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

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Old May 2nd, 2018, 05:18 PM   #1
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Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

I was taking stock today of how my filming of weddings has evolved over the years. For the first 25 years it was mainly down to changes in format and editing procedures, particularly moving from linear to non linear. Over the last 10 years it has been more about using multi cameras and more recently portable voice recorders and more minimalist equipment.

The last 3 years has seen the biggest changes and now a typical solo wedding would consist of 3 cameras and 2 sound recorders for ceremony and speeches and with one main camera for the rest of the day with sometimes a second backup for the first dance.

I use one manned Panasonic 4K camera as my A Cam on a light tripod for quick moving, a small Panasonic 4K handycam as B Cam locked off on wide, on a clamp or lightweight lighting stand and a 4K action cam as C Cam on wide, clamped or just rested on something at the back or other alternative angle. I use one voice recorder on the groom with a lapel mic for B&G vows and a second close to the PA system. Both voice recorders are switched on early, with the B Cam just before the ceremony and the C Cam by remote from my phone. I can set up the whole rig in less than 10 mins and break down in 5 mins.

The A Cam has a 30 minute max continuous record, but is manned, the B Cam is not limited and the C Cam is also unlimited with a 90min battery life. The C Cam is also frequently mounted on an electronic gimbal for smooth walk around and fly through shots etc and I also have a remote pan and tilt for the gimbal if I want to change the C shot during the ceremony. With all 3 cameras filming in 4K, it is so much easier to add zooms and pans in post using cropping. I also sometimes crop in post on the A Cam, which could be seen as lazy, but takes the pressure off at critical points and enables me to do super slow zooms in post that I could never get manually.

As I usually also do the photography in parallel with a full frame DSLR round my neck, filming video in 4k enables me to grab moments to take important stills, knowing that I can still add movement in post on the video even while taking group stills on the DSLR. My wife has an identical setup to me, but if we only have one wedding on, we work together to lighten the load.

How have others moved on with technology?

Roger
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Old May 2nd, 2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

Hey Roger

We had the situation here where every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Mary too) figured that all you need is a couple of cheap discount shop cameras and hey presto you are a professional wedding videographer! There are still original videographers here charging many thousands of dollars but most now seem to be lower priced and in wild competition with each other. I saw one bright spark (lady actually) who offers video for prices that I couldn't survive on (ceremony and reception for $350 !!! )

With the onset of semi-retirement plus the need to spend more and more money on gears to complete with people in the price range I need to work in (gimbals, more operators, drones etc etc) we decided to go the live stream route. We have a big population here of people with family overseas so it works well for us. Still multi-camera but live editing which is a welcome introduction to not having to sit for days on the computer editing footage!! It is of course a niche market and you lose out on the bride who wants a lavish hollywood style wedding video but then again it's more consistent for us too with work spread more evenly over the year.
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Old May 2nd, 2018, 07:04 PM   #3
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

I've moved away from three cameras very slowly since we first started fourteen years ago. I've been holding off the DSLR route till I found something that I wouldn't be a slave to. I bought the D750 last year and was pretty disappointed with it. Then came the C200 with its dual pixel focus. So far I've been able to move away from using a tripod to a monopod for anything other than the ceremony. I still use two tripods for the ceremony.

I started using my Steadicam in 2008, flying a Sony V1u and then a Canon XF300 for the past couple of years. That's around nine years of Steadicaming wedding receptions. But recently took a break from steadicaming during the reception because I wanted to move away from so much heavy lifting. Insert the C200 and monopod. So during the reception, I'll lock off a wide shot with one XF300 and then monopod the first dances, after that, it's me and the C200/Monopod. I did start bringing my Dracast 500s for fill light and moved away from on-camera lighting.

I still use wireless at the ceremony. Probably OCD or paranoia of letting go of live audio monitoring.

I don't shoot short wedding movies, so I try to run continuously. Each to his own but I want as many parts as I can for the final video.
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Old May 3rd, 2018, 04:41 AM   #4
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

I started filming in 2010 and so much has changed since then. I've gone from DV tapes and hard drive camcorders to GH4s and 5s. From 3 cameras to 4 to 5 cameras. From HD to 4K, from 8 bit to 10 bit, from picture profiles like natural to vLog (only in the last 3 weeks after a few months trying out the HLG profile). Thanks to the power of LUTs, vLog and 10 bit, finally getting colour and DR I'm happy with.

