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Old February 15th, 2014, 07:19 PM   #31
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

I'm late to this game.

I am still using trusty video cameras to do my weddings.

I know there is no way I can get bokeh like a DSLR with a 50mm F1.4 etc, but I'm managing.

Recently, I've found a couple guys who use DLSRs and who I can hire to come in and get those artsy shots at events etc that I can not replicate with my NX5. Sure, if I use the whole 600mm zoom range and back up about 50' I can get some bokeh, but that's not always possible.

For 2014, my goal is to incorporate this new found artsy kind of footage into my videos. I think it will add a unique dimension to my videos that they don't currently have. We'll see.
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Old February 15th, 2014, 08:02 PM   #32
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hi Kyle

Nothing wrong with trusty video cameras. I'm using Sony EA-50's so I CAN if needed reduce the DOF but you have to be careful you don't go too far! We might see the bride in sharp focus and the priest all fuzzy but the bride can easily take that as a poorly focussed shot as "why is the priest's face all fuzzy?"

I have seen too many shots here where the shallow DOF is really overdone and every shot has only inches of focus and it begins to get annoying as it appears to the viewer that that's all the videographer can do.

Moderately shallow DOF can enhance a shot of the couple but overdo it and it looks just plain terrible! It's important not to do an ultra shallow DOF shot just because you can or you need to impress your mates!! There is so much of that sort of eye candy going around it's getting tiresome!!

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Old February 15th, 2014, 08:53 PM   #33
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Yes, they'll want it if the focus is perfect. If your focus is bad, or if your shots consists of hunting for the correct focus, they'll hate it and ask you to get your eyes checked.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 05:56 AM   #34
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Yes, they'll want it if the focus is perfect. If your focus is bad, or if your shots consists of hunting for the correct focus, they'll hate it and ask you to get your eyes checked.
I'm afraid that this seems to be a problem for many new wedding videographers who ask for comments on their work. They seem to make the assumption that they have to have slowmo, glider shots, shallow dof on everything, because that's how they think it's done. The trouble is it is often in and out of focus, badly constructed and has no relevance to the content.

Learn to see what's going on, learn to take relevant and stable footage under all circumstances and perhaps add artsy shots that enhance the footage once you know what you are doing. You won't lose work through having properly framed sharp shots that tell the story with no artsy bits, but you will lose work if you start to use shallow dof that is constantly hunting for focus, slider shots that are wobbling badly and missing bits that the bride wanted because you didn't understand the requirements.

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Old February 16th, 2014, 06:17 AM   #35
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hi Roger

+1 from me!!

Sadly most of the newer people entering the industry tend to skip over the basics and have no knowledge or very little of basic film making rules and techniques. It would definitely pay any newbies into wedding videos to learn that to be a wedding videographer you cannot buy a DSLR and a 50mm F1.4 lens and expect to nail it!! You have to learn the art of film making first and then add the eye candy. Try to short cut the process and most will fail miserably quite soon after they begin. Just remember the icing on the cake is pretty thin and once that has gone, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

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Old February 16th, 2014, 07:22 AM   #36
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

How many times have I said...Proper Exposure...Good Composure...Solid, Steady Footage is the first thing brides will see and THATS what they want before all of the sliders, gliders, shallow DoF and other eye candy. You know why? Their parents and grandparents are going to be watching the video probably more than they (the B&G) will be and us old farts want to be able to see and understand the video.

Having the artsy stuff is GREAT don't get me wrong and some here and not here can produce fantastic stuff but and this is only my opinion based on my experience in my area over my career....they want proper exposure with good composure and they want it solid and steady first and foremost.

As I've said for years...get the real shot in the can first then do whatever you feel like doing.

Maybe I'm just too old school.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 07:35 AM   #37
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hi Don

Not really old school, just experience and professionalism. I see too many photogs over here (mainly young ladies) who leave school, do a crash course at our local college on photography, then once "qualified" Daddy springs for a Canon 5D and flash and VOILA they are professional wedding photographers. I have on countless times had to help so called photogs with my own Nikon gear because they only had one camera (that went on the blink) or only had a pop up flash on the camera (yep she used my pro flash unit all night) or couldn't do a group photo of the guests as she only had a 55-200 zoom (yet again she had to borrow my 11-16 zoom) ...The funny thing is that they charge MORE than me and have to borrow my gear and I'm just the videographer!!!!

