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

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Old October 9th, 2005, 12:01 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Houston
Posts: 28
Lessons from my first wedding

Hi all,

First off thank you for all of your help, I just completed my first wedding DVD, and this forum has been an invaluable resource as I was learning, and during the editing of my video. I wanted to pass along some of the things I learned from my experiences -- many of which are probably stone cold obvious but I had to learn them the hard way.

I volunteered to film my sister-in-law's wedding so I could get some practice. My equipment was a Sony HDR-FX1 with a Beechtek XLR adapter, Azden shotgun mic and UHF wireless lav system. I also had a Bogen/Manfrotto tripod and fluid head. Sounds impressive, but if I had to go back and buy over again, the first thing I would order is a couple of the biggest spare batteries and an external charger. On the wedding day I just barely made it through the ceremony with the stock Sony battery, and the rest of the day I was madly running from an electrical outlet to charge the battery and then back to the reception to try to capture important moments.

Another embarrassing lesson I learned is to always check ALL of your equipment during the rehearsal. I didn't test out the wireless lav I placed on the groom because I thought, "Hey, it's an Azden UHF system, it's a better system than the preacher is using." Which turned out to be exactly true, so after the father walked the bride down and the preacher was trying to welcome everyone, his mic (which was hooked up to loudspeakers behind the audience) kept cutting out because of interference from my system. They eventually gave him a backup handheld mic, but it was very humiliating for me and frustrating for everyone else.

On editing, all I can say is thank you Apple. I edited over 4 hours of pure HDV on my aging iMac G4 with a 1GHz processor and a minimal 768MB of RAM (actually less than the system requirements of iMovie HD for editing HDV). Try doing that on an old Windows system. I used iMovie HD and iDVD 5, and after this I don't think I will need to upgrade to FCE as I was planning on doing, maybe just the computer. It was a test in patience, but I was able to make a very nice video. Obviously it would have been nice to have a Dual G5 PowerMac, but you make do with what you have.

Some things on my wishlist:
- a HVR-Z1U instead of the FX1, and a secondary camera in the form of a HVR-A1U

- Dual G5 PowerMac , or Intel PowerMac :)

- Larger external hard drive, my 120 GB was almost not enough.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for all of the great information on this forum. I think I will need at least two more weddings pro bono before I feel good enough to charge for my services. I hope this will help someone not make the same mistakes as I did.
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Old October 9th, 2005, 12:08 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Houston
Posts: 28
I forgot to mention that iDVD 5 has a bug with widescreen videos. It will recognize widescreen movies and even preview them correctly as widescreen, but then when you burn it to a disc, it improperly writes the file that tells your DVD player to letterbox on a standard television set. Here's a link that explains the workaround.

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