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Old September 28th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #1
First Freebie Wedding-Didnt Go Too BAD! Critiques and Advice?
Jay Cash Jay Cash is offline September 28th, 2010, 10:35 PM

I have been on this forum daily for the past months, I was hired as a videographer for my first wedding and I am pleased the bride and groom enjoyed the work. They didn't expect the music medley montage.

YouTube - walters wedding teaser CLIP - and comments or critiques?

Obviously, I had no Fig Rig or Steadicam- Some of my scenes are WAY jittery but not god awful.

Do you guys have any advice on which I should try to purchase before next time?

ALSO- I use a Canon XHA1; Whats a quality wireless Lavalier Mic I should buy? I need all the advice I can- I have another wedding in 3 weeks!


Jay Cash
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Old September 29th, 2010, 03:03 AM   #2
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Ok, at a minimum consider a monopod, way more wobbles than you want to have in that footage, IMO. Trying to do "dynamic" movement shots handheld without a rig of any sort is risky business. A Bogen 561 or 562 with the small feet and fluid cartridge base is expensive, but worth it - I think the 560 is a bit on the smallish side for your camera. If you learn the tricks, it's possible to get near steadycam footage with a monopod with practice, and the little feet on the 56x series can give a pseudo-tripod, but with better mobility... I've tried a few monopods along the way, and along with others here have found the aforementioned Bogens to be good investments.

Other options would be a spyderbrace type thing (buy or build it yerself from plumbing section finds), or if you want (meaning have the budget for!) something more serious, a DV MultiRig type device.

I'd say you need to watch your WB, or tweak a bit more in post, some odd fleshtones popped out. Maybe since there were gaps, you stilll haven't finished CC?
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Old September 29th, 2010, 03:13 AM   #3
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Hey Jay

Your first wedding is always a big challenge and you have to be brave and just jump in!!

As Dave says you need to reduce the wobbles a bit ...I would think if you move in closer and go wide it will help a huge amount with handheld shots.... zooms are not really essential with shots anyway and your biggest wobbles are when you are zoomed.

Just keep shooting and listen to constructive advice.. like the advice here that will help that will improve your footage.

I have seen some awesome handheld footage without any rigs so just practice and practice until your camera movements are smooth. Shooting with a zoomed up image is even hard to keep still on a Steadicam so move in close and stay wide!!

The more weddings you do, the better you will get!!!
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Old September 29th, 2010, 07:00 AM   #4
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Hi Jay,

This is my critique.......

Your opening shot is quite nice, composition is good and slow zoom is good.

Next take is of the rear of a women's (bride?) head, you could probably leave this out and fade to the flowers.
The next take is of the bride, side you have a frontal of her smiling?, here would be a nice place to put it.
The next take is nice, maybe a bit more movement...
Next take of the young women is good, she's looking into distance and for a side on shot this works well.
The take at 43 /44 sec, try not to decapitate people in a tight group, you'd have been better to pull out slightly wider and hold the shot for 5 seconds.
The take at 49 would have been better stopped at 52 and held, we don't really need to see the photog in the frame. If the photog is a family friend donig a freebie, shoot her as a separate entity doing her bit.
Scene coming in at 1:01 has good entry, you need to slow it down a bit though and maybe place your bride in the RHS more because she's looking a bit to the left.
1:05 would have been really nice if you were a bit wider.
The women moving along the path is good, albeit a little shaky
1:16, be real careful shooting larger / older women with a low shot from behind, it's not kind to them!!!!! unless they're in good shape. Shoot from the side and above waist height!!!! [No need to die from a nasty accident with your camera at a shoot...... :) ]
1:23 is a lousy placement, due to sun, if you're going to do this, make sure your lens is spotless and you use a BIG matte box, these shots are best left for when the sun is right down on the horizon. If the sun is anywhere between 1000 and 1500 hours try your best to shot with it either behind you or at 90 degrees, i.e. on your shoulder, can be left or right. This helps to keep your colours from washing out.
1:30 take is too tight and lens is dirty.Your pull out, as always for this type of shooting is too fast. Learn to pull out more slowly and smoothly.
1:47 / 1:51...up to your old tricks of shooting into the sun, fast zooms AND, IMO a big no no, a bridesmaid upstaging the bride :) :) That's the one on the RHS of the frame....
Now, interestingly, nearly all your takes of the guys are good, even the framing is getting better there's a bit of soft focus at 2:20 / 2:27. 3:00 / 3:04 is very good!
3:14 drop was a bit fast, hold on flowers was good.
3:17, no need to pull out any wider, you could have stayed centralized and slowly panned down to the end of the card giving people time to read it.
Take on the rings is maybe too static, distance was good but maybe a slow clockwise movement shifting 90 degrees i.e. say one calls the start 6am, move to the 9am position. Clockwise is important because of the lay of the rings. If top ring was laying on the other side, the movement would be anticlockwise.
3:36 / 3:40 pan was far too fast.People like to see people....not some blurry figure whizzing past the lens :)
Harp player is good, angle is good. Could afford to be a bit wider as you've lopped the top off the muso's head!!!!. Harp player's hand is excellent idea,in time you're looking to frame it reasonable tight and move with it. For now, keep it a little wider and try and flow with it.
3:58 / 4:11 Good to see a crowd shot, keep it smooth, keep it fairly wide, keep it slow.
Door entrance was good, well done.

