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


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Old May 17th, 2006, 08:15 PM   #1
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Backlighting solution?

I will be doing a wedding at a country club next week where the area behind where they will be performing the ceremony is all window from floor to ceiling, and wall to wall. The window faces to the northwest. The interior lighting consists of recessed lights in a twenty foot ceiling. The couple will be getting married at about 7 p.m. so there is still plenty of light outside. Needless to say, they will be terribly backlit. The contrast just about silouettes anyone standing inside. I went there today to try some settings to compromise the light but nothing seemed to really help. This is the first time that I ran into this situation, and am not very good with setting up the camera manually. I did try the backlight setting, with not much help. I set the AE with a shutter speed of 1/60 which helped somewhat. If I went any lower, it would start to blowout the background. As I said, I am not very knowledgeable about manual settings.
I was considering maybe placing some light boxes in front of them; one on the left and right sides at about a 45 degree angle, about 30-35 feet away. Not sure about this either.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I shoot with VX2100s.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #2
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With the camera you're using.....it looks like you have 2 choices. Light the couple (which I would NOT do!!!!!) or expose them and blow out the background...meaning your background will look way overexposed.....this is the choice I would make. It's one thing to use lights at a reception but NOT at their ceremony. Keep your 1/60 shutter speed....try "manually" opening up the iris /fStop until you have your desired exposure on your subject matter in front of the window. Without the use of lights inside on your subject and the camera being used and given circumstances.....this may be your best option. You should advise the client right away......on your options.

LEARN to use your camera manually....this is a MUST KNOW. It's not hard, read on this stuff and practice with your cam in all sorts of environments.

Good luck. Joe

PS. Dont forget to WHITE BALLANCE.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 08:40 PM   #3
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Yea, I hear you on using lights. However, I was thinking that if I could use the boxes (at ground level) just enough to brighten them up, then I could avoid blowing out the background, which I'm sure they want. I wouldn't think that this would not be as intrusive as using a camera mount or lighting stands.
I'm not really sure if I can get good skin color without completely blowing out the background. As a matter of fact, the wedding coordinator for the club said that many photographers shoot the bacground separately, then superimpost the couple in front...yikes.
I'll try your suggestion about adjusting the F/stop.

Question: If I did blowout the background completely, do I risk doing damage to the ccds or something else?
I'm slowly getting a grip on manual settings, but until this time I mostly use the lazy way out, except for exposure and white balance.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #4
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No, you're not risking damage to your cam by blowing out the background.

THe thing you need to consider also with using lights...even on the floor....they get HOT, and your cables/cords will need to be secured. and dont take that lightly because if someone trips over the lights or cords.....you open yourself and the venue to liability issues.

Try what I explained first.....also, because of the time of the day.....you will be slowly losing light from outside so you need to keep an eye on your camera settings...especially if it is a long ceremony. WHat you started off shooting for exposures may be changing later on....keep an eye on it through out.

WHat this thread is going to turn into I can see is, use lights or don't use lights.

The superimposing thing sounds a like a bad/cheesey Japanese style Karoke video.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 09:33 PM   #5
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And set your Zebra to 100 - in case you don't know, flip open the LCD screen and you'll find the Zebra function underneath the buttons. The Zebra Pattern on your LCD/viewfinder shows you overexposed areas -- Make sure that none of these zebra lines cover the couples skin tones.

At 7pm you might alright or lucky enough that light bounces back against the couple - tell the photog he can place his reflector in front of them :-)

Good luck with it!
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Old May 17th, 2006, 11:01 PM   #6
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I didn't throw potential injury into the light equation. This in itself is enough for me to throw that idea aside, since there is not a whole lot of empty, out of the way space. I guess this will be the week for me getting to know my camera's manual settings better. Maybe it's a godsend. For the most part, I am planning on shooting from the groom's side, but would like to set up the the second camera in the back. With your foresight on how the lighting can potentially change during the ceremony, I may have to think this through more thoroughly. Using the zebra function is something else I hadn't thought of...Thanks.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 01:53 AM   #7
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I agree with Joe, dont use THOSE lights.. but in some cases, there ARE ways to use lights which wont piss ppl off... such as an oncam light with a Dichroic daylight filter and shooting from the centre aisle, then run second camera on an angle, WITHOUT a light...
thats another option..
if u dont want to do that, and u want to mess with blowouts, (IMO, these CAN look good if done properly <I blow out the shots when the doors open and the bride enters with daddy... as an example >

Another option is to expose your subject, BUT maintaining the shot where at least 75% of the screen is covered by the subject themselves.. IE Mid to close up shots. ABSOLUTELY NO WIDE SHOTS, unless its for effect purposes which in this case, the only usable effect u CAN get would be a sillouette, which would look pretty cool actually.
This way the blow outs wont be as noticable and you wont get as much edge fringing.

Also with scenes like this, its always wise to get as many cutaways as possible.. its an easy way to move attention away from the blow out
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Old May 18th, 2006, 02:33 AM   #8
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With all these different suggestions, I'm thinking that I may just be able to pull this off with me being satisfied and them being happy. Looks like this will be a week of experimentation and tweaking. I've just about resigned from the idea of using any kind of lights. However, a question about the oncam light with the dicronic daylight filter. What kind of effective distance would I expect from that type of setup?
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Old May 18th, 2006, 02:50 AM   #9
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Peters recommendations are very good......you have some decent options.

Let us know what you do in the end and how it looked.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 04:13 AM   #10
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If there is an arch with flowers (common in outdoor weddings here), I try to line up some of the shots so the flowers and such are in the background. Also, a high-angel shot gets less of the sky in the shot. The blown-out look is okay sometimes, but I like to get a few angles of proper exposure as well.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 04:43 AM   #11
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You could also try swapping some brighter bulbs into the rooms recessed lighting. Not the lights immediately above the couple, but back inside the room 10 ft or so could help give you a slight spotlight to help overcome the background.

-Terence
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Old May 18th, 2006, 06:00 AM   #12
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Transparent dress effect

All good suggestions/recommendations above, so nothing to add there. But here's something else to be aware of: the transparent dress effect.

Did a wedding last summer in a similiar environment with a wall of windows for background. This was the bride's second wedding, so she wasn't wearing the traditional first-timer's gown....it was more like a light dress.

Because the ceremony would be conducted with the B&G facing the guests, I was positioned facing the windows. As soon as the bride got up front, I noticed on the monitor I could clearly see her legs thru the dress up to the thong line, so I just continued zooming and filmed the ceremony from the waist up, mostly head & shoulders. The second camera was in front (off to the side), on the bride's side, facing the guests. I used plenty of full-length footage of her & the guests from that angle to blend with the waist-high footage shot facing the windows. Turned out pretty good.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 07:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tomkowiak
As soon as the bride got up front, I noticed on the monitor I could clearly see her legs thru the dress up to the thong line
I'm sure many of us would appreciate it if you could share all footage of the transparent dress phenomenon... for educational reasons, of course!

:-)
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Old May 18th, 2006, 12:10 PM   #14
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It would be an excellent addition to a disk for videographers loaded with examples of things to consider when covering live events using available light.

Unfortunately, I don't have a release from the couple for worldwide viewing, even for training purposes. :(
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Old May 18th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #15
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Thanks again. Your suggestions and comments are great. Been working with the manual settings along with some tighter shots and am getting fairly good results. Not ideal by any means, but better than before. If I could only get a glimpse of that transparent dress footage...I'm sure I could learn a lot. : )
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