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-   -   DSLR or Camcorder (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/518971-dslr-camcorder.html)

Richard Bacevac September 15th, 2013 03:48 AM

DSLR or Camcorder
Hello guys,

I need some help, I am not a proffesional wedding videographer,
but sometimes I was doing that for my friends with my old Panasonic GS400.

Now I was thinking to switch to a new HD camcorder. At the moment my also old Nikod D50 resp. lens has broken down.

Now I am in front of the decision, buy some middle range DSLR with video capatibility or to buy a new lens for Nikon and new HD camcorder with manual settings.

I am a little bit confused how most of the people are switching to DSLR, what is the advantage.
How you film with DSLR for example a person or bride and groom coming to the isle, it must be hassle by manual operating of the lens on DSLR, don!t you? I have never tried DSLR thatś why these stupid questions.

Is option to have just DSLR for family vacation? I can!t imagine my wife operating DSLR filming my kids.

I will appreciate your comments

Noa Put September 15th, 2013 04:09 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder

How you film with DSLR for example a person or bride and groom coming to the isle, it must be hassle by manual operating of the lens on DSLR, don!t you?
You have answered your question yourself :) If you are a solo shooter looking for a dslr to cover weddings and you don't have much experience using them I would say, forget about it, get a smaller sensor camera that has larger dof, if you plan to shoot for fun then I'd say yes to a dslr if you plan to make a bit more artistic shots using the narrower dof and being able to using any focal length lens on it depending on what you plan to shoot, if al you care about is having crisp sharp images, nice color and good autofucus and exposure get a high end handicam, they can produce some stunning looking footage as well without requiring much experience.

Chris Hewitt September 15th, 2013 04:44 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Like Noa says, I would add how important it is to know your tools inside out....all of them, audio and video and to be comfortable with it all so that any unexpected situation doesn't leave you in the dark, so to speak .
Also,and just as important is a great understanding of content....what you point your camera at, framing (so many shooters have no %:%?!&*/ idea, really) ,lighting etc etc etc. If you are filming because it's your passion, you're already half way there because you can't help but learn.If you are considering making a living financially from weddings or similar, don't charge money until you know that your work is good, not just good enough but 'good' . ...if it's just a job, it's wasting everyone's time.
A monkey can point and shoot a camera, he just doesn't understand what he's filming
...it's not all about the technical aspects, it's about passion or you just end up with cctv from different angles!!

Dave Partington September 15th, 2013 10:34 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Weddings are a special kind of event. They are a one-off. There are no retakes so you have to get it right first time. If some one is walking towards you then you need one of three things:

1) Continuous Auto Focus - with good depth of field

2) Someone who's skills include follow focus. This is not trivial and also not something normally done but the person pointing the camera - it's a camera assistant!

3) A lens with good hyperfocal distance and the ability to shoot high enough ISO for good DOF without it becoming noisy.

When we shot DSLR (notice the past tense) in ceremonies we'd end up with something like the Canon 14L on the camera for the walk out. That gave a great sense of occasion because it's super wide, but also everything was in focus from about 3 feet to infinity. No need to keep moving the focus point. Of course, what you lost with this is a close up of the B+G. Keeping the B+G in focus while zoomed in (for the close up) is a tall order and not one I would want to rely upon being able to do.

We moved back to using Canon XF100 camcorders during most ceremonies, partly for the auto focus, partly because they'll run for hours instead of the 12/20/29:59 time limits of DSLRs and partly because of their XLR inputs for audio.

While we continued to shoot DSLR during some parts of the day we chose to use camcorders for ceremony and speeches.

If I could pick only one type of camera for shooting weddings AND I was doing this as a single shooter then a camcorder would be my first choice by a long way.

If you have lots of shooters helping you then you can make DSLRs work very nicely, but it is harder work for sure.

Paul R Johnson September 15th, 2013 11:50 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
I'm firmly of the belief that DSLRs are art cameras, and pro camcorders are craft cameras. You can do some beautiful work with a good eye, a good plan and a good subject. I on the other hand like steady, solid and sharp images with deep DoF. I like a zoom that can go in or out at a crawl while keeping the image sharp - having the ability to do that with a thumb on a knob is a bonus. I need stereo sound with good quality preamps and lots of audio versatility - so line from the back to one channel, camera mic to the other, switchable limiters, proper metering and monitoring. All these features to me are essential - and the ability to record long takes without resorting to having to tweak software, or check the cameras are not overheating. I like proper sockets to connect to other bits of kit, and a side viewfinder and LCD depending on what I'm doing - like shooting in bright sunlight.

You cannot knock DSLRs - they consistently produce excellent images - but to add my required features is a real faff, and you end up with something that looks like a monster, and is difficult to operate because ergonomically, it's a mess.

