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


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Old July 20th, 2006, 07:48 AM   #16
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I agree Peter... even I'm getting used to it!
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Old July 20th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #17
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I hate to throw a wrench into the spokes of this post, but what about the PD170. I own and love 4 of them. The first thing out of most of my clients mouths is wow the picture is incredible. Also, it is considered one of the best low light cameras available. Best of all the HD market has pushed the price of a new one to 2995. You can't beat it as far as I am concerned. We are all pushing towards HD when most clients never ask and the delivery technology is still being developed and is not mainstream.

If the PD170 is rugged enough for a CNN embedded reporter in IRAQ then it will last you long after HD gets on its feet. Then you can switch.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 01:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Minor
I hate to throw a wrench into the spokes of this post, but what about the PD170.
Definitely a good DV camera, but without a true widescreen recording option it's effectively obsolete. Put an anamorphic lens adapter on it and you've got something, but at that point you might as well sell it and buy an FX1.

4:3 video is soooo 20th century! :-)
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Old July 20th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #19
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We shoot anywhere from 1 to 6 weddings a week and nobody has asked for 16x9.

To us 16x9 is overrated unless you are going to the actual movie house.

Our studio just picked up another pd170.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #20
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it's effectively obsolete
4:3 video is soooo 20th century! :-)

Tell my clients that. When I am one of the busiest guys in town. I think because we as videographers get so caught up in the technology that we think are clients actually care. I live in Sarasota County which is the 2nd richest county in FL per capita and my clients could care less about 16:9

Sorry Kevin you are mistaken. Just ask Glen Elliot. I know for a fact some of his best stuff was shot 4:3 with a Sony.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 09:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Minor
I live in Sarasota County which is the 2nd richest county in FL per capita and my clients could care less about 16:9
But what about selling 16:9 as a marketing technique? You may well come off as more progressive (no pun intended) than your competitors as you explain how all TVs will eventually be 16:9, so a 16:9 wedding video has more long term merit than 4:3. To me, it's a way of standing out from your competition. Your clients may not think of 16:9, but that doesn't mean you can't put it into their heads and books more jobs because of it. Just a thought.
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Old July 20th, 2006, 10:48 PM   #22
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4x3 TV shows look like garbage on 16x9, so thinking all TVs will be 16x9 in the near future is probably wrong.

The dimensions of a 4x3 show on a 16x9 TV never look 100% right. It gives a stretched looked to the image that I detest. Watching 4x3 with vertical letter box on a 16x9 TV feels like the cart is pulling the horse.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 12:36 AM   #23
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I have to disagree about 16:9 being over rated. My clients usually have or will soon own an HDTV. I actually use the 16:9 aspect as a selling point to my clients saying that their wedding video wiill fill out their widescreen television without everyone having pumpkin heads.

You are right that it isn't the tools but what we do with them that makes the difference. Technology isn't everything but it isn't nothing either. I feel the production value of my work has gone up tremendously since switching over to HD. The detail is richer, the colors are more vibrant, and the aspect ratio is more pleasing to the eye. 2 of these three points (HD delivery will get there) are readily apparent to the bride and I think it makes a difference when they get serious about who they want to book with.

Right now the person responding to the HD thing are grooms which should be no surprise there. For the brides I emphasize the wider aspect ratio that fits more of her bridal party in there as well as the prettier picture. For the groom I mention that I make a digital master so when the HD format wars settle out they will have a high definition disc of their wedding. That gets them excited about the wedding video.

As for waiting for brides to demand HD? I don't knoe if that's a sound argument. If we used that logic, then alot more folks would still be linear. After all I never had a bride ask how I edit my videos or what I shoot and edit on. And they never will. The reason to go HD is the same as going nonlinear. It will drastically improve your production values from what you're doing now. Keep in mind that's making all things equal. For instance, an SD production from Glen Elliot would wipe the floor with most HD wedding productions but give him some HD gear and let him go loose and I can guarantee it will be like night and day. Make no mistake. HD is to the shooting end of our industry that nonlinear was the the post-production side.

Chris Watson
Watson Videography
www.dallasweddingfilms.com
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Old July 21st, 2006, 03:06 AM   #24
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Valid points all of them, and ill throw my 2c in (HA yeah right) when i can be bothered waking up...

for now i have a slideshow to mangle together..
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Old July 21st, 2006, 06:26 AM   #25
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I have a widescreen in my office, and a large 4:3 in the living room. The footage I've been shooting with my new toy looks great on either set. Of course, it's taking a little adjustment on my part, since I'm not used to shooting 16:9. My GL1 wasn't all that cooperative, so everything was 4:3.

