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


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Old January 30th, 2014, 06:56 AM   #1
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DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

It seems a lot of people now turn to DSLRs (especially for Weddings) rather then a Traditional video camera, but what do people consider the main reason for choosing DSLR.

Is it simply the cost and the DSLR look that make people choose a DSLR?

I personally wouldn't attempt a full DSLR shoot for any continuous event, I tried doing so for a live professional wrestling event a couple of years back, on a pair of Canon 550Ds (both had Magic Lantern on them). One was based on a tripod and the other was handheld round the ringside.

Problems I had were mainly focusing, when shooting wrestling I need to focus quickly all over the place, also I used a 14mm on the hand held to try to counter act any unsteady shots, but I prefer to be able to zoom in and out when shooting wrestling. Also, the venue was a bit too dark, but that was how the show promoter wanted it. It was all light from the one direction, on the stage.

Here's one of the matches from it -

I still use my DSLR for things, but I wouldn't dare plan to shoot a full event or wedding on a DSLR. Just wonder why others do?

Matt
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Old January 30th, 2014, 07:51 AM   #2
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Hi Matt

What car do you drive? Is it a sedan, pickup, RV?? Each to their own and there is no special reason why you should use a DSLR or a video camera.

It's more practical to ask yourself which tool will do the job better for me. The initial attraction with DSLR's was the ability to create shallow DOF to get a cinematic look when video cameras still used 3 small chips that had a huge DOF even at big apertures like F1.6 so making the background fuzzy just wasn't practical.

New cameras are now hybrid and have all the essentials of a DSLR and also all the controls of a video camera so that, for me, gives you the best of both worlds!! I'm using Sony EA-50's but the FS100 and FS700 big brothers are much the same. Personally I just didn't like the feel of using a still camera for video plus the lack of AF for events but even that is changing now and some DSLR's have good AF!!

It's just a personal choice ...end of story!! I chose hybrids simply cos I like the video camera form factor and controls and still get the advantages of interchangeable lenses and shallow DOF when I want it plus I prefer to shoot stills on my Nikon DSLR's ONLY ...but I can use all the lenses on my Sony's so I get the best of both worlds.

Just choose whatever works best for you !!

Chris
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Old January 30th, 2014, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Yeah, I'd love a Sony EA-50 to get the best of both worlds, but there currently out of my current budget.

I can see how DSLR can be made to work for weddings, but for live events like wrestling DSLRs seem totally impractical for how I shoot.

I wasn't having a go at DSLRs or DSLR shooters just wanted to try and understand if there were any further reasons why people choose to shoot on DSLRs, but I guess it is just for the Shallow DOF. I've always wanted to see a full wedding edit of someone who shoots on DSLRs, not just a trailer but obviously not going to happen.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 08:15 AM   #4
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

The problems you mention are not DSLR related but low light related. A video camera may have made it brighter, but with mushiness and noise.

You just signed yourself up for a job that was near impossible to do well.

You maybe didn't know how dark it would be until you got there.

In general, at a daylight event, you can get away with a DSLR on ISO 1600 with f9 and have nearly the whole room in focus - and it looks better than most camcorders in the same price range.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 08:23 AM   #5
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Exactly, Clive.

For the focus, now there is the 70D, which would let you touch the face of one wrestler on your screen, then keep him in focus for you.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 08:32 AM   #6
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Small size is a consideration for me at weddings. Many venues I film in have small rooms, lots of guests close together. If I want to squeeze in, its easier with a smaller camera, plus its less obtrusive. Perched on a video monopod, its very light and portable. GH3 focuses rather well and the depth of field isn't too narrow. I also take it hand held onto the dance floor, something I would find more difficult with a larger camera.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:01 AM   #7
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

I'd love to have a camera that can offer the DSLR look that can be shot handheld with a decent length zoom on a budget of 2000 but there doesn't seem to be any options. I currently shoot live events (wrestling etc) with a Sony Z1 handheld and a Canon 550D as my static tripod wide angle, but wanting to replace the Z1 with something card based as tapes have become a nightmare for me know.

A friend as a VG30 that I'm going to have a play around with on the weekend.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #8
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
In general, at a daylight event, you can get away with a DSLR on ISO 1600 with f9 and have nearly the whole room in focus - and it looks better than most camcorders in the same price range.
My sony cx730 when wide open had almost the same low light performance as my canon 550d at 1600 iso with a f1.4 lens and It also had less noise, for the above kind of event it would have been a perfect camera, you would have no issues with focusing and when shooting handheld it feels like you are on sticks, only if you have to zoom in a lot it looses sensitivity quickly. Small sensor camera's have come a long way and their performance have made big jumps in just the last few years.

To shoot such a wrestling event a dslr is just the wrong camera. The reason why I use dslr formfactor camera's is mainly because they are so light and small, have a good low light performance all trough their zoom range (if you have fast, constant f-stop, zoomlenses) and they create a nice bokeh which does have advantages if you want to create a certain look, I do prefer m4/3 camera's over full frame because the camera's and lenses are so light and small yet great performers and they are cheaper so for me a better investment and they provide me with a bit deeper dof so focusing isn't so tricky.

