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Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?

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Trent Slabaugh
Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 20, 2013 at 10:04:59 pm

I have an upcoming wedding shoot that I'm currently planning for (my first). I'm going to have a small budget of $500 that I will use towards renting gear, but I would also like to bring in gear of my own that I am coming close to purchasing. I've been giving a lot of thought as to what setup I'm going to use, and the idea of using both a camcorder and DSLR keeps coming to mind.

My thoughts are that I would use the camcorder for wide continuous shots as well as the hook-up to most of my audio (a lavaliere and shotgun mic at least), and that I would use a DSLR with proper stabilization as a handheld camera for close ups and low-light compensation (with a VideoMic as well). I was wondering if this could work as a setup and if so, which camera combinations would be most beneficiary for my budget restrictions. If this is not a recommended setup, then what are some that I should consider?

Here is a list of the cameras and gear that I have been considering:
Canon 60D (Buy)
Prime Lens-50mm 1.4 or 1.8, 35mm 2.0 or 1.4 (Buy)
Rode VideoMic Pro (Buy)
Manfrotto Fluid Head w/055X Legs OR Benro S6 Tripod Set (Buy OR Rent)
24-70mm L-Series Lens (Rent)
Monopod OR Shoulder Rig (Rent)
Canon XF100 (Rent)
Sony NX5U (Rent)
Sony EX1 (Rent, but unlikely)
Canon XA20 (Rent)
Canon XF300 (Rent)
Sennheiser G2 Lavalier (Rent)
Audio-Technica AT-897 OR Rode NTG-2 (Rent)


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David Rehm
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 21, 2013 at 12:07:20 am

Yes you can. I just did a wedding using my Nikon D7000 and I borrowed a friends Canon Vixia HF-R30.

I'm not personally familiar with the cameras you mentioned but I would choose a camera that has the same frame rate, fields, PAR, - just to make things smoother.

Here's how I setup for the wedding I just did:
Nikon D7000 - hand-held (monopod) for the more close-up shots.
The Canon was on a tripod straight back - a loose tight shot.

I shot the ceremony at full HD / 24fps (both cameras)

All the other (pre, reception) I shot at 720 / 24fps.

I used a Tascam DR-40 on a tripod and placed it in front of the PA speaker (this wedding was professionally mic'd)

The reason I shoot the ceremony at 1080 and the rest at 720 is because my final sequence in my editor will be 720. I nest the ceremony in the 720 seq. and now I have ALOT of zoom range. It works out great. That's why I shot the Canon tight but not too tight (which I call loose).

I had a little trouble in post trying to figure out why the Canon footage was 29.97 when I shot it at 23.97. After a little research I had to remove the pulldowns in After Effects to make it 23.97. Other than that "issue" eveything went well.

Hope this helps.
David


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Bill Bruner
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 23, 2013 at 2:24:09 am

Hi Trent - I like your equipment list except for the 60D. It has a 12 minute clip length limit, no autofocus, a viewfinder that stops working when you switch to live view for video, and a terrible moire problem with patterned fabrics (e.g., wedding dresses). Please see these side-by-side comparisons with the Panasonic GH2:

Canon 60D vs Panasonic GH2 evil moiré test on Vimeo

60D vs GH2 Moire Test on Vimeo

For about the same price, you can get a moire-resistant Panasonic G6. With this camera, you can shoot continuous video for hours, instead of minutes; you'll have lightning fast video autofocus (and manual focus peaking), a viewfinder that continues working in video mode, wi-fi and NFC for wireless control of the camera and wireless file transfer, and you'll be able to record at 1080/60p for smooth action and slow motion.

Here is what this camera can do:

Junwei + Daohua

for a couple of hundred dollars more, I would look at the $998 (on sale) Panasonic GH3.

This camera adds a built-in headphone jack and multiple codecs and bit rates (up to 72mbs) for ultra high resolution recording.

Here is what this camera can do, combined with the large sensor, interchangeable lens Sony NEX-EA50 shoulder mount camcorder.


Lievan and Shaan Wedding on Vimeo

I recommend you buy either the
G6 or GH3 (depending on your budget) and rent the NEX-EA50 from lensrentals.com.

