Newbie With Lots of Questions at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 5th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 12
Newbie With Lots of Questions

I am new to DVinfo.net and hope that this is the right place for a brand spanking newbie to post newbie type questions.

First off, I love shooting video and have been shooting videos of radio control airplanes in flight for the past couple of years. My videos are typically very short and get posted up to the internet for other members of my local flying club to view. I shoot with a Panasonic VHS-C camera presently. I am a retired accountant and am bored with being retired. I am looking into the possibility of going into wedding and event videography and would like to draw on the experts here for information, advice and/or suggestionsto help me decide if this the direction I want to go.

First off, I would like to know if there is any formal training necessary in order to be sucessful at this? I would like to know what ya'll recommend as far as basic equipment to get started on a part-time level. I am assuming that my little Panasonic might not be appropriate (I have a VERY limited budget at this point). I have read that having a backup of the audio is a REAL good idea and would like to know where I can start learning about the equipment.

I am currently utilizing an inexpensive video capture card in my computer with an inexpensive piece of editing software. This stuff works just fine for what I have been doing, but I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions as to what is recommended in the way of video capture (I am assuming that maybe capturing via a Firewire might be better than using either a PCI or USB card) and what is good in the way of editing software?

If, by some chance ya'll think that I might could get started with utilizing the basic equipment that I already have, I'm thinking that maybe I should start off with shooting for free (or almost free) just to get a couple, two, three events (for lack of a better word) under my belt before looking into a higher rate. I am also assuming that if I can get away with my current equipment, the quality might not be as good as the minidv equipment that you pro's seem to use. If this is the case, chances are that perhaps pricing should be comensurate with the actual quality that professional grade of equipment should produce vs my little Panasonic. Are these safe assumptions on my part?

Finally, I will make an effort not to be a pest here. LOL If anyone has any direction/suggestions of anywhere else I can go to learn as much about this as I can (I want to be able to make a well-informed decision about whether to get into something like this or not), I would greatly appreciate anything anyone offer.

Thanks for bearing with me,
Vance
Vance Van Patten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 5th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Bloomington, IL
Posts: 636
Welcome aboard Vance.

Sounds like you have a real interest in video, a basic knowledge of how it works, and spare time to invest in learning more. That's a great start!

You have a lot of questions and they're all good ones.

Camera- You definitely want to invest in a 3ccd prosumer camera when you start charging for the work. Doesn't have to be HD or brand new, but a used Sony VX or PD series camera would set you up for years to come. I seem them posting here on the dv info classifieds for around $1600 these days. Can't beat that!

Audio- You'll want a wireless microphone and a shotgun mic. If you're on a budget the wireless would be more important in my opinion simply because you can record the vows clearly with it but the shotgun you can't. Based on what you said your looking to do, part time work, a low budget wireless is probably fine to start with. Move up later to a Azden or Senn. system if you start booking lots of work.

Tripod- This is equally important to good audio. A fluid head tripod. I don't think you'll beat a Bogen/Manfrotto system at lower prices. Take a look at their 700 heads as a starting point ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation )

Capturing would be through an inexpensive ($40) firewire card that would plug into your computers pci bus. You may already have a firewire port built into the system so take another look.

Editing software- For part-time work that you do because you enjoy it, you can probably use the inexpensive software you have for at least the first year. Keep it simple and work on a good foundation before purchasing a fully functioning editor.

I don't recommend buying lots of gear to start off with. I think you can start off with a basic foundation (mini-dv camera, tripod, wireless) and build on that when later on when you have paying jobs or feel that you want to improve the image or sound of your production. I think that starting out for free can be a good place to learn you equipment.

Hope that helps a little.

Ben Lynn
Ben Lynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 5th, 2006, 10:33 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 12
Thanks for the info Ben. It was helpful, but it now raises some additional questions.

