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

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Old December 29th, 2017, 09:26 AM   #1
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Good camera for hand held footage?

Currently I shoot with the JVC HM200 and LS300. I use the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 OIS lens on the LS-300 when I go handheld. Even at the widest zoom settings I find it challenging to get steady shots with either body, even with a support rig. So I do most of my video from a tripod. I'm finding that tripod shooting, while producing technically excellent results, is not giving me sufficient coverage of the event. Recently I reviewed event footage taken with the Panasonic TM700 camcorder I used previously. In comparison with the handheld footage from my JVC bodies, the TM700 handheld footage was significantly more stable, even at longer zooms, and was generally usable without additional stabilization during post processing. And I much preferred the coverage I was able to get of the event.

While the TM700 still produces excellent HD output, I am looking for a camera that will do UHD and have stabilization at least as good as the TM700. I don't do "run 'n' gun" so a gimbal would probably be overkill. Also I want easy access to the manual controls I enjoy using on the JVCs and which are awkward to use on the TM700.

Part of my problem is trying to shoot video like I've shot still images most of my life. See the shot, frame it, hold the body as still as possible, and release the shutter. Fine for stills, but I think not a good approach with video. So I need better technique, but also a camera that offers better stabilization.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Luke Miller; December 29th, 2017 at 10:21 AM.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 11:24 AM   #2
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

I would suggest a gh5 or g80, all lenses that fit on your ls300 can be used on the panasonics.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 09:23 AM   #3
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

Thanks, Noa. I was hoping you would respond.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 03:01 PM   #4
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

A gimbal is an obvious choice as you well know but you'd probably need a substantial one such as the new Zhiyun Crane 2 at around $750 for e.g. an LS300 because of the weight. Great whilst using the gimbal but for how long would you want to have to hold it up. I had the next size Z. down with a Canon 5D IV and 24-105 f4L etc but the Z. wasn't really man enough.

I had some TM700's and TM900's among others and as you say they give terrific results (other than in low light) but are too fiddly especially compared to using the screen and the new autofocus system on the 5D-IV..

Have you tried a modified monopod with your LS300? Not one with the silly little legs at the base but a substantial photographers monopod which you can then modify with much more substantial legs. If you attach a Manfrotto 003 backlight stand base its legs are long enough to give plenty of stability even when not even holding the kit at all.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...and_Black.html

You can have the monopod fully extended just as a tripod or part collapsed if you wand to use your waist/belt to stabilise. Have a small head of your choice on the monopod. You can leave the legs on it permanently - easy, even if its L-shaped when closed up. If you glue a brass spigot into the foot of the monopod you'll make it strong enough to take a beasting.

So much more flexibility than with tripods - though obviously you do want tripods in many scenarios if only to be sure the guests cannot accidentally damage less substantial equipment.

I've used that monopod+base sort of set up and with various Canon dSLRs lenses shotguns mics etc in big crowds of attendees at weddings, christenings, funerals, parties etc. Works great. You may even already have a monopod and base stand from your stills days :- )

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Old December 31st, 2017, 01:47 AM   #5
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

I suggest you read Pauls post. My PXW-Z90 mini review
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Old December 31st, 2017, 10:56 AM   #6
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

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Originally Posted by Luke Miller View Post
Currently I shoot with the JVC HM200 and LS300. I use the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 OIS lens on the LS-300 when I go handheld. ...better stabilization.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
If you mainly do weddings you should use two the same camera. I love and own the hm200 but it has no business being used with a cinematic camera. So the obvious answer is GH5 and then throw that on an electronic gimbal. You can still use the LS300 as your wide lock down but like I said if you have the budget it be better to use 2 gh5 or a gh4 as your B camera.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; December 31st, 2017 at 11:27 AM.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 08:12 PM   #7
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
I've used that monopod+base sort of set up and with various Canon dSLRs lenses shotguns mics etc in big crowds of attendees at weddings, christenings, funerals, parties etc. Works great. You may even already have a monopod and base stand from your stills days :- )
Pete
Thanks, Pete. Sounds like a promising approach.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 10:55 AM   #8
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Thank to all who responded

I truly appreciate the help the experienced hands provide to the new guys. While I have many years of experience with still shooting I am very much a novice when it comes to video.

