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


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Old July 9th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #1
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Outdoor Evening Wedding

We have a wedding in September that will be at night with candles. I want to be creative with the camera work but realize possible light problems. Any suggestions, creative ideas ? Cameras: Canon XL2 and Sony Z 1U (not shooting in HD)
Thanks,
John Moon
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Old July 9th, 2006, 03:22 PM   #2
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candle light wedding

I would avoid this unless you have a low lux camera like say PD 170
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Old July 9th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #3
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I wouldnt avoid it as its one of those rarities, which can show off much more creativity than the standard fare.
See it as a challenge and a way to show your versatility. Irrespectve of your camera, u can work with it if u put your mind to it.
Think of it as a challenge in your ingenuity, as oposed to a "oh no! what am i gonna do" kinda challenge..

I would recommend a 3 point lighting system (but instead of a hairlight, you use one as a front fill light OR as abackground fill light depending on the background and how much of it u can get into the shot) with a low wattage set up as you dont want to ruin the ambience.
Anything more than 100w each way might be a little hash, but 100w at 10 metres from the subject should give you some even lighitng.
Placed correctly, not only will your footage look good, but your lights will also act as a spotlight for the event.
I wouldnt run an oncam light at all, as this wont give you the shadows and highlights to play with, which emphasis the ambience.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 05:18 PM   #4
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Like Peter says, what an awesome opportunity to show off your talent. Peter has the right idea on how to approach the lighting. This should give you at times half lit faces (one side clear one side dark) where you can create a romantic atmosphere by standing at the correct angle from your subjects. Sort of like Hollywood love scenes and in post you can play with those as far as tints, brightness etc. to convey the right mood.
As far as the cameras the Canon should be ok but reserve the Sony for well lit areas even if not HD.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrique Galvis
As far as the cameras the Canon should be ok but reserve the Sony for well lit areas even if not HD.
Can you please expand on the thought quoted above. It was my understanding that the FX1/Z1 was about 2 stops darker than the PD170 but it had a much cleaner gain. I also thought the XL2 was 1-1.5 stops darker than the 170. When I put those together, I thought the FX1 or Z1 with a little gain would be very comparable to the XL2 and very clean but I must be missing something. Thanks
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Old July 10th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #6
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One of the things I found with the Sony is that in dark situations even having the shutter speed at 1/30 or 1/60 (using presets of course for faster switching) sometimes people or subjects next to your main subject were a little grainy and the coloring was just off. A client would not see those but I'm getting to damm picky in my old age and things like that bug me even though they can easily be corrected on post.
Where it became troublesome to me is that in a wedding you have little or no control over the action so you need to be on you toes at all times to record regardless of lighting and for that purpose the Canon seems to me adjusts a little better than the Sony Z1.
The picture of the Z1 is simply outstanding when compared to the XL2 in somewhat decent lighting but in extreme darkness such as candle light the Z1 seems to lose a little bit of coloring and at times pick up grainy shadows wich is a matter of preference since it can be corrected in post.
Those are my reasons for keeping the Sony in a little better lit areas.
As with anything else your experiences could be diferent from mine depending on the circumstances. If the wedding is indoors bouncing a 50W light off of the ceiling might be ok without killing the ambience.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
...I would recommend a 3 point lighting system (but instead of a hairlight, you use one as a front fill light OR as abackground fill light depending on the background and how much of it u can get into the shot) with a low wattage set up as you dont want to ruin the ambience.
Anything more than 100w each way might be a little harsh, but 100w at 10 metres from the subject should give you some even lighitng.
As usual, Peter has provided an excellent recommendation.

Additionally, I would highly recommend discussing the lighting options with the B&G well ahead of time, and even prepare a demo tape of what the video would look like with only candlelight lighting, and what it would look like with additional lighting.

I've never shot a candlelight anything, but I assume that if a bride says she wants a nighttime candlelight ceremony, that means she expects all house lights (and video lights) to be turned off.

To paraphrase Peter from another discussion, all clients are ignorant when it comes to filming.

