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Old June 4th, 2014, 09:51 AM   #31
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig McKenna View Post
..............My only questions here are:
Do you not get an awful hitting sound when the speakers are holding the mic? I know my tabletop Tascams are extremely sensitive to that event.
Do you monitor sound using your cameras headphone socket for the G3 kit?

Have many people expressed their dislike of lights to you during a ceremony etc?
The Sennheiser mic is really well made and I've not experienced any handling noise, obviously you'll get pops/clicks if the speaker holds it too close, but thats part of the scene, it's a live event, you don't know if the speaker will stand still, lower the mic, wave it about breath heavily on it, you can advise them where to hold it etc. but usually they'll do their own thing anyway.

I monitor the audio using a cheap Sony headset it has reversible earcups for single-sided monitoring.


I get asked by a few couples 'do you use lights? will they be distracting' I guess some people compare them to the days when you needed big lights for video, some have expressed concern about lights ruining the atmosphere!
Once while using a light, I had a photographer complain that my light was causing him problems! I replied that his focus assisted beam, pre-flash and full flash, didn't impress me either ;-)
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Old June 4th, 2014, 06:46 PM   #32
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Right on with the light story Rob

They squeal and complain about a dim fill light on the camera and then whilst filming the bride a bright orange matrix pattern appears on her dress and even on her face. I don't even hide that footage any more but explain that she needs to ask the photog why he left his flash assist on!

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Old June 5th, 2014, 02:39 AM   #33
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

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Originally Posted by Rob Cantwell View Post
Once while using a light, I had a photographer complain that my light was causing him problems!
Had that comment from a photog back in my canon xh-a1 days as well, also once just before the first dance in a very dark candle lit venue, I put on my oncamera light at the dancefloor across the DJ (about 10 meters from him) and he came up to me asking if I please could turn of the light as it was blinding him :)
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Old June 5th, 2014, 06:02 PM   #34
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Craig,

Unfortunately there's no methodology to becoming a "pro."

It took 2 years for us to get steady work, and 3 to break the $2,000 market. We started charging lower and raising prices as the years went on. I do not recommend this as it is harder to raise prices for references that previous clients referred.

It also took us 3 years to find our style. Don't be afraid to experiment and take risks. As long as you don't mess around with the ceremony, dances, and speeches, you have the freedom to shoot what you want. Playing around with the edit is also a good way to distinguish yourself and have fun.
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Old June 6th, 2014, 02:53 AM   #35
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Right on with the light story Rob

They squeal and complain about a dim fill light on the camera and then whilst filming the bride a bright orange matrix pattern appears on her dress and even on her face. I don't even hide that footage any more but explain that she needs to ask the photog why he left his flash assist on!

Chris
God I get that more and more - looks like they're being stalked by the predator!!!! Think it's just Nikons that have that - thankfully most togs in my area at least use Canon.
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Old June 6th, 2014, 02:54 AM   #36
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Had that comment from a photog back in my canon xh-a1 days as well, also once just before the first dance in a very dark candle lit venue, I put on my oncamera light at the dancefloor across the DJ (about 10 meters from him) and he came up to me asking if I please could turn of the light as it was blinding him :)
I would have not turned it off in that situation - i explain to people that even though my gear is exceedingly good in low light situations they're not magic cameras - they still need light to record an image - did he not use his flash then!!!
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Old June 10th, 2014, 02:51 PM   #37
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
Its easy to monitor the Levels on the LCD display of either you cam or your recording device whichever you are using at that moment. If its your cam its probably just a matter of turning a knob if the Levels appear to be peaking too high - I ignore crowds clapping when looking at the peaking as that is bound to be far higher than the rest of the take.

On a device like the H4n, if you have 3 inputs on the go - being 1 x internal mics and 2 x XLR channels - you see 3 different Levels in the graphical display. You can adjust each input by pressing its appropriate button then twitching the rocker switch on the units side.
How do I get a Zoom H4N to read levels via XLR when the mics are at least 15 feet away? Do you use long XLR cables? Sounds like I just need to get the gear and then learn... sounds much easier once you know how, although I never think capturing audio will be referred to as 'easy' per se.

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
For something like speeches once you've checked the Levels for that particular speaker you are pretty much safe to leave it. For something like music in the evening not so as the DJs often change the volume. Therefore if your audio recorder is getting a wireless feed you don't have to go back to where a wired recorder might be perched to adjust that.

One thing that is confusing about the H4n is that although its onboard mics record in stereo to the left and the right channel, and that is all visible in your NLE as expected, its a bit different using the XLR inputs.

