First Wedding Shoot....Camcorder or DSLR? Need Advice.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by MrMacMini, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. MrMacMini macrumors regular

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    #1
    I will be shooting my first wedding this November for a friend. The problem? I just started learning so I'm a little nervous. The good news, she knows that I'm learning, so she's not expecting a Spielberg film.

    So, I own 2 camera's. I have a Canon HV40 and a Canon T2i. I also have access to a good friends equipment which consist of a Panasonic AG-HMC150 LED lighting, and wireless mic and few other little extras.

    1.What setup would you recommend I use? (Id rather stay away from my friends equipment because that's a lot of responsibility.)
    2.What equipment is essential for a wedding shoot?
    3.What equipment should I buy for the shoot?

    I have some time to prepare and buy things I need, and I'm also willing to rent anything I cant afford. So please help!
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #2
    I suggest you look at some books.

    Have you done any editing at all?
     
  3. Hitrate macrumors regular

    Hitrate

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    #3
    Set up the t2i on a tripod in wideshots and then move around with the other camera. Unless you got a viewfinder and good stabilizing equipment and some practice, the t2i is gonna make a lot of shots out of focus and shaky. Since it's the only good camera I own, I've actually postponed doing wedding video's until I get the final equipment, and some more projects under my belt. I don't wanna screw up someone's wedding video! So especially for an important event like that, make it simple on yourself! Meantime, do searches on vimeo, youtube, google etc. and do your own research.
     
  4. MrMacMini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
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    Yes, but it's usually my own projects. Never done anything for someone else. I use FCS3 for editing...
     
  5. shorafix macrumors member

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    Frankfurt, Germany
    #5
    Take Hitrate's advice to use two cameras - one on a tripod and another one for moving around.

    However, a DSLR usually can't take long shots as required in most situations (at least in Germany a wedding ceremony takes longer than 29 minutes). Moreover, a DSLR will not give you any benefit over a camcorder when used in wideangle on a tripod (except maybe in low light situations). You will probably be better off hiring a second camcorder. That may not cost you an arm and a leg and gives someone else the opportunity of taking beautiful pictures and perhaps a view unexpected video shootings with your DSLR. :)

    P.S.: have you got editing skills at all? Once you are finished, you need to make a 12 minutes show out of hours of footage!
     
  6. MrMacMini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
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    Thanks for the advice. I'm not getting paid for this, they are already over budget and can't hire a pro, so I agreed to do it. Thanks for the advice.
     
  7. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2008
    #7
    Actually, he should do the opposite. As someone else already mentioned, the t2i stationary on a tripod would be pointless, especially since it only records 12 minutes at time. Also, the advantage the t2i has is its shallow depth of field. You'd be relinquishing that by just keeping it wide.
     
  8. hsilver macrumors regular

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    #8
    I suggest you put wireless mic -with fresh batteries -on groom to get ceremony. The audio often gets overlooked though I've seen some good wedding videos with just music. check out http://wellspunweddings.com/Super-8-Wedding-Film-A.html ( They also do video and simulate super-8 look). Make a shot list - wide shot of venue, invitation, etc.) Do they want speeches? Biggest pain to shoot. Get a mic in there. Interviewing the guests is a big bore, I'd avoid. Have fun!
     
  9. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #9
    There is a wealth of information out there on shooting wedding videos. Look at Google Groups, for example, for archives of newsgroups such as rec.video.production, let alone all the web forums that have sprung up since Usenet fell out of the spotlight. Not to mention books... Even though now we have solid state, HD cameras, the techniques remain the same.

    Take my advice with a box of salt, because I have never done a wedding shoot and in fact I only really do hobbyist work - but I know what I like to see and what I don't like to see when watching someone's videos!

    - Make sure you've got good sound. You may want to record the sound track independently from your cameras (once upon a time I would have suggested a Minidisc recorder) to ensure you have something continuous, consistent, and placed near the audio source. Then sync your (multiple) camera footage to the audio track.

    I would argue that sound is THE most important part of any video, and yet is most often overlooked. I can handle watching footage that's a bit shaky, out of focus or too dark or too light. I cannot stand watching a video with bad sound.

    - If you're doing multiple cameras, make sure they match well with each other so that when you switch camera clips you're not looking at a completely different image (different white balance, graininess, DOF, etc.) Ideally you'd have multiple, identical cameras locked down to the same settings, but experiment to make sure you know what you're going to get.

