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


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Old January 6th, 2006, 10:05 AM   #1
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What Camera R U using for a Wedding?

I'm pretty curious what cameras u guys r using for weddings. We all know weddings r mostly uncontrolled environment n worst of all, ballrooms can be pretty dark (over here in my country!) I'm deciding between a Panny DVX102 n Sony FX1e. I've seen both 24P DVX footage n FX1 HDV footage.I cant decide...

I was actually leaned towards DVX but it doesnt do native 16:9.. can u guys share some of yr experience? The price dfference is about US$600.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #2
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Personally I use the Panasonic DVX100A. I've really enjoyed it, even if it doesn't do native 16:9. I suppose that's a bigger concern in your area but I haven't had many clients even request 16:9 so I've not worried about it yet. I've shot on the FX1 and found it to be a rather adept camera. If you are a bit more serious about sound you may want to upgrade to the Z1U, as it has XLR jacks and a bit more manual control. But I understand the idea of working within a constrained budget, so the FX1 should be quite suitable. One thing I have heard (but not personally verified) is that you can gain up to 12db without any apparent noise in the image. I'm not sure if this is true or just an opinion, but I've seen video shot with an FX1 in "dark" churches/locations that looked just fine. The gentleman at http://www.proeditproductions.com/ uses Z1's. Take a look at his demos, they are incredible.

Anyway, I've mentioned a lot about the Sony cams. The DVX works great for my videos. The primary reason that I chose the DVX was 24p. The motion and look of it is just incredible compared to standard 60i video, no matter what camera you are using. My clients can tell the difference, even if they don't know what that difference is from a technical standpoint. You may read that the DVX is not good in low light. I've found that it works just fine. You just have to understand the camera and how to use it. It's not as easy as a VX2000, obviously. But if you want to shoot 24p you have to realize that it is a very different world from 60i. If you are shooting in 60i, auto-everything are you really being creative? No, you're being safe. Is there anything wrong with that, especially when preserving a once-in-a-lifetime event? No, not at all. But that's what is great about the DVX. It gives you the flexibility to do it all. You want to be safe, you can shoot in 60i. Or 30p, which means better images but still a greater "safety net". Or you can go for the ultimate and shoot 24p. I'm probably rambling by now, so I'll just sum it up by saying that you should go with what meets the needs of your clients. If your clients are requesting HD, then go with a Sony cam. If your clients aren't requesting HD, go with the DVX. 16:9 is kind of a non-issue because there are several ways to do that with the DVX. Anyway, best of luck in your search for the right camera and let us know which one you pick.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #3
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See the following for discussion of the FX1/Z1 in low light environments:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=54414
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Old January 10th, 2006, 06:37 PM   #4
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I'm using the FX1. Performed well under low light but i'm sure not as well as some of the other cameras out there.

Last edited by Christopher Cruz; January 11th, 2006 at 01:23 AM.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 11:43 PM   #5
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Yeah 24P is one attractive option.I've seen some footages from the Panny DVX100 n they looked great! Only thing is the price difference is about a couple of 100s so I'm leaned towards the FX1. My biggest worry is the post production requirements.(HD connect,more HDD,extra monitor,blah blah)
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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:11 AM   #6
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The DVX is MORE than the FX1? Really? Interesting. Guess the FX1 has come down more than I thought. It's been a while since I've looked at prices. If the FX1 is cheaper and meets your budget better than I would go with it. It is a nice camera. Getting extra storage for the HD isn't that expensive, especially where hard drives are so cheap now. But if the total HD solution is going to be more than getting a DVX go with the DVX. I guess it comes down to what meets your needs, your clients' needs and your budget. Let us know what you pick.

By the way, what NLE do you use?
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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:20 AM   #7
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Hi Sean

Yes the FX1 is a very nice camera to use... beautiful picture quality, even in SD, which due to the generally slow take on of HD, is what I render out... it looks superb...16:9 is a really nice format to work in, more akin to the old 35mm I'm used to in stills. I never liked the almost square 4.3 aspect, I found it harder to compose nice pictures.

