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


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Old July 21st, 2006, 01:38 PM   #31
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Peter, you make some good points and I agree with many of them, but the fact is that interlaced 4:3 SD video doesn't deliver optimal results on today's widescreen HDTVs. As you mentioned this is partly because some (many) customers have their equipment set so that 4:3 videos come up in 'stretch' mode, which will make a bride look 100 pounds heavier when watching her wedding video on her best TV. Of course it's also true that some people don't like watching letterboxed widescreen footage on a standard 4:3 TV, but you'd think they'd be used to that by now from watching any Hollywood movie - and it's easy enough to make a 4:3 DVD from widescreen source footage.

My point here is that you can serve more customers better by having the option to shoot and deliver proper widescreen video, and that you can't do this well using the DV cameras most of us have been using lately. I agree that dealing with this issue isn't something most customers appreciate or will pay enough for to justify a quick conversion, so it's ultimately a business decision as much as a technical one what to do about it. Is this a critical concern for being a successful wedding videographer? Not today, but it's a good thing to think about and deal with appropriately.

As for people not appreciating video as much as photography, there are several possible explanations for that. I'm hopeful that portable video players and internet distribution will help make video seem more convenient and useful to customers, which over time should help make it more popular. Widescreen recording may matter even less in this context than for HDTV playback, but it still can't hurt to have the option to shoot and deliver widescreen output.

Get over it? Sure, but just understand what it is that you're trying to get over. Clearly technology isn't the most important consideration in making a successful wedding video, but it's not irrelevant either. A few years from now there may be a lot of people wondering why their expensive wedding videos don't look so great on their expensive HDTVs, and that could hurt our industry again. It kinda sucks that we can't get customers to appreciate this now when it matters and pay a little extra for optimal image quality, but money doesn't grow on trees and video just isn't that important to most people yet. In the long run widescreen/HD wedding videos won't cost much more than SD does today and should become the de facto standard in some areas, especially as new videographers invest in HD gear for the same price many of us paid for SD.

So getting back to the original topic, I wouldn't advise anyone to invest any money in SD video cameras now unless they're sure that's what they want to do. If you do buy an SD camera, get one with a decent widescreen recording mode of some sort, so you can still use it for something when widescreen/HD delivery is commonplace. Anything else is money down the drain once 4:3 video goes out of favor with customers.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 01:06 PM   #32
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I agree with you Peter.

You can shoot SD or HD and still have it look like poo and vice versa.

I have concentrated more on editing and shooting style then technology and explaining to my customers the difference between 16:9 and 4:3. As you have found out, no-one has booked you just becuase you offer 16:9 or HD. The argument that down the road their video might look like crap on thier new plasmas doesn't make sense to me. I don't have the time or energy to worry about a client's future technology purchases and how they will converge with my film.

case in point...I sat in a 3 story mansion in Siesta Key, FL with the widowed wife of a doctor who payed to have her daughters wedding filmed by my company and watched from beginning to end our completed video on a 72in imported plasma with a customed installed 7.1 surround British designed sound system. We are talking $150,000 in just audio equipment in her one living room. The surround speakers were trimmed out in finished african cherry hardwood and mounted flush inside the walls. Point being...she did not have her resolution set correctly so my 4:3 was stretched and it bothered me. She went through an entire box of tissues and called her niece who was getting married next year and had her book me over the phone for my largest package. In summation...content is king!!

Technology is important but quality and content rise far above it in most clients wishes.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #33
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Only Videographers and technofiles care about this type of stuff....lol

The average bride and groom, just want it to look better than the 1-chip camera that they use.

SD is the way to go----especially if your trying to stay under 3K.
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Old July 24th, 2006, 01:34 PM   #34
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Pssst! It's the people who can afford these expensive toys, that would be willing to pay a better rate just to have a better experience ;)
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Old July 24th, 2006, 11:03 PM   #35
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"Only Videographers and technofiles care about this type of stuff....lol

The average bride and groom, just want it to look better than the 1-chip camera that they use.

SD is the way to go----especially if your trying to stay under 3K.Pssst! It's the people who can afford these expensive toys, that would be willing to pay a better rate just to have a better experience ;) "

I think that sums it up quite nicely. Coupled with our never underappreciated adage of "content is king" then were in for a winner.. lol
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Old July 25th, 2006, 08:41 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Minor
Point being...she did not have her resolution set correctly so my 4:3 was stretched and it bothered me. She went through an entire box of tissues and called her niece who was getting married next year and had her book me over the phone for my largest package. In summation...content is king!!
Clearly content is king, but if you have customers like this why wouldn't you recommend widescreen recording and delivery? Are we all agreed that we should deliver less than optimal image quality for a $150,000 home theater setup because the client doesn't know or care about the difference?
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Old July 25th, 2006, 08:49 AM   #37
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I guess it goes back to the old fashioned practice of custom made products, based on the client's need. If you know they have a huge plasma that will show widescreen, make it so that it will work for them. If Uncle Al only has a VHS and a 4:3 TV, you may need to make a second export to work for him. All that matters is, it works right when whoever it is plays it. If it doesn't you are then labled a fool that doesn't know what they are doing, even if it is the client's fault.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 08:56 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Chris M Watson
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.
I'd have to respectfully disagree with that analogy. Non-linear editing changed EVERYTHING- from aquisition, to delivery, and especially the "way" we work in post. HD when you really break it down is simply a higher res with a different aspect ratio.