Chris Hewitt September 15th, 2013 03:21 PM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
I agree with you both...I take my hat off to dslr shooters and the cameras produce fantastic quality but for me, I'm with Dave, I need a video camera with xlr's all in one. The ceremony is one take and I wouldn't want the stress that a dslr would create for me....I would like the final result though so may see what the hybrids have come to when the next upgrade comes along.I do use dslrs for the non event shots so there is the best of both worlds.
I have to say that I love shooting weddings and editing them too. It is so gratifying when a couple come back and rave about it. I have never had a 9 to 5 job ever...weddings just give me the creative freedom that corporate shoots don't though the latter pays so much more. I take each wedding as individual and try to improve on the one before and also use stills.

Clive McLaughlin September 16th, 2013 01:57 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Not meaning to start an argument... but you mention DSLR being a 'stress' and difficult to master in a high importance scenario like a wedding.

I agree, but thats what makes you a PROFESSIONAL. If you just hit record, and pan left to right occasionally with an autofocus... I struggle to see the skill that justifies the money involves...

I'm happy to be educated of course, I went straight to DSLR and never used Camcorders as my primary camera.

Maybe with the big expensive ones, theres more to the process than I realise.

Steve Bleasdale September 16th, 2013 02:01 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Camcorder ceremony speeches dance. DSLR, prep, arrivals, b-roll ceremony, b-roll speeches, mingling, first dance b-roll. Get a DSLR and a camcorder and shoot both, camcorder on monopd and tripod for ceremony speeches and DSLR around shoulder/neck/body on a small rig or just hand hold with a zacuto viewfinder tight against your eye but stabilizer lens needed like the canon 17-55 2.8 is...Simples

Roger Gunkel September 16th, 2013 03:03 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Neither using a video camera or a DSLR makes you a professional, just a videographer. Making it your sole source of income makes you a professional. Producing quality work whilst being a professional means using the right tools for the job under varying circumstances. That might mean a DSLR or a video camera or both depending on what and how you are filming.

Using manual or auto exposure or anything else doesn't lessen or increase the quality of your work if it gives the required results. There is a lot more to quality video work than just getting the exposure and focus right however you choose to do it. There are many circumstances where trying to maintain good manual focus can easily affect attention to other aspects of a difficult shot. There are also many occasions where a deep depth of field can be more appropriate to the shot and using the right equipment can mean not having to constantly manually adjust throughout the shot.

Professionalism as against being professional, to me means being able to adapt to different circumstances, not using a particular bit of equipment just because it is complex and expensive or attracts admiring looks, but maximising your chances of getting the shot right every time.


Chris Hewitt September 16th, 2013 04:01 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Clive, with all due respect, the definition of stress doesn't mean 'panic', it means, in my case, that I am trying to be two steps ahead of what is happening in the ceremony, keeping my eyes on the event.
I didn't say anything about a dslr being 'difficult to master in a high importance scenario like a wedding.'
I think if you're not feeling just a little bit of adrenaline when that bride walks down the aisle, then you're obviously cool as a cucumber and something's going to bite you at some point when you're not prepared.
Roger pretty much said everything I was going to say and he hit the nail on the head.

I don't treat a ceremony as a formula, for me, each one is different. I know my gear like the back of my hand and if something should fail, I'm ready for it. I shoot two cameras down the front, side by side, on manual.
I personally, through these forums, don't believe that brides give a hoot about shallow DOF, they would much rather see their families sharp as a tack. For decorations etc, maybe use shallow DOF, which I do with my dslr, but not the money shots.
You might want to look over a big pro camera and see the options you might have. Being 'professional' isn't about owning this or that, it's delivering the end product to satisfaction. That's what I've learnt since leaving school and being a network lighting cameraman for 25 years and corporate/commercial shooter/editor and getting paid well for it...it's all I've ever done work wise, but like Don says, what would I know?
When I used to shoot news back in Oz, I don't ever recall being handed a dslr to shoot and I think that is still the case. Why is that?

Dan Burnap September 16th, 2013 04:36 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
I used the HMC150 camcorders quite happily for years before the world went DSLR crazy. I loved the results people were getting and got a Canon 60D and learnt how to use properly before using it for paid work. I started off using it for the more controlled shots, Making Of etc before I went whole-hog and bought a 5D mk3 and we used both DSLRs for everything.

What frustrated me was that everything seemed to be a compromise. Audio, need an external solution. Monitor, need an external solution. It just got on my nerves added stress and was a general pain, most of my mental effort was used getting everything technically correct than concentrating on what I was shooting. There was no denying that image though...

Then came along the C100 and it was the best of both worlds and I haven't looked back.

Clive McLaughlin September 16th, 2013 04:38 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Ok, I concede that I was probably a little too rash in my comments. I am of course 'stressed' at every wedding too. Part of me just thinks though, if all I did was stand at the from with a zoom and autofocus, I wouldn't personally feel like I was doing enough to earn the money I get.

I use two static shots at the front, one locked of wide autozoom, and a Canon 6D initially unmanned with as wide a DOF as possible focus near the groom. I then go to the door and film the bridal party as they enter and part of their walk down the aisle.

