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


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Old January 25th, 2006, 05:19 PM   #1
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Need some insight on audio, thanks

I have recently ordered two ag-dvc30 cameras and some other misc. gear.(cases, tripod, lightscribe dvd writer, azden 100lt uhf wireless lapel, camera top condenser mic with shockguard) My question is...Is it possible to obtain "good enough" audio with a uhf wireless 100lt by azden and a shotgun condenser mic, neither of which have xlr and go straight to mini. I can't afford to buy the xlr adapters now, but how can I do the best with what I've got, or can get cheap. I am $500 under budget, but plan on purchasing a decent suit(for the weddings), business cards, flyers etc etc. Also, I have heard about mini disc etc. for backup, I found a digital voice recorder by panasonic with usb out, will this do the trick? One other thing, I'm looking for a decent yet relatively inexpensive shoe mounted light, that is dimmable, preferably an LED dimmable, know of any? Anybody know of a tall tripod, tall enough to be at the back of the church and see over the standing people that is in the $200 range..or cheaper would be ok!....Comments, advice, any age old wisdoms all is welcome and comes greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brandon
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Old January 25th, 2006, 06:39 PM   #2
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Whats good enough audio? Sure you can get good audio with that setup- just make sure to use headphones to monitor the audio AND PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE with it BEFORE the gig.

As for a light, well Inexspensive and LED don't really go together but you might consider 1) the Sony 10/20W shoe mounted light with a softbox-although then you'll need a couple of 960/970 batteries to run it OR check around and find an NRG or Frezzi or Bescor dimable. The Bescors are the least expensive and I think you can find a 50W dimmable with a battery for a couple of hundred. Check out B&H to see whats out there.

As for tripods, again, inexpensive and good don't generally go together-I can only think of Bogens right now- I think a Bogen 3021Pro with a 501 head is about $300 and to me that would be the absolute minimum to consider (but thats just me) Of course theres the old standby 3246 with a 501 or 503 head that will get up to about 9 feet or so with the center column but frankly its way more money and I've never shot a wedding yet that I needed that kind of height for the ceremony.
HTHs-good luck and have fun-hope I didn't spend too much of your money
Don
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Old January 25th, 2006, 09:06 PM   #3
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Dons the master with these thihngs so take his advise with fervour :)

With the camera itself, the light which Don suggested may not be strong enough (10/20w) for the DVC30... the dvc30 is a great camera, however it does have issues in lower lit situations (as do most Panasonic cameras anyway)

Dimmable is always good, however focus capable is even better.. the Sachler reporter 75 is a brilliant light, but its chunky.

If youre shooting weddings, i would say that if you go for a Luxman/Bescor light, (2 of them) and fit one with a 50w lamp for normal stuff, and a 35w lamp for tables and closer shots you should be ok.
ALso with these cheaper non dimmable, non focuasable lights, you might need to add some spun or diffusion paper... i use paper and havent had a problem.

"but plan on purchasing a decent suit(for the weddings), business cards, flyers etc etc. "

forget the suit.. get yourself a couple of pairs of comfortable pants, some nice shirts that let you move, GOOD SHOES and a set of headfones for monitoring your audio.
Then worry about business cards. I wouldnt worry too much about flyers unless your wanting to mail stuff out, but even then, a decent colour printer is all you need. As the industry and seasons fluctuate, u can tweak your flyers as needed. and print them off as per demand. If however you do a print run of 1000 brochures, youre stuck with that info unless ur happy to ditch them and pay for a new batch after every update you make to the business...

I do everyhing online, and im yet to find the need for a brochure which i couldnt do myself.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Hey Peter,
You know what they say (I wish I knew who THEY were though) Jack of all trades, MASTER of none! I can't even MASTER my dog anymore ;-(

Brandon,
Peter is correct about the suit and the flyers-I haven't worn a suit to a wedding in going on 5 years. Black pants, black mock turtle neck (short sleeve for summer, long for winter) comfy black shoes and I'm ready to go. The flyers, if you need them print 'em yourself or do business with someplace like VistaPrint.com Cheap and they do a good job.