John, it'll be up to you to educate and convince the B&G what is needed to achieve the effect they want to see on the big screen, and you need to do it long before the night of the wedding.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 07:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrique Galvis
One of the things I found with the Sony is that in dark situations even having the shutter speed at 1/30 or 1/60 (using presets of course for faster switching) sometimes people or subjects next to your main subject were a little grainy and the coloring was just off. A client would not see those but I'm getting to damm picky in my old age and things like that bug me even though they can easily be corrected on post.
Where it became troublesome to me is that in a wedding you have little or no control over the action so you need to be on you toes at all times to record regardless of lighting and for that purpose the Canon seems to me adjusts a little better than the Sony Z1.
The picture of the Z1 is simply outstanding when compared to the XL2 in somewhat decent lighting but in extreme darkness such as candle light the Z1 seems to lose a little bit of coloring and at times pick up grainy shadows wich is a matter of preference since it can be corrected in post.
Those are my reasons for keeping the Sony in a little better lit areas.
As with anything else your experiences could be diferent from mine depending on the circumstances. If the wedding is indoors bouncing a 50W light off of the ceiling might be ok without killing the ambience.
U know, to be honest with you, i dont think its the chipset thats the problem with "noise" from what ive seen and my experience with the buggers, i really do feel that its the codec, as the digital gain is really pushing the codec to levels where it may not hold up

What id recomend is to try to recreate the scene and run the same scene in DV, then again in HDV. Youll notice that the DV wont be as noisy (wel to be specific, it wont look like ants are crawling across your screen) Now luminance wont change, but the "noise" pick up wont be as profound. The MPG codec cant really handle excessive motion and digital noise IS motion, so not only do u have the gain noise to worry about, but theres also the compression of that noise which will make it worse.
If youve ever seen HDV shot through rotating ground glass, youll know what im talking about, but try it with DV, as it might make things easier for you.
What Tom has written is yourbest option, and that is to discuss it with the couple before you do anything :)
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Old July 10th, 2006, 08:38 PM   #9
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I appreciate all the input. I will discuss the lighting issues with the client and follow it up in writing. I will see if they will consider some lighting. It should not take away from the mood, might even enhance it.
Thanks,
John
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Old July 11th, 2006, 05:32 AM   #10
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If you have a z1u, you can do a crop to 4:3, so I'm wondering why you wouldn't want to shoot in HD?

I mean you can always down convert to SD but if you shoot in HD why not?

If the client wishes an HD version, in the future, you could use what you've shot. Everyones going to HD so I think HD would be a good thing...

Does the camera handle better in SD for low light situations? I've just been using my fx1 in HD and not SD.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #11
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I had a similar weding ceremony situation a few years ago. At the time my cameras were Canon GL1's, so shooting with available light alone was simply out of the question.

My solution was to use two AC powered 250 watt Lowel Pro lights set to their tightest spot position and positioned to cross light the actual ceremony site at an approximate 30 degree angle with the lights about 20 feet away. With a couple of inexpensive Radio Shack "Plug'n'Power" dimmers and a wireless control switch I was able to dim the lights down so there was a clearly apparent bright area that smoothly blended into the ambient light created by the candles. There were a lot of candles used which really helped smooth the shift from spot lit area to candle lit area.

I white balanced to the spot lit area, set the cameras to manual exposure, and hoped the processional and recessional footage would be acceptable. I remember having to slow some of the processional footage down to squeeze past one very dark area.

In the end I was not only very pleased with the video but absolutely sold on the idea of using additional lighting whenever possible. The reality is that using additional AC lighting has a host of undesirable issues ranging from aesthetics to safety that make it difficult to use effectively in live event settings.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 06:41 PM   #12
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"Does the camera handle better in SD for low light situations? I've just been using my fx1 in HD and not SD."

In luminance sensitivity, it makes no difference what format you shoot in, HOWEVER what you WILL notice is the MPG codec "noise" (ie crawling ants which looks like super fine coloured static)
DV also has this but not the extent of HDV.
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