With XLR one input goes to one channel and the other to the 2nd channel of the same track. So if you are recording 2 different input sources 1 to each XLR socket you may appear to have "lost" one of your recordings. But what has really happened is that the XLR-1 input has gone to the left channel and the XLR-2 input to the right channel. They are both there but its not immediately obvious - it can look like you've only got the left channel. But its easy to deal with that in an NLE like Vegas.
Thanks a lot for these tips!!! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
I looked at the Zoom H6 this afternoon in my local music store - Dawsons - but I was not impressed. That is a huge device. I wouldn't want to put it on top of a dSLR :- ) The build quality was not as nice as I was expecting but the killer for me was I thought that the LCD display is too small to monitor several inputs on it.

I'll stick with my H4n. Be careful of the H4n auto-Levels function if you get one. It has a strange way of dealing with it if there is a sudden peak - everything after the peak will be too quiet on auto.
There is a useful H4n training DVD here:

Zoom H4n Handy Recorder DVD Tutorial | ProAudioDVDs.comProAudioDVDs.com

Its own manual is quite daunting as the device caters for a whole bunch of musician needs.

Pete
Thanks a lot, would you recommend the H4N over TASCAM equivalents? I feel like TASCAM seem to be more respected in the reviews that I read... but that the H4N is the more popular product for on the go pros? If so, I'll pick up that tutorial and a H4N! Now that I'm considering this as a potential business, I'm almost kicking myself for choosing M4/3 over Canon... so I can imagine I would feel the same if I chose TASCAM over Zoom in some ways... sometimes it's just easier to travel with the pack as third party add ons are more widely accessible. In saying that, I can't wait for the GH4... so M4/3 is definitely on the right lines... just a shame it can't really stand up against the ISO of a Sony FF / Canon C100 - a conversation for a different thread though. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Cantwell View Post
The Sennheiser mic is really well made and I've not experienced any handling noise, obviously you'll get pops/clicks if the speaker holds it too close, but thats part of the scene, it's a live event, you don't know if the speaker will stand still, lower the mic, wave it about breath heavily on it, you can advise them where to hold it etc. but usually they'll do their own thing anyway.

I monitor the audio using a cheap Sony headset it has reversible earcups for single-sided monitoring.

I get asked by a few couples 'do you use lights? will they be distracting' I guess some people compare them to the days when you needed big lights for video, some have expressed concern about lights ruining the atmosphere!
Once while using a light, I had a photographer complain that my light was causing him problems! I replied that his focus assisted beam, pre-flash and full flash, didn't impress me either ;-)
Sweet - thanks a lot for this feedback... I'm really intrigued with the Rode Video Mic Pro... but I'm going to consider the Sennheiser now too!

I can understand that... but when I view videos with a light for the first dance, I always think the footage looks a lot better!!! Hahaha focus assist beam seems the most pointless thing! I turned it off on my OMD and it still focuses fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Calabig View Post
Craig,

Unfortunately there's no methodology to becoming a "pro."

It took 2 years for us to get steady work, and 3 to break the $2,000 market. We started charging lower and raising prices as the years went on. I do not recommend this as it is harder to raise prices for references that previous clients referred.

It also took us 3 years to find our style. Don't be afraid to experiment and take risks. As long as you don't mess around with the ceremony, dances, and speeches, you have the freedom to shoot what you want. Playing around with the edit is also a good way to distinguish yourself and have fun.
Thanks Edward. I can definitely understand where you're coming from!!! It's knowing more about the business side (or rather, understanding my lack of knowledge) that has made me want to seek out more of an understanding of the market and recommendations for the ways in which you go about your business via CreativeLive.

How many weddings a year do you shoot? I've figured that I'd need to shoot about 30 to break my current wages, but then when I consider the equipment involved, I wonder how you all manage to stay afloat?! Yet it seems like it can be hugely profitable at the same time?!

Definitely! Thank you!!! I am definitely wanting to do more... I'm hoping to have four weddings in my summer weeks... so we'll see what happens!!! :D

What would your recommendations be if I were to start up a business in a year's time?
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Old June 10th, 2014, 04:23 PM   #38
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

How do I get a Zoom H4N to read levels via XLR when the mics are at least 15 feet away? Do you use long XLR cables? Sounds like I just need to get the gear and then learn...*

The distance is irrelevant as is the method of connection. You could be 15 inches away or 150 yards, and could be hard-wired or wireless. The Levels display shows you what the device is receiving regardless. On the Zoom H4n there are three possible Levels displays 1) for the onboard mics 2) for the XLR input No 1, and 3) for the XLR input No 2. To view the Levels for any one input you just press its corresponding button alongside. If you need to then adjust the Levels you use a rocker type switch on the right side.