I think that too many jump into the deep end way too early with little or poor gear. Hmmm maybe the apprentice scheme needs to be introduced to wedding video so newbies get a good grounding under the watchful eye of the experienced guy before heading off on their own??

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Old February 16th, 2014, 09:10 AM   #38
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Don't forget the sound.

It doesn't matter how gorgeous the pictures are - if the sound is sub par the whole thing is downgraded drastically. That is why some of the short form dudes do only short form. They can't nail the audio.

My first boss told me TV is 70% sound. Like it or not, as others have said: the mums & dads and grandparents want to hear the vows and the speeches. Clearly, not with boomy ambient reverb from a camera mic 5 metres away.

For new wedding videographers starting out: sure, give them a sexy montage to satisfy your artistic need or show off a bit; it doesn't hurt the showreel, but first equip and train yourself to give them a tightly edited full length cut of the ceremony and the speeches. That's the bread and butter of the job IMO.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 09:35 AM   #39
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

I'll admit, when we first got our DSLR's, we ran into a problem of being poorly prepared. We had come from using video cameras, and didn't have anything other than the kit lenses. So when things got dark for the dance.... uh oh.

Then, two years later, I was DJ'ing a wedding and their cousin, who was filming, had that same problem. I loaned him my 50mm and spare batteries and never said a word, because what good would that do?

Back to the question... I tend to think of multiple cameras as being probably most important thing - both for backup, but also variety. Almost none of the filming we do on a wedding day uses shallow depth of field except vows/rings, and the first dance. The two instances where I think it should feel like they're the only people in the world (maybe the 1st look, too). Small, and intimate, if we can. Our goal, the rest of the time, is to shoot f/5.6 - f/8, if we can.

But I tend to think of things like shallow depth of field as a tool, to be used sparingly for effect. I'm also considering picking up a Canon T2i or T3i, literally so I can stick a 14mm or 20mmA lens on it to get a 'larger than life' shot of the groom when I crouch at the head of the aisle for the processional and to put on a boom and film straight down during their first dance. (it would also be an emergency backup);
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Old February 16th, 2014, 10:21 AM   #40
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Way back when I was using a chisel and hammer to make images.....well not really that long ago but back in the early early 70s (1970s NOT 1870s as my grandchildren seem to think) I learned a few tips from an old master. His first rule was "Know your gear". Like the back of your hand so you didn't have to think about gear. That way you could concentrate on the important stuff, like composition and exposure.
Second rule; get the shot, get the shot get the shot. Once you have the NEEDED shot on film, then you can go play and try to get the WANTED shot on film. His third rule was NEVER admit to the client that there was a problem be it camera, lighting, personality or personel...there is NEVER a problem on the job. Fourth rule; always be overprepared on the job. If it calls for certain equipment always have more because once you get on the site things will never be as the client described them to you.
Keep in mind that these rules were meant for still photography but IMO can be applied to video as well.

He had many others but those come to mind right away because I've never forgotten them.

After I started in video in the early 80s I had a mentor who came from a film background and he told me that the key to GREAT video is audio. Mediocre video with great audio equals OK finished product. GREAT video with lousy audio equals BAD video, ticked off client and refunds. Hard way to make a living.

Maybe I'm too old school. ;-)
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Old February 21st, 2014, 07:27 PM   #41
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Lots of great points here.

My intention for what I'll call "DSLR type" footage would primarily be for the Pre-Ceremony/Bridal preps where I'm getting a lot of detail kind of shots... and similar for filler material at the Reception. Also, general shots of the venue and venue details etc.