The lite, yeah the 20W probably wouldn't cut it with the DVC30 BUT Bescor does have a dimmable listed on their website. Theres a 50W dimmable (down to 0) with a battery that at the full 50W will run about 75 minutes and longer at less power and they also have a 20/40W that runs off the same battery I believe.
Check Bescor.com and browse around.
There is a product called TOUGH SPUN that is an industry standard for diffusion but it comes in pretty big sheets I got 2 24X24 sheets and they lasted me a VERY VERY long time. B&H might have a smaller sheet or as Peter suggested a diffusion type paper. Even with my Anton Bauer 20W light I use a softbox to soften the light. I use one I made with my Bescor 50W and it works quite well.
Don
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Old January 25th, 2006, 09:39 PM   #5
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Not to derail the topic to much, but I just this year decided to go with professionally printed brochures (my 4th year doing weddings). Knowing that my pricing could change, I still print out price/info sheets on my printer that I slip into the brochure. The brochure is nice because it lends a very professional and trusted feeling to the client, but I'm not tied to any pricing or critical information inside it. Just a thought.

Also, I've never worn a suit to a wedding, and I filmed our Governor's daughter's wedding this summer with no complaints. I simply wear a white, short-sleeve, collarred (with my business logo on the left chest) shirt, with cargo pants (not super baggy like I'm gansta or anything) and some comfortable brown semi-dress shoes (SHOES are probably one of the most important overlooked details for starting videographers).

I also don't use a light on my camera (I use GL2's). I'll admit, I do get grain in my video when the light gets bad, but so far, no complaints. Maybe it's just my clientelle, but nobody seems to want me running around with a light on my camera. It's hard enough to put people at ease when they know they're being filmed. Adding a spotlight makes a lot of them even more nervous and shy. I've seen the dance floor clear on more than one occassion when some of the guests noticed me filming them.

Just my thoughts . . .
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:32 AM   #6
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good to hear

Well its good to hear that I could get away with not wearing a suit. I agree I can look professional enough like you all said , turtleneck, nice shirt, shoes etc. I was a little confused about the whole mic thing. I am glad to hear that you can get a good feed using mics that don't have xlr adapters, don't really wanna buy two xlr adapters starting out (already spent enough on the cameras) Also I thought of something to ask you all. Did any of you ever start out in the business young? I will be 21 in March but I look 19 easy. I am afraid I will run into clients you will be prone to judge me as inexperienced. I have done my share of videos and feel very confident I can be competitive in this area. But did anyone ever do this when they were younger, I'm wondering if you think my age will scare people out of hiring me for their gig...anyhow....I will look into that bescor 50w it sounds like something I'm looking for. Does anyone have any tips on starting out, getting work without my equipment getting dusty? I don't have much to put into advertising right now. Has any one had any luck in the local newspapers? I can get a 1"x4" ad for $35 a month here. Worth trying? Also, how can i find someone to host a site for me and how much would that cost? I would like to put a website on my business cards. Boring presentable website with current pricing structures etc etc, explain the packages. That would eliminate the need for flyers and would cost less I believe. I feel bad for asking so many questions but I appreciate you all taking the time to respond. Does anyone have any good tips on being unobtrusive and getting the shots. The photographers will get within 4 feet during the vows and snap a shot. The few weddings I have done with my good ol' optura 20, they wanted no part of me moving AT ALL. I was glued to the front row. Running around the side to get the B&G walking out! ....thanks again everyone
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Old January 26th, 2006, 01:56 AM   #7
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Well, I don't look 19, but I'm 31 and I look about 22-25 depending on the day of the week. In my experience, with weddings, couples tend to gravitate toward the younger videographer anyways. So, as long as you present yourself well (via your promotional materials, your interaction with the client, your finished footage samples), you should do fine.

When I started out a few years ago I tried the yellow pages, but all I got were price shoppers, and I was dead set on doing high-end, quality wedding videography. I gave up on the phone books (for wedding jobs) and I now focus all of my wedding marketing through our local once-a-year wedding show. It's $600+ to get in, but far more useful than the yellow pages for me.

I would NOT do the newspaper. I own/operate a marketing and advertising agency, and newspaper is generally a last resort or something that the client demands. Newspaper is generally very expensive for number of people you reach, and the demographics for newspaper are not usually very strong in the age range of the typical marrying couple. I would do yellow pages before the newspaper in a heartbeat. Yellow pages could work well for you if you are willing to do various levels of quality and coverage in your wedding work.

