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


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Old March 21st, 2007, 10:30 AM   #1
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What else do I need?

So last year I decided to get into the wedding video biz and did a few jobs for free for experience, etc. I was able to use demo footage from those weddings to land a few paying jobs this summer. Here's the equipment I have so far. Do you recommend getting anything else before my first job arrives? I'll be shooting ceremonies and receptions along with my husband. He's my second cameraman and he actually does a great job.

- two Sony VX2100's
- two tripods, one monopod
- two small on-camera lights
- one Senn. wireless mic to put on groom
- iRiver to pickup ambient sound
- headphones
- Sony NP-F970 batteries

What about additional lens' or more audio gear? Thanks!
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Old March 21st, 2007, 10:41 AM   #2
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A wide angle lens and a backup camera might be a good idea.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 11:26 AM   #3
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1. Wide angle adapter for both cameras. For those tight small area situations.

2. Shoulder mount adapters for hand held shots are needed, in my opinion. You won't alway be able to shoot from tripod. Or you might also consider the "Steady Stick" from Tiffen.

3. Consider other separate sound recorder, like mini disc. (Get HiMD with mic in (not linein only) , if you go that route.) I ve used it with a separate mic to record ceremony and/or ceremony music. In some situations you can tap into sound system.

4. You will probably need better on camera mics. Rode Videomic (??), about $175.00 each for stereo mini plug. If you are going XLR mics, will need to add Beachtech for each camera too. I have the Sennheiser ME66 with K6 power module, and Beachtech adapter-- with my VX2000..

Down the road:

1. "Flying" equipment- Steady cams are being used more and more at weddings to gett that flying effect. Usually, from what I have seen, in more controled situation, shooting before the ceremony. Your clients will need to want to submit to such filming...
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Old March 21st, 2007, 04:17 PM   #4
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Your equipment list is just fine. I actually wouldn't spend another nickel until you get some money rolling in.

You don't need a 3rd camera for backup. Just make sure to plan and shoot like your shooting with only one. Pretend the 2nd one isn't even there.

You don't absolutely, positively need a WA lens either, especially if you don't plan on doing a lot of pre ceremony prep with the couple. Pick one up off ebay for $50 down the road.

Same goes for a shotgun mic. The only thing I've ever used one for is the comments during the cake cutting. Otherwise, it's useless.

I'd get another battery though. You'll lose a camera if either of your two fail.

Again, I caution you about buying all the latests gizmos and gadgets that won't earn you an extra dime.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 06:46 PM   #5
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"You don't need a 3rd camera for backup. Just make sure to plan and shoot like your shooting with only one. Pretend the 2nd one isn't even there."

What he said..

youve already got 2 perfectly fine units.. until the cash rolls in i say sit back and enjoy what you have..

one other thing..
you should draw up a workable contract
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Old March 21st, 2007, 08:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips everyone! It sounds like I'm all set then for this summer. Until the money starts coming in, I'll hold off on the extra lens' and such. I'm already in the hole enough as it is so I'm glad to hear I don't NEED this extra stuff right now. Once I get some good clips, I'll take a brave pill and post one for you all to critique.


"one other thing..
you should draw up a workable contract"

Oh yeah! I definitely have that taken care of. My legal section is 2 pages long so I think I'm covered pretty good. I've seen the many posts on here regarding this topic so I was able to come up with something that should cover both me and my clients very well.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 11:11 PM   #7
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Although this isn't something I'd reccomend for you right now.... I'd consider getting a glidecam in the future. It's a really great tool that I bought myself when I started out. I use it on every shoot and it really does improve the quality of my productions.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 03:36 AM   #8
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Wedding setup

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Originally Posted by Andrea Lair View Post
<clip>
- two Sony VX2100's
- two tripods, one monopod
- two small on-camera lights
- one Senn. wireless mic to put on groom
- iRiver to pickup ambient sound
- headphones
- Sony NP-F970 batteries

What about additional lens' or more audio gear? Thanks!
Hi Andrea,

Unless you have extra spending money, I agree with the conservatives that you've got a nice compliment of starting gear (just don't look at all the gear in my closet...) The one thing that would worry me a bit about your setup is only having one Sennheiser system (I'm up to four). As long as nothing goes wrong, you'll do fine but you've got a real problem if your system should stop working (I assume you're wiring the groom). This way you'll have more flexibility in editing by capuring another track (perhaps the officiant, music, or readers), as well as having the peace of mind knowing you and your client are protected against failure.

