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Old February 18th, 2015, 05:02 PM   #1
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Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Some random changes I've made to my formula over the past month or two.

1. Belt for female celebrants. It works! If she doesn't have pockets, and doesn't have a belt you can clip a transmitter to, ask her to wear a belt you've brought along. A black belt goes with any outfit. She'll grumble, but she'll do it.

2. "Reserved for videographer." -- Sign to be left on pew, so you've got a convenient position from which to get groom first look, bridal entry, handover, and then can easily shift into aisle for ceremony proper. Can shoot from the pews with a tripod with the legs folded up, so that it's acting as a monopod, then unfold the legs when you can move into aisle.

3. Double-angle coverage of main events whenever possible. Eg: during reception, two cameras on speaker rather than just one. It did save my butt on Saturday when a camera failed due to Magic Lantern woes, and it's peace of mind if you're not using a C100-type camera that has dual recording.

4. Tilt/shift lens for dancing.

5. Interviews with bridal party during prep, and with parents, especially mothers (since they often don't give speeches).

6. Specifically asking MC for a break between speeches and cake-cut (to change lenses, adjust lighting, move tripods off dance floor).
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Old February 18th, 2015, 05:20 PM   #2
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

great tips Adrian - thanks for sharing. Here's one of my own -If exchanging letters, ask the bride and groom to each read the letters they wrote out loud (in private before presenting to each other) so you can record and use as sound bites as needed.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

tilt shift lens for dancing? how does that look/work? why did you choose that particular route?

thanks!
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Old February 18th, 2015, 05:45 PM   #4
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

I've only used it on the last three weddings, and don't have a good edited example to show. Maybe it won't work in the edit! I don't entirely know yet...

I suppose it was inspired by a number of things -- some mostly-failed experiments with lens whacking I tried over the last year or two, some videos Luke Oliver posted in the samples section, which have a very impressionistic feel during reception dancing, and also by general boredom with my previous setup. I'm hoping tilt can distinguish my videos a little more from other people's (I haven't used the "shift" part of tilt/shift).

As to what it looks like... I'm still trying to get my mind around how the thing works. As a videographer, you notice that the image looks different from a normal lens; you notice something is a little weird; I don't know if a normal person would notice anything. The way I think about it is: (1) further isolation -- it's not only shallow depth of field that lets you pick out objects and blur out everything else now, but that plane of focus is further isolated vertically or horizontally; (2) creating a little more visual interest when there's not much foreground or background -- eg, pointing the lens at a painting on a wall, and you can isolate just part of it, whereas normally the whole thing would be in focus. I haven't tried it from a distance to create the miniature effect, but that's another usage.

My physics is terrible, and I don't entirely understand optically how it works. I think it's possible sometimes to connect an object with another -- ie, an object in foreground and in middleground is in focus, and everything else is blurred. And maybe that effect is useful sometimes.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 05:46 PM   #5
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

I'd like to see the results of the tilt-shift for dancing. I'm always trying to simplify, so if the lens doesn't get used much, I'd rather leave it home (especially an expensive lens like a T/S).
Good ideas though. I like the 'reserved for videographer' sign. As for the black belt, have you considered getting those money belts instead? They are meant to be worn under the clothing, and can easily hold a wireless transmitter. Oriented towards the back, it shouldn't be too distracting (barring a skin-tight outfit on the officiant).

I'll add to that list, portable USB battery pack. I have a few, some that will power the Zoom unit for days on end. I'm no longer stressed about running low on juice when doing a 3 or 4 hour continuous recording.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 06:44 PM   #6
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Hey Oren, in all honesty it would probably be a leave at home lens for you. I've got a 90 f/2.8 and it simply adds to the bags without replacing anything. Speaking in Canon terms, for general purpose tele, a 70-200 is a lot better, or 100 macro with IS. These lenses also let you autofocus. For lowlight, an 85 1.2 is better.

Re money belt, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for the idea!

