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


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Old August 9th, 2015, 05:56 PM   #1
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Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

It's sometimes all too easy to make purchases that have an obvious affect on your shooting and footage quality, but sometimes it's harder to part with money on things that will improve your own experience as a worker.

Today, I finally made one of those purchases.

I use two static cameras for safety/cutaway shots during ceremony/speeches/firstdance.

In most cases I set them up and wait as long as possible before hitting record.

This has caught me out on a few occasions when things have been sprung on me.

Today I bought higher capacity batteries, and bigger cards... From now on I'm going to start recording from whenever I set the cameras up - even if the cameras are rolling from 30/45minutes before the event.

Anyone else have any tips or examples on money spent in a way that simply benefits the video guys sanity and stress levels??
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Old August 9th, 2015, 07:01 PM   #2
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

-- Bags. When I bought my first big wheeled tripod case, it was a "Where have you been all my life?" sort of moment. Wallet hurt, but back hurt less, and it was liberating to reduce a mess of bags down to one big bag.

-- Laptop. So helpful to have a second computer you can render on or copy things with while your desktop is used for something else.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 11:05 PM   #3
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

Three purchases that I wouldn't do with out are;

1. My Frezzi light kits; hands down one of the best purchases I've ever made.

2. My Steadicam, I've been shooting with it for 8 years, and I always look for ways to use it instead of tripod.

3. This particular dolly, the first one I bought for 10 bucks, by far the best bang for my buck. http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/higAAOSw1ZBUr4BY/$_1.JPG It's lightweight with huge wheels. Although they manufacturer doesn't make it anymore, you can still find them on ebay once in a while.
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Last edited by Steven Davis; August 9th, 2015 at 11:06 PM. Reason: brain fried from a wedding.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 03:12 AM   #4
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

Excellent thread Clive.

1 - A table that sits in the corner of my office.
After each shoot, I put all of my gear on that table and nothing else...ever. When I head out to my next shoot, I simply grab all the gear off that table (while going through a mental checklist) and I know that I haven't left anything behind.

2 - Bags.
Just like Adrian, I wish I had known years ago how much easier work could be with the right rolling bags and backpacks.

3 - Tripod head mounted on a base plate.
I have a heavy duty tripod with an excellent head that I use for ceremonies, receptions, stage shows, and other formal events. However, for bride/groom prep, romantic shots of the couple at a wedding, and other run and gun stuff where I'm on the move a lot, I wanted to lighten my load as much as possible, so I mounted a small tripod head atop a base plate. I then stuck quick release adapters on my monopod, a small tripod, and my slider. This allows me to use the same tripod head on all three stabilizers. It takes just a few seconds to slide the head off of one and onto the next. (Just so you know, when I have to do a lot of walking and shooting, here's what I typically carry in a rolling tripod bag: handheld steadicam, tripod, and slider...along with the tripod head I described.)

4 - Black rubber bands.
I use rubber bands when wrapping cables. I also wrap a rubber band around each audio recorder that I happen to use on a shoot. Since I usually don't use all my recorders, this helps me keep track of which ones need fresh batteries and contain used cards when I get back home. I also use rubber bands to securely hold a loupe on my second camera. In the past, I used rubber bands to hold wireless receivers to my camera as well as a small mic. Regular colored rubber bands would work too, but when I used them on my camera in the past, everyone would see them and comment on them. The black ones are far less noticeable.

5 - Small fedora hat.
On long outdoor shoots, it's nice to keep the sun completely off the top of my head and mostly out of my face. A fedora is dressy enough for me that it works with dress pants, long sleeves, and a vest in a wedding environment. (I also keep a small bottle of sunscreen in my bag, for myself and other shooters.)

6 - Enough SD cards to easily handle two long shoots.
I got tired of having to back up cards from one shoot, just so I would have enough cards to handle a shoot the very next day. Lots of cards, batteries, and chargers equals more time to sleep between shoots on consecutive days.'

7 - Threaded to non-threaded adapter for a Sennheiser ME2 lav mic.
For anyone using Sennheiser lav mics with an audio recorder of another brand (like a Zoom H1), the threaded collar on the plug of the Sennheiser mic prevents it from being connected as securely as possible when you plug it in. Here's the solution...https://store.speechrecsolutions.com...apter-p12.aspx. One end of this adapter screws onto the Senheiser plug and the other end fits nicely into a standard 1/8 inch jack.

