't recommend the DSLR route to any one. Camcorders can produce fine looking footage and are much easier to use on the day (in general, subject to their on-camera controls of course).

Small handycams don't look as professional, but they are certainly more discreet. OTOH, audio is always my biggest complaint with small handy cams and I've almost never used audio from them (or DSLR) in a final production.

I should perhaps reiterate that my little Canon HF G10 doe an amazing job in low light, or at least that's what it appears to do at first sight. Once you start watching it at 1080p you see 'why' it looks so good. It's had massive NR applied which robs it of all the fine details. If those details aren't important to you then small handycams are just great!
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 02:53 PM   #47
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

SLR/SLT is harder to work with, but the results may be worth it. It's worth looking into if you're making a big gear change anyway and have some prior SLR experience. It's a tool that can be handy to have in the toolkit.

I'm familiar with how Canon handles certain "details" from a brief stint with the HV20, that's why I'm shooting the Sonys. I'm sure there is some "digital magic" taking place to keep a fairly clean image even gained up, but I prefer the way Sonys handle, when the lighting is difficult, over Panasonic and Canon... it's a matter of opinion, each brand has it's "look", but I prefer the way the Sonys "look", some like Canon, still others Panasonic. Just because your camera smears or mushes up the details in low light (not uncommon) doesn't mean the next cam does the same. I know the HV was short lived in my lineup because of that general problem...

As far as audio, I'm presuming Kelsey is using some form of dual audio already... camera audio is somewhat of a non-issue when what you need is a "point" audio recording close to the source - the many options to achieve this have been well discussed, but the ability of the camera to record the ambient sound in its immediate vicinity is probably a very small factor in choosing a camera (though I don't like the audio from the SLT's very much, fine for sync but that's about it to my ears!).
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 03:51 PM   #48
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

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if you put your camcorder next to the 5D3 I guarantee a whole new story.
Kelsey shoots documentary style, shoots alone, currently has a gl2 and a limited budget, so I don't think we should even be discussing a 5dIII, with a set of lenses to cover all focal lengths you are easily looking at 5 times the price of what I paid for my cx730. For that extra money I would be fully equipped to handle any kind of wedding. I might even get a cx730, a pana ag ac90 and a set of audiorecorders and still be cheaper off.

Quote:
Small handycams don't look as professional
Who cares if your output is good? I did add a beachtek adapter and a cheap chinees shouldermount and a hoodloupe so I have a much better grip when going handheld and I can assure you, you will never get that stable shots handheld like I can do handheld with a sony cx that have those magic eyeball.

I always say, it's not the camera, it's the person behind it that makes the difference, not to show off but just look at following video. all slider and tripod shots where done with a cx730 and only the steadicam shots with a dslr, all audio was external and the interviews at the end was with my beachtek adapter. They ask me every year again to shoot that event eventough the guys doing the live projection work with ex1's and a pmw350. When I shot the presentation on the stage the guy with the pmw350 and a tvlogic monitor attached was sitting beside me and I had my cx730 alone on a manfrotto tripod. No that looked plain silly next to his beast of a camera, I had about 500 business men sitting behind me so they could clearly see me. Did that bother me? Not anymore and given the fact that they ask me year after year means they don't care about the size of the camera either, only about what I deliver.


For me a camera is only a tool and a cx730 is a very versatile one, would I use it for every shoot? No, I would use my dslr's if I"m doing steadicam or want to get creative shots, I use my ea50 if I want to have controll and better audio capabilities and if I"m working for a client that would not accept a handicam, unfortunately size does matter in some businesses and they like to see that they paid for a bigger camera, then I still would have a cx730 will be in my backpack and my dslr's just in case.

