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


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Old April 5th, 2006, 03:08 PM   #1
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Dealing with handheld for receptions...

I'm working for a local videographer, and last year I shot mostly ceremonies, but this year I will be picking up quite a few receptions. I helped shoot a couple last year, but overall my experience with receptions is light (bad pun :-)

Anyhow, I've worked two now and I'm struggling with using my PD170 handheld. I prefer to hold the camera at chest level as opposed to sliding my hand through the wrist strap, but with the light on top, it got very uncomfortable and the power cables got in my way a lot. I swapped cameras with my employer (his being a shoulder mount) and it was so much more comfortable and all the light wires were out of my way. I know someone else that has one of those shoulder mounts his FX1 is sitting on, but using one of those would put the lcd too close to my face. The FX1 lcd is further to the front of the camera and up higher, and it was just barely comfortable for me. With the 170 lcd being low and at the back, it would be right in my face. Using the VF wouldn't work either because I would have to twist the camera or my head over to see through it.

What are you all doing with your 170's for weddings receptions? I'm completely comfortable at ceremonies, but the reception killed me! Any shoulder mount suggestions that work well with it? I'm actually considering trading for an XL2. I love my 170, and so many don't recommend the XL2 for receptions, but I bet the shoulder-mount style is very comfortable over a longer period of time and with more weight, and the 16x9 chips would be cool to have sometimes. Or even an FX1 or Z1 so the LCD is further away. I'd much prefer to just keep what I have though.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Dan
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Old April 5th, 2006, 04:45 PM   #2
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there are shoulder bracket devices for the 170's type handheld cams. i use a 150 handheld all the time with shoulder mount type results. it is a challenge at first and your arm is easily fatigued but you can get used to it. a lot of my handheld shots look like there on sticks........zoomed in shots handheld present bigger challenges, practice practice practice if youre gonna go handheld style.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Shallenberger
I'm working for a local videographer, and last year I shot mostly ceremonies, but this year I will be picking up quite a few receptions. I helped shoot a couple last year, but overall my experience with receptions is light (bad pun :-)

Anyhow, I've worked two now and I'm struggling with using my PD170 handheld. I prefer to hold the camera at chest level as opposed to sliding my hand through the wrist strap, but with the light on top, it got very uncomfortable and the power cables got in my way a lot. I swapped cameras with my employer (his being a shoulder mount) and it was so much more comfortable and all the light wires were out of my way. I know someone else that has one of those shoulder mounts his FX1 is sitting on, but using one of those would put the lcd too close to my face. The FX1 lcd is further to the front of the camera and up higher, and it was just barely comfortable for me. With the 170 lcd being low and at the back, it would be right in my face. Using the VF wouldn't work either because I would have to twist the camera or my head over to see through it.

What are you all doing with your 170's for weddings receptions? I'm completely comfortable at ceremonies, but the reception killed me! Any shoulder mount suggestions that work well with it? I'm actually considering trading for an XL2. I love my 170, and so many don't recommend the XL2 for receptions, but I bet the shoulder-mount style is very comfortable over a longer period of time and with more weight, and the 16x9 chips would be cool to have sometimes. Or even an FX1 or Z1 so the LCD is further away. I'd much prefer to just keep what I have though.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Dan
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Old April 5th, 2006, 05:17 PM   #3
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I used to use a shoulder brace with the 150s but after a time my arms couldn't take it anymore so I went to a monopod-for me it worked far better than the brace. The one I have is a Bogen 682B it has legs on it so it has a base to set it down on, way more comfy than a regular monopod that only has the rubber foot. Of course you have to be careful you don't kick the legs when you're moving but otherwise it has worked out fine. The big problem I noticed with the shoulder brace is that the 150/170 is a front heavy camera to begin with and in order to be able to use either the LCD or the VF on the camera I had to set the camera out pretty far on the brace so it became even more front heavy. I'm an old guy and my arms got pretty tired ppretty quick. Anyway now you've got 2 views of 2 different pieces of gear.

Don
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Old April 5th, 2006, 05:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Allen Rosenberger
there are shoulder bracket devices for the 170's type handheld cams.
The following thread discusses these WRT the Z1, but they should also work well for the PD-170: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=57910
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Old April 5th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #5
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Joe... I think I will end up just needing to get used to it handheld.

Don... that is the exact monopod I have in my B&H wishlist; to purchase at some point when I have the cashola. I didn't think of a monopod replacing a shoulder brace. Good idea.

Boyd... That's the same shoulder mount a friend of mone has, and for his FX1 it works ok because the LCD is up at the top-front of the camera, and I can focus on it. But, with my 170 on it, the lcd was right in front of my face, even with the camera slid forward. Maybe it's my eyes, but I just couldn't focus with the LCD that close.

I really like the monopod idea. I think I'll work on converting that wishlist to a cart and see how it goes. I think to move the 170 forward enough on a shoulder mount that I can focus on the LCD, plus with the 170 being so front heavy already with the wa lens on it, it would wear out my arms faster than handheld. Or, maybe it's a sign to get to the gym! I did just pick up a Glidecam, and talk about tired arms!

Thanks for the replies and advice all...

Dan
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Old April 5th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #6
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I use a tripod/dolly. It usually works great; the only time there's a problem is when the floor is uneven, plus it can be difficult to get through tight spaces (those reception halls like to cram too many tables in the room). I can easily take it off when I want to go handheld, and I sometimes actually "dance" with the camera on the floor with the guests. The resulting video usually isn't too good, but the crowd loves it!
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:31 PM   #7
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Dan,
Consider the Manfrotto 3245 auto monopod with quick release mounts. This is what I use for my PD-170s and they are available at B&H for under $100. You'll get steady shots and you'll save your back.
Bob
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Old April 7th, 2006, 03:33 PM   #8
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John, using a tripod seems like it would get in the way, especially when you need to be really mobile in case a guest or photographer gets in the way. Do you deal with that at all?

Hey Bob, I looked into that monopod you suggested, and it looks nice. But, only the top section is affected by the grip action? It seems that if you can quickly adjust it up or down, it should affect all 3 sections. Maybe I'm just confused. Can you elaborate?

Thanks,
Dan
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Old April 7th, 2006, 08:06 PM   #9
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Dan,
The 3245 has 3 sections. Bottom one opens by just twisting the section and pulling it down. The top section can be stetched out by just squeezing the pistol like grip and voila, you'll have around 68 inches in total.

A couple of add-ons that really help. You can get a swivel mount from McMaster-Carr part 6111K82. It screws into the bottom of the monopod and it will allow you to smoothly pan even on carpets. Also consider the 625 QR adapters that will allow you to quickly move your camera from monopod to tripod.
Bob
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Old April 8th, 2006, 01:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Shallenberger
John, using a tripod seems like it would get in the way, especially when you need to be really mobile in case a guest or photographer gets in the way. Do you deal with that at all?
Well, if the photographer gets in the shot, so be it. There's usually enough room to wheel the tripod around so I can get a decent shot, and if worse comes to worse, I can always go handheld. I'm planning to get a shoulder stablizer soon.
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