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Old February 7th, 2014, 03:39 PM   #16
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
The video look sucks, does it not?
That's always going to be subjective, and while many (most?) people in the industry would probably agree with you, if a bride wants to clearly see lots of people around her, particularly the friends and family in the front couple of rows during the ceremony then the video look is probably exactly what she's looking for.

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The video look was simply the best the common wedding videographer could do with the tools available, and most of us have hated it since the beginning. I know I have.
You've probably hated it because it looks like video and not film and you secretly wanted to be a hollywood film maker and not a common wedding videographer, and until recently you didn't have the choice. Having said that, even most older video cameras were capable of shallow DOF if you stepped back and zoomed in, but I guess that's not a viable option much of the time.

When the DSLR revolution came along people suddenly saw shallow DOF as a way to differentiate themselves, and that's good, but it's not the only thing that can do that.

Like many, I absolutely love shallow DOF in the right place at the right time, but it's not the only tool in the shed and sometimes we have to put our 'arty prejudices' to one side and provide the 'wedding video' that they want.

If our style is all shallow DOF, that's all we've ever shown them and they booked us for their wedding then we can stand by the shallow look throughout the video, even if they can't see the parents and grandparents shedding a tear in the front row.

But, let's not say it's crap because it's 'not' shallow, it's a different look and now that we actually have the choice, deep DOF should be considered just as valid as shallow DOF when the time/place is right and/or that's your particular choice of style.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 04:01 PM   #17
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Dave, you state that most of us probably agree that the video look sucks, so my point is made, thank you.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 04:05 PM   #18
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Dave, you state that most of us probably agree that the video look sucks, so my point is made, thank you.
Well, I said most in the industry, yes, but to a lot of people outside the industry it looks perfectly normal and what they are used to, and let's face it, while ever there are a lot more of them than of us, and they are the paying customers, then I think we need to consider whether that 'look' is a deal breaker or not.

I hate video noise, most in the industry hate noise too, but most brides don't even see it.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 04:24 PM   #19
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Most Hollywood films are not shot with a very shallow depth of field and I think that Hollywood films tend to look quite filmic.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 07:19 PM   #20
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Most Hollywood films are not shot with a very shallow depth of field and I think that Hollywood films tend to look quite filmic.
Yeah, I was just about to bring this up. There not as shallow as what some videographers/film makers consider a filmic/cinematic look.

I only ask the question as sometimes it does seem that shallow depth of field is overly used just for self satisfaction of the film maker/videographer in a lot of cases. And I'm sure many of you encounter this as well in many areas.

A film student I know decided to buy a camera and I asked him what made it appeal to him, he said because it can have shallow depth of field.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 10:54 PM   #21
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

I'm a big fan of a variety of tools and that is what shallow DOF can be. For instance, we don't use it most of a wedding day, but.... when we have a camera zoomed in on a tight shot on each the bride and groom during vows, I love shallow DOF to make it look like they're the only people in the world. I wouldn't do that on my wider shot from the back, though, because it serves zero purpose.

The same could be said of lens choice or lighting or camera angles. Each is a tool and when you use it, have a purpose, a reason for doing so.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 11:09 PM   #22
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Originally Posted by Eric Coughlin View Post
Most Hollywood films are not shot with a very shallow depth of field and I think that Hollywood films tend to look quite filmic.
+1 100%. Just look at the great use of DEEP depth of field in 'The Best Offer'. Cinematographer Fabio Zamarion used great depth in some amazingly busy, meaning cluttered backgrounds, shots that offered so much to look at. It was the deep DOF that made these shots work and in no way detracted from the main characters discussions and dialogue. Shots like the tilt at 42.36 in the fascinating workshop scene where Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) and Robert (Jim Sturgess) are discussing the fitting together of an old automaton gearbox. Fabio’s intermix of deep and shallow DOF scenes intercut together throughout the film works beautifully. In all the film is a great example of good creative filmaking and shooting using ALL the tools depth of field can give you. The story in the film is interesting but made all the more so in the way it was shot

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney

Last edited by Christopher Young; February 7th, 2014 at 11:10 PM. Reason: typo
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Old February 8th, 2014, 03:13 AM   #23
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

A similar question could be asked about lots of stuff. Do brides want macro shots of rings? Do brides want timelapses of reception venues? Do brides want silhouette shots of them getting makeup done? Do brides want slow motion, sliders, steadicams, GoPros, quadcopters, backlit first dances? Do brides want to see the bridal party jumping up in the air during the photoshoot?

