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

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Old February 6th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #1
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On the fly editing/recording

It seems this forum focuses mainly on wedding techniques but since I have some questions regarding shooting events, I guess this is the right forum to post in.

Up to now I've been shooting events with three cameras (VX2100's) then editing in Vegas. However, I'm looking to do on-the-fly editing and recording to tape or DVD.

I recently bought a Panasonic MX30 Video switcher. Yes, I know it's not the latest and greatest but should serve my need. I'm still waiting for its arrival on this Friday. I intend to run out of the composite ports of the cameras. I'll use coaxial cables with the proper ends for BNC and composite connections. The video will go to the MX30, with a T just before the mixer so I can feed camera video to a monitor. Sometimes the audio will come from the cameras directly to the switcher, other times the audio will come from a separate audio mixer and into the switcher.

The plan right now is to output, via composite cables, from the switcher to either VHS tape (VCR's) or to DVD recorders.

The motive behind this approach is to deliver a finished product on the spot immediately following the event.

Now comes my question. Is anyone here doing something like this that might be able to offer some comments on problems I may encounter and how to avoid some of the trial and error I might have to go through.

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Old February 6th, 2007, 07:37 PM   #2
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coordinate your shooters

I tried a multicam shoot with both of us on headphones using our cell phones (on slient of course) but for some reason that just didn't work (probably due to some auto answer settings). My main discovery, is that it is very important for each shooter to know when they are live so they don't screw around and mess up the live edit.

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Old February 6th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #3
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I agree about the cam ops knowing when they're live. The solution I was thinking of was a wireless intercom like this from Eartec.


The cam ops would be able to hear commands and take direction. I've heard good and bad about the Eartec system. I use it here for example. I've batted around the cell phone idea but that seems too prone to dropped calls if you're in a weak cell.

Thanks for the tip.

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Old February 6th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #4
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Is this being done on a regular basis? Maybe a weekly church service? No matter, you'll find that you save yourself literally hours on every production. For multi cam event coverage a live switch makes the most sense.

If you have the budget then go for the system you pointed out. That would work well. If it's just for one location then a hardwire would be better, less prone to errors, but a wireless like that would work great if you cover different venues. Your communication with the camera operators is the key to your success in this venture. Don't go cheap on this area after you spent all that time and money on other equipment. Bad communications results in bad video. Period. That's probably the best advice I can give on the subject of live production.

Don't expect a polished product your first time out. Just like any sports team, your video team needs practice to perform at a high level. Look for constant improvement over your first 10 shows, then start to evaluate if you're hitting the mark or if you need to make some changes. If you can cover a lot of events over a short period of time that will increase the learning speed of the crew as a whole.

Will you have a Techincal Director to run the switcher while you direct or will you direct and run the switcher at the same time? Both ways can work, it depends on the show. To start with you may want to have someone else run the switcher so you can concentrate fully on directing.

Don't apologize for buying a Panisonic switcher/mixer. They put together some of the best, most reliable switchers in the sub-10K price range. You shouldn't need a DA for each input prior to the signal going into the switcher. Running the T's, one for preview and one for the switcher, should work for cable runs less than 1000ft.

Start your show in black and fade up from there.

And other than that, just go have some fun! In my opinion there's no better feeling than working together with a group of people to put together a great show. Live event coverage lets you work as a group for every show and really builds a team concept. It's a blast. Enjoy.

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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #5
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cell phones

I should say that the cell phones would have worked great except I was using a cheap non-brand name headset (as was my partner / wife).

I will probably be using this technique if I ever am fortunate enough to have two cameras on a production again (not likely for quite a while).

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Old February 7th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #6
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We run the eartec system. It works decent. I think they signal could be stronger for what you pay for, and the crappy slim headphones that come with them are highly over priced. I say this because you can get the same 'Jenson' head phones at Best buy for a third less in total price.

I like the eartec's we have, but since they are the only reasonable game in town, don't expect the greatest innovation from that company.
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
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Old February 7th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #7
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Ben's comments are accurate. I would add the following:

I used to do a lot of these kinds of shoots for meetings and conventions.

Carefully plan how the shoot will unfold and take a lot of time to set it up.

Make sure you have a video monitor for each camera at the switching station and one for the record out going to the recording device.

Have a separate audio mixer that feeds all audio signals directly into the recorder. It is a whole lot easier to independently adjust audio feeds from a mixer than to deal with audio on the switcher.

Communication between crew is essential! Find the system that works best.

Always record onto tape from each camera. Live switches don't always work, and the camera original backup sot only solves bad switches, but provides future work.
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