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

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Old June 27th, 2014, 04:47 AM   #1
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IS lenses and handhled shooting

So, lately I started to hear some of my shooting friends say they were moving to handheld shooting. My first reaction was 'that's crazy, I'll still with shake free footage thanks!'.

Then i heard that these guys were changing their lens range to all IS options. I wondered how much difference this makes and if it was the key to doing handheld shooting.

I recently bought the Canon 35mm f2 IS, and it arrived this morning.

I have to say that I really do feel that this could become the norm for a lot of my days shooting. Areas I really see it working is during bridal prep, and potentially even the photoshoot.

With my soon to be upgrade to the A7S, the electronic viewfinder will give a third point of contact to keep things steady, and it will be a crazy campact way to shoot.

No more adjusting monopod height, You just walk up to your subject with your eye on the evf and hit record.

Am I convincing anyone? Or do you think I'm mad?

Here's some tests from this morning with an IS sample edit with music at the end.

password: handheld

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Old June 27th, 2014, 05:06 AM   #2
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

Clive apart from the ceremony and speeches I shoot all day handheld - my Sony EA50/kit lens has really nice active stabilisation, I use this for all outdoor activities and move to my Canon lenses for indoor shooting -Canon 24-105mm and Tamron 24-70mm - both have IS though not as quick to stabilise as the kit lens once you have the shot fairly steady it kicks in nicely. I can't imagine having to use a monopod all day - I'd find it too restricting and limit my ability to react quickly to the fast events of a wedding day.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 06:30 AM   #3
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

Hi Clive

Like Peter I use two EA-50's but often with manual lenses so I have no IS or VR as Nikon call it. How about going back to the source of the problem which is you. A mini shoulder mount on the new A7 when it arrives would be a great start. Noa has one for his GH4 and it's pretty simple ..there are a few pics on the solo shooter forum but I'm sure Noa will fill you in on the specifics.

With a little shoulder rig you have an extra point of contact which helps a lot BUT as Pete will verify the big issue with our EA-50's is that they are front heavy and even on your shoulder you still have to hold the darn thing up and keep it up so after a few minutes your arms start to feel like jelly and of course you wobble!!

I found my answer, especial as my reception lens is a Sigma 18-35 F1.8 weighing nearly 1kg, is a spring loaded support rod. Think of it as a really small monopod but with springs inside that rests in a pouch in a waist belt and connects to the front of the camera (where you are struggling to hold it up) and supports it and also dampens any wobbles and allows tilting. My Indian rig was only $65 but I did do a few mods on the waist belt and added a miniball head so it moves easily and got the rod worked over and silky smooth so it slid effortlessly.

The footage produced looks like a tripod shoot PLUS both hands carry no weight at all!! I did a group of Massedonian dances at a wedding ..12 songs all no stop and they took 36 minutes and ALL handheld and not a wobble in sight ....It was inspired by the ENG rig made my DVTech and there original is at :

The Indian cheapo copy works OK with some mods but the principal is still awesome and it saves your back too!! I use it on every single shoot now and I've also been caught out where I had to do a handheld speech done by the groom and without the rod I would have wobbled all over the place.

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Old June 27th, 2014, 06:33 AM   #4
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

I shoot handheld a lot as well during fast moving parts during the day, got tired of dragging the mono- or tripod along, in those cases I use a 12-35 f2.8 and a 14-140 f3.5/5.6, both lenses are stabilised, I also shoot handheld with the 25mm f1.4, this is not a stabilised lens but with a bit of stabilisation in post I"m good, I use that lens mainly for beauty shallow dof shots during brideprep. And I shoot handheld with one cx730 that has a mini shoulder support during the ceremony, the second camera is always on a tripod and then I just move around with the other handicam.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 06:53 AM   #5
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

Wouldn't give up my manfrotto monopod just yet ... I hate the arm ache you get holding a camera all day. This is where a monopod comes in handy.

I also like to shoot handheld here and there, but it won't be replacing my slider, monopod or tripod any time soon until cameras become feather light.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 03:31 PM   #6
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

I've found that many IS lenses make just enough noise to hose your audio if you're trying to get nat sounds from a camera-mounted shotgun.
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Old June 27th, 2014, 09:24 PM   #7
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

The few non-IS lenses I've used, I get a sort of glass shaking that is visible. Am I really the only one?

I never shoot purely handheld. I'm always mounted to either a monopod, or a (Manfrotto) tripod with the legs short. I like the extra weight to help smooth me out. I actually wrapped a little 3lb bean bag ankle weight to the bottom of the monopod to help.

Of course, I'm shooting 50mm equivalent. I don't care for being much further away when I'm trying to shoot people. I really want to be able to see their faces really well.

I don't have much for good lenses (we're still early in our business, relatively speaking), but LOVE my 35mm f/2, and my 85mm f/1.8 (both IS). Though, when I shooting dancing, I'm usually on the 5d Mark ii with my simple 50mm f/1.8.
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Old June 28th, 2014, 01:20 AM   #8
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

Non IS lenses do suffer from wobble however steady your hand is - very noticeable around the periphery of the frame. At a wedding if they have a photobooth I stick my Sony VG20 through the curtain with my Samyang 14mm (no IS) and although the shots are really good and quite often very funny, there's a certain amount of wobble but it's worth it - that's the only time I shoot hand held without IS
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Old June 28th, 2014, 05:19 AM   #9
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

I also have the 35 2.0 and the 50 1.8, and just can't stand using them hand held because of the shakes.
Even with a shoulder rig.
But then i pay attention to Hollywood films and see plenty of shake. If you are captivated by the movie, you never notice, but there sure is a lot of it when you look. I know it is used as a style or effect, often as a subconscious element that adds to the tension or feeling of voyeurism, but for me it can be a little distracting... The first time I watched The Office (American version), the shake and zooms reminded me of 70's laugh tracks that would make the show seem phoney and cheap. But then I would just get involved with the content, like with MASH.
I find that when I edit, that I will cut out interesting images just because of a little shake.
That said, for the first time I just consciously chose shaky images in a sequence that shows rough Malian men hanging out in the street, while the male voice over talks about friends sabotaging his efforts to promote women's empowerment. I also added grain and gave it a different look, and I think it really better conveys the feeling I am going for. It was shot with a 24-105 IS lens, but lucky for me, I can still get plenty of shake out of that lens...!!!
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Old July 7th, 2014, 07:48 AM   #10
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Re: IS lenses and handhled shooting

I have IS lenses but always use the Manfrotto 561 monopod for run and gun at weddings. Steady when you want it to be, and if you want a bit of NYPD Blue shake and roll, you can add that with some intentional movement. It gives you choices. Personally I'd find shooting hand held video with an SLR fatiguing.


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