Of course these are both appealing traits however only one of them is a factor at this point. I hear it all the time but have yet to "see" a difference. I don't know how starting with more pixels and interpolating down would offer a better image that displays in a native SD resolution. Granted I do know that HD has a differnt color sampling rate than SD. 4:2:1 vs. SD's 4:1:1 (is this correct) That may indeed be the hard fact that HD imagery provides better color. However is this actually percievable, and in enough of a capacity to warrant the high overhead of jumping in on this new technology now?

The biggest draw to the HD cams is the native 16:9 ability. Sure I can get an anamorphic lense for my 170's but then I limit my flexibility with using my effects lenses (.55x, .3x fisheye, etc). Plus I heard they have problems focusing at full zoom.

When it comes down to it the resolution issue is probably the LAST thing about HD that would factor into reasoning for a switch and paying a prime for the newer technology. Once it's deliverable, and provides better low light than my 1-chipper I may reamain on the sidelines. I'm convinced, though, that the next revision of the Z1 will patch up some of it's weak points. Sony notoriously cripples it's first generation hardware in order to make a more appealing 2nd, 3rd, (and so on) releases with "new" improvements. It's a bit frustrating because Sony's (vx, pd, etc) low light ability has nothing to do with optics or ccd sensitivity but their employed electronic gain algorithm. If the consumer VX uses why couldn't they utlize it in a 5k camera?
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Old July 25th, 2006, 09:05 AM   #39
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HDV has a 4:2:0 color, or 4:2:2, if you have the capabilities to capture it.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 11:37 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
I'd have to respectfully disagree with that analogy. Non-linear editing changed EVERYTHING- from aquisition, to delivery, and especially the "way" we work in post. HD when you really break it down is simply a higher res with a different aspect ratio.
Fair enough, but I think the point was that we shouldn't necessarily wait for customers to express interest before adopting new technology. Many of my recent customers already own HDTVs, so I figure it makes sense to provide the best image quality for playback on those displays whether people ask for it or not. Today that means widescreen SD delivery which I couldn't do well with my DV cameras (now sold), and in the future it will mean HD delivery. Shooting in 4:3 DV is undesirable now and will be even less so soon.

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It's a bit frustrating because Sony's (vx, pd, etc) low light ability has nothing to do with optics or ccd sensitivity but their employed electronic gain algorithm.
If that's true then why not just buy current HD cameras and add some more gain in post? I did some experiments a while back and found that tweaked low-light footage from a Sony FX1 can be made to look similar to footage from a DVX100 in terms of sensitivity, and people with DVX100s don't seem to be griping too much about shooting in low light. The only camera I couldn't match for sensitivity was the PD170, but that doesn't have a proper widescreen recording mode. So right now the best compromise camera for widescreen delivery is probably something like an XL2, but I'd rather not lug one of those around at a wedding reception. If someone can suggest a true widescreen camera with a small form factor and sensitivity matching a PD170 at a reasonable price, I'd like to hear about it...
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Old July 25th, 2006, 12:33 PM   #41
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Hey Glen,

Thanks for chiming in. One of the most frustrating things about this new format war is that it confuses clients and makes adoption of a new HD delivery standard that much slower. I think HD-DVD will win in the end just because Sony is horrible with new media they introduce in the market. The latest casualty is their UMD for movies. In the end that makes delivery of HD-DVD that much slower for us.

I had to take issue with the whole "wait til they demand it" argument because brides don't want to know how something is made. It's not on their radar. It's like me walking into my favorite sushi restaurant and asking how they made that Volcano Roll. Just not on my radar. I just don't think that client demand for HD should be an accurate measure of when to jump in.

As I've said elsewhere, keep using SD equipment until the wheels come off but when it's time to upgrade to new gear, I don't think it would be a wise investment to stay with SD.

I would concede that nonlinear reallly changed things and nothing is going to equal that as far as impact to our iindustry. I will say that HD is just as siignificant on the shooting end of things. Sure it's only better resolution and a different aspect ratio but it makes a huge difference both in it's native format and when it goes to DVD.

One of the things I've been doing is deinterlacing the clips to get rid of the video look and make it look more like film. When I did this with SD, my resolution would take a hit. That doesn't happen when I do it to my HD material. When downconverted I end up with a 480 progressive look that looks and feels more like fiilm than video. Also, the slow motion remains sharp as a tack since it's sampled at a higher resolution. Same thing goes for alot of effects that normally dull down the video. So there is an advantage of starting with more to work with even if the final delivery format is SD.