As far as being unobtrusive, I just try to stay out of the action as much as possible. I use zoom when I don't want to interrupt a special moment. As the night progresses during the reception I become more agressive, as people get more used to you being there and tend to ignore you more. Of course, it always depends on the people.

Also, if your clients are requesting that you not move, then by all means, abide by their wishes. You can discuss with them up front about how you would prefer to work or move around, and then let them decide.

Photographers are in a different galaxy altogether. I did a wedding this past summer where there were two photographers and an assistant, and during the processional the two photographers were BOTH in and out of the main aisle screwing up virtually ALL of my shots (from 3 cameras mind you, all discreetly positioned) and totally disctracting from the processional, but they got away with it. I think it's because photography has been around much longer and it's just more accepted at the wedding. We videographers are usually given less leeway. Either that or we just assume less importance. I don't know which.

Oh, and if you're looking for someone to host your website, my company can do that for you if you want. We charge $120 per year for domain registration and website hosting. We can also design your website for you. I know you're on a pretty tight budget, so I don't know if you're ready for that step or not. But there you go.

Above all, just keep pushing forward with the learning process. I've been doing weddings for several years, and trust me, I'm STILL learning a lot at every wedding.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 02:01 AM   #8
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put it this way, my nephew is a budding photographer.. does some great work.. im tryin to get him some work... so im usin my business as an outlet for him..

what im doing is showing the work first.. let ppl decide on what they think of the product...
then i introduce him...
hes 16... theyre usually shocked, but i tell them that i show the work first so that way, they dont predetermine or prejudge his talent before they even see his work...

as for age, if you know your shiznit, you shouldnt have a problem
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Old January 26th, 2006, 02:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel
Well, I don't look 19, but I'm 31 and I look about 22-25 depending on the day of the week. In my experience, with weddings, couples tend to gravitate toward the younger videographer anyways. So, as long as you present yourself well (via your promotional materials, your interaction with the client, your finished footage samples), you should do fine.

When I started out a few years ago I tried the yellow pages, but all I got were price shoppers, and I was dead set on doing high-end, quality wedding videography. I gave up on the phone books (for wedding jobs) and I now focus all of my wedding marketing through our local once-a-year wedding show. It's $600+ to get in, but far more useful than the yellow pages for me.

I would NOT do the newspaper. I own/operate a marketing and advertising agency, and newspaper is generally a last resort or something that the client demands. Newspaper is generally very expensive for number of people you reach, and the demographics for newspaper are not usually very strong in the age range of the typical marrying couple. I would do yellow pages before the newspaper in a heartbeat. Yellow pages could work well for you if you are willing to do various levels of quality and coverage in your wedding work.

As far as being unobtrusive, I just try to stay out of the action as much as possible. I use zoom when I don't want to interrupt a special moment. As the night progresses during the reception I become more agressive, as people get more used to you being there and tend to ignore you more. Of course, it always depends on the people.

Also, if your clients are requesting that you not move, then by all means, abide by their wishes. You can discuss with them up front about how you would prefer to work or move around, and then let them decide.

Photographers are in a different galaxy altogether. I did a wedding this past summer where there were two photographers and an assistant, and during the processional the two photographers were BOTH in and out of the main aisle screwing up virtually ALL of my shots (from 3 cameras mind you, all discreetly positioned) and totally disctracting from the processional, but they got away with it. I think it's because photography has been around much longer and it's just more accepted at the wedding. We videographers are usually given less leeway. Either that or we just assume less importance. I don't know which.

Oh, and if you're looking for someone to host your website, my company can do that for you if you want. We charge $120 per year for domain registration and website hosting. We can also design your website for you. I know you're on a pretty tight budget, so I don't know if you're ready for that step or not. But there you go.

Above all, just keep pushing forward with the learning process. I've been doing weddings for several years, and trust me, I'm STILL learning a lot at every wedding.