Thank you.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 05:42 AM   #9
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

Hi Luke, I've received your queries off forum; thought I'd reply here in case its of wider interest. For completeness:
""How much flex is in the Manfrotto lightstand base when attached to your monopod? I have an older Manfrotto aluminium monopod with the Manfrotto 678 Folding base.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/256973-REG/Manfrotto_678_678_Universal_Folding_Base.html/BI/2855/KBID/3801

It does free stand nicely with my camera mounted, but tends to oscillate slightly due to flex in the rods. The oscillation takes a long time to dampen out and if I try to steady it - things get worse. A monopod with more stable legs may do the trick. How much oscillation in your setup?""

I have two of the lightstand bases. There are actually Calumet knockoffs rather than Manfrotto but to intents and purposes they are the same. They are solid and don't oscillate at all. Each leg is 30cm long so its easily long enough to hold a monopod unattended except at the very longest of monopod extension. If I want to base the legs on my waist I tend to fold away one of the three legs and use the other two or even just one as extra support. The legs section can of course screw off completely but I seldom bother to do that and just leave it in an L shape.

Here are a couple of photos as I need to talk to a few others with questions about kit.

In the first photo, on the right is a Canon 5D-IV on a monopod. Its an old Gitzo carbon fibre one that cost an arm and a leg - I'd probably get aluminium in future. It sits there fine including with extra kit. I can extend it to eye level with no worries. Higher than eye level then I want to hold the thing rather than have it free-standing just for safety. That lens is the Canon 24-105 f4L with 3 stops of image stabilisation and that is enough for when I'm moving around with it on my waist. I have a removeable Op/Tech shoulder strap on the monopod as you'll see. That sort of strap can also be used direct with the cam on its own though I wouldn't want to have all the monopod and legs weight suspended on the cam strp sockets just in case of too much pressure.

I modified that monopod as with another one. I glued a spigot - as in the silver one in the centre foreground - into the base of the bottom of the monopod to add strength and also secured it with the metal strap you can see. The sort you get at DIY stores to secure hosepipes etc. I then glued the second type of spigot to the first one - as in the brass one in the foreground. I glued it so it wouldn't unscrew.. The open end of that spigot has a rubber cap to use when not using the set of legs.

Just to cover some other queries elsewhere, the setup on the left in the 1st photo has a Manfrotto heavy duty friction arm at on the same type of legs. It has amazing stability and when on legs its useful to sit on surfaces when a tripod does not have access e.g. on a table top. In the photo bottom left is a Manfrotto heavy duty clamp that can be set on all sorts of furniture, rails etc with the friction arm. There are two types of friction arms to lock them in place, one with a handle and one with a wheel. The wheel is easier to make micro-adjustments.

The other 5D-IV has the Sigma 20mm f1.4 Art lens. On top is a Sennheiser G3 receiver - which you'd probably not use direct to a cam if you could use a separate audio recorder instead, obviously. On the back is a Zacuto finder. Thats largely irrelevant for me now because of the IV's excellent auto-focus and touch screen. But it is usable when outside in bright sunlight.

The second photo is off-topic but handy for some other requests elsewhere. The 5D-IV does not have a tiltable screen. However its very useful with a smartphone. In the photo its clear that the cam may be too far away from the operator for him to touch it e.g. a high in-church in-ceremony composition. I have a couple of old Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphones that cost very little via Amazon. You can use wifi with the IV but in practice I use cables rather than wireless as that can be more reliable. You aslo don't have to hold the phone. I use an Android app called dSLR controller as that has more functionality than the Canon app. I can of course use the phones to change focus, ISO, aperture etc, and I can use it to restart the 30 minute clips that are necessary with the IV's.

The mic in the 2nd photo is a Rode Videomic Pro with its deadcat. Again in practice you probably wouldn't use it in preference to a separate audio recorder but I've been very impressed with it and now use two of them instead of the Rode NTG2.

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/images/dvi/6C1A3088.jpg

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/images/dvi/6C1A3090.jpg

Right, I must get some work done :- )

Pete
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Old January 4th, 2018, 09:46 AM   #10
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

Thanks Pete. This is very useful. I've ordered a new Sirui carbon fiber monopod which has (reportedly) very stable folding feet. It will accept the Manfrotto background stand legs if I need more stability.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 05:20 AM   #11
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

I know several wedding videographers who swear by the Steadypod which is a sort of combined Steadycam & freestanding monopod with feet Steadypod with Classic Head. Camera stabilizers and tripods by BarberTech Video Products.
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Old January 5th, 2018, 07:20 AM   #12
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

Quote:
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Thanks Pete. This is very useful. I've ordered a new Sirui carbon fiber monopod which has (reportedly) very stable folding feet. It will accept the Manfrotto background stand legs if I need more stability.
I use Suri largest carbon mono pod for that reason.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home/BI/2855/KBID/3801

The feet are large enough to leave the camera briefly unattended but can be quickly folded up for moving shots or transporting. A lot of a wedding depends on moving quickly and anything that facilitates that is invaluable.

