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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 5th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #1
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Advice, First time Wedding Video

I may be doing my first wedding video this summer. I've only got one 3ccd camera (canon gl2) and I've got a 1ccd panasonic (which I'm not sure if I'd even use unless I wanted a b-roll)

So i've just invested quite alot of money into buying a new camera, and I thought I might put off getting sound equipment until I really know what i'm doing, I wouldn't know what to buy, or how to use it, etc.

I'm doing the video for a friend for free, and I was wondering.. will sound be a big deal? I suppose it depends on if they want the vows to be heard and what not, but lets assume it does matter, but it's not a big deal because they aren't paying me..

I could MAYBE, maybe spare like 100-200 dollars on a mic, but i don't want to take the risk in buying it, and never "getting anything out of it".

So what is your advice?
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Old May 5th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #2
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Jenna,

Take a look at the recent thread (discussion) on this forum about iRivers. You could pick up a used one (make sure it has the audio in jack - Model 7xx, 8xx, or 9XX) on Ebay for under $50 and a lapel mic (from Giant Squid Audio Lab) for another $25.

This will enable you to record the vows well.

Anyway, check out the thread and you'll get all the info you need.

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Old May 5th, 2007, 03:15 PM   #3
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here's my plan..

So i just confirmed the plans for the wedding, talked to the bridge and she told me she doesn't mind if the sound isn't great (that i can just put music on top of it) It's an outdoor wedding, on july 7th.

So if anyone can offer me any advice on shooting outdoor weddings, angles, lighting, etc.

I've explained to her that i'm basically clueless, and that this is a learning experience for me, and I thanked her for trusting me to do this for her. I am going to try to make it to the rehersal the night before so I have a better idea as to what i am doing.

I think I will have a second shooter. I have a small compact 1ccd panasonic which i will probably have placed in the rear, near the center aisle, and I will be shooting upfront probably on the grooms side with my nicer camera.

Do you think the plans sounds good enough? Any advice is appreciated. I'm nervous about actually doing my first wedding.. :)
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Old May 6th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #4
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don't skimp on the sound...

Jenna-
Going to the rehearsal is a must, sounds like you know getting the bride's face during the vows is your 3cdd cam shot and money shot, and hopefully you are using a tripod, but, as Bill said--can't stress this enough--spend the few dollars on the used IRiver/GiantSquid combo (2 of them would be better, to mic the celebrant also. In spite of what the bride said, capturing the vows cleanly, which might be tough outdoors with just your oncam shotgun, is VERY important.
The time of day and the position of the ceremony with relation to the sun, if it's out, is also a key factor, as I'm sure you know enough not to be shooting into the sun's direction--you probably don't have much control over that, but if you do, have them rotate their direction. Find out and prepare for the alternate location in case of rain, get rain protection for you cam if they plan on going on with it even in the rain.
Get used to operating your camera before the wedding, make sure to white balance at the scene, carry extra batteries. Read as many first wedding advice threads on this forum as you have time to absorb.
Wishing you the best on this.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #5
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thanks so much

I'll look into getting the iriver, but honestly i don't know if I want to go through ordering something off of ebay (since I heard they are discontinued and they sell the cheaper on ebay) i got my camera off of ebay, and it took me honestly 2 months to get it.. I suppose all sellers are different, but i've only got two months until the wedding. So i'm still on the fence about it..

I know sound is 50% of video... but the way I see it, the bride isn't expecting much. (but ill still give her more than she is expecting) She's young, she's not spending alot on her wedding, and if she wants music, then I'll just give her music, overall she just wants to remember the day, and I know i can put a good video together, that will be memorable, and beautiful, even if you can't hear the vows. So I know alot of people will say I'm making the wrong decision, but I thought long about it. I'm not getting into wedding videos as a business. This may sound selfish, but unless someone is paying me, why should I go spend even more money on top of the 2g's i just spent.. Until I'm getting money in my pocket, I'll hold off on investing in any other equipment.