I have been doing some reading here and it seems that the top choices of cameras are the Sony and Canon. Are there any opinions regarding the likes of the JVC (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation)? What about something like the Panasonic PV-GS500 (http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...000000005702)? Being that this is also a 3CCD camera as the prosumer cameras, would something like this produce quality compareable to the prosumer rigs? I am asking about a lower end camera as it looks like it will be at least a month before I will be granted access to classifieds section here and if I decide to do this, I will want to jump into it with both feet as soon as possible. LOL

Now on the the wireless. Do you have any suggestions as to what might be a good starter setup or recommend where I might start looking into this aspect of the equipment?

And finally, would utilizing a firewire vs AV/S-video for input to the computer produce better/higher quality results? I built my computer from the ground up before firewire become popular so I am sure that my system does not have that capability, but as you suggested, all it would take it adding the PCI card if it will yield a higher quality end result. I take great pride in my work - even my little flying shorts.

Thanks again for your response and information. It is greatly appreciated.
Vance Van Patten
Vance Van Patten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 6th, 2006, 05:50 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
Posts: 3,884
have been doing some reading here and it seems that the top choices of cameras are the Sony and Canon. Are there any opinions regarding the likes of the JVC (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation)?

I wouldnt go the HD model.. theyres a 3ccd unit very similar to the DVX100 though.. cant rememebr the model number off the top of my head..
When i rememebr i'll note it down here.

"What about something like the Panasonic PV-GS500 (http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...000000005702)? "

If you can, go the GS400... prolly the best in this range.. 1/4ccd, full manual and auto options (gs500 is predominately auto) Or better than that a second hand MX300... MX500 is a brilliant cam, but in low light it sux

ng that this is also a 3CCD camera as the prosumer cameras, would something like this produce quality compareable to the prosumer rigs?

((No... it will be a good sharp image, but the rest is up to the shooter...also with CCD size, you wont have the DR, or low light abilites of the 1/3CCD's ))



Do you have any suggestions as to what might be a good starter setup or recommend where I might start looking into this aspect of the equipment?

((I wouldnt touch anythin other than a Sennheiser G1 or G2...
Ive had a G1 for 5 tears now and (knock on wood), its still going strong..
G2s are smaller, but the range doesnt go as far. Battery life is better though and the built is much more compact. ))

And finally, would utilizing a firewire vs AV/S-video for input to the computer produce better/higher quality results?

With firewire, ur transferng the ACTUAL tape data to PC (unless ur uing a mac or capturing as MPG2... basically with firewire, all ur doign is transferring teh 1's and 0's. With the SVideo, your working in analogue... this defeats the purpose of your tools of choice.

I built my computer from the ground up before firewire become popular so I am sure that my system does not have that capability,

((My mobo is new, but it still didnt have firewire so i just got a standard PCI 1394 card... works a treat.. ))

but as you suggested, all it would take it adding the PCI card if it will yield a higher quality end result. I take great pride in my work - even my little flying shorts

((Good to hear.. with pride, one must not compromise and working analogue, your are compromising the image and sound qualtiy and adding noise, due to the D/A conversion))

Good luck
Peter Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 6th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Kingman Arizona
Posts: 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vance Van Patten
Thanks for the info Ben. It was helpful, but it now raises some additional questions.

I have been doing some reading here and it seems that the top choices of cameras are the Sony and Canon. Are there any opinions regarding the likes of the JVC (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation)? What about something like the Panasonic PV-GS500 (http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...000000005702)? Being that this is also a 3CCD camera as the prosumer cameras, would something like this produce quality compareable to the prosumer rigs? I am asking about a lower end camera as it looks like it will be at least a month before I will be granted access to classifieds section here and if I decide to do this, I will want to jump into it with both feet as soon as possible. LOL

Now on the the wireless. Do you have any suggestions as to what might be a good starter setup or recommend where I might start looking into this aspect of the equipment?

And finally, would utilizing a firewire vs AV/S-video for input to the computer produce better/higher quality results? I built my computer from the ground up before firewire become popular so I am sure that my system does not have that capability, but as you suggested, all it would take it adding the PCI card if it will yield a higher quality end result. I take great pride in my work - even my little flying shorts.

