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


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Old January 1st, 2007, 01:47 AM   #1
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First event video shoot...

And I'm freaking out a little...

Okay, I've done doc style shooting for a couple of hears and have shied away from event photography for the one main reason - no second takes.

That being said, a friend of my wife has a daughter turning 16, and it seems that there is a party. I thought I might step out of my comfort zone and shoot it, much like the MTV series.

But here's my question (I know, finally): Do I have the right gear for it?

Here's what I have:

Canon XL2 w/ 20x lens (Would anyone recommend a wider lens?)
1 wireless lav
interview light kit (acceptable 3 point setup)
and that's about it

What I'm looking at getting is a light for on top of the camera, a shotgun mic, and maybe a second wireless lav. The last item on the wish list is a wider lens. Would it be possible to do this with just the light and the shotgun? or do I really need the second lav and the wider lens to make it happen?

I'm doing this shoot for free, but these are all items that I plan to eventually pick up (when cash flow is better), so what are the must haves? Is one of the must haves a second person operating a boom pole with the shotgun and a separate recorder? I might be able to twist my wife's arm and have her record sound onto an old single chip camera I have.

Any tips or tricks that could be offered would be of great help, but as we all know, credit is limited and shipping takes time. And I've got about 3-4 days to make my order from B&H...

Thanks,
Kevin

P.S. - Happy New Year!!!
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Old January 1st, 2007, 04:12 AM   #2
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Never Stop Shooting

It is a live event and you need to be rollign that camera the whole time. You never know what is goign to screw with your shots so you need as many of them as possible.

If at all possible, don't ever talk. That just interfers with your shots. That doesn't mean askign people to move, reposition, etc.

Expecting sound to be horrible in an uncontrolled event like that. Be prepared to work with it in post. I sitting through a nightmare audio cleanup session. Wedding was on an active train track with an engine sitting outside setting off huge bursts of steam every 5 minutes or so. Crazy.

Some shots are hand held. Others are tripod. Get a quick release head for that tripod because the screwing in noise ruins any audio you could have had.

If at all possible, get an order of events, or even offer to be in charge of that. That ensures that you know what is going on, where and when.

Hope that helps.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 07:13 AM   #3
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I had an xl2 for 2 years, and used it for lots of events. (I moved up to the H1).
This was my set up.
1-Audio technika 897 shotgun,recording on left channel ("rear" and "Ch1").
2- Sennheiser G2 wireless receiver velcro'd to the back plate. G2, when used, records to channel 2. That you you have live ambient sound(897) on one channel, and the lav (or hand held wireless) on the other.
3-3X wide angle lens. Excellent for small apaces. Alaso good for interviewing people at events becuase you can get more in your frame, closer up, and getbetter ambient audio.
4-Frezzi 50 watt mini fill light w/ softbox, camera mounted, and powered by an Anton Bauer battery (connected via gold mount on back of cam).
This set up left me prepared for just about anything.
As someone else said, get a quick release set up, so that you can get the cam on and off the tripod, monopod, stabilizer etc.
Have fun, it's a great camera.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 01:07 PM   #4
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Jason, thanks for the tip about the order of the events and expecting bad audio. Looks like I'll have to learn more about audio clean-up in post (I've needed to anyway). I do have a quick release plate for the tripod, the Canon model made for the XL2. I forgot to mention it.

Bruce, I'll have to do some quick research about the Audio-Tecknika 897. I was looking at the Sennheiser ME66/K6 combo, but for $300 less the AT might make more sense right now. I'll have to check out the Frezzi light you mentioned, again I was looking at another model, a Bescor CK-7XLR Battery and Light Kit - MPL-313X Light, MM-7XLR Battery, Automatic Charger kit from B&H for $175. The lamp is only 35 watts, but I thought that that might be enough.

As far as the 3x lens, I know I need a wider lens than the 20x, I just don't know if I can swing the cash for it. Does anyone know of a suitable adaptor to go on the front of the 20x? I know it won't be as good as the 3x, but sometimes you have to go with what you can get your hands on right now... I think I'll have to post this question in the XL2 forum...

Thanks again for the feedback. I really needed a starting place for this, and you guys really helped out with that.

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old January 1st, 2007, 09:49 PM   #5
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I would do a lot of shooting but keep the final product to about 10 to 20 minutes of high quality work set to her favorite music for this kind of thing for no pay. Do some nice packageing if you have the photoshop skills.
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Old January 2nd, 2007, 08:14 AM   #6
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Bring extras......

Kevin, for any one-time event I'd recommend bringing along at least one extra fully charged long-life battery for each camcorder, and at least one more videocassette than you think you'll possibly need.

Two extra of each is even better.

Audio. At a sweet 16 party I can't envision having a boom setup. Putting wireless on the guest of honor might be okay -- at least not as challenging as wiring a bride. But, you'll probably have to edit out a lot of stuff her or her friends wouldn't want made public.

If there'll be a DJ at the party, you should see about plugging into his (or her) board. That would be especially useful if guests will be using the DJ's mike to offer their congrats.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 02:03 PM   #7
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Well, I rented a 3x lens from an outfit in Chicago, bought the AT 897 on Bruce's recommendation and the Bescor 35 watt light. I hate to spend the money on the rental, but it's substantially less ($35 per day) than buying a used lens ($850 seems to be the going rate). I needed to buy an on-camera shotgun and an on-camera light anyway, so it's not that big of a deal. I'll let you guys know how it goes after next week. Thanks for the tips and encouragement.

Kevin
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 04:22 PM   #8
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Kevin - do you have a way to hook into the DJ board and record that? either your old camcorder or something else? I am new to this, but when I taped a production here locally (school show), hooking into the mixer was very useful to get all those mikes recorded... can you find out who the DJ is and call him/her in advance to warm him/her up to that? perhaps you can use an RCA line out from thier board (or a 1/4" line out) and record it...
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Old January 4th, 2007, 08:47 AM   #9
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Dave, I think that I can hook into the DJ board. I have a consumer grade sony DV cam that I plan to use as a stationary shot of the room and run the DJ sound directly into it. It only has a 1/8" mic jack, but I have a 1/4" to 1/8" cable and a XLR to 1/8". But I should probably pick up an RCA to 1/8" just to be safe. I think that will work out well enough, but I'll try contact the DJ and make sure that this will work. Thanks for the tip.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 09:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
Dave, I think that I can hook into the DJ board. I have a consumer grade sony DV cam that I plan to use as a stationary shot of the room and run the DJ sound directly into it. It only has a 1/8" mic jack, but I have a 1/4" to 1/8" cable and a XLR to 1/8". But I should probably pick up an RCA to 1/8" just to be safe. I think that will work out well enough, but I'll try contact the DJ and make sure that this will work. Thanks for the tip.
one thing, if it's line level out of the board, unless your sony can take a line level in the mic jack (which I would not think a consumer cam will do), you'll need to attenuate the signal down to something closer to mike level that your camcorder can use. poke around the now hear this forum for more info (I'd give you the answer directly if I was sure I wasn't steering you wrong). When I did this, I used a 'passive direct box' to convert line level board feed to mike level, but it also gave me a balanced signal (e.g. 3 pin XLR), which you won't have as input on the sony. I'm sure if you search or post on the now hear this forum you can get some quick help on how to do this.

hope this helps!
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