I also have 2 sony handicams which get used for longer ceremonies and for real run and gun where I only get one shot to get it right, the dslr's are more for creative work and when I have a bit more time to set my shots up.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:09 AM   #9
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

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Originally Posted by Matt Thomas View Post
A friend as a VG30 that I'm going to have a play around with on the weekend.
That might be a good camera for your purposes as well as it sits between a real videocamera and a dslr in terms of functionality, you also might consider the sony rx10 if you don't mind it's slower zoom operation.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:33 AM   #10
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

As I've said many times before...use the right tool for the job. You can't build a house without a hammer. Well you can but you'd just be making life miserable on yourself.
For long form stuff, seminars, most sports events even wedding a DSLR can be used but it might not be the right tool although for cutaways, drop ins and other creative type stuff yeah it's great. If I was shooting an all day seminar with 6 or 8 different speakers and about 6 hours of coverage (which is pretty typical for me) and I showed up with a DSLR not only would I regret it but my client would probably never hire me again,
BTW, I have done some sit down talking heads with a DSLR and while it was cool I personally prefer my JVC HM700 or other camera of similar form factor but that's just me.
Use the right tool for the job.
I'm just sayin'.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Yeah, I think it also comes down to the right tool for your style as well.

I've never shot a wrestling event on just DSLRs since the time in 2012, now I use my Z1 and Canon 550D as a static shot and it works better this way, example from last October (quality has took an hit on YouTube though)
I do prefer to shoot with two ringside cameras so there's not the need to follow them around the ring has much as the Z1 doesn't look that great when walking.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 11:56 AM   #12
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Hey Matt, about the ergonomics, a lot of people actually do like it. They feel it's lighter, more discreet, can squeeze into more places, and, importantly, enables them to use lighter support equipment.

I personally like having everything in line, LCD screen to lens, rather than having the viewfinder offset as with traditional shoulder-mount cameras. I also like that I could be carrying multiple bodies at once.

When DSLRs first came out, low light was a huge advantage, and the ability to use high quality still lenses was a huge advantage (saves on using a 35mm lens adapter). Not true anymore if you're comparing them with the newer large-sensor cameras, but still a plus vs a Z1, HVX200, etc.

The main reason people use them, of course, is the look. Shallow depth is a big part of it, but isn't all of it. It's the sharpness, the colour, etc. I've just attended the Exposed Down Under workshops, and was interested to learn that Ray Roman, charging $10,000 to $20,000 per wedding, prefers the look of a Mk3 to the C300, although he owns a C300.
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Old January 30th, 2014, 12:19 PM   #13
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Matt I used the Z1 for many years (alongside an FX-1) - a good camera but ultimately it's poor low light performance made me upgrade. I currently use a Sony EA50 which is good enough in low light, along with my Canon lenses, and allows me scope to be 'creative' but I use Sony handycams for my other cameras. Speeches and ceremonies are always filmed with 3 cameras and for my locked off cams I personally wouldn't use DSLRs as the handycams are 'safe' - good auto features with a deep DOF. I also throw a GoPro into mix if it's appropriate! I agree with Noa - I use two CX730 cams and they are great for that purpose - also the footage matches the EA50 nicely.

For evening receptions I use my 5DIII because it virtually sees in the dark and I can avoid using an on-camera light and pi***ing off a lot of the guests. As far as ergonomics are concerned I use a small rig, similar to the Zacuto target shooter, made up from P&C and Lanparte parts.

Big downside of the 5D is no focus peaking so I use a smallHD monitor - a bit clunky but the peaking takes out any guesswork.

Pete
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Old January 30th, 2014, 12:41 PM   #14
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Referring to your original post Matt, you asked why lots of videographers are choosing DSLRs especially for weddings. I think that part of the reason is that a lot of those working in the wedding industry started in photography and feel more comfortable using cameras in a style that they are familiar with.

There is also a comparatively modern trend of using photographic techniques for wedding work, particularly for the short trailer style that people like to refer to as cinematic. There is no doubt that shallow dof and low light performance from the larger sensors available in DSLRs is attractive to many people. However there are also a number of downsides to using a DSLR for video as has been well covered in other threads.

In my opinion, both dedicated video and photographic cameras will soon be replaced with hybrid cameras capable of high quality still and video capture, with the best features of both styles available. There is a growing requirement to offer both services and a hybrid camera is likely to become the norm for small event companies before very long. As Noa has mentioned, the Sony RX10 is already a serious move in that direction and there are sure to be many more to follow.

Roger
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Old February 7th, 2014, 07:25 PM   #15
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Re: DSLR vs "Traditional" Video Camera

Tried using my friends VG30 tonight on a Wrestling Event and while the actual quality and low light (even with kit lens) was much better then the Z1, it didn't handle as well hand held. By that I mean if I was panning handheld it looked a bit stuttery even though I shoot on the Z1 as 25fps with 1/50 shutter speed and that doesn't. (same settings I had on the VG30) Is that because of the CMOS vs CCD sensor, or the ergonomics of the camera or the camera stabilization better in the Z1?

So I'm not sure what camera I'm looking to choose.
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