Plus recently have added drone filming to great effect. What with gimbals plus in camera IS allowing great hand holding, I've ditched the monopod I relied on long ago. Filming has become so much easier thanks to recent technology. Allowing me to get shots I couldn't have imagined back in 2010. I'm dabbling in Photography for parties, which has seen an increase in bookings this year as well.

No more clip limit in my cameras. Dual cards and battery grips allowing 4 hours of filming. It feels I have less to worry about when it comes to my gear.

Now all I need is a good AF for my cameras and I'd be a happy man.
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Old May 3rd, 2018, 03:19 PM   #5
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

Yeah I started around 2010 as well. From DV, to HD, now onto 4k although I'm not delivering it yet but its next. Incorporating multicam alot more whereas before it was more an 'Uh-oh" backup camera or just for occasional cutaway shots. The highlights trailer is alot more important whereas when I started YT was fairly new & it seemed couples didn't want their wedding online back then. Also moving from Tape to Cards was lovely, ugghh setting up Firewire to capture, while just 'clicking a few buttons', was a pain & time consuming. An annoying way to begin the editing work.

Here, city weddings have become alot more popular, as well as rustic & barn weddings. Country clubs are a bit passe. Not always to my pleasure, as I'm running around 5-6 blocks during a city wedding, as opposed to pulling into a parking lot & keeping gear in my car.

I used to have a piece of junk GPS which was cumbersome to enter & choose an address, I think it occasionally lost its signal in remote areas. I would also print the directions out. Now I just use my phone, much nicer. If its real far I still print them as well.

I've added alot of tricks such as GoPros, slider, monopod (although I'm still mostly a 2 tripod shooter). I have a glidecam but rarely use it unless its all at one location & I can keep it in my car nearby.

That's about it, my cameras went from Sony Z5U > Sony X70 & 2nd cam Sony VX2000 > Sony VG20 > Sony VG900.


I'd be curious to hear from the ppl who shot weddings in the 80s & 90s, both in editing/duplication process but also mapping out directions or calling venues to see where their address is located.
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Old May 4th, 2018, 02:01 AM   #6
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

I last filmed a wedding four years ago but started back in 2008 with HDV then was a very early adopter of the Canon 5D2 & the DSLR revolution (I owned 5D2 before Philip Bloom). I added a couple of 5D3s when they shipped & later a C300 which TBH was overkill for the sorts of weddings we shot. Over the years I also used a Panasonic GH2, Canon XF100 & Canon XF300.

The last few weddings I switched to M43 using a pair of Olympus OM-D E5s with a Panasonic G6 with no recording limit for locked off wide shots. With these tiny cameras there was a tremendous sense of liberation carrying all the necessary kit in one bag.

The only cameras I currently own are 1" sensor models the Panasonic FZ1000 & a Sony RX10M2 which are really impressive both for stills & video. If I were shooting weddings today I would travel really light with a mix of RX10s & RX100s. The 24-200mm reach on the RX10M2 but the 24-600mm reach on the RX10M3 & RX10M4 is simply amazing & I love never having to change lenses.
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Old May 4th, 2018, 02:18 AM   #7
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

My last 2 years were using FZ1000's and FZ2500's and they are awesome .. we started doing our livestreams with the 2500 but the HDMI micro port is way to delicate to use in the field and I damaged two of of three but other than that they are awesome .. Roger uses them as well!!
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Old May 5th, 2018, 04:03 AM   #8
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

I love using the Panny FZ1000s for weddings, great stills and video and as Nigel says, no lens changing! I need the unlimited 4K for my B and C cams, but they are more for cutaways.

@ Steve B, I was wondering how much your drone training and licencing cost you, as I have had a drone with gimbal camera for about 4 years, but couldn't justify the restrictions and the cost of the licencing for a few minutes of footage. I tend to use a company not far from me if the client want drone footage.