But to turn this question around... what do brides want?

I think maybe a basic list might go, though obviously it will depend on the bride:

1. That the important moments be captured, and captured reliably
2. That they look good in the images
3. That the images be beautiful (and surely this is subjective -- reasonable minds can differ on what's beautiful / not beautiful)
4. That the images be interesting / cool / artistic / creative, and not simply something they or Uncle Bob could have taken.

And there's a fifth item. I don't think many brides will consciously realise they want this, but I think pretty much every bride will be happy if they've got it:

5. That the images be moving. That you look at them, and you feel something.

Maybe photographers are more consciously aware of this than videographers. You want strong human content, but you also want all the visual elements to align with that content, to complement it -- composition, movement, focus, sharpness, colour, brightness, whatever.

And note that the above list is about the results of the image, not about the technique for getting there. Do brides care about shallow depth of field? I personally think most of them don't. But do they care how an image makes them feel? I'd argue that most of them do, and that the shallow depth can be a very useful tool for achieving that, because of the way it simplifies and declutters an image, and because of the way it directs attention, mimicking the way humans process visual information.▬
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Old February 8th, 2014, 03:55 AM   #24
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

I think Don stated it earlier - use the right tool for the right job. This would also mean that you might use shallow DoF for some shots where it adds to the image (and I believe someone else suggested when you have to time to get the shot right, with a few takes if needed), and deep DoF for others.

There is more to "film look" (to which I would ask "which FILM?!"). Color grading (yep, video is designed to look like "you are there" at little Jonnies play, not transport you into another realm... a "cinematic experience" is designed to take you to another world...), lighting, auxiliary gear, frame rate/cadence, and yeah, sure whether your camera creates an image that "looks sorta like" a really expensive cinema cam...

Then again, which director, cameraman, post production colorists "look" are you trying to emulate? Those guys all get "the big bucks" because they specialize and are very good at what they do.

You don't pick up a specific camera and suddenly produce a Michael Bay wedding extravaganza, lens flare, gigantic special effects, and all.... though that COULD be interesting... hmmm.



My camera criteria are - does the color look "right" (yeah, as in "you are there", plus a little saturation and warmth if needed), do flesh tones look "right", does the camera lock focus reliably and correctly "most" of the time, and is it easy to adjust the camera quickly on the fly if conditions warrant... to a lesser degree, how is the image stabilization, since sometimes you HAVE to be handheld.

Is it fun to play with different lenses? Sure, but don't make that the end all, be all. The CONTENT you capture is the ONLY thing that matters, what device you capture it with is but a tiny part of the equation.

I think I've used the analogy before that you could buy the same gear as Eric Clapton or Eddie Van Halen, hoping to get their "sound" (which is also incidentally a lot like a "look"!), but it simply doesn't happen like that - those guys sound great (and like themselves) on whatever gear they are on...

IOW, find YOUR style, YOUR "look", and YOUR methodology to get what YOU want... if it "works", and the customers dig it, now you've got something (and incidentally, whatever gear you've got... will get YOUR look).


<edit> While I was composing my thoughts, looks like Adrian was describing the "other side of the coin" - what the bride wants and what your gear must achieve are "two sides of the same coin" - and there are many different creative ways to get to that same place.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 04:13 AM   #25
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hi Adrian

Spot on!! I think that a lot of especially the more hip and younger shooters do in fact come from a stills background and often have never studied the basics of making a motion picture. They simply have found out "Hey I can shoot video on this so I'm now a videographer and photographer"

I was a panel judge looking at international and local video entries as Motion Picture Division chairman and our "judging" sheets had very interesting sections which the photo to video transition people would never bother to read or learn. Most of your comments cover it in parts but rule one was always that a video must either educate or entertain or both and it must evoke some kind of emotion. On our sheets technical ability rated very low indeed (being in focus etc etc was expected at that level) but content rated very high coupled with story line and flow. There was never a section called "shallow DOF"

You are so right about motion! It's a movie so if the subjects don't move then the camera must move. As Dave also says it really doesn't matter what gear you use, if you use it correctly you will get your look.

It does take effort and some creative thinking so to answer Matt's question all I can say is you certainly cannot shoot everything with a wide open lens and expect that is all that is required to make a bride happy!