    - Try to go to the venue in advance and scope out what the layout will be, so you get an idea of where you'll be able to put cameras. Try to visit around the same time as the wedding ceremony will be (morning, afternoon, etc.) to get an idea of what the lighting will be like.

    Hope that helps!
     
  10. MrMacMini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Great advice! I agree about sound being very important. My post production professor used to say:
    "bad video techniques can come across as experimental, but bad sound will ruin a film!"

    I was planing to use camera mounted external mic's but now I will consider alternate sound capturing methods.

    Thanks again!
     
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #11
    It never hurts to have options :) The problem with camera mounted mics is that on your mobile camera, the levels will keep changing depending on what you're pointed at, and the locked-down camera is usually in the back of the room, where you'll be at risk of muddy, echoing sound. One option is, if your venue supports it, talk to the guys running the sound board, and ask if you can get a line-out feed from their mixer into your stationary camera.

    If you were so inclined, you could even mix from multiple sources. The feed from your back camera will cover ambient noise such as applause, and that might be the appropriate one to use at the end of the wedding.
     
  12. TheXIIIth macrumors member

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #12
    On the equipment side:
    + Tripod - tripod/dolly setup
    + Lighting: Camera mount
    + Wireless microphone system. If you don't have access to one of those, a decent digital recorder in the groom's pocket might get you by. You could test that during the wedding rehearsal.
    + Spare batteries for the cameras, lighting or other devices you'll bring
    + Pen/pencil and note pad
    + The cameras [of course]

    Things to do the day before and the day of the wedding:
    + Go to the rehearsal if possible. This is where you'll get all the information you'll need to be ready for the wedding. You should use this time to figure out the best place to set up your camera. You'll find out where the members of the wedding party will be entering in from, where they'll be standing, where key family members will be during the service, where the bride and her father will come in at - etc.. You should also use this opportunity to meet the wedding planner since she'll be your point of contact the day of the wedding. You could also bring one of your cameras and get some B-roll footage that you might be able to use in the final video.
    + On the day of the wedding, you should be there at least an hour before if possible. You'll want to be ready at all times because you can't do a retakes. This will also give you another opportunity to get more B-roll footage to use later on [guests arriving, groom or bride preparations, floral arrangements - etc.]. At some point you'll get introduced or you should introduce yourself to the photographer so you can both discuss who'll be getting shots from where so you don't end up tripping over each other or getting into each other's shots.

    Once you get to the place of the reception you should meet up with the DJ or wedding planner if there is a band. You'll need to know where/when the wedding party and family will come in, the introduction of the newlyweds, all the special dances, the toasts/speeches by the best man and maid/matron of honor, memoriams [if any] - etc.. Prior to all the big stuff happening - you'll have oppurtunities to get more B-roll footage at the reception too.

    And finally -
    http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/

    One of the best places you can go for information and inspiration
     
  13. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #13
    The problem is all your friends will be getting maggotted at the reception and you'll be shooting video...
     
  14. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    #14
    If your friend is asking you to shoot video at their wedding, then I'd truly evaluate your friendship.

    I volunteered to shoot some video at a friends wedding a few years ago. I told them I would cover a few of the key elements but to not count on me to shoot the whole wedding. They happily agreed. When the day came they bossed me around as if they had paid me several thousand to shoot their special day. Terrible experience! Now when friends or family ask me to cover weddings, I just offer to help them hire someone. This way I can go to the wedding and leave my cameras at home. Much more fun that way.

    DON'T learn how to shoot video/photography at a real wedding, unless you don't want to keep those people as friends. Too much can go wrong and it WILL ruin your relationship. If I were you, I would call up some local professionals and offer to assist them. Best way to learn and it's a lot less stress!

    And sorry, but just by you asking the questions about what cameras to use tells me that you have no business shooting this wedding. It's a very special day for these people and you're not ready to take on the responsibility of capturing their memories. You're crazy and somewhat naive if you think otherwise. It's just not fair for you to use their wedding day as an experiment to learn a new career. Yeah... and I don't care what the bride told you. Personal experience tells me it's a foolish endeavor (unless you truly don't care about the outcome).
     
  15. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    #15


    Wow, how to shoot a wedding in 4 paragraphs or less. Perhaps he should print out your list and tape it to his camera case? I've shot dozens of weddings and you have managed to minimize the importance or difficulty of what actually goes into doing it. People have no business shooting weddings without experience unless it's just a shotgun type backyard affair, small and casual, or justice of the peace deal. Anyone who wants to get into wedding photography as a profession really MUST get experience first by working as a backup shooter or assistant. They certainly can't learn from reading your paragraphs and/or browsing the internet! It's crazy to think otherwise. I don't know who to feel more sorry for... the bride, or the amateur photographer armed with your how-to list.
     