8 - Small cage for my camera.
I really like having handles to hold on to, both when shooting (for better control) and when walking around (for a more secure grip).

9 - DI box.
This is so critical for me I would say this is actually a necessary item in my kit, but I don't know of many shooters at all that carry one. For those who may not know what this does...it is a passive device (no power necessary) that allows you to tap into the line out from the back of a very loud speaker and attenuate the audio signal (lower the volume) to a reasonable level that your audio recorder can handle. A good DI box has a couple different settings, so you can also use it to attenuate a slightly loud signal as well. For everyone who has not investigated DI boxes...do so immediately. It's a small investment that will pay off well.

10 - A great pair of shoes.
Obviously.

11 - Varavon Multi- Finder loupe.
This loupe allows me to easliy get low shots without laying down on the ground, even though my camera does not have a flip out LCD. The build is a little cheap, but it's a great tool if you're gentle with it.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 04:44 AM   #5
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

A 12" wide baseplate which I attach to the QR plate on the tripod and can mount an extra camera for different framing, video light, microphone, wireless receiver or any other accessories. It also enables me to mount the stills camera on the same tripod as the video cam on the joint package when necessary.

A couple of clamps with ball joint camera mounts, which can be clamped almost anywhere instantly. Ideal for B and C cams when you can't get a second tripod in, and for GoPro, audio recorders or my lightweight LED light.

Lightweight LED light with variable output that has saved my bacon on many occasions when the lighting was just too low for good video.. On the camera, on the clamp, bounced off the ceiling and many other ways to use.

Collapsible umbrella with clamp for the tripod legs or centre column, better than weather proofed camera body for rainy days, and cheaper:-)

Windscreen suction cup mount for some unusual GoPro shots in the wedding car

Roger
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Old August 10th, 2015, 04:57 AM   #6
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec Moreno View Post

7 - Threaded to non-threaded adapter for a Sennheiser ME2 lav mic.
For anyone using Sennheiser lav mics with an audio recorder of another brand (like a Zoom H1), the threaded collar on the plug of the Sennheiser mic prevents it from being connected as securely as possible when you plug it in. Here's the solution...https://store.speechrecsolutions.com...apter-p12.aspx. One end of this adapter screws onto the Senheiser plug and the other end fits nicely into a standard 1/8 inch jack.
Love it - just looking for a UK version - good tip!

I like to get an overused and cliche shot of the bride getting her makeup put on in the reflection of a compact mirror (corny but brides love it so I don't care) however blagging one off the makeup lady is not always successful as it's too small/dirty/poor quality mirror/ floppy hinge so won't stay open and the angle I need etc so I bought a really good quality one and take it with me to every prep shoot

Pete
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Old August 10th, 2015, 07:02 AM   #7
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

A small flashlight that fits in my pocket has come in handy those times in sudden, unexpected darkness. This includes power failures as well as those times some dork turns off ALL the lights.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 12:46 PM   #8
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

1. Think Tank - makes my life so much easier. I am going to take heed from this thread and buy a bag for my tripods / light stands too. Currently, I carry two Sachtler Ace tripods in their original bags, light stand as it is, as well as my slider slung over my shoulder - quite a heavy problem!

2. Manfrotto Quick Releases - the 394 plate adaptors that snap on and snap off - love these. They're on all my tripods, both sides of my slider, monopod and all of my cameras. Makes life so much easier popping from one to the next when it becomes necessary to do so quickly.

3. Batteries and SD Cards - as others have stated, I have a tonne of these - enough to ensure that I can pretty much leave my cameras on all day and not have to worry. When I add 4K to my workflow, then I need to be careful though. I'm hoping to add a few more SD cards to be on the safe side.

4. Pelican Memory Card Case - love these - knowing that you cards are safe in a waterproof compartment etc. is great.
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Old August 12th, 2015, 07:06 PM   #9
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

Hi Craig

I agree with everything except the Pelican card case!! I bought one and the hinges fell to bits after 6 months (plastic sections broke off) so I tossed it out! That was $30.00 gone to waste!

