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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old January 28th, 2014, 06:50 AM   #16
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

There is a huge gulf between what modern cameras - even smartphones - can achieve in the right hands and the actual reality.

I know this because I allow my clients to include guest images in their professional albums - which I design - and I have to say that the norm is for the technical quality to be shockingly bad. It is very unusual for these photos to be anything approaching decent. Where I do include them I can't think of a single occasion when I could use an image other than in a very small size plus possibly camouflaged by conversion to black and white or some other special effect.

Then there is the whole areas of composition and lighting. Again its quite unusual for expressions to be flattering, posture to be acceptable, and any detail retained in the highlight and shadow areas. When flash is used it is invariably direct leading to shiny skin tones and over-dark backgrounds. "Point and shoot" simply does not work for weddings because for much of the day the shooting conditions are too extreme, and well outside the comfort zone of most hobbyists even if they have the right equipment.

The sorts of images that get included tend to be the goofy sort that might otherwise be shot in a photo booth with props - which after all is just a form of evening entertainment and NOT photography.

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Old January 28th, 2014, 09:46 AM   #17
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Pete, I was not implying the results would be on the same level as a professional. I have been shooting stills longer than video, and I know it takes knowledge and skill to produce good results even in less stressful environments. I am not belittling the role of photographers. I just know from experience that a good stills camera in the hands of an amateur stands a better chance at an acceptable photo, than giving them a video camera and expecting an acceptable video. As much as we make fun of the introductory photographer using the "spray and pray" approach, normally a few actually turn out usable (not amazing, but usable all the same). I was recommending Clive actually do the formal photo shoot and just have someone else snapping away during the ceremony. To be honest, I do not ever recall seeing someone blow up a shot from the actual wedding and hang somewhere. It is always the posed shots. The others are printed small and put in an album. That leaves a lot of cropping room, so composition (and in some cases- critical focus) are not quite as vital as with the bigger prints. Even if the couple want a specific shot from the ceremony and the amateur doesn't pull it off, Clive could easily get them back on the stage after for the shot, where it would be an obvious retake with the video (and take much more effort). If she could only afford one and Clive was willing to do the formal shots in between while he would normally be just getting a little B roll, I would definitely recommend the video option. If filming in HD, there might be some ceremony frame grabs that could also go in an album. Not the same as a professional, and not able to be printed bigger, but better than nothing if she can't afford both.
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Old January 28th, 2014, 11:35 AM   #18
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

I would have to agree with Byron in as much as my clients invariably tell me after the event that the video is the thing that really captures the day. I often see past clients at other weddings and they often mention how the photo album sits in the draw gathering dust, whereas the video is watched quite often.

I also agree with Peter that the quality of stills from a skilled photographer is way above that of most amateurs both on technical quality and composition. Photography is also traditional and expected at a wedding but video is not. I do think though that a proper video record of the day has much more long term and historical value than photographs.

A vogue style romantic still of the bride and groom at their very best has immediate and high impact effect, but it will always be a frozen silent moment in time. The video will allow personalities, sounds and emotions to live on long after the people have passed on. A balance of both is the perfect solution, but to my mind, the video always wins. Peter, as you are coming from a long photographic background and with the emphasis on the photography, I respect your opinion and don't expect you to agree but that's what makes the forum interesting.

What I will add in passing, is that since we added the joint photographic package to our wedding options, many that previously would not have had a video are now booking us. Our bookings this year are already 30% up on any previous year and 80% are now the joint package.

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Old January 29th, 2014, 05:15 AM   #19
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Screen grabs will be more than acceptable image quality if you are shooting with something like a C100/C300 BUT it's not a photograph & won't have been framed, posed or taken as such. Motion blur is a big problem. It might seem that you have 24/25/30 frames per second to choose from but as you step though them you will find that a hand is blurred & then the next shot the hand is still but the eyes are shut etc etc So if you video camera is good enough then technically it's do-able but results are likely to be disappointing.
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Old January 29th, 2014, 07:36 AM   #20
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Re: Stills from video? Good or Bad?

Nigel, I was just thinking about the screen blur. I think to effectively and reliably use screen grabs from our video (shooting 24fps), we'd have to follow the photographer's rules of shutter speed faster than the lens. At 24fps, we'd end up using shutter 100 or 200, which would change the entire look of your video.
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