The background stand feet is an interesting idea but too risky leaving anything that high up unattended. Weddings are full of many people in tight spaces rushing around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I know several wedding videographers who swear by the Steadypod which is a sort of combined Steadycam & freestanding monopod with feet Steadypod with Classic Head. Camera stabilizers and tripods by BarberTech Video Products.
$500? overpriced for what it is and I prefer my own fluid video head that can receive a 501 plate. I’ve tried using a monopod as a steady cam and it doesn’t do a good job. Its one thing to reposition while shooting otherwise you’re better off with a dedicated gimbal
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Old January 5th, 2018, 10:31 AM   #13
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

Pete, I have the smaller Suri. Is there any advantage putting on a fluid head on (any) monopod?
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Old January 5th, 2018, 10:43 AM   #14
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

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Originally Posted by Luke Miller View Post
Thanks Pete. This is very useful. I've ordered a new Sirui carbon fiber monopod which has (reportedly) very stable folding feet. It will accept the Manfrotto background stand legs if I need more stability.
I looked at recent Sirui monopods again briefly when they were on offer with Amazon but I had a sense of humour failure trying to find out how long the three legs actually are, so I left it. I'd be interested to hear what that length is.

I did also have a three-leg base from Photography and Cinema dot com. I think this was the one:
https://photographyandcinema.com/col...nd-for-mogopod

It disintegrated after just over a year of not much use and the suppliers were of no use.Similar setups from alternative manufacturers I tried at trade shows didn't really fill me with confidence either and none of them had long enough three-legs for me.

""The background stand feet is an interesting idea but too risky leaving anything that high up unattended. Weddings are full of many people in tight spaces rushing around.""

I'm guessing you are referring to the 5D-IV + 70-200 on top of a lightstand high up. I tend to use it only for a church ceremony and at the back. I've done that many times but it seldom arises for civil ceremonies or other parts of the day. I can put it between two pews near the back rather than just free-standing. Alternatively I wedge it around some heavy furniture or put a couple of chairs around the base. Sometimes I also clip a travel strap around the top of the lightstand and clip the other end horizontally to a fixture or fitting so that the lightstand cannot fall over. Where there's a will there's a way :- )

It in operation in this photo:
http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/images...71-06_dkma.jpg

Just to the left of centre, just under the balcony, right of the flower display, is the lightstand setup. n.b. the balcony access was not available.

Before I introduced dedicated smartphones enabling me to control high cams from lower down I would have to stand on a chair or pew and no tilting screen would have been any good as it was too high to see and touch. Needless to say some staff told me off for standing on pews etc even though I took great care.

If you mean the Manfrotto friction arm on three-legs, again that tends to be for ceremonies when in confined space. It might sit on top of a piano one side at the front where no tripod can go or a tripod would look awful. The heavy duty friction arm used with a heavy duty clamp works great for things like positioning onto choir stalls at the front without a humongous tripod looking all wrong.

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Old January 5th, 2018, 12:12 PM   #15
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Re: Good camera for hand held footage?

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I looked at recent Sirui monopods again briefly when they were on offer with Amazon but I had a sense of humour failure trying to find out how long the three legs actually are, so I left it. I'd be interested to hear what that length is.
The legs on my Sirui P-424SR are 8 3/4" measured from the edge of the monopod column and 9" from the center of the foot, creating a base of 18" in diameter. Freestanding it is stable enough to give tripod-like steady shots even with my non-stabilized manual focus primes and to allow lens and card changes while freestanding. Touching the record button will introduce some temporary oscillations. I think my VariZoom LANC controller would allow me to start and stop recording without the movement. With stabilized lenses I can get pretty steady shots while holding the camera and keeping the monopod feet planted on the floor. Steady enough that I don't need stabilization in post. This lets me move and setup very quickly.

Presently I'm using the Sirui locked down for maximum stabilization. The ball joint in the legs can be unlocked and will provide quite a bit of damped motion. With a fluid head the monopod will allow some pretty smooth dynamic movement while shooting. But I need a lot more practice before I try that. Baby steps for now.

Last edited by Luke Miller; January 6th, 2018 at 09:25 AM.
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