If you add a Beathtek and a decent microphone, I've an AT897, that I'm very happy with, you have a camera with not far off the spec of the Z1 of a lot less.
Sure there are alot of extras on the Z1, but none that justified the extra for my work...

regards
Gareth
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Old January 11th, 2006, 11:29 AM   #8
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I started out with JVC HD1s, later used Canon GL1s, now I use tricked out Canon Opturas. I'd love a Sony HC1 sized camera the records HDV to hard disk (like the JVC Everio but with HDV). Probably soon...
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #9
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Opturas? Really? Seems like you're either going for the non-obtrusive approach or you really like smaller cameras. Do they work well for weddings? I'm not too familiar with the Opturas, but I always thought they were a consumer cam. No offense, seriously. I'm not trying to start a war here. I'm just wondering how you have tricked them out to meet your needs. I personally like a manual focus ring, but I don't see one on the Optura models online. Anyway, I'd just like to know a bit more when you have a chance to explain.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #10
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A bit of both.

I've found people are more relaxed and natural (less likely to be self-conscious, or conversely, less likely to ham it up) around smaller 'consumerish' cameras than the larger more professional looking ones (breadbox or shoulder). The same psychology that says smaller can't be used for pro work also indirectly says smaller isn't intimidating or threatening. I really use that to my advantage for how we shoot, where we go, what we shoot, etc.

Everyone's preferences are different, but for me and and the style of weddings we do, they are perfectly suitable. Short of shooting outside at midnight (pitchblack), low light really isn't a major issue.

RE: tricked out - I customized/built these to get them working as I needed. Shotguns & shockmounts, 6-8 hour custom batteries, lenses, custom matte boxes and filters and shades (if needed), custom 'follow' focus, all of that sitting on top of either shoulder mounts or custom FigRig style handlebars, or we can just use them handheld. Also have DIY 35mm adapters though we haven't tried them in a wedding yet.

The older Opturas have manual focus rings as well as a pretty full compliment of manual control, I don't think the newer ones do (hence looking at Sonys or JVCs when time to upgrade).
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Old January 12th, 2006, 03:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Oveson
The DVX is MORE than the FX1? Really? .....
By the way, what NLE do you use?
Erm.. the FX1 cost more than the DVX. What I meant was for a couple of hundreds more, I can move to HDV which already comes with 16:9 capability. Yeah I prefer to shoot in 16:9 as well.

I'm currently using Vegas 6. I'm gonna need something like gearshift/HD connect to work with if I'm going the HD way. I think I'm gonna hang on till the NAB. That will probably set the directions clearer for HDV.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #12
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6 months of contemplation

I wrestled with this same dilemma for the last 6 months. I just ordered my DVX100B this week after comparing the three units. Here's what I liked about the DVX100B:

1.) Better low-light image in comparison to the sonys. Somewhere online here they did a side-by-side comparison of the DVX100A (not the B), the FX1 and the Z1 -- and the DVX100A did better imho...

2.) 24p, 30, 60i

3.) A number of improvements from the DVX100A to the B which really improved the unit: an almost LANC controller port, an upgraded extended life battery, a 16:9 resolution screen (the chipset is not native 16:9, but the monitor screen is), most of the features can be seen here: http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/100b/

4.) XLR inputs for wireless setups (something I do not believe the FX1 has). The Z1 appears to have a better control board for the XLR inputs though.

5.) HD may come of age, but before it's going to be awhile before the formats untangle themselves and it goes mainstream. Your market should dictate how popular the HD format is or isn't. Check around and see, but I decided to wait on going to HD because I keep hearing of an even greater format that is emerging above and beyond blu-ray or HD-DVD that is worth listening to.

6.) I'm using Vegas just like Sean is -- and I would have to upgrade as well just to work with it. Not that this is a bad thing, but HDV (imho) is still emerging even though we have HD-TV's and some DVD players that really take advantage of the HD signal. My plan is to wait 4-5 years down the road and assess the market then. I can always adjust and respond to the market if it happens sooner, but I don't see a mad dash of common folk scrambling to buy their new blu-ray DVD player.... but that's just my two cents....

7.) The package I opted for is really loaded on a lot of extra equipment I would've had to buy at some point -- so from a financial standpoint, this made the most sense to invest in the package versus buying the unit on its own. Much will depend on your other equipment if this is feasible or not.

8.) Find someone who has an FX1, Z1 and a DVX100 and see for yourself. Ultimately, what matters the most is to find a unit you're going to like shooting with. Personally, I didn't care for the feel of the FX1 - but that doesn't mean it's probably a bad unit. I probably didn't look as long as I should've at the Z1 because it's an upgraded FX1 concept. I really liked the feel of the Canon XL2 I saw, but I thought it was a little weighty (almost 8lbs).

Good luck!!
-Michael
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