  16. josielinnea macrumors regular

    josielinnea

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    #16
    To TS:
    I hope you won't be depressed with all the negative thought going around here. You've gotten some good tips.

    You clearly stated that they have gone over budget and they can't afford hiring someone professional, and asked you if you could do it for free. You've clearly stated you have no experience.

    Someone posted above that if you don't have experience you have no business recording someone's most important day. I'd just like to say that it's better to have some kind of recording of the day, than none at all. It's very kind of you to help your friend, especially with all the pressure just because it's this special occasion..
     
  17. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Get off your high horse. While the original poster asked valid questions and others offered helpful advice, you obviously didn't care to actually read what he posted and instead used this thread as a podium to whine about your own time scorned.

    There's a way to offer advice without being insulting.

    He clearly stated they were over budget and they aren't expecting much considering his experience. He probably doesn't belong to the same assemblage of douchebaggery that you seem to be a member of, so I doubt he has to evaluate his friendship with anyone.
     
  18. Mr Kram macrumors 68000

    Mr Kram

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    #18
    just curious - are you doing this alone? how are you going to shoot stills and video at the same time?
     
  19. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #19
    I can't see how it could go THAT badly wrong.

    If I was asked to do a wedding, given that I have no such experience, I would start by locking down one camera in the back of the room, giving a good view of the stage, and do the best I could to get reasonably good sound from that one camera.

    At the WORST CASE, assuming I screwed everything else up -- or, in fact, did nothing else -- wouldn't that be a reasonably decent video? It wouldn't be shaky, or jumpy, or have crazy zooms and pans. About the worst that could happen is the sound could be mediocre or someone could be standing in front of the lens, but those are fairly easy to test for with even a tiny bit of experience.
     
  20. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Churches are often really dimly lit and echoey. Both image and sound could end up being borderline illegible. That's always going to be disappointing, but shouldn't spill over into being a problem if everyone's expectations are kept in check.

    MrMacMini, not wanting to cast judgement, but instead of doing a poor imitation of a traditional wedding video, why not suggest "something different". You could intentionally go for something a bit more home-brew and see if amongst the attendees there are going to be a few camcorder-owners who wouldn't mind videoing the ceremony. You could then edit the ceremony together in a sort of highlights style. Whatever you do, make sure the bride is in shot and get a mic close to where the vows are being said.

    That's some noteworthy phrasing.
     
  21. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #21
    That's true. But the fact that the OP is doing their homework suggests that they're not a total boob and hopefully this means that they can at the very least set up a static wide shot with decent sound, and check the lighting conditions before the ceremony begins.

    I was at a friend's wedding banquet not too long ago -- they didn't hire a professional videographer, but they asked a few of their friends (including myself) to videotape as we saw fit, give them copies of the raw footage, and the groom himself wanted to edit together the highlights video.

    (Speaking of dimly lit venues... the camera I used was a Sony VX2000, which happens to be pretty good at capturing images in low light. At one point I was watching the speeches on the camera LCD because the camera was seeing better than my own eyes could. I looked over to another friend with his camcorder -- his camera was picking up almost all black!)
     
  22. Hitrate macrumors regular

    Hitrate

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    #22
    Right, but if you're inexperienced with focusing, don't have a proper rig to keep your t2i steady, lcd viewfinder etc. etc. your t2i footage is more than likely gonna come up really shaky and out of focus. Doesn't take a cameraman to push the record button again after the 12 minutes, so that could easily be done by a second person at the wedding. In an ideal situation he should do the opposite, but this doesn't sound like an ideal situation, so I'd be safe and use the HV40 for handheld for sure!
     
  23. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #23
    Ive seen enough "pro wedding photos" that look like utter sh**...out of focus (not pleasingly either), horrible tongues, winks, mouths, expressions, white balance from hell, grainy rainbow blacks...

    And I know for a FACT the bride and groom LOVED the photos.

    unless the people know what a "good photo" is, they will be impressed if only because they cant do it at all themselves.

    People are STILL wowed by an animated PowerPoint slide and an iMovie video that has the Ken Burns Effect as the only thing in it.

    People are (ie customers), for lack of a better descriptor, morons when it comes to wedding days.

    /rant
     

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