Yep you do need to plunge in and muck about with the equipment. One thing that catches everyone out with the H4n is that the record button must be pressed twice to start recording. The first press simply tells it to display the Levels on the LCD. I've watcheda webinar from a respected photography tutor of several decades standing in which there was an H4n in front of him blinking away – indicating that he had forgotton to press Record twice :- ) He must have used a backup – which is always a very good thing to have with audio.

As with video and stills I think you learn quickest and in the most depth if you force yourself into demanding situations rather than just experimenting at home with TV sets and radios and family pets :- ) A local amateur dramatics group doing rehearsals might work well – though you would have to manage their expectations very firmly so that they understand exactly why you are there.

would you recommend the H4N over TASCAM equivalents?

I have no personal experience with Tascams. I feel there has been some snootiness from audio professionals towards Zooms though not from working wedding professionals who were quick to identify their considerable benefits. I've had my H4n for at least 4 years and there wasn't as much choice around then. At that time its X-Y onboard mic configuration was a winner as was its capacity for tow XLR inputs. Oh and the metal socket in the back to accept standard male photographic 1/4”x20 screws as found on tripod plates, friction arms etc.

The H4n is silly cheap now what with the introduction of the Zoom H5. The H5 is a smaller version of the H6; my reaction has been “so what”.

Audio pros working in film and TV (other than reality shows) don't like recorders of these types partly because of what they call the noise floor. But in wedding work there is seldom if ever a moment of complete silence so slight noise from the recorder is irrelevant.

Noa will be pleased to know that I've just bought a recorder for the specific purpose of strapping to venue handheld mics :- ) Its the Olympus VN-733PC. It was on Amazon special deals at £40 today. There are all sorts of things wrong with it (only two Levels settings [though it appears to have an onboard Normalize function and Low Pass], no tripod bush etc) but in the right set of circumstances it should be a lifesaver – those being where there are multiple reception speakers who are impossible to lav up, who may pop up anywhere and at anytime, and there in no reliable feed from the DJ deck available. I have a GoPro velcro wrist strap which I can use to fasten it to a venue mic.

Hey, be careful not to assume that most weddings will be like the one you shot recently where all the stars and planets seemed to be in alignment :- ) And be very careful about income projections. Videography has a place in the sun at present rather like stills did a few years ago. But stills went from being a low paid job to a highly paid job then back to a low paid job in the space of about 7 years. Video may well prove to be the same. It still beats having to hold down a proper job though :- )

Pete
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Old June 10th, 2014, 05:08 PM   #39
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
How do I get a Zoom H4N to read levels via XLR when the mics are at least 15 feet away? Do you use long XLR cables? Sounds like I just need to get the gear and then learn...*

The distance is irrelevant as is the method of connection. You could be 15 inches away or 150 yards, and could be hard-wired or wireless. The Levels display shows you what the device is receiving regardless. On the Zoom H4n there are three possible Levels displays 1) for the onboard mics 2) for the XLR input No 1, and 3) for the XLR input No 2. To view the Levels for any one input you just press its corresponding button alongside. If you need to then adjust the Levels you use a rocker type switch on the right side.
Thanks Peter, I was under the impression that most of you wouldn't use a longer cable - don't ask me why. I would love for everything to be wirelessly inputted into my camera for fear that someone would slip over my cables, but I also understand the need to back up etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
Yep you do need to plunge in and muck about with the equipment. One thing that catches everyone out with the H4n is that the record button must be pressed twice to start recording. The first press simply tells it to display the Levels on the LCD. I've watcheda webinar from a respected photography tutor of several decades standing in which there was an H4n in front of him blinking away – indicating that he had forgotton to press Record twice :- ) He must have used a backup – which is always a very good thing to have with audio.

