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


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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:06 AM   #1
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GL-2 vs VX2100

I'm diving into the abyss of wedding videography in the next couple of weeks. Which camera should I buy? I know that most use the Sony VX2100, but I'm wondering will the client be able to see the $200 dollar difference?

Thanks!
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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #2
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In my opinion, they'll be able to see more than a $200 difference at the reception, or anywhere it's a little darker.

I've shot with my PD170 next to a GL2 at a reception, and the difference is great, in my opinion. While looking at the lcd screens at the reception, they looked very close and we thought it was pretty much a tie as to how well they both did (with no camera light and both gains set at 12db). But when we looked at the footage in post, the GL2 footage was so much noisier and flatter than the PD170. My tests at 12db looked better than his at 6db, comparing noise and saturation. We were both amazed!

By the way, the chips on the PD170 and VX2100 are identical, so the comparison is valid. I think, based on working with my friend, the GL2 is a very capable camera and his did a very good job with beautiful footage, but I just can't say enough good things about the Sony's low-light/gain capabilities.

Good luck,
Dan
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Old May 8th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #3
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How does a VX2100 hold up if you don't bump the gain? For example, if you dropped the shutter speed and opened your iris all the way would it look as good? Just curious. My friend has a GL2 but I haven't ever seen any lowlight footage from him. I try to stay away from gain as much as possible, but that's just me. I understand that in some circumstances it's difficult to avoid. I have a DVX100A and it will noise up a good amount if you hit the gain, which is why I prefer to drop the shutter speed. But I don't usually shoot in a lot of darker places, so it's (generally) not a problem.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #4
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Well, Mike, I'm sure there are a ton of other guys with more technical experience here than me, but I'll let you know what I know and have experienced.

I shoot almost exclusively at 1/60th. As long as you don't drop the shutter speed below this, it would look great with the iris open. I don't like the look of dropping the shutter below 1/60th myself. The picture from the 2100 without gain is just stunning. Before I bought my PD170, I thought gain was a bad, bad thing. But now, while I still prefer to not use the gain, Sony has done such a good job maintaining a clean, saturated picture compared to other cameras, I don't mind using it at all when I need it. Up to 9db looks pretty darn good to me, with 12db being good, and 15db useable if necessary.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that the GL-2 is a 1/4" chip camera, versus the 1/3" chips in the VX2100. That'll make a difference in low-light performance as well. But, after checking the B&H price ($2050 with a $250 rebate), it would be a tough decision. The GL-2, from the short time I've used one, seems to be a great camera.

I've compared my camera to a GL2, XL-1s and a DVX100a, all set to 1/60th and 12db gain, and while they were all at about the same brightness level, the Sony noise reduction was the best. It maintained the color saturation better, and had noticeably less noise. Now, don't get me wrong, the other cameras all had a great picture that was very useable, especially at 9db and lower, but we all agreed that the Sony picture was the best. I personally prefer the ergonomics and useability of the DVX100a, and sometimes I still wish I would have gone with that camera, but I'm very happy with my Sony as well, and looking forward to getting the z1 as a second camera this summer.

To all the pros out there, if I stated anything wrong, please correct me!

Later,
Dan
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Old May 8th, 2006, 05:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Blais
I'm diving into the abyss of wedding videography in the next couple of weeks. Which camera should I buy? I know that most use the Sony VX2100, but I'm wondering will the client be able to see the $200 dollar difference?

Thanks!
I can't attest to the GL2 first hand but the specs alone indicate it won't do as well in the dark as the VX2100. As a VX owner I even question how useful the low light rating is because I always use a light at a reception/dance anyway. (Yeah, I know about saturation).

Maybe the difference is a 10 watt vs. 40 watt lamp - I can't really say but you will need a light with the VX as well. But if you're filming dimly lit church services the VX "should" yield a better picture. (I would think).
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Old May 8th, 2006, 05:35 PM   #6
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Dan, thanks for the reply. All we can do is answer from our experience, right? So thanks for giving me your honest opinions. In terms of dropping the shutter speed, I usually only go down to about 1/48 or so, not into anything so low that the motion blur becomes unacceptable. The DVX will gain up and hold color saturation very well, but I don't like the noise that comes with it. I agree that Sony has done incredibly well at maintaining low noise levels with gain.

My cousin (who does photography, I handle the videography) has a GL-2 and I've used it on several occasions. To me it has worked really well outside. I've not shot in any dark areas with it yet, so I'm not sure how it does. Like Dan mentioned, it is a 1/4" 3-CCD camera, so I would imagine it has a harder time in dark areas. I also considered getting this camera when I started out. I opted for the DVX because of the progressive imaging capabilities it had, plus XLR jacks and other features I wanted. But the GL-2 is a good cam and I've enjoyed using it before. It also has EXCELLENT optical stabilization, so even hand held it works well. It can't make you do a smooth pan or tilt, but it will definitely take the shake out of those hand held shots. It also has a very warm tone to its image, so colors come out a little saturated but it generally looks really nice.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 07:35 PM   #7
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My first cam was a GL2, when I added a second I bought the VX2100 after reading up on several reviews. I shot a few weddings with both, and yes, they both shoot a very different color tone, but I was able to match them up fairly well (if you have a look at some previous posts, I am sure you will find how others help me to do it too, and I think I even have a few screen shots which compare both too) but in my opinion, there is no comparison for weddings, you need the 2100. I did not see what I was missing until I had both, and then the differences were clear. Sure the GL2 had a nice image in daylight, but as soon as the lighting became less than perfect, the picture compares to my $400 handicam, and in my experience, I have found less than perfect lighting at every reception, and in 1/3 of the churches I have been in. The optical stabilization is about the same between them, and I agree that it would be best to use a light with either in the dark.