Thanks again for your response and information. It is greatly appreciated.
Vance Van Patten
Hey, don't forget about ebay! You can get some great deals off of there and a lot of people are selling their sd cams to move up to hd/hdv. If I were you, I would be on the hunt for something like the canon gl2. If you buy one used, look for stuff like drum hours and lens condition which are some of the most important aspects of the deal. Most prosumer cameras don't have a drum hour meter and people will often lie about how much the camera is used. Make sure to check their feedback. I bought two used cameras off of ebay three years ago and they were a great success.


Same goes with the tripods and heads. When I started out, I bought both my bogen tripod systems off of ebay and they were pretty much new from what I could see. The bogen/manfrottos are probably the best tripods/heads in your price range.

My biggest suggestion would be to not cheap out on the wireless. I have bought cheap azdens, sonys, and other brands and they were all terrible. Try to get a nice set of sennheiser g1/g2 or similar uhf systems and you will save money by not wasting it on the cheap vhf stuff.

Peter Jefferson hit it on the head about the firewire. Firewire is easy to work with and I see them all the time at local stores going for $20.00. I would either try installing one of these on you current pc or build a new system.

Hope my info helps. I started out just like yourself with the same questions.
Jonathan Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 6th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Bloomington, IL
Posts: 636
Peter said it right about the GS/ smaller 3 ccd models. They look good if you're outdoors, but everything indoors is pretty much not usable for what you really want. I have a GS125 that I bought as a family camcorder/ tape deck. It works great in those areas but I wouldn't think of using it as a main camera at a wedding. The low light abilities of the smaller cameras is just not acceptable.

Senn. wireless would be a solid investment you won't be dissappointed with.

Ben
Ben Lynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 6th, 2006, 05:40 PM   #7
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 12
Ok! So I need to make sure that I get a prosumer type of mini dv that handles low light (I assume that's what a "low lux" rating represents?). I have been looking at ebay (I have had pretty good luck with buying radio control airplane stuff there in the past) and I see a lot of "new" stuff in the $2,500 range, but I'm a little concerned with having something go wrong it and needing warranty work done it. For that reason I was thinking that buying locally and spending a few $$'s more for the sake of warranty. I also see that ebay usually has a pretty good selection of the canon and sony prosumer mini's.

How about battery capacity and having spares available? Does the standard batterys of these prosumer level cameras have enough capacity to handle the ceremony and reception as well as the before and after type events or is it a good idea to have an extra battery or two?

And how about tape capacity? I have done some looking around and it seems that 60 or 80 minutes seems to be th norm. If this is the case, and based on the prices I've seen, it seems that having a box full of them around might not be a bad idea.

As for replacing my current AV/S-video capture method, I think my current PCI card took a shot during a power surge a week or so ago and now give me the excuse to have to buy a new one. I was planning to just replace the analog card, but if I am going to change direction with my videos, now is as good a time as any to go ahead and replace the analog with a firewire card.

Finally, what is a good editing program? I am confident that I may outgrow the PowerProducer software that I am currently using and might as well start looking into something that will produce much better results than I can currently do. I think I might want to look into something that allows layers and/or transparancies or something along those lines.

I appreciate all of the good advice and suggestions. It nice to know that I have found a wealth of solid information here. Hopefully I won't drive ya'll nuts with all my questions. Right now I feel like a kid in a candy store and I want to learn everything there is to learn about videography.

Thanks again,
Vance Van Patten
Vance Van Patten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 6th, 2006, 07:27 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Well first let me also welcome you to the wild, wacky and wonderful world of wedding video. Even after 23 years I still have most of my hair and at least some of my sanity! ;-()

Anyway, you can never have enough batteries. Good rule of thumb is to have 3 of the biggest size batteries you can get fir every piece of equipment that uses a battery. Why 3? Well for one reason you never what you'll run into at the event. Also I don't know about anyone else but I've had batteries lose cells (not my Anton Bauers thank goodness) but my Sonys have. (for my 150s) If that happens and you only have 2 what happens when things start getting tight on the juice? I know it's an expense so get 3 for the camera and 2 for the light (if it uses them) and rotate them. I have all of my batteries numbered so everytime I use them I know which one goes first. Just an old habit and it seems to keep battery life pretty even.