One more item you'll certainly want in your audio bag is a drum mic to place in front of the DJ's speaker at the reception. I'd also recommend a mic stand so you don't have to improvise a less than desirable way to secure the mic in front of the speaker.

Does your setup include a wide assortment of goodies in your gear bag (various cables, assorted mini/RCA/TR/TRS/XLR connectors and adapters, pads, transformers, splitters, etc)? IMO, we can never have enough of this stuff.

If you're going to be doing outside shoots before or after the ceremony, I'd suggest adding something like a collapsable multi-use reflectors/diffusion disks) and a few C Stands. There's a wide assortment of gear available - the reflectors I use are: Westcott Reflectors Illuminator Reflector Kit 6-in-1 - 42" Square - Full-Stop Diffusion, Two-Stop Diffusion, Silver, Gold, Sunlight and White Mfr# 1032 B&H# WEIR6142 $100 Westcott Illuminator Arm Mfr# 1100 B&H# WEAIR $58 ea. But if you'd like to control your budget, I recommend buying John Cooksey's "Digital Lighting Magic" DVD (there are several higher-end DVDs on lighting, but this is a great starter for those with a limited budget). http://www.elitevideo.com/index.asp?...PROD&ProdID=60

I'd suggest adding something like a glidecam before the wide-angle or fish-eye lens, but could argue this one either way. Oh, by the way, you *must* have at least two filters to protect your camera lens ASAP if you don't already have them on your cameras. Another reason I'd suggest holding off on the extra lens is in case you fall in love with another camera like the Sony Z1 - then you won't find yourself liquidating the extra accessories. But after a few wedding if you are really enjoying your VX2100's, you'll soon be looking to add extra lens for tight shots and special effects.

Finally, since you're hubby is working a second camera, as you learn to choreograph/synchronize the two cameras you'll want to buy two sets of 2 way wireless transceivers such as the Motorola XV2600 VHF units.

While we won't go into all your editing system gear, you'll want to have some kind of playback device to avoid needless wear-and-tear on your VX2100s. While the Sony DSR-11 is a nifty system, you might decide to get by with a small inexpensive gun and run mini-DV camera that supports firewire. You can also use this as a non-critical third camera at the wedding (lock-down mode with a small tripod) - I'm using the Canon XR-800 for $238. While it's certainly not a prosumer camera, it does accept a 1/8 inch mini microphone jack so you can plug your Senn G2 into it for quickie day to day shoots and still get great audio (the most important part of video, right?)

Hope this helps - good luck, Michael
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Old March 24th, 2007, 10:03 PM   #9
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Absolutely you have made some sensible decisions. As has been said, let the income roll in before investing in extra on site gear, and then choose carefully. Unlike post production equipment, on site gear can last years & years.

When I left the AV services business I had a lot of equipment, but not much that fit the lightweight-adaptability concept of onsite production. Here is my list of gear:

- Three cameras with tripods. 2 monopods.
- Four wireless mics in rackmounted road case, with tripod light stand to hold the rack. Lav or hand held mics for each system.
- One audio mic mixer with 4 xlr channels & 4 line channels. Three audio out feeds.
- iRiver with mic and line connections.
- 2 speaker PA system with stands.
- DC/AC converters.
- Headset radio for communication.
- 200' XLR cable
- 200' AC cable
- 10'x10' tent canopy. 2 umbrellas.
- Toolbox with all kinds of audio/video adapters.
- Dinner for 2 and lots of water.
- Assistant
- Vehicle: 4WD Jeep

I haven't shot an indoor wedding in years. Whereever you are, you must be prepared to deal with the unexpected. Indoor shoots would be a whole lot easier.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 11:17 PM   #10
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Communication