Anyways, my point is, framing a shot for 4:3 even in 16:9 mode, produces an image that will work on both sets. And with the way Circuit City and everybody else is pushing plasma displays, why not do it in 16:9? Sooner or later, a majority of the populace will have some form of widescreen, and a 4:3 project just doesn't look right anymore.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 08:19 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Zlam
4x3 TV shows look like garbage on 16x9, so thinking all TVs will be 16x9 in the near future is probably wrong.

The dimensions of a 4x3 show on a 16x9 TV never look 100% right. It gives a stretched looked to the image that I detest. Watching 4x3 with vertical letter box on a 16x9 TV feels like the cart is pulling the horse.
Yes... and this is exactly why we should push for 16:9 on weddings -- because 4:3 looks like crap on a 16:9 TV, and TV manufacturers are going to push harder and harder for 16:9. Prices are dropping on HDTVs already. Do you really think 4:3 will win out in the end? I give that a 0% chance.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 08:23 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris M Watson
I have to disagree about 16:9 being over rated. My clients usually have or will soon own an HDTV. I actually use the 16:9 aspect as a selling point to my clients saying that their wedding video wiill fill out their widescreen television without everyone having pumpkin heads.

You are right that it isn't the tools but what we do with them that makes the difference. Technology isn't everything but it isn't nothing either. I feel the production value of my work has gone up tremendously since switching over to HD. The detail is richer, the colors are more vibrant, and the aspect ratio is more pleasing to the eye. 2 of these three points (HD delivery will get there) are readily apparent to the bride and I think it makes a difference when they get serious about who they want to book with.

Right now the person responding to the HD thing are grooms which should be no surprise there. For the brides I emphasize the wider aspect ratio that fits more of her bridal party in there as well as the prettier picture. For the groom I mention that I make a digital master so when the HD format wars settle out they will have a high definition disc of their wedding. That gets them excited about the wedding video.

As for waiting for brides to demand HD? I don't knoe if that's a sound argument. If we used that logic, then alot more folks would still be linear. After all I never had a bride ask how I edit my videos or what I shoot and edit on. And they never will. The reason to go HD is the same as going nonlinear. It will drastically improve your production values from what you're doing now. Keep in mind that's making all things equal. For instance, an SD production from Glen Elliot would wipe the floor with most HD wedding productions but give him some HD gear and let him go loose and I can guarantee it will be like night and day. Make no mistake. HD is to the shooting end of our industry that nonlinear was the the post-production side.
100% correct on all counts. I am using 16:9 to "future-proof" my weddings for my clients. I separates me from my competition when I talk about the future of TV and why my wedding videos will avoid these pitfalls. All I do is ask them: "When you walk into a store that sells TVs, have you noticed that more and more TV screens are rectangular in shape?" "Yes, that's true" is almost always the answer.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 08:40 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Minor
I live in Sarasota County which is the 2nd richest county in FL per capita and my clients could care less about 16:9.
From a business perspective I have no doubt that 4:3 SD video is still quite marketable and profitable, but technologically it's the worst possible thing to be shooting as people buy HDTVs in ever-growing numbers. The fact that clients don't care just shows that they don't know the difference and are counting on us to provide the best solutions for their needs.

For now you can still make a case for using PD170s for weddings based on their low-light responsiveness, but it would at least be smart to put anamorphic adapters on them to produce footage which looks its best on widescreen TVs. Like it or not, 4:3 SD footage doesn't convert well to widescreen format and doesn't look as good on HDTVs as proper widescreen source footage. And the faux-widescreen mode in some DV cameras isn't much better, so that won't help us out here either. Plus interlaced widescreen footage converts back to 4:3 better than the other way around, because cropping horizontally is less destructive than messing with vertical interlacing.

I tested all this back in February using a variety of DV and HD cameras, anamorphic adapters and in-camera widescreen recording, and the bottom line for me is that 4:3 SD video is an obsolete recording format. Anyone who cares about the technical quality of their work should be contemplating how to produce good widescreen output, and how to explain to customers why that might be desirable. If both you and your customers are content with 4:3 video that's fine, but it's just not a good format for the widescreen TVs people are buying now and will become standard in the future.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 12:17 PM   #29
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"For now you can still make a case for using PD170s for weddings based on their low-light responsiveness, but it would at least be smart to put anamorphic adapters on them to produce footage which looks its best on widescreen TVs. "

Ok ok this topic has gone wayyyy off topic, but anyways...