As for editing it's a personal choice but many years ago I landed on Vegas-this after trying demos of just about every program out there except for FCP since I'm a PC kind of guy. For what ever reason I liked Vegas and the workflow, it just sort of fit my eye in a manner of speaking. Why not download the demos of Vegas, PPPro, Liquid Edition (now by Avid-which I tried when it first came out and I did like it enough to be in the final running) Try the programs out find the one you like the best and get it.
Have fun in your new venture and good luck,

Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 7th, 2006, 01:42 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Kingman Arizona
Posts: 298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
Well first let me also welcome you to the wild, wacky and wonderful world of wedding video. Even after 23 years I still have most of my hair and at least some of my sanity! ;-()

Don
It actually is pretty wacky and sometimes tacky.

Never do it for free!
Jonathan Nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #10
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 38
Equipment and Startup Advice

Hi Vance,

Here's a post that will help you with deciding what equipment you will need:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=77061

Here's a post with some startup advice:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=77066
__________________
Monster Crayons
Arneil deVera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 12
Thanks for all the input, advice and suggestions. As I had hoped, the information here is very useful and I now find myself spending a significant amount of time just reading the various posts here in order to further educate myself in this field.

While I have no doubt that I could be sucessful at this (cursed by being a perfectionist), I find that I am now dumpster-diving to collect discard aluminum cans to raise the cash necessary to buy all of the equipment I will need to get started. If only I had been born rich instead of so good-looking and sexy. ROFLMAO

Again, thanks for all the information. It is greatly appreciated.

Vance Van Patten
Vance Van Patten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2006, 06:39 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Posts: 711
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Lynn
Welcome aboard Vance.

Audio- You'll want a wireless microphone and a shotgun mic. If you're on a budget the wireless would be more important in my opinion simply because you can record the vows clearly with it but the shotgun you can't. Based on what you said your looking to do, part time work, a low budget wireless is probably fine to start with. Move up later to a Azden or Senn. system if you start booking lots of work.

Ben Lynn
You are going to get a lot of good advice here. Ben's comments are clean and succinct. My comments are a bit longer. I would add the following to what he has written:

Wireless mic sysems are essential, but you have to be cautious about what I call "frequency contamination". Most of this contamination is due to the low transmission of wireless mic systems (as mandated by the FCC) and the fact that broadcast television channels overlap many of the same frequencies. This is true for both VHF and UHF frequencies. It is important you do your homework before purchasing a system and learn which TV stations in your local area could wipe out the system you purchase. Most reputable manufacturers of wireless systems provide zip code searchable data to help you choose the right product.
VHF VS UHF: A great argument. UHF systems benefit from having a very wide and as yet unpopulated range of broadcast (transmission) frequencies to select. Because the wavelength is so tight, comapared to VHF, UHF is much more reflective. This is a bonus when working indoors and there are lots of hard, reflective walls and ceilings to improve reception qualities. VHF, on the other hand, has a longer wavelength which COULD be quite a benefit if most of the work you do is outside. Longer wavelengths will have a greater range. If you do select VHF, choose a frequency below 169 MHz, as no television broadcasts uses frequencies below 169 MHz.
Inexpensive VS expensive. Cost has a direct relationship to quality. I have a 1985 VHF system that is rock solid. Of course, it cost about $1200 THEN. My Azden WMS-Pro 2 channel system absolutely stinks at ranges beyond 40'. It was a poor purchase decision on my part, and I won't use it unless absolutely necessary.
Always choose a dual antenna diversity system! This means the receiver case actually has two separate receivers inside and two distinct antennas. A true diversity system has internal circuity which will always respond to the antenna/receiver having the stronger signal and seamlessly switch between in real time.
Perhaps the best item to look for is what is known sometimes a "frequency agile" systems, meaning you have a choice of several frequencies. A very good idea.
I had more to say on other subjects, but realized this commentary was getting too long. Perhaps they should be saved for another time.

Regards.
__________________
Waldemar
Waldemar Winkler is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:21 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network