Travis....."easy" on the zooming......zoom in to get close up shots, i mean....frame a tight shot but go easy on zooms.......they generally and mostly show inexperience with a camera. yeah, there;s a time and place for zooms but not that often.......get your frame then record. also....about the photographers walking all over and in frame of your shots......DISCUSS this with all photographers prior to the shoot....its a must and DO NOT allow it...atleast keep it to a minimum......I DO NOT and WILL NOT tolerate that, that is BS and screws you hard. if they have their s#@t together they will be using long lenses and keep the immediate area of the bride and groom to a minimum. stand your ground with that. ask them nicely....and if they continue to do it.....maybe let the coordinator if there is one know whats up.

use zooms at a minimum.....only to get where you want to be but not for actual recording....i see it all the time with wedding videographers who don't know what they're doing. like i said....there's a time and place for it, but sparingly unless youre going for a specific camera move.

i disagree that clients navigate to younger 19 yr old videographers.....not in california anyway. maybe that flies for couples spending 500 bucks or so but not for the higher end video companies.....they want discreet, mature, personable and skilled videographers.....yeah, they problably dont want some old fat camera guy whos breathing heavy cuz he's out of shape.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 07:18 AM   #10
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"i see it all the time with wedding videographers who don't know what they're doing. like i said....there's a time and place for it, but sparingly unless youre going for a specific camera move."

Dont know what theyre doing... interesting concept considering ive seen it on almost every demo ive seen.... here and elsewhere...

Each to their own i say and i do agree, to a point, that zooming should be kept to a minimum..

However.. when working longform jobs, such as weddings, sometimes there is no choice but to record while zooming in or out.
Put it this way... Im not about to miss out on or edit out a stolen kiss simply because im zooming in on it to get it... the fact that i got it is far more important to the couple....

With this type of production, so much happens that is beyond your control that you really cant afford to miss out on anything, and if it means using the shot that was zooming in while they were kissing, so be it...

With the abundance of footage, ths can be cut out later for demo work or what have you, but dont sacrifice a shot simply because "its not the right thing to do according to XYZ"
pardon the french but feck that shite...
If you want to stay in your mentality of this is how it should be or i "cant" do this or that, and you miss out on shots.... then theres no excuse...
If try to compose EVERY shot, and try to frame everything perfectly, youd be spending more time trying to figure out how youll be doing that, as opposed to focussing and capturing whats happening in front of you.

Another thing about zooming (in or out), is that it can also be used to add movement to a static shot, such as detail shots of accessories... aside from handheld tracking, which is always nice, but to be honest, gets boring after 2 minutes of seeing every shot done like this left to right, right to left, over the top, on an angle.... zooming can help break the monotony...

At the end of the day, despite what you know, despite how many weddings youve done, despite how much of a sweet talker you are, despite the price the client paid, despite how fancy you can make it in post, the couple really only care about one thing....

and that is to have a DECENT archive of their day. EVERYTHIG ELSE comes second to that. DONT EVER FORGET THAT....

Sorry but sometimes i see some of these posts whch annoy me..
one thing to remember is that with weddings u have artistic freedom to a certain degree...
USE IT...
Do what works for you, and being an individual in this way will naturally bring the clients to you becuase you ARE being an individual..
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Old January 26th, 2006, 07:25 AM   #11
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Well, I'm not 19 either and I sure don't look like either (darn it)-but remember that age is mind over matter-if you don't mind it don't matter!;-)
Age shouldn't be a problem-it how you conduct yourself. Act professionaly, don't get defensive, don't show panic (as hard as it might be to do) and like others have said-do not zoom unless there is absolutely no other way to get the shot.
Forget the newspapaer-even the phonebook can be very iffy-I have found that for me at least the best advertising was to talk to other vendors and let them know who I was and what I do-after that-I just plain talk to everyone and let them know what I do-I also carry cards with me everywhere I go and hand them out to everyone I meet. You can't get work if they don't know how to get ahold of you.
I do agree that some people will prefer an older more mature person but listen-everyone was young once and everyone has to start sometime.
You can be unobtrusive and still get what you need and still interact with the B&G without being a PITA-for me it's easier and better to interact with them but for some guys I know they hardly say a word to the couple and that works for them. Be yourself and use your personality. Don't try to be someone you're not.
Sorry to be jumping around a bit but it's early and at my old age the mind doesn't start to function right until later ;-)
Here's a bit of advice-use it or not it's up to you. One "secret" of success in business is to: "be flexible" there is no 1 right way to do anything-take ideas from everyone and apply what feels right to you-if it doesn't work try something else until you've developed you own set of "rules" and last but not least-have fun
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Old January 26th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Another thing about zooming (in or out), is that it can also be used to add movement to a static shot, such as detail shots of accessories... aside from handheld tracking, which is always nice, but to be honest, gets boring after 2 minutes of seeing every shot done like this left to right, right to left, over the top, on an angle.... zooming can help break the monotony...
ZOOMING: I have a lanc controlled handle on my tripod which I use sparingly to zoom at the SLOWEST possible rate that my camera is capable of... and that is VERY SLOW. Quick zooms are evil so zoom quickly only if you believe you are going to miss something. As Peter said you don't want to miss the shot. but practice zooming as slow as your camera will alow.

