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Old October 13th, 2013, 09:03 AM   #1
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How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

I was questioning the fact that a bmc pocketcam was suitable for run and gun work in this thread (Where to sell BMPCC) and I was wondering how others handle real run and gun (example below) if they mainly operate larger sensor camera's like dslr's that don't offer the same manual control like a real ENG type of camera.

For instance, I did a Turkish wedding yesterday, I went over the dayplanning with the bride in advance and if I had to believe her it was all pretty simple, only it wasn't and it was pretty chaotic. When the groom arrives with his family at the brides home they have to pay money to get in the house, so there is negotiations between a representative from each family at the door. During this the door is only a very small part open , just enough to hand over money while in and outside the whole family is trying to catch a glimps of what is going on. At that point I am standing between a lot of people trying to get an angle so I need a camera that is not too large, goes very wide and is able to zoom in and if possible I need to use the images during the zoom as well so a smooth zoom is required, as is stable footage.

Once enough money is given the door opens and hell breaks loose, I have to push family members aside to get in and the groom walks straight from the hallway to the the livingroom and her family starts applauding, so I need to go from bright outside to dark inside in one go trying to catch that moment, I also have to hold my camera above people's heads because my entrance to the livingroom is partially blocked, I need to zoom in and take a wide establishing shot as well.

Once everyone is in the livingroom it is so full I have exactly one meter space to shoot a small ceremony where they thigh a red ribbon around the brides waist so again I need to go very wide with my lens and on top of that it's quite dark inside with lot's of backlight from windows so I need a light sensitive lens and I needed to be able to zoom in on details again, like the ribbon but also get headshots of the family and friends as b-roll. I also need to be able to control the iris without any exposure jumps as the windows in the house require a different exposure depending if there is a strong backlight from a window or not.

I was shooting with my pana gh3 and g6 all day and left my nex-ea50 at home, when that ceremony was coming up I chickened out and used my sony cx730 which I only brought with me as back up and I nailed every single shot with that camera, I only controlled the iris manually because the bride was standing against a window so I had to compensate for that.

I honestly believe I couldn't get this done with my gh3 with the 12-35mm f2.8 I had with me without messing up at least one thing and I can't even imagine ever to use a black magic camera for this purpose as 13 stops of dr won't do you any good here, you might call my example extreme but my experience with Turkish weddings is that they are always like this. In that example my little handicam is a live saver as it does get it all right from the first time and gives you smooth zoom operation, wide angle, long zoom, stable footage, quite accurate whitebalance and accurate focus and the possibility to control exposure without any exposurejumps. With that camera I don't need to think but just shoot and concentrate on the action.

How do you guys deal with these kind of hectic situations?
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Old October 13th, 2013, 09:26 AM   #2
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
When the groom arrives with his family at the brides home they have to pay money to get in the house, so there is negotiations between a representative from each family at the door. During this the door is only a very small part open , just enough to hand over money while in and outside the whole family is trying to catch a glimps of what is going on. At that point I am standing between a lot of people trying to get an angle so I need a camera that is not too large, goes very wide and is able to zoom in and if possible I need to use the images during the zoom as well so a smooth zoom is required, as is stable footage.

Once enough money is given the door opens and hell breaks loose, I have to push family members aside to get in and the groom walks straight from the hallway to the the livingroom and her family starts applauding, so I need to go from bright outside to dark inside in one go trying to catch that moment, I also have to hold my camera above people's heads because my entrance to the livingroom is partially blocked, I need to zoom in and take a wide establishing shot as well.
Pretty much sounds like Chinese weddings in Singapore. Had to deal with one like that 2 weeks back. managing exposure, focus and positioning while trying to shoot through any gap in a huge crowd isn't easy at all. Especially with a 5D. For the dinner, as well, I was saved a few times by the nx30 my second operator was using.

*ps: Noa, after seeing the the footage from the nx30, I see why you love your handicams so much. The new gen Sony palm cameras are really really good in low light. Much better than I had expected it to be. I even think the NX30 might be slightly more sensitive than my 5d3. Noisier and slightly softer at high DBs, but it basically sees in the dark!
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Old October 13th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #3
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

Well done Noa. You did well!! The unknown world of weddings when you ask the question to the bride a couple days before the wedding, any surprises I need to know about? No they say maybe a little party later!!! Then it kicks of. So we are always ready right !!!
Jeeeez we wedding videographers are a brilliant breed!!
If shooting on our DSLRs I am always ready for that unknown with a small camcorder around my neck just in case. Dslrs will not cut it sometimes as we all know! Of course if the light is good and we can work at f11 then all decent but still failings. One thing I have learned in 7 years is always be ready for the unexpected on a wedding day and cover cover cover yourself no matter what. Nice one Noa you did good
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Old October 13th, 2013, 09:33 PM   #4
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
How do you guys deal with these kind of hectic situations?
Hey Noa, additional DSLR problems you don't mention are: (1) at least with the most popular models, they don't have a tiltable LCD screen. So if you have to hold them above a crowd, you're going to be putting your neck in all sorts of weird positions or just not seeing the screen; (2) a lot of DSLR-shooters use prime lenses only.