I then bought TWO Chinese copy Pelican cases for $15.00 (yeah that's a quarter of the price!!) expecting them to last a shorter time (that's why I bought two) and that was in 2009!!!!! Both are still in working condition and perfect so sometimes buying the best IS false economy!!

Chris
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Old August 12th, 2015, 11:55 PM   #10
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

When you go 4k, you buy all new memory... bigger, faster, higher rated... Just FYI!
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Old August 13th, 2015, 12:57 AM   #11
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

Absolutely Dave

I have a pile of 16GB Class 10 cards which actually work on 4K but alas I wouldn't trust them to be constant or have enough space! My new cards are 64GB U3's and work well ... no sense in trying to get by on old cards. I still shoot Real Estate on 1080 so my older cards still are used!
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Old August 15th, 2015, 03:12 PM   #12
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Collapsible umbrella with clamp for the tripod legs or centre column, better than weather proofed camera body for rainy days, and cheaper:-)
That's a good tip. My default wet weather options till now have been specialised camera rain jacket or plastic shopping bags with a hole ripped in the bottom.

I'm still going to use the bags for general moving around, but clamps plus umbrella sounds like peace of mind for outdoor ceremonies with a threatening sky.
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Old August 15th, 2015, 05:20 PM   #13
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

I am a major bag and case guy. I have more gear than I need to take on almost any single shoot so when I pack what I am taking it goes in the case or bag appropriate for that shoot. Hard cases for air travel, soft cases for fast and light gigs. Big heavy cases if I have a crew to help pack a truck, etc, etc.

But here is the kicker, I do a lot of true run and gun were I have to be fast and have everything on me. I covered auto racing for seven years were you work a one mile oval track and a lot of other events like that. The answer is my Porta Brace Videographers Vest and my LowePro Photographers Harness and Belt kit. I had to swallow my ego when I first put on the vest, it seemed pretty geeky at first but I can't live without it now. All those pockets make it like wearing a camera bag. It is awesome, and black Porta Brace so you don't look like a fisherman or a bird watcher. The LowePro harness and belt system keeps my lenses safe and at my finger tips all the time. I would not walk around a wedding fully rigged with both of them. I dress very nicely for that. But when your hanging from a rope shooting a reality show or in a flag stand at the track they can save you.

I have the old model vest like this one:

Porta Brace VV-M Videographer Vest (Medium, Black) VV-MBL B&H

Now I see they have a new modular one you can pick your own pockets and accessories for, looks pretty nice:

Porta Brace VV-MA Video Vest Modular Kit VV-MA B&H Photo Video

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Last edited by Steven Digges; August 15th, 2015 at 05:41 PM. Reason: SP
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Old August 15th, 2015, 11:34 PM   #14
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

I shoot a lot of sunset weddings at the beach so here's some things i've found useful over the years:

1. LED headlamp - used to use a small flashlight but this is easier to use when you have to have both hands free to carry gear back to your car in the dark.

2. Whisk brush/ tire brush - to get sand off shors, pants, camera bag, tripod legs, etc.

3. velcro cable wraps - sometimes better than using gaffer tape in some instances. Always have one or two wrapped around tripod handle in case i need it.

4, redheadwindscreens.com - custom windscreens for all types of digital audio recorders - really helps for outdoor weddings.

5. Trekpak.com inserts for Pelican 1510 rolling case - much better than the standard foam inserts as you can keep adjusting the dividers as your needs change without having to recut/glue foam

6. Also for the Pelican 1510 case - i replaced the standard wheels with Rollerblade wheels - makes it much smoother and quieter. You do have to modify the wheel well a little bit to accomodate the wider wheel, but well worth it imho.
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Old August 17th, 2015, 03:31 AM   #15
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Re: Non Essential But Helpful Purchases

About a light for when it's dark, one thing I've lately taken to is wearing a photographer's jacket. These are specially designed jackets with lots of pockets and lots of buckles whose intended use, I think, is to attaching little pouches for lenses. Anyway, I've got a torch hanging from one buckle, and the main use it sees is levelling tripod heads in the dark (some tripod heads conveniently light up the level bubble when you press them, but not mine unfortunately).

Not as practical as a headlamp, but perhaps aesthetically better?
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