Regardless of your style content is king and always will be.

Chris
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Old February 8th, 2014, 05:26 AM   #26
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Roger I was partly referencing to your finding shallow dof irritating. Close ups are irritating as well, when abused. So are a lot of things. I guess I just don't see what your remark meant.
Missed lots of posts, had to have a nights sleep :-)

I think you are misunderstanding my point, which is probably my fault for not being clear enough. I don't dislike shallow dof or always find it irritating, indeed I use it myself when I think it adds something. I also feel the same about all the other cinematic techniques some of which I use some I don't.

What I do find irritating is when these techniques appear to be used ad nauseum for the sake of using them, or to add artificial emotion when it is at the expense of something that the client might like to have seen. All techniques can be irritating when over used or used at inappropriate moments. I am concerned that many aspiring wedding videographers can be caught up in the excitement of their art and equipment, before they have learned to understand how to get the feel of a real wedding and understand their clients.

A wedding video is not an opportunity to make a movie at someone else's expense, but a chance to use your skills to capture that wedding in a way that they will always cherish. By all means use whatever cinematic techniques are available, but use them to enhance and embellish the story that is already there rather than building a totally different one for it's art value.

Roger
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Old February 8th, 2014, 06:01 AM   #27
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

DB Made a very good music point which both he and I have previously referred to. I have been a guitarist for 50 years, many years touring professionally and consider myself reasonably competent. I can go into a music shop and buy a guitar effects pedal that will enable me to select the sound of Jimi Hendrix, or Slash, or Eddie Van Halen at the push of a button. unfortunately, it doesn't also give me the skills or the feel of those musicians. When I play a guitar solo, every single note I play has my own feel, vibrato, bend or whatever, no matter what sound I am playing. If you can play 3 chords on a guitar, and plug in the Eddie van Halen sound on your pedal! I bet I can pick up the same guitar as you, with no effects and get a much more effective performance from it simply because I can play a lot more than 3 chords.

It is exactly the same with video, if you are a 3 chord videographer, no matter what camera or technique you use, you also need to be able to use and understand your equipment and how a technique can be used to best effect, but most importantly, understanding what it is you are capturing.

The whole obsession with cinematic weddings is ridiculous, we are producing an end product with the tools and skills available in a limited access environment with a fixed shooting time scale. Using all the tools and skills available doesn't make it a movie, if you want to make a movie, start a film production company. You will then have the scope to use all the scripts, storyboards, takes, crew, lighting, cameras, lenses, sound and techniques and TIME that go into making a true cinema production, if you can afford it!!!

What we are doing is making wedding videos on the fly and any resemblance to film production is cursory Those that want to call it cinematic are really kidding themselves.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; February 8th, 2014 at 06:43 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old February 8th, 2014, 06:07 AM   #28
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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The whole obsession with cinematic weddings is ridiculous
It is isn't it ...

I blame the fool that initially started calling himself a cinematographer just because he was using a 5D MK2 ... because he set the trend !

The name has catched on to all brides out there now and there is no way to reverse what has been done.

We all know or can read up on what makes you a cinematographer and what cinematic technically means. But your average bride / customer, won't know squat.

You either claim you offer cinematic weddings and get business, or you don't.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 06:41 AM   #29
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Roger? I always appreciate your point of view and it always seems to fall on my side of the fence too.

Just watching a few trailers over the years that are called "wedding films" the seemingly mandatory use of a shallow DOF, a slider shot and shots thru the tree leaves at the Church have made cinematic trailers appear attractive and if that's your thing and the market is hungry for eye candy them take advantage of it.

I however do think, if you are supplying the brides entire wedding memories in one cinematic 20 minute clip obviously something will be omitted and unless you clearly state on your website that the entire production is short form then you could quite easily end up with the same problems as Tariq where family footage wasn't shot as his (very skilful) cinematic production doesn't use them.

I have always felt that cinematic renders should be used as "brag to my friends" videos and the bride still should have a long form version for her memories.

Chris
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Old February 8th, 2014, 11:30 AM   #30
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Yes I agree Chris, by all means use what ever style you want and call it what you like, but first and foremost make sure that the couple get what they really want, not what you think they might want.

if you are making a movie, the box office receipts will tell you if tens of thousands of people liked it or not. You don't have that aspect with a wedding, you have one client and you'd better be sure they know what they are getting or the word will quickly spread.

Roger
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