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


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Old August 30th, 2015, 02:14 AM   #1
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How often do you add light at weddings

We have only shot a few weddings to date, currently using AX100 AX33 and RX10 II.

We may have been unlucky but low light has been an issue at both the shoots, first was a castle with low lighting during the service which was pushing the gain up on the AX100 to more than I am comfortable with.

The second was the first dance with only the lights from the DJ leaving me with uncomfortable noisy footage.

So do many of you guys use additional lighting during the ceremony (would it be allowed) or for the speeches and first dance which I guess would not be a problem.

My noise threshold for the AX100 is approx 12/15 DB and approx 1000 ISO for the RX10 II

I guess I either have to add light or use Cameras with better low light capability

What is your solution for low light?
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Old August 30th, 2015, 03:39 AM   #2
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

Hi Phil

Never at a ceremony ..Churches frown on using lights!! At the reception I will often light up the lectern to two CFL lights bouncing into an umbrella mounted high up on a big stand ... On camera lighting is usually only for the first dance when they turn out the lights! My Panasonics handle everything else easily ..I only use lights at speeches if I have to ..last two weddings they stayed in the car!!
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Old August 30th, 2015, 03:47 AM   #3
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

Compared to my canon xh-a1 I had a few years back your camera's are much better in low light but they are not ready to shoot without light at candlelit venues, for those occasions I use my panasonic GH's with f1.4 up to f2.0 lenses and shoot between 3200 iso and 6400 which allows me to see more in the dark then I can see with my own eyes, my footage is noisy at those settings but it's very rare I need to use neatvideo, in a occasion where there is red light only I might have to because that color brings out the noise more. 6400 iso on my gh4 looks much better then 3200 iso did on my canon 550d, now that looked really bad, up to unusable.

In your case your only option is to either add a videolight or buy a more suitable camera to cover those cave like venues.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 08:11 AM   #4
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Phil

Never at a ceremony ..Churches frown on using lights!! At the reception I will often light up the lectern to two CFL lights bouncing into an umbrella mounted high up on a big stand ... On camera lighting is usually only for the first dance when they turn out the lights! My Panasonics handle everything else easily ..I only use lights at speeches if I have to ..last two weddings they stayed in the car!!
Thanks Chris, what Panasonics are you using?
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Compared to my canon xh-a1 I had a few years back your camera's are much better in low light but they are not ready to shoot without light at candlelit venues, for those occasions I use my panasonic GH's with f1.4 up to f2.0 lenses and shoot between 3200 iso and 6400 which allows me to see more in the dark then I can see with my own eyes, my footage is noisy at those settings but it's very rare I need to use neatvideo, in a occasion where there is red light only I might have to because that color brings out the noise more. 6400 iso on my gh4 looks much better then 3200 iso did on my canon 550d, now that looked really bad, up to unusable.

In your case your only option is to either add a videolight or buy a more suitable camera to cover those cave like venues.
Thanks Noa, I do have some LED lighting for use if required and a GX7, I am guessing you are using the Panasonic 25/1.4 and Olympus 12/2.0?
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:17 AM   #6
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

Yes I use both lenses and also a 42,5mm f1.7 and a 75mm f1.8
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:44 AM   #7
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

I always have lights for receptions. I put them up high, point them down, the photoraphers love them too, epsecially for the first dance.

How could you not have lights for a reception? If you're using fast lenses you might can get away most of the time without lights, but I shoot with the AX100 and lights are just necessary for m.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:59 AM   #8
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

I have a Z5U & only use a small on camera light, has pretty good throw -
Bescor LED-70 Dimmable 70W Video & DSLR Light LED-70 B&H
. Dimmable feature is key because early on I would basically max it out on high & realized it was a bit unnatural. Now, I usually set it closer to low-mid & bump my gain up to only 3 or 6. I don't like going higher on the camera than that (and I adjusted my presets so I can't without going into the menu & dabbling around).

Aa good feature with that is it comes with 2 plastic screens, one white for more daylight/flourescent look & one orange for more tungsten colored venues & settings.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 11:19 AM   #9
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

Lighting for the cake cutting, 1st dance and table decorations, though the latter is more fill light. In the evening I have a light on my person in cases where I want better light quality than relying on my primes. However I have to consider guests reactions when using it.

Back in the old days when I had the Panasonic TM900s, I would try and use lights for speeches, but with many requests to turn them off, despite trying various angles. Thankfully fast primes have resolved this issue and my TM900s are confined to the relic bin.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 11:57 AM   #10
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

My FS100 is a champ in low light, but I still bring a few lights. If you want beautiful results, you can't depend on venue lighting..even when they hire a light package. Most of the times, you'll see uplights and pinspots at the venue...neither of which help your camera see faces. If anything, they bump the contrast ratio and will blow out when you're otherwise exposing for faces. On camera is flat, but I'll still have it handy for fill when a person moves out of my lighting zone. I'll typically coordinate with the DJ and set up a spotlight for the toaster. I've also taken to using a battery powered LED panel light with remote. Two popular options are the Comer light, and the Aputure Amaran 672c. I don't own the Comer, but I use a Lowel Pro Light with snoot when needed, and it isn't in the way.

Personally, I would avoid umbrellas and any type of large bounce. It wrecks the ambient light and pisses off the coordinator. I guarantee that they wouldn't recommend me again if I spoiled their cave-like lighting scheme. For some unknown reason dark=beautiful in their eyes.

Yet another good reason for remote-control lights. You can keep them very dim until the action begins, once it does, the coordinator won't stop the festivities to tell you to turn off the light. Get a tall light stand, as tall as the room will allow. A well-aimed and well-flagged light from high above will rarely bother the guests. Taking control over lighting is the best investment you can make to get a good looking video.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 12:54 PM   #11
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

I have not used lights on any of my videos as I like to shoot naturally and not get in the way. Most of the time I have been fine. I now shoot with an Sony A7s which sees in the dark, I can shoot at 10000 ISO with no grain and whatever fstop I like. If I was to use lights it would be enhance a scene unless I can do it subtly I not gonna do it at all.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 05:32 PM   #12
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

Thanks for all the feedback, plenty of advice and opinions to consider
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Old August 30th, 2015, 08:27 PM   #13
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

There is an argument for using lights to sculpt a good image. You can be correctly exposed in low light but the image looks crappy because ther lighting is flat & thus the image looks flat. With modern cameras you can record in very low light but just as photographers use flash to make the images 'pop' it can help the look a lot to have some lighting playing on the subject from the side.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:41 PM   #14
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

Lighting well definitely looks better, but it's a matter of how intrusive you want to be. I haven't used lighting for speeches yet, though I've been tempted at times.

I use an F&V r300 on camera for dancing, first dances, cake cutting etc...

I'm really happy with it. Looks way better than any of the smaller on camera lights I've seen. It can get really bright, but I can see people wincing if I crank it even a little so I try to keep it as low as I can.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 09:54 PM   #15
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Re: How often do you add light at weddings

I tried a LED bank on a stand a few years back and wow it's really harsh light although very convenient as it's battery powered. You definitely get a really flat image! I still prefer CFL's bounced into an umbrella and high up so I get a nice soft light and no flatness. Obviously if lighting is not needed for speeches I don't use it!!

The secret for on camera lights is to expose for the venue and then use the light dimmed as much as possible so it works as a fill light ...if you use it as a main light all that happens is that people dancing close to the camera have white blown out faces and the rest of the people are in the dark. I start off with mine on full dim and then on people close to me I will crank up until the people closest to me have zebras and then back off a fair amount ..that seems to give the most natural look.
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