Much has been said about the PD170, and I agree, its lowlight performance is superior, however general image quality (ie 330 000 pixels) is quite low <for todays standards... expecially when u consider the MX500 is 800 000 pixels per ccd and running true full res widescreen....
BUT with pixels this size on the PD, one is to EXPECT superior low light performance. Its an older design, which was rehashed to compete with the DVX.. speaking of which, considering the DVX100 is 440 000 and pumping full res progressive scan, the image sharpness (and IMO image quality re gradation DR etc etc ), is superior.
Low light performance is marginally lower, however colour saturation is superior. But that is not the point of my post here..
What im saying is that yes its superior in low light, but the pixel count being what it is, makes its so. For todays standards its a compromise one makes.
Either superior low light performance, or superior all round performance, of which MANY cameras, be they HDV or SD are indeeed capable

Now im not bashing it, im saying that there is a reason why the PD does what it does so well, and as technology moves forward, that reason will remain its strongest point far beyond the time they stop stop making it

However IMO low light performance SHOUD NOT be the reason to choose a camera. If you believe you can work a full wedding at candle light levels and get acceptable broadcast results, then you are mistaken.
If yo believe that you can shoot subjects in backlight all day long and use the old tried and true term of "if in doubt, blow it out" then again, you are mistaken.
Light is a MAJOR factor in what we do and if people refuse to accept this, then more likely than not, theyre products will be inferior to the guy who runs a 20w fill light. Above all else, theyre deluding themselves if they believe that this is an acceptable form of cinematography.
Its like being a photographer and saying, its OK, i'll use natural light, when u DONT KNOW what the weather is going to be like on the day, but u have no choice but to shoot it.
I cannot tell you how many clients have approached me dissatisfied with tehir videos simply because their official videographer was so tunnel visioned that they refused to run a light.
WB and exposure is the BIGGEST problem, and 95% of teh time, its either complacency, or lack of education which causes teh problems in the first place.

The tools we have are just that. Tools. Theyre not an insurance policy and if u believe that ur tool of choice is "good enough" to do anythign and everything for you, then again, ur mistaken.

If theyre not used the way theyre supposed to, then whats the point? Your just giving the rest of us a bad name.

As for 16:9, this is all relative. I can easily tell u that squeeze from a DVX100 running progressive scan, looks BETTER than NTSC interlaced. Anamorphic adapters work well, but if you have it misaligned, then ur stuffed, HDV is a good option, but low light performance (if its an issue for you) may be an issue for you.
I dont see 4:3 dying too fast too soon. Reason being is that there are many companies out there who do great work with the format, and from the people ive met, most dont care what format it is in, so long as it looks good, is sharp, is fluidly edited and above all else, represents their wedding day for what it was.
I have had clients watch 16:9 footage on a 4:3 TV, and as the black bars are present, some actually believe that theyre "losing' parts of the image.
Others have run 4:3 on a 16:9 tv and do not know how ot adjust their aspect ratios accordingly. Therefore the image may be seen as being distorted.
Some do not understand the difference between HD and SD, other have no clue about progressive scan.
Clients DO NOT KNOW, but those that do, are far more concerned with the work itself, rather than the format in whch the work is delivered.

Yes we can educate them, but if every person i educated ended up booking me, then id be a rich man... Half teh time, they come to the "big name" companies for info and to find a "standard" then chase teh cheap arsed backyard producer and hammer them with the info i provide.

Oh they all love the work, but noone wants to pay for it.. And those that do, at least have the decency to discuss the longevity of the formats.

No, its now up to the client to do their own research, then after they book, im happy to go over their format options.

Another thing whch has been overlooked is Audio.
I can go on about audio acquisition and compression, but IMO, people have their minds set to one method. IMO, MPG audio just doesnt cut it for live events, which is one major issue i have with HDV. And then there are the 95% of production houses which have NO CLUE about DVD Authoring let alone standards used within that authoring regime (ie Dolby Digital)

Theres alot more to making wedding presentations than the camera you choose... believe me..