For the record, DSLR at f5.6 is more than possible in most indoor locations and all but distant background faces are focused enough to be recognisebable. Outdoors, you will find yourself capable of f.9-f11 on bright days.

In fact to get shallow outdoors you need an ND fader.

I still believe DSLR provides nicer looking footage than most camcorders I've seen.

Dave Partington September 16th, 2013 05:27 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder

Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin (Post 1813294)
I still believe DSLR provides nicer looking footage than most camcorders I've seen.

This is something I agree with, but within certain limitations. One of the other reasons we went back to camcorders was that for most church ceremonies the front camera often had to be unattended, so also had to have either fairly high ISO (hence some noise) to get good enough DOF to have both B+G in focus or have the possibility that either B+G (or both) were OOF if they didn't hit their mark. Though it wasn't until Magic Lantern auto restart that unattended DSLRs possible, and now it's even easier with Camranger (although I've hit some issues with it not connecting from time to time).

The smaller sensor cameras gave more latitude in focusing and thus positioning of the B+G.

Likewise a camera at the side in the church could easily have difficulty getting everyone in focus unless you were fairly wide.

The rear camera with a 70-200 often running at F4 (pre-mk3 days) had around 6-8 inches DOF at best. you could have the B+G -or- the officiant in focus, but not both.

The 5D3 solved a lot of these problems by allowing us to shoot much higher ISO and thus stop down further to increase DOF when needed. With the 550D/60D we didn't like going much above ISO800 and the 7D topped out at 1250. The 5D2 topped out at 1600-2000 and being full frame had typically shallower DOF to deal with anyway. With the 5D3 I'm happy to shoot (assuming good exposure) at 3200 and thus stop down another 1 or 2 stops to give more DOF. Even so, we still stay with the camcorders in the ceremonies unless it's *really* low light, at which time the DSLR becomes king.

Chris Hewitt September 16th, 2013 06:31 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
No one said that the look of dslr is inferior to cam footage, anyone can see that dslr is amazing, I said so in my op that I would prefer the look - but using my usual gear and will check out the hybrids at my next upgrade. Chris has the EA50, as does Noa, and that looks amazing to me but it can wait.
I use my Panasonic AC160 as my main cam and as everyone knows, the autofocus on that is a bitch and I would never depend on that. AF on that cam is a gimmick as is AE.

48 hours ago on the First dance, the DJ did the opposite of what he said he was going to do...he dropped all the lights except for this horrible lo light pink excuse for light and even the cam LCD could barely see focus; it was very difficult so I just went wide on the lens and stepped in close. It's things like this, knowing your gear at the drop of a hat that can save the shot, a shot that isn't ever going to be repeated.
When you spend a few years shooting boring golf tournaments where you have to follow the ball in the sky with a big Ikegami on your shoulder, with no autofocus, you quickly learn that you don't practice while it's happening, you do that months in advance filming birds in the sky etc till you get it second nature so weddings generally are a breeze, but therein lies the danger. It doesn't seem normal to me to be relaxed on a one-off event no matter how ordinary.That walk down the aisle might not matter much to anyone else, but it means everything to the bride and groom and I will film it with all my experience at hand for them. Maybe that's where the professionalism kicks in?

FWIW, I decided to use an slr at a wedding three months back but just as a fourth cam and only on the guests in the pews, unmanned, basically as an experiment. It shut itself down after ten minutes or so with an overheat warning message when I went over to check it. Granted, it was outside and a hot day but that's just one of the reasons I don't feel in a hurry to migrate over to dslr's when I'm well tuned into the setup I have.
How would I explain that to the clients if that had been my main camera? Why create a situation where that can happen when you already have enough on your plate as it is??

Again, I have nothing but full respect for those who do use dslrs as their prime cams, I certainly am not knocking it.

Chris Harding September 16th, 2013 06:49 AM

Re: DSLR or Camcorder
Hi Chris

That's why I changed over to the Sony EA-50's ...With them I get all aspects of a DSLR with a big sensor all neatly packaged in a camcorder shoulder mount package with all the usual camcorder features and more. If the occasion calls for it I leave the stock power zoom on the camera switch to full auto and play "point and shoot" I can leave it unattended and it looks after itself too. When I need to get creative, on goes the Novoflex adapter and I have my full selection of Nikon lenses to use manually with as much or as little DOF as I choose. Admittedly my only DSLR venture was a Panny GH1 (hacked) but I struggled mostly with the silly form factor to shoot video..My photog instincts made me try and use it as a still camera so having a DSLR inside a camcorder body was the best idea for me ever. I still have two full Nikon outfits but they are used solely for stills and the two EA-50 only shoot video although they have the capability to shoot 16 mp stills with any lens you choose ...again I feel awkward try to take still shots with a shoulder mount camcorder so have a pair of each was my answer!

For me it's definitely the best of both worlds!!


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