Some of coping with the problems you mention is being ready to change exposure rapidly, and, if need be, giving yourself generous depth of field to avoid focus problems in hectic situations. But I think maybe the main solution is this: work with at least two people with at least two camera bodies. That way, one person can go wide and cover everything safely, while the other person gets detail shots or floating shots or whatever else.

Another part of the answer is: don't promise them safe and continuous coverage of everything, but short form highlight-style videos only.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; October 14th, 2013 at 01:33 AM.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 02:38 AM   #5
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

I guess for me, in my country a wedding is a wedding. Theres not a huge amount of multi-culture in NI. Or at least if there is, they seem to stick with their own service providers.

My point is 99% of weddings follow a certain format here. And everyone in my locality would be more than understanding if something unusual happened that proved difficult for me. I will always do my absolute best. But if its something crazy and unexpected, most brides are very understanding.

Put it this way Noa, if you had say a good view on your footage, and then a crowd of people pushed past and stood in front of you, would the bride really be annoyed?

Surely any bride would watch that and think to herself 'that must have been a nightmare for our videographer!', rather than 'what an unprofessional! he isn't pushing past people enough!'.

I mean, theres only so much you can expect. What if for example, there was a culture or tradition whereby a couple got married in a pitch black room. Theres a cut off point IMO as to what they can expect from us.

Yea, you could grab a camcorder and join the hustle and bustle handheld and produce a video similar to Cloverfield. But then you run the risk of looking like an amateur.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:24 AM   #6
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

The only way to run and gun with a DSLR is with more than one person. Specifically due to the reasons you've outlined ... it's impossible to do a one man job and expect to cover everything.

On the other hand, if you claim you do a contemporary style of shooting with a mix of cinematic then you can get away with it. Use your handicam or what ever smaller sensor camera your using to capture the intense parts of the day and continue shooting with your DSLR and prime for all the other bits and then creatively mix it up in the final edit.

That would be the only way to handle the job top to bottom as a solo shooter, or it's impossible.

P.S. Clive, the Sony handheld Noa's referring too is ridiculously stable, it would look nothing like Cloverfield ... i've been using my one a lot too now. I bought the same model after Noa's been banging on about it on this forum. Easily one of the best purchases i've ever made.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:30 AM   #7
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

Thx for the responses guys, I see that some are referring to a second videographer to cover for any angles you couldn't get alone but that's a luxury I don't have, this year about 95% of the weddings I did was solo.

Quote:
Yea, you could grab a camcorder and join the hustle and bustle handheld and produce a video similar to Cloverfield. But then you run the risk of looking like an amateur.
Well, not if you use the right camera, I have done a Chinese wedding last year and they do these door ceremonies as well, check the video below from 02:00 where I was standing in a very small crowded hallway while handholding my cx730, I didn't have that small shoulder support I use today with that camera so I just did hold the camera in my hands like uncle bob does, everything on the camera was in full auto. At a certain point you see me lifting the camera up high as one of the girls went in front of me, so then it's just a matter of tilting the lcd screen and let the magic eyeball stabilization do it's thing. (the first 22 seconds of the video was also the cx730 handheld)

There are situations at a wedding shallow dof creative shots are not required at all, you just need to capture the emotion and what is going on without making your footage look like it was shot by one of the guests. I have been thinking that the lumix 7-14mm on the gh3 could do the trick but still it would make me very nervous to use in these very unpredictable situations and it's only a f4 lens which could be an issue in some houses, I just find it much more cumbersome to make exposure and focus changes on the fly with such a camera.

I would feel much safer using my nex-ea50 for such a thing as it does feel more like a proper video camera in terms of control but it is way too big to use in tight cramped spaces. Maybe a Sony vg30 could do the trick?

I do prefer that "dslr" look but I happily use my handicams whenever I could risk messing up a shot with a dslr, I have switched from Canon to panasonic camera's and really like the sharp and colorful panasonic look, especially when combined with their rather expensive but very good 12-35 f2.8 or 35-100 lenses. I do have the 12-35 now and was planning to get the 35-100 as I need a bit longer reach but it costs 1100 euro and for 1500 euro I could get a vg30 body and fit my existing nex lenses like the sony 18-200 and a Samyang 24 f1.4 on it. I have sold my Samyang 14mm and 35mm as they where collecting dust. So I"m in a transition period now where I need to see what camera or lens would fit my current solo shootingstyle,

Are there any vg30 users here that have used this camera in situations as I described earlier?