For the Ceremony, it would be very traditional, as that's what literally 100% of my clients in this area want. The whole Ceremony -start to finish- and we are usually very limited by the church to locked down cams with 2 or 3 operators depending. (but sometimes we can only use 1 camera in the very back for the whole Ceremony even)

I was discussing with other video friends this week, and if I was to eventually get something like a Canon C100, or a Nikon D800, or a Sony FS100, it would be relegated to a wide shot from the back for the Ceremony portion kind of thing. The NX5U and XF300's would be the main guns at the Ceremony.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 08:30 PM   #42
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

I totally agree with a lot of the thoughts here. Personally, it's great to have the latest cameras and for the sharp images they can give but it's only half of it. So, so many videographers have the DSLRs and whatever but they don't know how to frame a shot at all, how a picture is and isn't balanced, the use of light and shade, depth( I don't mean bokeh here), and the best way I've found that does that is to study classic art from the great painters, photographers and film-makers, even music for it's rhythm and structure. Knowing all this gives you an identity and style. There is a fashion lately for shallow dof and for me, a lot of these guys are clones of each other. There is a sterility in their work that seems to miss a key ingredient...emotion. Bokeh here, bokeh there, cut to slider here, cut to tracking shot there....all well and good but like any icing, it soon makes you feel a bit sick.

Style and fashion are two very different things....the first is individual and the latter is for sheep.
Having the latest gear means nothing if the end result doesn't have heart. A film shot tomorrow on an old basic portapak can beat the same subject filmed with a 5D III with a two grand lens.
The talent is in the eye....not the lens and as Chris has said a few times, your average bride who may not know a DSLR from a stethascope only cares about one thing. Does her DVD make her emotions well up when she watches what her videographer has produced for her????
The greatest compliment I get from a bride is when she says it made her cry!
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Old February 21st, 2014, 08:49 PM   #43
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hi Chris

I like your term "icing" At least now I know where the term "eye candy" might have hailed from!

Yes sadly a lot of the "new age" videographers tend to smother the movie with sugar to cover the fact that they have failed to capture any emotion at all and it does tend to be overdone. Basically if a movie does not invoke some kind of emotion then it has failed totally. Of course that doesn't mean that the bride has to burst into tears when she watches it but it must be some sort of emotion which of course can be anything from wonderment, pride and many many more BUT there has to be emotion not just sugar coated pictures!

Funny, but often the least "eye candy" style of shoot sequence will evoke the most emotion! After the ceremony when the couple are congratulations (I have an idea it's called the receiving line in the USA) and that's a simple bit of footage where you can grab almost every emotion under the sun.

I remember one bride showed me her sister's wedding and told me "the frigging videographer spent more time fiddling and adjusting his fancy camera than actually shooting the bits that really mattered to her" Good advice.

Chris
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Old February 21st, 2014, 09:54 PM   #44
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Alfred Eisenstadt a very famous photographer for Life magazine (for those that don't know what Life magazine was...google it) had more covers than any other 2 photogs including the iconic shot of the sailor kissing the nurse at the end of WWll once said "it doesn't matter to me what camera you give me to use. I see the photograph in my mind before I see it in the camera". Ansel Adams was the same on his landscapes. Henri Cartier-Bresson a contemporary of Eisenstadt was the same way. BTW, those 2 were both very small men, one German, one French both used Lieca Mll with a 50mm lens. Period!

The camera and all the fancy gear in the world means nothing. It's HOW it is used to create a series of photographs and tell a story. No matter the bride and groom lived it, they want to see it again and If it's told correctly, it is beautiful. If not, well fill in your own word.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 11:19 PM   #45
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hey Don

I worked for while (a long time ago) as a beach photographer and my boss had been doing the job all his life and yep a 35mm Leica -old and battered but still working. He knew his exposures backwards and being on the beach day in and day out the salt air had actually corroded the aperture ring to the point where it didn't move anymore. It was only beach photography of course but his photos were always stunning!!

I think the more fancy controls you have at your disposal the more photogs tend to fiddle with them and spend less time actually on composition and framing. On video my cams are always on auto some I can use my precious time on what I'm shooting rather than playing with various features! If the image looks good in auto then that's where it stays ...obviously in tricky lighting or focus conditions I do have to over-ride settings but that's kept to a minimum so I can concentrate on what I'm shooting rather than the cameras.

Goes without saying that it's not the camera but the person behind the camera that makes the difference!

Chris
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