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

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Old February 12th, 2015, 04:57 AM   #16
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Re: Steadicam use at weddings

James seems like you use your steadicam for most of the wedding - what is your lens of choice - the one thing that puts me off using my steadicam indoors is having a shallow DOF and therefore focus issues - I seem to get a lot of fairly dark receptions and find myself filming wide open - and I would worry about soft footage with a steadicam as you have to pretty much set the focus and forget It

Unfortunately as a solo shooter I tend to play safe and although I have dug out my Merlin for a few very short test I would be loathe to experiment at someone's wedding :/

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Old February 12th, 2015, 05:34 AM   #17
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Re: Steadicam use at weddings

If you shoot with aps-c or full frame sensor then focusing quickly becomes an issue when you need to shoot wide open, a sony a7s would be a good choice because you could shoot at a higher f-stop while just ramping up the iso until the exposure is right but even then I think that f5.6 might be a bit tricky to maintain focus.

My m4/3 camera's are great for steadicam use, I use a 12mm and shoot at f2.0 at receptions, that should be about 24mm equivalent on a full frame. If it really gets dark I need to shoot at 3200 iso, sometimes 6400 iso but have not ran into a situations where that was insufficient. What I can see with my eye's I"m able to record, while a a7S would enable me to shoot much brighter I don't see a need for that, this because I want to show it how it was at that moment, not looking to turn night into day. There have been occasions where they turn all the lights out during the first dance and only have candle light on the table and no DJ lights, in such a case I just place a videolight on one side facing away from the guests so I have a small fill light which works fine for those extreme cases.

Also at f2.0 if I set my focus to 2 to 3 meters in front of me I can safely track whatever I want without having to worry about things getting out of focus too much. I use a blackbird steadicam which has a stand that enables you to place it down on the ground, in that case I don't need to have a special stand, like you have with bigger steadicams with arm and vest and just can take the steadicam with me and have it in standby when needed.

I also work solo and start using the steadicam at the reception, best investment I have made and use it all through the evening, not constantly but for several important and candyeye shots.
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Old February 12th, 2015, 02:48 PM   #18
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Re: Steadicam use at weddings

Focus is an interesting question... Would be very interested to hear about what other people are doing in this regard (maybe some people are using dual pixel autofocus on C100s!).

For DSLR, since people often try to shoot the entire day on primes, 24 and 35 I think are favoured lenses for full frame. I think Still Motion used to use 14 with crop sensor. If you're really adventurous, you can use 50, or even 85, 100 -- the tighter lenses might not work a lot of the time, but for the few seconds they do, you get eye-catching footage.

I guess the tricks I personally use include:

1. Generally shoot wider than normal -- 16mm f/2.8 stopped down as much as possible during day, but sometimes 24 f/1.4 at night.
2. Depth of field calculator on phone. So I can see if, say, I shoot full frame with a 16mm at f/2.8 with focus at 1.5m, then I've got 1m-3m in focus. If I set focus to 3.03m, then 1.5m to infinity is allegedly in focus.
3. One-touch autofocus for quick focusing.
4. Other than that, it's kind of down to looking at the screen and trying to keep same distance from object. But, compositionally, it seems to be not so bad as long as something is in focus as you're moving around. Some foreground maybe. Then it kind of feels intentional. If nothing is in focus, then that's dodgy.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; February 12th, 2015 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old February 12th, 2015, 03:50 PM   #19
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Re: Steadicam use at weddings

As everyone else is saying, I've just gotten used to knowing whats in focus and not. That isnt to say I still don't blow it a little every so often. Try to be as wide as possible. With my old setup I shot at 40mm 2.0 with the glidecam and just knew how far to be away for things to be in focus.

My new setup is a sony A7S. The full frame is nice with a 24mm lens I am much wider. Its so good in the dark that I can pretty much shoot f5 everywhere and have much more forgiving dof.

Other pro tip is to use the smallest stabilizer u can find. I run my setup with just a glidecam hd1000, their smallest unit. Makes all the difference on my arm.
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Old February 12th, 2015, 06:10 PM   #20
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Re: Steadicam use at weddings

On APSC sensors I use a 10-24 zoom and leave it wide open at F3.5 and lock focus at around 2.5' ...I'm usually around 10' from the subjects so that gives me a DOF from 2' right out to infinity at 10mm so the camera becomes a point and shoot long as I am no closer than 2' everything is in focus and sharp.

It would be neat to be able to shoot indoors with my 18mm at F1.8 but focus is pretty critical at dark venues! I mentally know in my head what my DOF limits are at different focal lengths on the 10 -24 so I can tweak the focus now and again. I used to use the 18mm lens on the camera with auto focus but it hunted badly in low light!!
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