Basically I'm saying, in spite of the sound, I am still going to give her a good video, and I know she'll be more than happy, because it's free, but just because it's free doesn't mean i'll treat it like its garbage.

Another thing, I'm not to sure that if the sun is behind them, that I can tell them to move, i'm sure they have a set spot and everything. But where I live, there isn't a bunch of open meadows and what not, so i'm sure the many trees will help block out the sun in that case.

So, suggestions on shooting.. auto or manual? I'm not to good with manual yet, I'm still unclear about alot of the settings. So what do you guys do when you're shooting a wedding? Since i'm going to be outdoors, it will probably be bright, so any suggestions on exposure, f-stops, and all that jazz? lol.

Thanks so much for your responses!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 04:15 AM   #6
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Hi well I've just had this experience myself, I've shot a couple of wedding using stills but last week I videoed my first.

Here are my take on it
First things first Cameras, you need both running a DV camera is a DV camera so long as your not shooting wide screen on the GL2 when the other only shoots 4.3 you will be fine,(in which case you shoot both on 4.3).

If you only have one camera running you will have a load of trouble in the edit.....BIG TIME
So what do you do? You set the Panasnoic up on a wide covering shot (this you will start and leave running on it's tripod you will man the GL2 this will allow you to experiment with your shots maybe doing some tight shots, some medium shots and some wide shots BUT DON'T just keep zooming in and out all the time!
The thing is as you man the camera sods law says you will either knock it or cock a zoom up (if you use zooms in your shots we don't).
The idea is in the Edit You will go from GL2 wide, cut to the Pana wide back to the GL2 which is now zoomed in for a nice medium shot. The Pana is your safety net it need to be running all the time. It will cover those not so smooth zooms you will do or the point when you accidentally kick the tripod leg!!

Batteries and tapes I'm not sure how many locations you are shooting on but here is how we did it last week (I was lucky to have a little more kit but the principle is the same).

Our locations
Church
Hotel for Reception
Marquee for wedding breakfast speeches, cutting the cake.
Marquee for first dance.

So it went like this (We were not allowed to film the actual service due to a silly rule but this will give you an idea).

Cameras cleaned with tape cleaner. ALL CAMERAS NEW BATTERIES NEW TAPES

Film guests Groom Bride arriving at church.

Service starts ALL CAMERAS NEW BATTERIES NEW TAPES

Service ends go in film signing of the register cam two filming guest coming out of church and a little of the photography. People chatting out side the church etc..

Load into vehicle to go to hotel reception

ALL CAMERAS NEW BATTERIES NEW TAPES

Hotel for Reception

One cam setup for speeches in Marquee (the wide shot) the other with me filming the photography, little scenes going on around you groups of guest chatting, young children playing what ever is apart of the day events.

Guest go into Marquee
NEW BATTERIES NEW TAPE in the one I have been using
Set the B camera rolling (the one that is already set up once again I try different shots with the main camera as I'm covered by the wide second camera :-)
Meal (wedding breakfast).

ALL CAMERAS NEW BATTERIES NEW TAPES

Film cutting the cake One camera

NEW BATTERIES NEW TAPE

Film first dance 2 camera one wide one close in.

Job done!

Tripods you need both on tripods no exceptions the minute you take it off your footage will look like armature night and i'm sure you are wanting to do the best job possible.

Batteries tape you need loads get as much as you can afford.

Sound
1) Buy a wind jammer for the GL2 (I wish I had know just how badly my XM1 mic was effected by even the lightest breeze (lesson learned).

2) Buy a small stereo mic with wind protector (your gig is out doors) and a Mini Disc recorder Stero mic from Maplin in the UK was £20.00 the Mini Disc recorder was £40.00 off Ebay every one is buying into mp3 at present ideal time for getting hold of one the sound they record is top quality CD sound just make sure the mini disc allows a proper mic inputs they all allow some type of input off a PC but not all allow input off a mic.

