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


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Old January 26th, 2006, 08:58 PM   #1
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New Videography business (Equipment Checklist)

Ok, I joined not too long ago and have been viewing this and various other boards for a few months now. For the past 5 years I've owned a production company that my friends and I created back in college. Since then we've done a few weddings, a dance recital, a local television show, commercials, and several short films.

Now with the new year I am making everything completely legit. I took out a loan and I'm now getting ready to purchase equipment. I've had a lot of experience using the Canon cameras and I really like their products.

So; my question is, Does this sound like a nice start up for a videography business? Am I missing anything? We will be doing weddings, and the above mentioned gigs. Please let me know what you think of the products so that I know if I'm making the right choice. I also want to know if everything is compatible. I've done a lot of research on these items and I've been impressed with the results.

Now since you're reading this you more than likely have experience to add in here, so by all means please do. Thanks in advance.

Here's my list:

(2) Canon XL-2 Cameras with 20x Optimal Zoom lense
(2) Canon HC-3200 Hard Cases
(2) Century Optics VS-07CV-XL2 Wide Angle Converters
(6) Impact BP-945 Lithium Ion Battery Packs
(2) General Brand 72mm UV Protector Filters
(2) Azden WLX-PRO Camera Mountable VHF Wireless Lavalier Systems
(2) Libec TH-M20 2 Stage Tripods
(1) Panasonic AY-DVMCLA MiniDV Cleaning Cassette
(10) Panasonic 60 min tapes
(1) Lowel Basically 3 Tungsten Light Kit
(1) Canon Digital Rebel XT
(1) Canon EH18L Semi Hard Case
(1) Scandisk 1 GB Compact Flash Card
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Old January 26th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #2
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Do yourself a favor and stay away from the VHF wireless. I use Azden myself and haven't had a problem with them in almost 5 years of use but I use the 500Us (UHF). UHF is far better than the VHF, more expensive but better.
Don
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Old January 26th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #3
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Nicholas, a few thoughts. I'd think about stepping up to something like a Lowel DV 55 kit, it will give you a bit more to work with should you ever need to shoot some interviews or product shots.

I have a Canon Rebel XT, its great, as is the XL2 which I also own.

Tripods are something to watch for. Make sure you try it before purchasing, as I find that a lot tripods aimed at this level of work tend to not be smooth when starting or stopping pans. The problem really becomes apparent when you are trying to do small compensations zoomed in. I find my Bogen 501 always "jerks" off the start, it drives me nuts. I went to NAB 2005 and the only tripod I tried that didn't have that problem was the Miller Arrow 30. It worked flawlessly, but it costs significantly more than the XL2 (gulp!). Mind you, I like a "heavy" feel to my head motion.

Other than that, seems pretty good (I too, would go UHF, some people are doing alright with those Sennheiser's). I'd recommend a software package like After Effects, so you can manipulate images and create great titles and stuff. I just finished demoing Ulead's Cool 3D titling software, which is great for those semi cheezy 3D titles that clients seem to love so much!

Best success with your new business!
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:04 AM   #4
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Ditto on avoiding the VHF. I own a pair of Azden VHF wireless mics and they never go anywhere anymore. I wouldn't trust them to record an empty room at this point. UHF is going to be much better for you.

Also, where I live (Boise) there isn't really anywhere to try out a lot of tripods, so I had to bite the bullet and roll the dice. I bought a trio of Davis Sanford ProVistas. One of them works great for tilts and pans and such. One of them is pretty good (some sticking sometimes). The third sticks quite consistently. I've also had some issues with the leg pieces. So I don't know how much trying out a tripod will help, since I could have tried out any of the 3 I bought and still not known what I was going to get from the manufacturer. That said, it still wouldn't hurt to try them out I guess.

I don't really know a lot about lighting kits yet, so no advice there.

Good luck!
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Old January 27th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the opinions. How about this for audio:

Samson UHF Series One - Micro Camera Mountable UHF Diversity Micro Lavalier System with UM1 Receiver, UT1L Transmitter and Audio-Technica MT350 Lavalier Microphone (Channel U3/803.125 MHz)

I would be getting 2 sets.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:22 PM   #6
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I see lots of people sell samsons to get Sennheiser. I would spend the extra money if I were doing this. Get at least one with the XLR plug.

Other items.

Headphones for monitoring
Comm system if you will have 2 camera people shooting at once.
Britek makes some nice light kits that are very portable. Try rostronics.com
Shotgun Mic with wind mgmt
Monopod
Polarizing Filter
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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #7
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For the first dance, you need an on-camera light. Reception halls are dark and become even darker when dancing starts.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:59 PM   #8
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My budget is limited and I was wondering, should I get two Sennheisers with an XLR plug? Or should I just get one and wait until I get my first paying gig to get the second?

Also, I have a question about company registration. Now, since I'll be doing weddings I'll ask it here. What did everyone do for their company registration? Did you go L.L.C? Or self propietor and just have a limited liabilty clause in the contract?

See at the moment the company will be under my name alone, but I want the option for other members of my group to be able to buy in (as long as I still hold 52% of the company). Any takers on this one?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 03:05 PM   #9
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I would get as many sennheisers G2 as you can afford and wait till you get paid to get more. I have done plenty of weddings with one G2 Sennheiser wireless on the groom clipped on his lapel to pick up the groom and bride along with the officiant (bride and groom usually face each other or the officiant). I have never had a problem with the G2 Sennheiser Camera system it is phenomenal.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #10
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Whatever wireless you get 1 will do the job-2 is better (I mic the lectern) 3 is great (mic the officiant if they'll let you) and 4 is awesome (place a mic by the musicians) HOWEVER most of what I do today is done with 2.

As for how to set up your business I would suggest you speak to an attorney-most larger cities have an association where you can get advice for no charge or at least a very minimal charge-they are (or should be) the experts and can best advise you as to what the best route for you to take would be.

Check the local BAR Association (not the liquor kind) :-)

Don
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