Roger
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Old May 5th, 2018, 12:47 PM   #9
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I love using the Panny FZ1000s for weddings, great stills and video and as Nigel says, no lens changing! I need the unlimited 4K for my B and C cams, but they are more for cutaways.
It's a shame about the crop mode in 4K although the long reach is impressive (37 - 592mm in 35mm equiv. in 4K video recording)
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Old May 5th, 2018, 11:11 PM   #10
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
@ Steve B, I was wondering how much your drone training and licencing cost you, as I have had a drone with gimbal camera for about 4 years, but couldn't justify the restrictions and the cost of the licencing for a few minutes of footage. I tend to use a company not far from me if the client want drone footage.

Roger
I got a special winter offer and got it for just under £1100. Plus insurance. However I've got 5 requests for Weddings to use Drones at £300 each, so I'm breaking even. Next year I start to make a profit. I've tried to be more inventive with the drone rather than do just the standard passes over the venue. I got some nice shots of the guests playing football from above yesterday, plus guests entering a marquee for the Wedding Breakfast with a clear see through top so I could see them sitting down from above. I've also operated it more at ground level, with gimbal like shots, such as following a river that leads to a venue. I really enjoy using it, so am glad I've finally taken the plunge this year. Plus relying on others runs the risk of being let down.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 11:46 PM   #11
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
I got a special winter offer and got it for just under £1100. Plus insurance. However I've got 5 requests for Weddings to use Drones at £300 each, so I'm breaking even. Next year I start to make a profit. I've tried to be more inventive with the drone rather than do just the standard passes over the venue. I got some nice shots of the guests playing football from above yesterday, plus guests entering a marquee for the Wedding Breakfast with a clear see through top so I could see them sitting down from above. I've also operated it more at ground level, with gimbal like shots, such as following a river that leads to a venue. I really enjoy using it, so am glad I've finally taken the plunge this year. Plus relying on others runs the risk of being let down.
Doesn't the training for the CAA certification necessary to legally use a drone commercially cost £2500? Have you just not bothered?
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Old May 6th, 2018, 01:17 AM   #12
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Doesn't the training for the CAA certification necessary to legally use a drone commercially cost £2500? Have you just not bothered?
I used this company. Went on their fast track course. Its currently £990 plus VAT. So not sure where you get £2500.

https://www.upliftdronetraining.com/locations/

Attended my training in Guildford back in March. It was very useful. Mostly filled with Building surveyors learning to use Drones to survey roofs. You get a CAA license at the end. I've passed all the tests. I just need my Operationals Manual approved by the CAA for the final license, but I have been given a provisional certificate that allowed me to get proper Drone Insurance. Which is what most venues are worried about.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 02:18 AM   #13
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
I used this company. Went on their fast track course. Its currently £990 plus VAT. So not sure where you get £2500.

https://www.upliftdronetraining.com/locations/

Attended my training in Guildford back in March. It was very useful. Mostly filled with Building surveyors learning to use Drones to survey roofs. You get a CAA license at the end. I've passed all the tests. I just need my Operationals Manual approved by the CAA for the final license, but I have been given a provisional certificate that allowed me to get proper Drone Insurance. Which is what most venues are worried about.
Is there still a requirement for an observer if you are monitoring a screen for your filming? If so, do you pay somebody to accompany you as that was something else that put me off as yet more hassle. I love flying my drone for fun and if I could justify the licence cost and there are no longer observer requirements, I would seriously consider it.

Roger
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Old May 6th, 2018, 02:33 AM   #14
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Is there still a requirement for an observer if you are monitoring a screen for your filming? If so, do you pay somebody to accompany you as that was something else that put me off as yet more hassle. I love flying my drone for fun and if I could justify the licence cost and there are no longer observer requirements, I would seriously consider it.

Roger
I think this website answers that question better than I can.

https://www.dronepilotgroundschool.com/visual-observer/

I agree an observer can be useful and I have someone I can use for certain jobs. If not, I can always use the Photographer if I have a good working relationship or even a Guest.
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Old May 6th, 2018, 06:51 AM   #15
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Re: Gradual changes to my wedding over the years

Itís obviously become quite an industry in recent years. Last time I investigated was in the early days of drone licensing & there was only one company doing training & that cost £2500. No wonder every BBC programme uses drone footage nowadays.
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