On the day set your mic and mini disc in the center of the action for all the ceromany and the speeches you then have a backup for all the sound from your GL2. the Pana sound will be crap full stop you will get great recordings of roads and car door slamming 3 miles away but the stuff happening in camera will be very poor to useless.

Final Thoughts
Visit the location and go through your shot in your head I'd shot the wedding a 100 times in my head before I had even loaded a tape, it gives you confidence.

Try and get an early night the night before, ware comfy shoes you will be on your feet ALL day.

Don't drink until the job is done. Your working remember!

Every time you take a tape out of the camera use the slider to stop any more recordings on that tape, we also labeled each tape the day before E.G XM1 Church , XL1S Church, XM1 Hotel etc.. the reason is two fold one if half your tapes are screwed you want to know what camera it was that did the damage! Secondly on the day the last thing you want to do is prat around naming tapes , you will have enough to do.

With regards to settings if you have had little experience in it DON'T use it run it on auto and concentrate on your shots.

good luck and try to enjoy it, I was a bag of nerves BTW :)
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Old May 7th, 2007, 04:36 AM   #7
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Thats great advice from Andy - although I'm not sure about the number of battery changes - what you using - AAAs? :-)

You MUST get better sound than the on board mic will produce. THIS bride may be happy with not being able to hear the vows; but if you want to take this forward you're going to need demo material and doing a freebie is a great way of getting that. But you show this to a potential future client - what are you going to say when she says "Oh - I can't hear the vows?".

Ian
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Old May 7th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
I'll look into getting the iriver, but honestly i don't know if I want to go through ordering something off of ebay (since I heard they are discontinued and they sell the cheaper on ebay) i got my camera off of ebay, and it took me honestly 2 months to get it.. I suppose all sellers are different, but i've only got two months until the wedding. So i'm still on the fence about it..
Should not take more than a week or 2 to get something you ordered off of ebay. by the 2 month turnaround you mentioned it sounds like you bought your camera from one of the Brooklyn camera shops. They probably called to upsell you as soon as you bought it too. I bought my first camera this way and swore I would never buy anything off of ebay again. Unfortunately it is a great place to get good gear and I use it a lot. Matter of fact I just bought a glidecam off of ebay last week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
I know sound is 50% of video... but the way I see it, the bride isn't expecting much. (but ill still give her more than she is expecting) She's young, she's not spending alot on her wedding, and if she wants music, then I'll just give her music, overall she just wants to remember the day, and I know i can put a good video together, that will be memorable, and beautiful, even if you can't hear the vows. So I know alot of people will say I'm making the wrong decision, but I thought long about it. I'm not getting into wedding videos as a business. This may sound selfish, but unless someone is paying me, why should I go spend even more money on top of the 2g's i just spent.. Until I'm getting money in my pocket, I'll hold off on investing in any other equipment.
As a new business owner I will tell you that there is one rule of business everyone gets to learn the hard way at least once. You will always have to spend money to make money, and always buy what you really need the first time instead of buying it twice because you bought the wrong tool or a flimsy tool. A good wireless lav is one tool I use almost as often as I use my camera. You have a potential to blow this bride away with your work. Never do a project planning on only going halfway. You may not be planning on doing weddings in the future (I know I sure wasnt) but if you do a good job on this one, people will talk, and it might not be a wedding you get, but a local shop needing a commercial for television that like how you shot their sisters friends cousins wedding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
Basically I'm saying, in spite of the sound, I am still going to give her a good video, and I know she'll be more than happy, because it's free, but just because it's free doesn't mean i'll treat it like its garbage.
I have no doubt that you will do a great video, but you will definitely come back wishing you had done something different, Every shoot I do there is always something that I wish I had tweaked or changed when I shot it. With your video being free I definitely understand where you are coming from with not wanting to spend anything on it, but use this opportunity to improve the portfolio, even if it is not something you plan on doing ever again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
So, suggestions on shooting.. auto or manual? I'm not to good with manual yet, I'm still unclear about alot of the settings. So what do you guys do when you're shooting a wedding? Since i'm going to be outdoors, it will probably be bright, so any suggestions on exposure, f-stops, and all that jazz? lol.
Full manual. I still use autofocus occasionally, but for the most part I only use manual. The main reason you will want to use manual iris on your camera is because the light level throughout an outdoor wedding is constantly changing. It gives you much better control of how it looks, and will add 100,000,000,000 class points to your production. My advice is to get out and start playing with that camera today. put it in manual and go. a good resource for the GL2 is found here with the son of watchdog forum (http://dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=20) Also i know no one has said anything about tapes, but pick a good brand and stick to it, Order in bulk and steer clear of any brand with the letter X in the name. I use the panasonic professional tapes, they run me about 3.60 each from the tape company (thetapecompany.com)