OK, now, one of the boys said watch the white balance, I think first of all, you need to watch exposure, it's way out. Have a look at your exposure of the women versus the men. I suspect your shooting with too wide an iris and therefor blowing out your shots. This will result in washed out colours, from which the women are suffering. The men do as well, to a certain degree. In this game light, if not treated correctly, will be your enemy but treated and read right, will be your best friend

Now mate, you've got another shoot in 3 weeks... :) Here's what I reckon you need to do.....
1. Get a stable frame i.e cut out the wobbles, in Aus we'd say "You look like you shot this after a real hard night on the town" :), practice really hard to obtain this.
2. Find a tree, post or better still, a human and practice framing a bust shot and holding it steady...there's that word again...steady....
3. Using above tree, post or human, practice a walk by, i.e., subject stays still while you walk past, around it. guessed it...steady.
4. Don't stress about mono or tripods yet. you need to pick up the basics, they'll get in your way at this stage of your shooting. In a couple of years, if you keep it up, they'll be an extension of you, but by then you'll know what you're doing.
5. Shoot a subject with the light behind it (back lit) in front of it ( front lit) and to the side of it (side lit) Do the 4 shoots consecutively and view the results.
6. Shoot a morning, midday, mid arvo and late arvo scene. All consecutive, all the same scene. Compare the results. You're looking at light affecting colours here.
7. Practice focusing on moving and still subjects, if your auto focus is good, use it until you've sorted the other bit and pieces out.
8. Keep the lens CLEAN
9. Get a lens hood at the least, or a cheap matte box to start with.

OK, there's other stuff but this is enough to keep you occupied for a while. Keep at it, I reckon you'll do alright. As Chris said, you need to be brave and that you've been.

Good Luck.


Last edited by Alan Melville; September 29th, 2010 at 07:29 AM. Reason: typo
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Old September 29th, 2010, 07:38 AM   #5
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Wow Jay

Alan has given you a tutorial here shot-by-shot!! All what he has said makes perfect sense!!

No one responded regarding the wireless mics so some quick advice (I didn't check but you are in the USA???) Check frequencies before buying as the traditional UHF 700-800mhz band was banned in the US in June/July !! I actually use Azdens and if you don't want a frequency issue (and have a low budget too) the WS PRO series work remarkably well in the VHF band and you can get a Transmitter and Receiver for under $150!!! I actually use one on a daily basis on commercial Realty shoots as I have to film and give a running commentary at the same time and they are tough little units and I have never had any interference from them. (I have 3 sets actually) I also have a UHF system by Azden (the more expensive multichannel units and I have had problems in Churches that also have a UHF system.

You can also just slip a DVR and lav mic into the grooms pocket ...most guys use that nowdays but the fact that you cannot monitor the audio in realtime scares me!!!!! I would be the poor guy who accidentially switches it to pause and loses the entire vows!!! so I stick to radio mics!!!

The key element with weddings is be prepared and have two of everything...if something doesn't work you have to have a spare one..lights, battery, cables. radio mics and anything that might stop working (that's why most of us shoot on two cameras or more!!.

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Old September 29th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #6
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Hi Jay,

I just want to follow up on a few things already posted because they're extremely important.

Back-up equipment...Always, always have back up for every piece of equipment. You need two cameras for a shoot?....have three available. You need three microphones?...Have four available. Maybe most important is having more batteries than you think you'll ever need.

White balance...Is always going to make your post-production quicker and easier. At some point, invest in an Expodisc (my preference) or white balance cards.

Steadiness...If money is an issue, use your tripod as a monopod and and as a cheap-mans's steadicam. It'll come in very handy in most situations.

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