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

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Old April 4th, 2016, 03:50 AM   #1
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Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

I don't do weddings - ever (apart from this one)
My son used to work with me. While we were away one year, he met a girl working on the same show. They got married in January.

They were adamant they did not want a wedding video - and getting them to agree to a photographer was hard enough.

I tried really hard but failed. They're both into unusual ideas, and I came up with one. Apart from my shoulder mounting cameras I use for my video work, I've also got lots of gopros, small handicams and smallish cameras I use for conference work, that does have point and shoot auto settings. So my idea was to hand out cameras to guests - gopros for people who knew little about video, Chinese gopro style ,4 of them, for people who might be, er, less than careful), and progressively more clever ones to people who fancied them. In the end I had 13 cameras. Instructions were simple.

the wedding, the reception, the evening - shoot as much as you can. Please don't zoom, just leave the cameras on wide angle.

The results have taken months to collect. The final camera having arrived back this week after being lost in luggage and forgotten about. The big problem is simply the amount of footage and loads and loads of duplicates. worse still is that somehow, we've also ended up with so much mismatched formats - somehow we have NTSC at 30fps, PAL at 25, then some weird mixes of HD formats - so a few clips at 720 followed by 1080. Others discovered the zoom, and a few found out how to digitally zoom and we have 30 minutes of wobbly cam. I decided the best way was to do a time line, start to finish, then lay each usable clip down in sync. Premiere needs each sequence to be a consistent format, so I picked 720 as a useful compromise, converting each clip. It also required various cropping and stretching.

Now the damn thing won't render out - unknown errors stop the process, so I'm now breaking the whole thing down into chunks. the wedding clips rendered, but the next bit, the reception is really playing up. I'm gradually shortening each clip until the render error doesn't happen, then, I'll have to bring them back into a new project. trouble is while a few of the errors I'm finding occur at edit points - usually the ones where theres a short crossfade, other errors creep in into what look like trouble free sections.

The video certainly has a fly on the wall flavour, but is an editing nightmare. I still have, even with this many cameras, a few missing sections that nobody got, plus the colour balance between clips is absolutely dreadful - gopro to gopro even looks different.

What appeared a novel approach is logistically something I never want to do again. Cutting between shots of the same event really means cutting out wobbles - and really, only the very extreme ones - few people seem to appreciate how to hold them steady, and one person shot all their material in portrait!

If anyone suggests you try this approach, be wary. I'm struggling to find 1 minute of useful material from maybe an hour of recording - and one person had nothing I could use at all - nothing! on a full card!
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Old April 4th, 2016, 04:15 AM   #2
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

I once gave my cx730 to the sister of the bride when they went for a short boat ride at a venue that was located at a lake, I couldn't attend as I had to set up for the interviews so I said, don't zoom, keep it wide and this is the rec button. :)

What did she do? Zoom, but luckily the OIS of the cx series is so good lots of the footage was usable, I only used a very small part in the finished product but supplied the rest as separate film.

I would never however do something like you did as that's a recipe for disaster, I can imagine the editing horror.
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Old April 4th, 2016, 04:47 AM   #3
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

I often wonder how different the "demo" video is from the actual footage from these DIY "You Film It" companies?? I was doing a wedding back in 2014 and used a Go Pro at the ceremony for some semi aerial shots .. the best man was fascinated and pleaded with me to let me use it at the reception ... Yep that was a nightmare too ... I saw a lot of the inside of people's mouths ... is that an ECU??? He seemed to have no idea of light and more often than not make sure he filmed people with any bright light he could find behind them ..It was about 29 minutes of footage and absolutely none useable so yes, it's not a good idea at all!! Probably better to grab some cheap light stands, mount an action cam about 7' up in the air at various positions and just let them run. I'm sure it is a nightmare Paul ...I was asked to "edit" a wedding filmed on two palmcorders once and it looked like the operator was greeting everyone with a friendly wave (with the little camera belt still across his finders.

Maybe you should just dump all the footage onto a USB and give it to the bride ..they could have fun watching it!!!
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Old April 4th, 2016, 05:49 AM   #4
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

I've finally managed to get the sequence complete from start to finish - no gaps, but the quality in some sections is simply dreadful. I'm going to hand it over - but the trouble is the thing will haunt me, won't it! Every time I see it on Facebook I'm going to cringe, and I hope none of my corporate clients ever see it. However, today has just got better with one of my long paying clients suddenly paying - so the day is getting better.
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Old April 4th, 2016, 06:00 AM   #5
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

Regarding the multiple-camera footage not rendering out, there was something I did once that completely bypassed this issue for me and it might do the same for you.

I've got a Matrox MXO2 in-out hardware devoice which has an HDMI output port on it. My project would play in Premiere Pro but refused to encode out to any format. So I simply played the timeline in full whilst recording in to an Atmos Ninja to ProRes format. Job completed.

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Old April 4th, 2016, 02:48 PM   #6
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

Because the bride and groom appear to prefer things that are "different" you could have compensated for mixed colored footage by going to black and white or sepia, do some choppy editing, set it to some awesome music and give it an artsy look. Problem solved, and you'd look like a genius :-)
"The horror of what I saw on the timeline cannot be described."
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Old April 6th, 2016, 07:51 AM   #7
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

There were recent threads on the new iPhones which had some Videographers here panicking a little on whether the HQ video captured by these phones spelt the death knell of Wedding Videographers. Nice to see that practical evidence supports the counter arguments made there that good cameras don't equal good footage when the cameras are in the hands of novices. I suppose the footage has novelty value at least, but I wonder no matter how well edited it'll be, whether the results will be as cherished as a proper Wedding Video.
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Old April 6th, 2016, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: Novel Idea for wedding production - don't do it

Got a Nexus 5X that shoots 4K and low light stills....Sony camera module is VERY impressive.... now I nave a "pocket camera" that I'll always have with me in case aliens land or something... no need to carry a smaller consumer camera! I'm sure the RX00 is "better", but how much better REALLY?

Can you shoot "professional" imagery with a cell phone? I'd say if you are a "professional" that knows what you're doing, you could probably find uses for such a handy tool...Will it replace bigger more versatile cameras? Nope, but alongside other cameras, probably might have a place.

First thing I noticed was you probably would need a stabilizer of some sort.... hand holding a cell phone is neither easy or practical given the form factor!

While I don't think that the casual shooter will replace a trained eye anytime soon, I see more and more "shaky" or "vertical format" stuff every day....
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