Happy shooting!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Briscoe View Post
Thats great advice from Andy - although I'm not sure about the number of battery changes - what you using - AAAs? :-)

You MUST get better sound than the on board mic will produce. THIS bride may be happy with not being able to hear the vows; but if you want to take this forward you're going to need demo material and doing a freebie is a great way of getting that. But you show this to a potential future client - what are you going to say when she says "Oh - I can't hear the vows?".

Ian
LOL the batteries we had on were fine we just changed them anyway (each camera at at least 3 a piece) most of the batteries were 945's some second hand (that I bought with the cameras) so played it very safe.. too safe LOL thats lack of experience for you. :-D

I bet one 945 on each would have done the whole day at a push LOL
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Old May 7th, 2007, 04:18 PM   #10
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about getting a mic

Thanks so much for the advice! I'm sure i won't be getting that many batteries, right now I have the one that came with the gl2, which is .. basically terrible.. it lasts for an hour or so.. then I have one backup, plus i have a charger to use in my car that i might use (it came with the gl2 kit) So perhaps I should buy one extra battery, any suggestions on a good camera place on ebay?

I'll tell you right now, never buy from paniweb (something like that) in new york. It took them 2 months to send my camera, and they say it comes with all of this stuff, I thought Id at least be getting a decent tripod.. but nope.. it's made for digital cameras or small video cameras,.. certainly not my gl2..

So if I were to say i wanted to buy a wireless mic, i'll be needing some advice on that as well.

First, I'm confused about how this is supposed to work. Am I buying a mic and a recorder to record the sound Separate from the audio on the camera? or is there some type of wireless transmitter thing that pics up the audio and sends it to my camera?

Just explain the whole process to me and the parts so I better know what i need to be buying, and how do I tell if it has an audio in jack.. How do I get this sound loaded into my computer if the sound isnt' transmitted to my camera?

Also, Andy suggested buying a windjacket, if I get a mic i won't be using the audio from the camera, but would I need something like that for the wireless mic?

One more thing, I just did a search for the iriver on ebay, and earlier someone suggested the 7xx, 8xx, or 9xx.. I couldn't find nothing on that on ebay, and i don't understand that the "giant squid" thing is, but let me tell you, doing a search for that on ebay, just come up with some fishing items, lol, any advice on how to find these items on ebay would be great!

I appreciate all of your help ~! Thanks a ton!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 05:26 PM   #11
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I've got 7 wireless mic systems, of which 2 I never use anymore. You can have them for $10 ea plus shipping. They are VHF. PM me with your zip code. I'll check for broadcast issues. If there are none, they are yours. This will buy you some time and remove two pesky items from my storage.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 05:27 PM   #12
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Jenna,

When you search for iRiver on Ebay it will return dozens of digital audio recorders with this brand name. Only the 700, 800 and 900 series iRivers have an audio input jack and these models are not made anymore. That's why you must find a used one. I just bought a couple for about $20 each.