I totally agree with everyone to stay with what you have. The one item we have used that I have found invaluable is the Eartec 902 Communication System. It allows you to communicate without having to push buttons and you can talk at the same time. When you are having to change exposure, focus and zoom, the last thing you want to worry about is finding a button on your walkie talkie to tell your husband the best man just walked into your shot. They are a bit more expensive but IMHO well worth the investment.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Lair View Post
So last year I decided to get into the wedding video biz and did a few jobs for free for experience, etc. I was able to use demo footage from those weddings to land a few paying jobs this summer. Here's the equipment I have so far. Do you recommend getting anything else before my first job arrives? I'll be shooting ceremonies and receptions along with my husband. He's my second cameraman and he actually does a great job.

- two Sony VX2100's
- two tripods, one monopod
- two small on-camera lights
- one Senn. wireless mic to put on groom
- iRiver to pickup ambient sound
- headphones
- Sony NP-F970 batteries

What about additional lens' or more audio gear? Thanks!
What lights did you get? Sony's 10/20 watt light works great. I would add a third camera for a backup. You can always rent one if you are in a jam as well. A wide angle lens is a definate must for those tight shoots, which happen often. We use the pd170's which come with a sony wide angle but I would recommend getting better glass.

Jon
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Old March 25th, 2007, 06:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Schwartz View Post
The one item we have used that I have found invaluable is the Eartec 902 Communication System. It allows you to communicate without having to push buttons and you can talk at the same time.
Just like 2 cell phones with a $10 headset from Walmart. Works great :)
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Old March 29th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your input! It has been very helpful. So I think I'll stick with what I have for right now. Just to make myself feel a little more comfortable this season I might rent an extra camera and/or an extra wireless mic system for the day. I'll have to look into it and see how much something like that would cost.

Also, what about insurance? I don't have any yet and I know I need to get something. Who do you all go through? Do you just attach it to your homeowner's policy or do you have something separate?


Quote:
Oh, by the way, you *must* have at least two filters to protect your camera lens ASAP if you don't already have them on your cameras.
No, I don't have any filters. Any suggestions for this?

Quote:
The one item we have used that I have found invaluable is the Eartec 902 Communication System. It allows you to communicate without having to push buttons and you can talk at the same time.
We came up with something for this, just not as nice. They are just two-way radios with earpieces. They have a voice feature that allows you to talk without pressing buttons. Works pretty well.

Quote:
What lights did you get? Sony's 10/20 watt light works great.
Yep, that's what I got. The only thing I wish I could do was the diffuse the light a little bit. The light almost turns into a spotlight when the reception lights are really low. I haven't had anyone complain yet though.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 07:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Steele View Post
Just like 2 cell phones with a $10 headset from Walmart. Works great :)
About the Eartec unit, they work fine for what they are, the headsets are over priced for what they are, i.e. found the same slim headset in Best Buy for 1/3 the price. So while I will recommend the units, that mainly because they are the only kid on the block that won't cost you many potatoes.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Lair View Post
So last year I decided to get into the wedding video biz and did a few jobs for free for experience, etc. I was able to use demo footage from those weddings to land a few paying jobs this summer. Here's the equipment I have so far. Do you recommend getting anything else before my first job arrives? I'll be shooting ceremonies and receptions along with my husband. He's my second cameraman and he actually does a great job.

- two Sony VX2100's
- two tripods, one monopod
- two small on-camera lights
- one Senn. wireless mic to put on groom
- iRiver to pickup ambient sound
- headphones
- Sony NP-F970 batteries

What about additional lens' or more audio gear? Thanks!
From my experiences, I'd say you're in pretty good shape! My personal goal has always been to have at least 2 of everything, when I could afford it, while keeping the entire setup as light as possible. I also keep spare; light bulbs, batteries, lav mics for the wireless, more batteries, battery belts, extra tapes, gaffer's tape, etc... Sometimes its not an easy balancing act, but with 2 of you shooting, it'll be a lot easier than one person toting everything.

Oh, and I always get some looks when I duck into my portable changing room for that oddball thing that the DJ or wedding planner needs... :-)
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