PANNING: There isn't a whole lot of panning in my videos but when you do see it - it's as slow as I can possibly move the handle and still maintain a constant rate. Human nature makes you want to move faster. It takes some discipline. Practice panning as slow as you possibly can.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 08:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brandon T Jackson
I found a digital voice recorder by panasonic with usb out, will this do the trick?
Your average voice recorder will compress the hell out of the audio and sound worse than AM radio - AND you'll end up with serious audio sync issues in post. Don't do it! Don't go to the school of hard-knocks my friend! If you don't believe me... take your favorite song and export it at 32kbs and let me know how it sounds. That is what you'll get from this Panasonic VR. You will have flushed $100 in the toilet. Take the same $100 and buy an I-River. It also has USB. The I-Rivers are the cheapest possible alternative. They can record up to 320kbs. You need at least 100 kbs for acceptable audio. I ussually set mine at 256.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:37 AM   #14
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Visit godaddy.com. You can purchase monthly web hosting there for either $3.95/month or $9.95/mo depending on what your needs are. If you purchase your webhosting and domain at the same time you can get your domain name for $1.99/yr - otherwise it's $8.95/yr - either way its a great deal.

I would suggest however to have a professional looking website. If your web doesn't look professional your customers will not even give you a second glance. When I am shopping on the web and go to a site that looks shabby I immediately leave! If you need help in the design area let me know.

As far as newspaper and yellow pages go, I'm with Don. They both will be a huge waste of money for you. Newspaper works great for home builders and car lots.

Go with Don's suggestion. Tell EVERYONE you know and hand a card to everyone you meet. I was at a restaurant just the other day and overheard a lady talking about her son's upcoming wedding. When they finished they're meal and started to leave I introduced myself to her and handed her my card and told her to visit my website and to give me a call when they had time to get together to discuss my services.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:17 PM   #15
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a lot of good advice...

Guys I'm getting younger now! I will 21 in March, I look 19! ;)

Travis- About the website for $120.00/yr. I may work that into my budget. I feel like it will be a nice touch. I don't know if I will ever get work from it, but I do feel it adds to the effect when one can look you up and see a nice modern looking website. How can I contact you? It will be a couple of months I think before I would do that. I'm hoping my cameras will be here by the end of the month, but I will need some time to figure out my new equipment before I start.

Peter- You mentioned the fact that the couple just wants a decent video. I couldn't agree more. I did a wedding with 2 gl2's a few years ago, did some simple edits on premiere, and they loved it. I thought it was ok at best, but I am also my #1 critic. I know most clients won't analyze the zooms and stategy as much as we all do. As long as it all comes together, I think you can make any style work. I have learned to do slow zooms, adjusting the camera before the shoot. Also, tighter shots, I used to always have these shots that were more or less establishing shots. I have read a lot about how video is a personal medium and is more engaging when the shots are tighter. Since I have tried it, its true. Immediately after I heard that I got out some of my old stuff. Turns out my favorite shots on different videos were tighter shots, I just didn't know why.

Joe- I agree there is a time to demand respect from the photographers. The weddings I have done paid very little and they didn't allow me to do anything with it, but they liked it?? I'm still trying to get a feel for all that. Flying by the seat of my pants ya know.

Don- That is the best advice of all; be flexible. You are mind over matter think positive kind of guy, I like that.

Craig- I'm afraid I already ordered the panasonic voice recorder, it is from Best Buy so I think they will take it back, especially if I buy an Iriver from them. I think they are $99, not too much more then I have in the panasonic.
I'm ordering a lanc today, to put on my monopod, looking foward to seeing how it does.

Heather-I'll look into godaddy.com. You mentioned if I needed advice on web site development. What website creating software is there that isn't for consumers and all templates, but isn't that hard to figure out at the same time? I am learning vegas 6 and have my hands full.

Keep responding all I'm learning a lot!!! Drinks all around! ;)
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