Here is the Chinese wedding video I was talking about:

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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:37 AM   #8
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
P.S. Clive, the Sony handheld Noa's referring too is ridiculously stable, it would look nothing like Cloverfield ... i've been using my one a lot too now. I bought the same model after Noa's been banging on about it on this forum. Easily one of the best purchases i've ever made.
James - I bought the CX370 too! I've tried using it handheld actually but I'm not entirely happy with it. But I'm fairly sure its something to do with the settings.

The image stabilisation seems to get confused on what 'object' in frame to stabilise result in 'jumps' as I pan. Could either you or Noa advise me on this???
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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:39 AM   #9
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

Just noticed how Noa' whips the camera onto his target without any jello effect at 2.00mins+ in that video. Haven't tried that myself yet! but it looks professional, rather than gently moving it across.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:41 AM   #10
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
James - I bought the CX370 too! I've tried using it handheld actually but I'm not entirely happy with it. But I'm fairly sure its something to do with the settings.

The image stabilisation seems to get confused on what 'object' in frame to stabilise result in 'jumps' as I pan. Could either you or Noa advise me on this???
YES!

That's why I wrote the comment above just now ...

I think you have to rapidly move on to your subject, that you want in focus ... *goes to grab camera now to give this a try lol*

EDIT:

Just tried it. With everything set to 'AUTO' ... just flick your wrist from one object to another in a straight line going either left or right and you can re-create the sharp movement you saw in Noa's video. I didn't realise how well the stabiization copes on this camera. I've been using it locked off on a tripod mostly as a backup. And the occasional handheld shot where I don't move it all.

The stabilization issues you refer too Clive,I haven't come across them at all ... it will defo be a software issue. Play around with the settings?
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Old October 14th, 2013, 05:04 AM   #11
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

@Clive - I noticed a couple of time s that you mentioned you had a sony CX370 and thought you had made a typo, but Noa has the CX730 which is a different camera to the CX370, which might explain why you are not getting such good stabilisation results.

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Old October 14th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #12
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

Yea sorry, my mistake I keep getting it wrong. I definitely have the CX730 with the magic eyeball etc...
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Old October 14th, 2013, 06:21 AM   #13
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

To be sure this thread doesn't become a second Shooting weddings with small handicams topic I"d like to know if there are large sensor shooters that have been managing to shoot under those difficult circumstances solo and what equipment they have been using? My first thought was that a Sony vg30 would do the trick, no?
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Old October 14th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #14
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

Hi Noa,

The majority of my weddings are single shooter. I tend to reach for the VG900 in most situations, although I do also have a GH3, VG20, 5D MK3.

I actually love the VG900. I have it perfectly stabilised on my steadicam when the need arises and I can get by on most of those tricky situations with the 18-200 which has quick autofocus and face detection when I need it. It is especially useful outdoors and in reasonable indoor light as you probably know. I can switch lenses, or cameras at appropriate times to capture low light sequences in more controlled environments.

The VG900 with Zeiss 24-70 is just bliss for those other occasions.
I tend to cover bridal, groom preps with primes or the above as I do feel confident in these situations.

The fact that most of my weddings are now short forms means I also shoot differently and am able to creatively work around my raw footage.

I also have a standard Canon HD cam for safety wide shots at the ceremony but really don't like the look of video cameras.

Cheers.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 09:17 AM   #15
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Re: How do you handle run and gun with a dslr?

I thought I was the only one with too many camera's :D The thing is I sold my samyang 35mm and 14mm as they where hardly used anymore since I got my gh3, I also didn't like the clicking aperture ring, for my nex-ea50 I got a nex mount 24mm f1.5 cinelens from Samyang which I realy liked to find out later no adapter exists to fit it on other brand cameras and then the 18-200 powerzoom. With my gh3 I have a very good 12-35mm f2.8 lens which lets me handle most situations but I wish I could attach my 24mm lens on it as well, the sony 18-200 lens is also my favorite lens for bright outside but again only fits a nex camera.

So I actually still need a decent prime with a smooth iris ring for beauty shots and a longer focal range lens but depending on what type of lenses they are not far from or even more expensive then a vg30 body and with that last one I can re-use my 24m and 18-200 again and have a camera much smaller and with smoother iris control which would be better suited for run and gun. That' s at least what I think.
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