Then, you will need a lapel mic. A standard isn't wired to work with iRiver recorders BUT you can buy specially made/wired lapel mics from Giant Squid Audio Labs (google search this name - they have a website of their own -- not on Ebay). Be sure you order those designed to work with an iRiver. These are good mics and cost around $25 a piece.

If you are serious about getting good audio, this is a low cost way to do it. Worth the investment IF you hope to get more wedding business in the future.

Good luck,

Bill
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Old May 21st, 2007, 01:48 PM   #13
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What about the receiver for the wireless mic? I see the Iriver and Giant Squid Audio Labs, but I don't see the receiver listed...?
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Old May 21st, 2007, 02:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
Thanks so much for the advice! I'm sure i won't be getting that many batteries, right now I have the one that came with the gl2, which is .. basically terrible.. it lasts for an hour or so.. then I have one backup, plus i have a charger to use in my car that i might use (it came with the gl2 kit) So perhaps I should buy one extra battery, any suggestions on a good camera place on ebay?

I'll tell you right now, never buy from paniweb (something like that) in new york. It took them 2 months to send my camera, and they say it comes with all of this stuff, I thought Id at least be getting a decent tripod.. but nope.. it's made for digital cameras or small video cameras,.. certainly not my gl2..

So if I were to say i wanted to buy a wireless mic, i'll be needing some advice on that as well.

First, I'm confused about how this is supposed to work. Am I buying a mic and a recorder to record the sound Separate from the audio on the camera? or is there some type of wireless transmitter thing that pics up the audio and sends it to my camera?

Just explain the whole process to me and the parts so I better know what i need to be buying, and how do I tell if it has an audio in jack.. How do I get this sound loaded into my computer if the sound isnt' transmitted to my camera?

Also, Andy suggested buying a windjacket, if I get a mic i won't be using the audio from the camera, but would I need something like that for the wireless mic?

One more thing, I just did a search for the iriver on ebay, and earlier someone suggested the 7xx, 8xx, or 9xx.. I couldn't find nothing on that on ebay, and i don't understand that the "giant squid" thing is, but let me tell you, doing a search for that on ebay, just come up with some fishing items, lol, any advice on how to find these items on ebay would be great!

I appreciate all of your help ~! Thanks a ton!
Jenna, no offense but your questions show you really need to brush up on some of the technical basics of sound recording for video before you spend more money on possibly the wrong stuff. I can't suggest strongly enough that the next $$ you spend, before buying anything else at all, be on Jay Rose's two books "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video" and "Audio Postproduction for Digital Video." You can have them overnight from Amazon or through Jay's site http://www.dplay.com and they will be worth every penny. The folks here can give you good advise on wedding and event issues but also don't overlook this board's "Now Hear This" forum that is devoted to audio issues in general.

One of the better sources for equipment, and a DVInfo sponsor, is B&H Photo in New York. They're sort of a "big-box" operation so don't expect much hand-holding - you'll still need to do your homework in order to choose the right equipment, but unlike some (many?) of the mailorder houses advertising in the back of the magazines or lurking on eBay they are fully professional, NOT rip-off artists, and you'll get exactly what you've ordered in a timely manner and at a very fair price.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 02:27 AM   #15
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thanks to everyone!

No offense taken, but what can i say, I'm a beginner. So far, i've been using the audio from the camera, but It's not like I've ever done a wedding before, or had the need for good sound.
But those books you recommended, i found it ironic that the name is Jay Rose.. It's similar to the name i've chosen for my videography business. My name is Jenna Rose, my father used to call me Jayro, as a spoof off of J-Lo, He passed away a year and a half ago, and I decided to name my business in honor of him, even if it's a silly nickname.

I understand enough about audio, following the advice on this forum I invested in an iriver, and giant squid mic, and I'm just waiting to recieve it. Once I get on my feet, then I will invest in a wireless mic system, but for now, an iriver will do, as alot of people seem to be content with the audio it produces.

Thanks for everyones help and advice, i'll probably be posting again soon :)
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