Immediate Camera Advice for Wedding Needed

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Metatron, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. Metatron macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2002
    I need some help guys...

    A friend of mine asked me to film his wedding because somehow knowing final cut studio makes me a great camera man :confused: Anyways, he rented a Canon XL H1 and a JVC GY-HD100. The problem is I am not a camera man nor do I know what the setting on this thing should be. Right now I am going to plug the component up to a TV on both cameras and compare them until all the setting look equally good on screen and match in quality but I have just a few questions I hope you guys can answer.

    1) What setting are a good place to start, like on ND, F-Stop, AE, etc? It is a wedding and the lighting is dim.

    2) The JVC does 720P 30P frames while the Canon does 1080i 60i. I plan on downconverting that in Final Cut Pro to 720P. I know it want look as good as the true 720P 30 frames coming from the JVC but it will come close. Will the tape still last an hour running at 60i? I have never worked with HDV so I have no clue. I would test a tape on it, but at $15 a tape I was hoping for a cheaper answer.

    Thanks guys in advanced.
  2. garfield2002 macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2003
    Having just gotten married myself, and also having editted the video of my sister's wedding which was hand shot by my aunt :confused: , I would strongly advise against this. Can you gently abstain? :(

    It sounds like he got some high level equipment for you and may be expecting too much. Weddings are intensly personsal and filming or photographing this type of event as you must know is not easy. It's a one shot thing, you don't get a second chance.

    Since I am not famililar with HDV I can't help with your specific questions but I do wish you the best of luck whatever happens. :)
  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    OK, it's rare that I venture in here, the video forum. But here goes...

    Having shot two weddings in the past (a long time ago on VHS) my golden rule would be coverage. Don't be afraid to set up as many cameras as possible. Even if you've got one cam on a tripod doing a master shot on the altar/ceremonial area, the rest can come from your other camera work or even from others if they're shooting footage as well... there is absolutely no chance of getting any relevant pick-ups later unless they're static tableaus of settings etc.

    The only reason I mention this now is because I was reading about the Beastie Boys latest concert video where they distributed 50 Hi-8 cams amongst the audience.

    It's definitely worth reccing the venue a few days beforehand if possible just to get an idea of any potential problems with angles.

    When I did the second wedding, editing the footage was greatly helped by getting tons of close-ups of small things like programmes, flower arrangements, table settings etc. as well as trying to grab as much candid footage of people as possible, particularly the guests that are close to the families. The close-ups can make good establishing shots for certain scenes when it comes to editing...

    As far as the tech stuff is concerned, I can't see a reason for using a neutral-density filter (particularly when it's dim) unless you're trying for a limited depth of field which can be problematic when capturing human subjects who have this annoying habit of moving unexpectedly. :)

    The main thing to remember is: the bride is the most important person that day. :D ;)
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Honestly, I'd bow out now. Getting good footage is going be problematic. The camera's he rented aren't newb friendly. HDV cameras do not perform well in low light and you are going to have problems getting the footage to match while editing. As far as camera settings go, that's entirely up to the location.

    Someone who is experienced w/both of these cameras (or at least experienced shooting weddings) could probably winging it w/o too much of a problem. But for someone w/o any experience it's not going to be a whole lot of fun.

    Oh, there is also a known issue w/the JVC in low light. It's been called the "Split Screen Effect" and it results in half of the image being lighter than the other half.

    If you have the time you definitely should test out the cameras so you are more comfortable with them. Hooking them up to your TV will help... but not much if your TV isn't a properly calibrated HD monitor. Also, keep in mind that even though they are both HDV cameras they are based on separate, and incompatible, variants of HDV. So a tape shot on the JVC will not playback in the Canon and vice versa. I suggest you pre-label the tapes "JVC" and "Canon" so you don't mix them up.

  5. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    Use A Tripod!!!



    It honestly doesn't matter what camera equipment you use, but if you try to hold the camera in your hand it will look like sh*t. Get the cheapest Mini-DV camera you can find and the most expensive fluid-head w/ bubble level tripod you can find. That's all you need. Bonus points for finding a reasonably decent wireless mic for the priest to wear during the actual ceremony.

    I have shot a wedding on VHS-C using the two tips above and it came out a hundred times better looking than the "professional" video shot handheld on a 3-CCD ENG camera. Seriously. 1) Tripod. 2) Decent wireless mic. 3) Get wide establishing shots and close-up cutaways. 4) Don't zoom, ever. That's all.
  6. Metatron thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2002
    Unfortunatly I can not bow out...thanks for the info. I have gotten both cameras to look pretty good in the lighting...matched the color up on both, no grain, I manully set both. I have the priest/bride/groom all fitted with shure lapels.

    Big thank you about the split screen effect. Plugged it into a tv monitor and saw it. Scary stuff if I had not of know before hand. Thanks guys.
  7. Dahl macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2002
    He he...

    So true
  8. baleensavage macrumors 6502a

    Aug 2, 2005
    On an island in Maine
    I feel your pain. I, being a photographer, and having never touched a video camera in my life, walked into my wife's cousin's wedding and they "asked" me to videotape the wedding. I guess to some people, using a camera and a video camera are synomymous. Luckily I had half a brain or they would never have had a video, because when they showed me how to use the camera, they never showed me where the record switch was. Once I figured this out, I was able to just shoot the video and yes, I used a tripod.

    My best advice is don't zoom out and in and out all the time. Find a nice wide view and zoom in slowly at key parts. There's nothing worse than an out-of-focus video or one that makes you seasick by watching it zip all over the place. Also when you do pan, do it slowly and try to be smooth about it.

    I never saw the movie, but they said it came out awesome. It couldn't have been any worse than the video of my wedding which has like 15 minutes of the reception floor because someone forgot to turn it off ;)
  9. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

    Apr 12, 2005
    Outer Space
    Nice cameras.

    The H1 does a native 1080i per HDV2, but I thought you could set it for 720/30p and let the onboard procesor does the downconvert math. I'd let the camera do it for ease, rather than use FCP to convert, if possible. So, I'd say shoot both at 30p, shutter at 1/60. No need to use the ND filter unless you just have gobs of light. As far as iris/aperture, the Canon and most likely, the JVC have semi-manual settings that will allow you to set the shuterspeed yourself while the camera determines the best aperture. I'd let the camera set the aperture. Compensation for apeture is easy in FCP, but if you're trying to cut something shot at 1/60 to with footage shot at 1/500 it's going to look really odd. I believe you want TV mode on the H1 for this. This site may do you good.

    I'd leave the AE shift at 0 and gain at -3 or 0 to reduce that terrible digital noise. Never put the gain on Auto or else it will try to compensate for low light.

    If you are doing anything hand held, I suggest the JVC since it has the flipout LCD screen.

    I am using a XL2 with the Sony Master Tapes and am pleased for the most part. However, I have been just as pleased with the Panasonic Master Quailty Tapes. The Advanced MAster Quality Tapes are "supposed" to be better, but I don't know.

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