As with video and stills I think you learn quickest and in the most depth if you force yourself into demanding situations rather than just experimenting at home with TV sets and radios and family pets :- ) A local amateur dramatics group doing rehearsals might work well – though you would have to manage their expectations very firmly so that they understand exactly why you are there.
My TASCAM works in the same way - you would not believe how many times I looked at the record sign to believe that it was actually recording (OCD!) :) As for taking the plunge, I think I'm going to buy the Sennheiser Wireless kit and a H4N - then I'll consider additional kit. If I was to buy the Sennheiser Wireless kit, that's going to be about £550, the H4N around £200, and then I'd be looking at getting a few lavs / recorders. Then a second Sachtler Ace. Fortunately, I can throw myself into the deep end, as I've already secured one wedding in the first week of August - for free, and I've offered myself for free to a number of other clients via a photographer, but I'm just waiting for feedback from them. I was quite clear that I wouldn't put a commercialised song on their video if they were going to post it online, but that I'd be willing to buy a song for them to use online from themusicbed.com if that was what they wanted to do... but then I didn't offer the ceremony etc. and now I'm thinking that might have been a mistake.

Sounds interesting! I have the opportunity to do school stuff, as I'm a teacher... but I really want to stay focused on doing weddings, as I'm interested in the storytelling aspect the most, along with creatively shooting a wedding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
would you recommend the H4N over TASCAM equivalents?

I have no personal experience with Tascams. I feel there has been some snootiness from audio professionals towards Zooms though not from working wedding professionals who were quick to identify their considerable benefits. I've had my H4n for at least 4 years and there wasn't as much choice around then. At that time its X-Y onboard mic configuration was a winner as was its capacity for tow XLR inputs. Oh and the metal socket in the back to accept standard male photographic 1/4”x20 screws as found on tripod plates, friction arms etc.

The H4n is silly cheap now what with the introduction of the Zoom H5. The H5 is a smaller version of the H6; my reaction has been “so what”.

Audio pros working in film and TV (other than reality shows) don't like recorders of these types partly because of what they call the noise floor. But in wedding work there is seldom if ever a moment of complete silence so slight noise from the recorder is irrelevant.
That sounds about right and I think you've helped me to consider the H4N along with the TASCAMs! :)

Definitely, and for the most part with NLEs, I'm guessing it's easy to take out too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
Noa will be pleased to know that I've just bought a recorder for the specific purpose of strapping to venue handheld mics :- ) Its the Olympus VN-733PC. It was on Amazon special deals at £40 today. There are all sorts of things wrong with it (only two Levels settings [though it appears to have an onboard Normalize function and Low Pass], no tripod bush etc) but in the right set of circumstances it should be a lifesaver – those being where there are multiple reception speakers who are impossible to lav up, who may pop up anywhere and at anytime, and there in no reliable feed from the DJ deck available. I have a GoPro velcro wrist strap which I can use to fasten it to a venue mic.

Hey, be careful not to assume that most weddings will be like the one you shot recently where all the stars and planets seemed to be in alignment :- ) And be very careful about income projections. Videography has a place in the sun at present rather like stills did a few years ago. But stills went from being a low paid job to a highly paid job then back to a low paid job in the space of about 7 years. Video may well prove to be the same. It still beats having to hold down a proper job though :- )

Pete
Nice purchase Pete! GoPro velcro wrist strap would be a great buy too by the sounds of it!!!

Hahaha I know!!! I await my first major problem with mixed excitement! :) I guess taking as many precautions as I could lead to a successful wedding - I visited the venue, visualised my movements, wrote a seven page plan of the day, which took almost a day to write and constantly thought of every situation... it was actually quite exhausting. What is a worry I guess, is that this is unmanageable and so it's bound to be the case that I come into problems in my next few weddings. I'll just have to see how it goes!!!

Woah, yeah I'll be careful. I am thinking that the average salary of a mildly successful videographer, who shoots the kind of weddings you all seem to do on a regular basis would be around £35,000 a year before taxes.

Would that be an accurate guesstimate?

Definitely!!! :D Mostly, I just want to make memories doing what I love!
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Old June 12th, 2014, 10:57 AM   #40
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

I have skimmed through the replies and you have been given good advice. There is not really just one right way to get audio at the wedding and reception. Some use wireless systems and some use pocket recorders for the vows.

I used wireless systems (Sennheiser) for for over 10 years. When making the move to DSLR in 2010 I switched over to using Yamaha C24s, which are now discontinued. A similar unit with lav mic from Giant Squid or others similar lav work great and cost a fraction of Sennheiser G3 systems. With a pocket recorder you never have wireless static or interference and can have 2-3 pocket recorders for the price of one Sennheiser G3.

For several years I have used a Zoom H4n to get a board feed from the DJ or band. I have the 3 audio possibilities (RCA, 1/4 inch and XLR) cables on one end and XLR on the other end. I use an XLR attenuator when the DJ or band gives me a line level feed that is too hot for the H4n.