Quote:
I don't recommend the 550D for weddings
I think anyone working with 5dIII, c100, fs100 and up will tell this and they are basically right,all mentioned camera's are better, no doubt, but it doesn't mean you can't do any weddings or events with it, I do and if you have a limited budget they will serve you as well as any camera, you only need to work around it's limitations (like you have to do with any dslr) and make the most of what you can afford. Give some talented guys a few gopros, let them shoot a wedding and the client might find it better then what the untalented would produce with his c300 camera.
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Old February 23rd, 2013, 05:26 PM   #49
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Went and looked at the camera today. Frankly I was impressed. I brought my own memory card and filmed in a bunch of conditions etc. Now I just need to upload it and see what I end up with and if it's workable.

I agree with Noah...I have seen people use AWESOME cameras and end up with shitty results.

I have a good eye. I can edit together a nice piece. I just need a BETTER camera.

Remember my goal here is NOT to end up with the BEST on the market...my goal is to walk away with BETTER than I am using now. Even with this antiquated equipment I am still getting bookings. People like my work. I just want to UPgrade.

I would say that the camera I looked at is as good if not better in low light situations. My real concern at this point is what kind of audio I am going to get from it??
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Old February 24th, 2013, 09:07 AM   #50
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Noa that piece is very well put together. Nice job.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 07:09 PM   #51
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

OK, so the camera "impressed"... that's a good start. In all honesty, you SHOULD be impressed by a newer camera when compared tor tech that's as old as the GL's, there's been a lot of changes in that time!

What is your current audio setup? These little cameras do a fairly good job of picking up "ambient" audio, and you can mount a shotgun or interface a wireless. But you'd still probably want a couple small digitial recorders with lavs for specific audio capture, sync it in post?

I guess what you have now and your specific concerns will help us cover that aspect....
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Old February 24th, 2013, 07:59 PM   #52
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Hey Kelsey....

I'm in much the same boat as you..
Again, asking yourself "what kind of wedding" will better answer your question.

Run'n'gun is a tough gig, and without a team of DSLR shooters with $10000 in equipment, it's almost impossible to "keep up with the Jones'".

The DSLR's are great but out of budget (from what i gathered).
I personally believe the Panasonic AF100 offers the best versatility, in regards to DSLR/Video options...
An affordable Panasonic GH2 still camera is great as second camera, since they're essentially the same chip.

I didn't want to mention any camera names, since there's a plethora of styles and names. But since everybody's chiming in, perhaps I'm allowed the same freedom..
Last year's steadicam pilot purchase set me back a few bucks, but if i stay in the game any longer, than the Panasonic AF100 is my next goto camera...

Good luck..
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Old February 24th, 2013, 08:46 PM   #53
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Hi Peter

Being a solo shooter without a team at my disposal I tried DSLR's but really found then tough to use on your own !! I also use a huge amount of handheld work and a tiny DSLR was hard to use in run 'n gun.

Without a doubt, the easiest camera to use is something you can flick onto full auto and concentrate on the shoot rather than the camera and DSLR's do require a lot of attention so try to also get a camera that can look after itself!! The CX can do that too.

I also thrive on shoulder mount cameras for my extensive handheld work so I stayed with Panasonic HMC80's for 4 odd years.... I looked at the AF100 but it also looks like it needs a lot of operator attention and running two cameras I knew that wouldn't work so I opted for Sony's new EA-50 (Noa has one too)

That way you have either a handheld or shoulder mount camera and the facilities of both a video camera and a DSLR (the 50 has an APSC sensor) For me that was a really good compromise!

Chris
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Old February 24th, 2013, 10:05 PM   #54
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Hey, yeah Chris..Seems like there's plenty of us in the same boat.
This Sony looks like a gem also. I've kept out of the game for the last few months, and have had my horse blinders on for a while. Think i'll have to re-asses what's out there.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 02:38 AM   #55
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Hey Noah

Did you use 'Presto' for FCP or APPro for the suply chain awards?

I am covering a smaller but similar event and will use Panasonic ac90 and TM900 to cover it and was looking at the software plugin presto by red giant yesterday
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Old February 25th, 2013, 02:39 AM   #56
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

I forgot to mention that the shallow dof shot at the evening reception where also dslr but I guess that was obvious, it's not only Sony that can deliver but also Canon and Panasonic have great little camera's that each have their own strengths and can output an image that rivals much more expensive smaller chip fixed lens camera's. They only have their limited control with missing physical buttons as main disadvantage.