OK, so were moving forward now.. 4:3 looks ugly on 16:9 display?? why is that?? the vertical bars?? or the fact your running SD material through a HD panel? Or is it the panels deinterlacing? Or is it the DVD players deinterlacer? Or is it the gamma configuration on the panel? Or is it the underexposed footage? Or is it the noticablity of the shaky footage due to the large screen? Or is it the colur gradation? what is it??
Is it the sound which puts you off subcontiously that turns u off of to what youre seeing?
So here raises another point, being that no matter WHAT the format u use, there are MANY variables which affect the image quality.
4:3 DOES look good on any display, so long as it is done PROPERLY
16:9 looks good, HDV looks good...
All these formats cal also look like poo..
So long as your shooting, camera settings, exposure, colour, sound and above all else, EDIT is good, then it will look good on any display you play it on.

But if u dont know shit about the gear ur using, do u expect good results?
The camera aint gonna do the work for you, so in all honesty, get over it.
Im really over the fanboy crap. It reminds me the Nintendo Sega wars..

As for HD options, 98% of clients DO NOT CARE
For me, i wasted $17k on HDV. I say WASTED becuase that equipment has NOT paid itself back in the alloted timeframe in which i give it (3 months)
Why? People dont care. I got those cameras (2x z1's) specifically for 16:9 and HD delivery, but nup, people dont want it.. they dont want, i wont use teh camera, at least their value stays high due to the low clock count.
I can honestly say that i have not had anyone book me, simply bacuase of the cameras which are available. BUT I HAVE had MANY many MANY bookings because of our audio acquisition and delivery (Dolby Digital 5.1 surround EX).
That says alot about peoples priorities when it comes to weddings.

Not only can they NOT afford to watch it on a HD display but theyre have no inclination to pay any extra to future proof their investment. Not all THAT much anyway..
Theres also the fact that probably every HD client will also want a SD version to go round to the families,
Ive had mroe people upgrade to include Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, as opposed to those asking for 16:9
This aint free and if u are doing it for free, ur an idiot.

All i can say is GET OVER IT.
Each camera has its stenghts and weaknesses as does each format.

16:9 is here to stay, 4:3 is STILL a viable option and allows prices to stay low. This has a 2 pronged effect, as those wanting to embrace HD and 16:9 must compete with the 4:3 old cam users who dont have teh overheads that a new camera and edit system entails. 4:3 will be here for as long as people accept it. And i for one have not seen anyone be overly concerned with 16:9. Far less interest in HD options...

Their primary concern is image quality no matter WHAT the format. The second concern is Audio, the 3rd concern is edit and style of shooting and the final concern is the music.
And above all else, how one conducted themselves is probably the clincher

We can do what we can to educate the client, but in all honesty, why waste ur time? if they want to know more, they can ask.
U shoudlnt have to justify your format of choice, BUT in doing so, you shoud not put down any other format either, as what one format may be weak on, another may have many more strengths, so dont ever put yourself in a situation or bidding war with another comapny if you have the intention of selectively educating a client.

Misrepresention is a true means of having ur business go down the drain, so when discussing these formats with a client, try to keep a level and TRUE representation of the acquisition format, as well as the display and audio formats used on delivery.
I know its tough out there, believe me, i know.. but lets face it, we all have bills to pay and we dont need any more crap in this world.

We cop enough flak as it is due to our predecessors whove failed abysmally and whove ruined our chances of being on the same level of photography.
Nows our chance to move forward and DO SOMETHING about waht we do and how we do it.
And as everyone has their tools of choice, each and every one of us needs to band together and offer quality products to regain the dignity of that of the Wedding Video Producer

rant over..
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Old July 21st, 2006, 12:33 PM   #30
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Amazing how the point is overlooked and reinstated.

4:3 looks like garbage on 16:9 because it stretches it. When will 16:9 be able to stretch a 4:3 picture correctly?

16:9 on 4:3 looks fine if you don't mind the letter boxing.

In the end 16:9 is not cure all and falls very short of playing the standard TV shows correctly.

Unless you don't mind watching 4:3 television on 16:9 set with the faces slightly stretched or with vertical letter box.

If standard television shows are going to start shooting in 16:9 then let the 16:9 sets have their way otherwise,

Keep 16:9 in the movie house where it shines best.

The size of movie screen displays 16x9 far better than the 32 inches of a TV set. There is no comparision.
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