As for the low light, I think we're further along on the first gen of Sony Hd cams than we were with the first generation of DV cams. I'm looking forward to hearing what the FX-2 is going to be like and whether it is going to improve in the low light department. As is, the FX 1 does pretty well in low light and is only 2 stops down from the VX 2000 so it's not like going back to the dark ages or anything.

Anyway don't shoot in HD unless you're ready to switch and definately don't watch said footage until you're ready to edit in it. You pretty much get ruined after that :).


Chris Watson
Watson Videography
www.dallasweddingfilms.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott
I'd have to respectfully disagree with that analogy. Non-linear editing changed EVERYTHING- from aquisition, to delivery, and especially the "way" we work in post. HD when you really break it down is simply a higher res with a different aspect ratio.

Of course these are both appealing traits however only one of them is a factor at this point. I hear it all the time but have yet to "see" a difference. I don't know how starting with more pixels and interpolating down would offer a better image that displays in a native SD resolution. Granted I do know that HD has a differnt color sampling rate than SD. 4:2:1 vs. SD's 4:1:1 (is this correct) That may indeed be the hard fact that HD imagery provides better color. However is this actually percievable, and in enough of a capacity to warrant the high overhead of jumping in on this new technology now?

The biggest draw to the HD cams is the native 16:9 ability. Sure I can get an anamorphic lense for my 170's but then I limit my flexibility with using my effects lenses (.55x, .3x fisheye, etc). Plus I heard they have problems focusing at full zoom.

When it comes down to it the resolution issue is probably the LAST thing about HD that would factor into reasoning for a switch and paying a prime for the newer technology. Once it's deliverable, and provides better low light than my 1-chipper I may reamain on the sidelines. I'm convinced, though, that the next revision of the Z1 will patch up some of it's weak points. Sony notoriously cripples it's first generation hardware in order to make a more appealing 2nd, 3rd, (and so on) releases with "new" improvements. It's a bit frustrating because Sony's (vx, pd, etc) low light ability has nothing to do with optics or ccd sensitivity but their employed electronic gain algorithm. If the consumer VX uses why couldn't they utlize it in a 5k camera?
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Old July 25th, 2006, 04:17 PM   #42
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Those of you already shooting HDV... do you downconvert to SD in the camera and capture as DV... or are you editing native HDV or with an intermediate codec and downconverting later? For those of you downconverting to SD after the edit.. what have you found to be the best way to do this?
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Old July 26th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris M Watson
I had to take issue with the whole "wait til they demand it" argument because brides don't want to know how something is made. It's not on their radar. It's like me walking into my favorite sushi restaurant and asking how they made that Volcano Roll. Just not on my radar. I just don't think that client demand for HD should be an accurate measure of when to jump in.

Chris Watson
Watson Videography
www.dallasweddingfilms.com
Respectfully, this statement violates the laws of supply and demand that control the entire world economy. Why invest 30K into technology that is not perfected, not in demand, and will be obsolete in a year or two (or whenever the next gen comes out and blows this stuff away)? That is most of the SD guys points in a nutshell. I am not saying that the current HD stuff is not better technology than SD cams, it just doesn't make sense from a financial standpoint for most wedding and event videographers and companies. That's all!!

Oh and Peter, content is king! (just thought I should slip that in for ya)
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Old July 26th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #44
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Dan, following your logic flow, none of us would ever pick up a video camera. It is never perfected, always replaced by better tech, then replaced by an entirely different format before the first batch of old tech even has a layer of dust on it... We would all be using Super 16's, or trying to get a 35.
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Old July 26th, 2006, 09:09 AM   #45
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I agree with Dan Minor for the most part.

While I agree the current crop of HDV cameras do great SD 16:9 and are valuable for that purpose, I think HDV will be improved or replaced (will have a much shorter lifespan) than SD DV does/did.

With DV there was nothing better on the horizon. HDV has MANY issues (fast motion artifacts is a big one). Sony already has XDCAM which is 35mbps and VBR (unlike HDV's 25mbps CBR encode) and Panasonic has P2. Granted neither are "affordable" for the wedding/event market that will happen and supplant HDV in a year or two (so I believe).

Now if the demand existed RIGHT NOW in the wedding market it would make sense to shoot HDV but it'll take the same year or two for blu-ray/hd-dvd for the format war and market penetration to make delivery economically viable.

In a year or two both the playback means and the format will settle, a new crop of cameras will be out with either an improved HDV codec or somthing that replaces it.

Unlike the move from Hi8 to DV, this HDV period will be much more "transient" IMHO.

People bought VX2000 came out in 2000. Those are still in service six years later and not much different than the VX2100. The DVX100 has been in service 4 years or so with only a few improvements. I don't think the "current" HDV will be the best codec available for wedding/event video in 4-6 years.
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