Beside my cx730 I used canon 550d's which do the job but I would not recommend Kelsey to step into that arena, especially if your shooting style is documentary, in that case small chip, large dof camera's are much more forgiving.

At the event I showed I had a tascam dr40 which was connected to the audio mixer to record the voices on the stage and the interviews was done with my beachtek adapter and my audio technica (at897) microphone that was connected with a xlr cable, the cx730 was connected and mounted onto the beachtek. At weddings I have additional recorders like a zoom h1, yamaha c24, iriver and all with clip on lav mic attached to them.

2 day's ago I did a dance performances with my 2 cx730 and it turned out great, my nex ea50 went along as I needed a live feed from the audio mixer and the image from that camera was noisier at 3200 iso compared to my cx730 at 21db gain where once you donwnconvert to dvd you can't see any grain at all.

For me if I do weddings, business events and dance performances those handicams have been the best investment yet, only if I need more real time control and a better image I"ll use a bigger and/or better camera. If you have a limited budget, do documentary style video the current top end handicam line can do the job, I also would like to have two 5DIII, two c300's and a bmc camera in my backpack but as long as I can't afford that I will happily use my current camera set up and use each camera to what it was designed for.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 02:44 AM   #57
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

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Did you use 'Presto' for FCP or APPro for the suply chain awards?
What does this software do? I did all editing in edius 6.5 pro with no extra plugin.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 02:53 AM   #58
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

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Noa that piece is very well put together. Nice job.
Thx :) it was not my intention to show off but I was very satisfied with the result, and I just wanted to show that handicams can have a place in documentary style of productions. I agree that you certainly can't use them on any production, often you need control, or good audio as direct feed into the camera, or just a professional camera that outputs a better image overall.

But for weddings, certain business events and certain dance performances they can be used if you are working alone and they output an image that doesn't have to look like it was done by an amateur on holiday.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 11:12 AM   #59
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Hi Kelsey,

I have been following and participating in this thread, and maybe I missed it, but I did not see what NLE you work with. While your current Core2 Quad 9300 processor might work just fine with DV footage, I think you will be very disappointed with trying to edit AVCHD or DSLR HD clips with that 5-year-old PC technology. You'd be lucky if those formats even play smoothly in the timeline. Rendering and exporting will be excrutiatingly slow. Sorry. Also, if your NLE software is a few years old, it may not even support all of the latest video formats. A new camera purchase could be putting the cart before the horse.

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Old February 25th, 2013, 04:02 PM   #60
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Re: Upgrade neccesary for weddings?

Yeah, even my Core i7 920 is starting to "feel" sluggish, and some software doesn't play 60p smoothly (but other software DOES!?! Probably CODEC issues somewhere!). I'm nearing the dreaded "refresh/reinstall" cycle, and beginning to debate whether there should be some new "iron" under the hood before I do...

It's interesting though, that a little Core 2 Duo Alienware handles 60p video playback rather nicely when the
gaming video chip is invoked. It's tricky getting the right combination of parts, and it's obvious that since video has become more pervasive, some of the components are being optimized for video so it might even be that a "plain vanilla" 2013 machine will "do" video just fine - technology marches forward...

We've all been mentioning the entire workflow shift, it's a BIG leap from SD MiniDV tape to HD 60p AVCHD - each frame will be a minimum of 4x the data points, and even more when shooting progressive at 28MBps... AVCHD takes a lot of horsepower to decompress on the fly, as it's unpacking a lot of data in the process.

I think we should also mention that that 1Tb HDD that likely was huge (if a Q9300 even had that big a storage drive?), is now going to be eaten quickly. Even with compression, you're looking at much larger files for the same length of clip if you stick to the highest settings. Storage capacity will almost certainly need to be enlarged with the "upgrade".

All of these things are good reasons to keep the camera budget as reasonable as possible, so there's money left for the other parts of the workflow... the desire to update and have a better product shouldn't break the bank!
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