About the battery, what type do you use? I use Tekkeon batteries, which add a bit of weight to the bag. I think it's possible to design a battery plate, or there may be battery plates out there, that take one or two Sony batteries or similar, and maybe that's a smart way to go if you also use Sony batteries for other things, like lights.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 07:05 PM   #7
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Varga View Post
If exchanging letters, ask the bride and groom to each read the letters they wrote out loud (in private before presenting to each other) so you can record and use as sound bites as needed.
That's a good tip! I misread it the first time I looked at it. But you're right -- I often get the bride reading the groom's letter and vice versa, but seldom get them reading their own letters. I think it's the sort of thing you've got to talk to them about before the wedding, in case they send the letters the night before.

Ideally, I suppose, you could get each of them reading both letters, so you can cut from one scene to another using that audio to join them, which would be pretty amazing actually...

Another tip I'm thinking I ought to take on board from Chris Harding -- specifically ask for a "video shoot" before the photoshoot. I think American weddings might be structured differently, with a first look and couple portraiture session before the ceremony, but here there's normally about 45-90 minutes of bridal party photoshoot after the ceremony, but before the reception. If you specifically ask for your videoshoot time, not only would you be able to not have a photographer bulldozing over everything, but you could leave earlier to set up at reception.
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Old February 20th, 2015, 08:48 AM   #8
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Really like the sign idea, Adrian! Art, love the idea of the b and g reading their own letters, very good, thanks for sharing!
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Old February 20th, 2015, 10:02 AM   #9
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Good stuff, Adrian. We run 3 cameras with 2 operators, so always try to have 2 cameras on the main action, usually one wider than the other, even if its just to make the edit later easier, so I can cut things out. Camera #3 will usually be cutaways. Now we've got a GoPro to integrate.

For us, the emphasis this year will be on non-B&G vips like parents and grandparents. Specifically, something we're calling 'family stories.' Its really just getting the people most important to the B&G on camera, talking about... anything, really. Hopefully that will up the rewatchability of our videos over 5, 10, and 20 years since, once grandma passes, she'll still be on the video talking about how she met grandpa on an 8th grade sledding trip (that one actually happened).

We'll expand it by, if we can, getting a few photos of the people talking - it'd be nice to have grandma and grandpa's wedding picture pop up on screen, or a few other great photos.
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Old February 20th, 2015, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Adrian, if you're recording device has a USB power input, then any portable USB battery pack will work. The small ones (lipstick size) are portable, but won't give you the same peace of mind of the larger units. I prefer the Anker packs, but they all do pretty much the same. http://amzn.com/B009USAJCC
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Old February 21st, 2015, 08:37 AM   #11
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Quick thought re tilt: it's easy to create the effect in post. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. (Or rather, I do know -- it's simply because I'm an idiot).

Duplicate layer. Fast blur the bottom layer. Apply a feathered rectangular mask to top layer. Angle it horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Hey presto -- you've saved yourself $2500 on a lens.

Of course, it's possible that in-camera effects always look slightly better. But $2500 better? Not sure about that...

Last edited by Adrian Tan; February 21st, 2015 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Because I wasn't awake when I first posted this
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 11:16 AM   #12
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Re: Random stuff I've incorporated lately

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Quick thought re tilt: it's easy to create the effect in post. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. (Or rather, I do know -- it's simply because I'm an idiot).

Duplicate layer. Fast blur the bottom layer. Apply a feathered rectangular mask to top layer. Angle it horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Hey presto -- you've saved yourself $2500 on a lens.

Of course, it's possible that in-camera effects always look slightly better. But $2500 better? Not sure about that...
I have mixed feeling about this. Using a tilt-shift looks much better than doing it in post. You can get some great results with this lens, although I've never used one for a reception. However, as much as I like the effect, a little goes a long way and I often find that I don't take the time to use it so it generally stays in the bag. If you have the time, money and room in your bag, these are fun to use and they can provide really unique results. I'm glad that I have it but if I had it to do over I would have probably purchased a different lens.
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