I tell you this because when I had a really loud band, the signal was still too hot for the attenuator to handle. I use the Hosa ATT488 which does 20, 30, or 40 dB of attenuation. Earlier this year I bought a Tascam DR40 because it can handle line level, which it does wonderfully, without the attenuator. Another benefit of the DR40 is that it can record a backup track at -12dB, so you have a safety track in case the main track is too hot.

In addition to getting a feed from the board or powered speaker, during the reception, I place a Rode M3 on a mic stand in front of the DJ or band speakers. The M3 is built like a tank and you have the option to use an internal 9 volt battery or use phantom power, which the H4n and DR40 can supply.

For reception lighting I use Yongnuo YN600 LED 3200k-5500k lights on light stands. If you feel the YN600 is too big, you can remove the barn doors to make the foot print a little smaller or they also have a YN300 model which does a good job as well. If you have large dance floors the YN600 is brighter and has a wider spread.

Both models offer a 3200k-5500k as well as a 5500k only. I prefer the 3200k-5500k unit so if the reception is being lit with LED lights that are 5500k balanced you you can match it. If the lighting is mixed you can use a mix of the 3200K and 5500k LEDs in the Yongnuo to match the surroundings.

In addition to variable color temperatures the YN600 and YN300 come with wireless remotes to turn the light on or off as well a adjust the brightness. Having a variable color temp light with a dimmer is very beneficial for the wedding reception, but having a wireless remote makes it all that much more usable.

Okay for the price. You can find the Yongnuo lights on ebay or Amazon for about $75 for the YN300 and about $150 for the YN600. All you need to do is add Sony style batteries and a light stand.
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Old June 15th, 2014, 10:30 AM   #41
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Re: Lighting and Audio: £1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

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Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
I have skimmed through the replies and you have been given good advice. There is not really just one right way to get audio at the wedding and reception. Some use wireless systems and some use pocket recorders for the vows.

I used wireless systems (Sennheiser) for over 10 years. When making the move to DSLR in 2010 I switched over to using Yamaha C24s, which are now discontinued. A similar unit with lav mic from Giant Squid or others similar lav work great and cost a fraction of Sennheiser G3 systems. With a pocket recorder you never have wireless static or interference and can have 2-3 pocket recorders for the price of one Sennheiser G3.

For several years I have used a Zoom H4n to get a board feed from the DJ or band. I have the 3 audio possibilities (RCA, 1/4 inch and XLR) cables on one end and XLR on the other end. I use an XLR attenuator when the DJ or band gives me a line level feed that is too hot for the H4n.

I tell you this because when I had a really loud band, the signal was still too hot for the attenuator to handle. I use the Hosa ATT488 which does 20, 30, or 40 dB of attenuation. Earlier this year I bought a Tascam DR40 because it can handle line level, which it does wonderfully, without the attenuator. Another benefit of the DR40 is that it can record a backup track at -12dB, so you have a safety track in case the main track is too hot.

In addition to getting a feed from the board or powered speaker, during the reception, I place a Rode M3 on a mic stand in front of the DJ or band speakers. The M3 is built like a tank and you have the option to use an internal 9 volt battery or use phantom power, which the H4n and DR40 can supply.

For reception lighting I use Yongnuo YN600 LED 3200k-5500k lights on light stands. If you feel the YN600 is too big, you can remove the barn doors to make the foot print a little smaller or they also have a YN300 model which does a good job as well. If you have large dance floors the YN600 is brighter and has a wider spread.

Both models offer a 3200k-5500k as well as a 5500k only. I prefer the 3200k-5500k unit so if the reception is being lit with LED lights that are 5500k balanced you you can match it. If the lighting is mixed you can use a mix of the 3200K and 5500k LEDs in the Yongnuo to match the surroundings.

In addition to variable color temperatures the YN600 and YN300 come with wireless remotes to turn the light on or off as well a adjust the brightness. Having a variable color temp light with a dimmer is very beneficial for the wedding reception, but having a wireless remote makes it all that much more usable.

Okay for the price. You can find the Yongnuo lights on ebay or Amazon for about $75 for the YN300 and about $150 for the YN600. All you need to do is add Sony style batteries and a light stand.
Thank you so much for this post, incredibly useful!!!

I am looking at investing around £1500 now - a second Sachtler Ace tripod (£500), a thousand on audio equipment and lighting. I'm going to use this thread to help with my investments. My next wedding is in the first week of August at the moment.

This should round up my equipment purchases, and I'll move on to sorting out my storage and eventual Mac Pro / iMac.

Excited. Thanks again to everyone who posted. This information is truly invaluable.
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