My pairing lasted 2 weddings before I sold the GL2, and replaced it with a PD-150.

Spend the $200, you will most certainly not regret it.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 08:50 AM   #8
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Thank you everyone for your prompt responses. I've decided to go with the VX2100, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what kind of shotgun mic (I'm going to go with the shotgun & I-river/Squid combo for audio for now) and lighting accessories to go with because there are so many options. Any reccomendation on mics and lighting?

Thanks again!
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Old May 9th, 2006, 09:14 AM   #9
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For lighting, I recommend the NRG Varalux 56001 (there's a link below). It's a 100 watt light with a dimmer. Now, 100w will blow away the reception guests, so I usually have it dialed to about 30w or so for general use, but when I find some relatively low ceilings, I'll point the light up and blast it at 100w, and that gives me a great fill without blinding guests or the "spotlight" effect. I can also drop a nice diffuser over the light and still have enough wattage to turn it up for more light. Also, get a good beltpak battery... they last forever.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

You could also go with the little Sony 10/20 light. I'll run on the same batts as your camera is you find that more convenient. I just prefer to have more power and flexibility when at a reception.

As far a a shotgun goes, I can't help ya there. I use the mic that came with my PD170. It's not the greatest, but it works well for now, until I can afford something better.

Dan
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Old May 9th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Blais
Thank you everyone for your prompt responses. I've decided to go with the VX2100, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what kind of shotgun mic (I'm going to go with the shotgun & I-river/Squid combo for audio for now) and lighting accessories to go with because there are so many options. Any reccomendation on mics and lighting?

Thanks again!
Hmmm.... the shotgun mic. How to convince another upstart that a shotgun in weddings is useless. What's your budget? I'm assuming you're done buying except for audio and lighting.

The only use you'll get from a shotgun "maybe" is to do interviews at the reception which will be better than the onboard mic but not as good as a handheld (which I'm *assuming* you don't want to buy right now).

Look into the RODE videomic. It's about $150 bucks and works well in a noisy room. (using it in a quite room will pick up all camera vibrations on your VX).

And that iRiver of yours will do more than a shotgun though. Use it to mic up the groom (obviously). If you got a 512mb version it'll record 7 hours of good audio with the right squid mic. Figure about 1.5 hours will be used at the ceremony. Then place it near the DJ's speakers at the reception. It won't net perfect sounding music but it'll record the remaining 5.5 hours of the day non-stop and you won't miss anything due to stopping the cam.

If money is no object. You should really get a wireless mic system. One with a lav AND handheld.

As far as lighting, as suggested the 10/20 sony light will be fine and it's inexpensive. Your VX will come with a crappy battery. Use this battery for the light but it'll only light 1 bulb (10 watts) which "should" be enough depending on the venue. It'll last about 30-40 minutes of continuous use.

You are going to buy spare batteries right? Get 2 "generic" NP-970's about $50 bucks each - you don't need Sony's which are at least twice that cost. Also a charger for them. I use "Impact" brand and they work fine. I can do a full 12 hour day on one battery with LCD fully open.

But again, if money is no object I can certainly spend a lot more for you :)
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Old May 9th, 2006, 10:50 AM   #11
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Thanks Rick,

My budget is 3K....2300 was sucked up by the camera alone. I'll probably leave the shotgun alone and go for some wide angle lenses or something....I already have a tripod and bag. The 2 IRiver's and Squids will cost about $200-250. The batteries you suggest adds another $100. And the 10/20 light another $100....2700 bucks so far. With the last $300, I'm thinking about getting a decent hand mic, a battery charger, and a wide angle lense...
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Old May 9th, 2006, 10:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Blais
With the last $300, I'm thinking about getting a decent hand mic, a battery charger, and a wide angle lense...
All the above for $300? I'd hold off on the WA lens for now - not really needed. The external charger, yes.

Why the handheld mike? What will you plug it into? Not the iRiver I hope.

Also a monopod for the reception. $15 at Walmart will work for now.

A lens cleaning pen for $10. It *will* need cleaning.

Other little things like tape stock add up too.

Take the $200 - $250 or so you've got left and apply it towards a wireless mic system down the road.

You will like the VX. Try to figure out the manual controls enough to be proficient with at least focusing. Also learn how to adjust the white balance.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 01:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rick Steele
Why the handheld mike? What will you plug it into? Not the iRiver I hope.
Actually, it would work wouldn't it? Maybe tape or use a velcro strip to hold the iRiver to the mic, start recording, lock it, and talk like normal. Might not look highly impressive, and you couldn't monitor it, but with no wireless handy, would it be a bad idea? You could even additionally capture with your on-camera mic for a low-quality backup.

Dan
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Old May 10th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dan Shallenberger
Actually, it would work wouldn't it? Maybe tape or use a velcro strip to hold the iRiver to the mic, start recording, lock it, and talk like normal. Might not look highly impressive, and you couldn't monitor it, but with no wireless handy, would it be a bad idea? You could even additionally capture with your on-camera mic for a low-quality backup.

Dan
I was going to use a handheld mic during the recepion...when people congratulate the bride and groom.
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Old May 10th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rick Steele
All the above for $300? I'd hold off on the WA lens for now - not really needed. The external charger, yes.

I have to disagree with this. A wide angle adapter will be needed for tight shooting confines of a small dressing area, a vestibule and numerous places in the context of a wedding shoot. I ve done two weddings for family members with my VX2000 and shot most of those with the wide angle adapter on for a good portion of the shooting. I would plan to get one soon.
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