The Panasonic DSLMs are great still cameras that happen to produce great video - while the EA50 (on sale for $2725 after rebate at Adorama) is a great large sensor video camera that also produces great 16MP stills like this:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachments/sony-nex-ea50-all-variants/28988d13...

There really isn't another DSL/camcorder combination with this much flexibility.

Hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Trent Slabaugh
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 24, 2013 at 11:51:48 pm

Thank you both for sharing your insight!

Bill, I've taken a look at the GH3 and I do like a lot of the features I see. However, I'm seeing that its lens selection in comparison to Canon's is much slimmer. I have $1500 saved as of right now and would only be able to attribute $1000 (at best) before the wedding. With this kind of a budget, what are some lenses that you would recommend? Also, what are some downsides that you have encountered using this camera?


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Bill Bruner
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 25, 2013 at 12:20:14 pm

Hi Trent - is that $1000 for camera and lenses? Or just for lenses? If it's for both, the GH3 is too expensive at $998 body-only.

If you mean $1000 for lenses alone, for weddings I would get two lenses - the $399 Olympus 45mm f1.8 for medium/telephoto and the $499 Oly 17mm f1.8 for wides.

If you mean $1000 for camera and lens, I would get the $638 Panasonic G6 with the 14-42 kit lens plus the Oly 45mm f1.8.

Again, hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Trent Slabaugh
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 25, 2013 at 8:17:06 pm

No, by $1000 I meant what I'll possibly be able to save up in addition to the $1500 I have now. So I'm hoping to have a total of $2500 saved up by the wedding at least. However, I also want to invest in a decent tripod, a Rode VideoMic Pro, a case, and as many accessories and extras I can afford.

Also, I've read that purchasing lens adapters is an option many GH3 users have gone with. Do you have any recommendations for that?


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Bill Bruner
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 26, 2013 at 12:45:46 am

Great! Glad you'll have some extra money for lenses, support, and sound.

I have Nikon, Canon FD and Konica adapters. I use them with inexpensive Tamron, Canon FD and Konica lenses. They all work great with the Panasonic mirrorless cameras - but remember, you have to focus and set aperture manually with these lenses - something you may or may not want to bother with.

Again, hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Trent Slabaugh
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 26, 2013 at 11:59:16 am

I plan on operating as manually as I can, even if it means conditioning myself for it. Trust me, I want for both this video and my abilities to excel as best they can. Which lenses and mounts do you think will be the most accessible to me, as far as finding them and along with my budget restrictions goes?

If I want/need to put a good chunk of my money to the necessities outside of the body and lens(es), then I probably will only be able to afford 2 at best. I know I'll need a prime lens with an f/1.8-1..4 stop minimally, but also some sort of zoom lens if I can (a kit lens may be all I can afford, but I'd make due if it came down to that). If I am stuck with just the prime lens though, would you recommend using one with more of a cropped image so I can get tighter shots from further away (35-50mm), or should I give the shot more space (20-28mm)? Or would you perhaps recommend using both of these kind of prime lenses instead of a zoom?

I apologize for having so many questions, but I just want to make sure I get as much of this right as possible-especially for what I'm going to be purchasing.


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Bill Bruner
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 26, 2013 at 4:26:37 pm

Understand. If you don't mind shooting manual, I would get the amazing $799 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens for Nikon and a $429 Metabones Speed Booster. The Sigma is the first-ever f1.8 zoom lens.

With this combination, for about the same price as the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 system zoom, your GH3 will produce phenomenal images in just about any lighting condition, and you won't need any faster primes at the wide end.

With the rest of the money, I would get the $399 Oly 45mm f/1.8, and, if you can afford it, the $899 Oly 75mm f1.8. With ETC, this will be long enough for anything except bird watching.

By the way, this Amazon Gold Box Deals page shows the $998 GH3 sale ends tonight at midnight. The price is likely to go back up from $998 to $1198.

Again, hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Trent Slabaugh
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 27, 2013 at 11:36:28 am

*whistles* the Nikon looks sweet! And by the way, I've also seen the $998 price tag on B&H's website. I don't know if that will eventually rise too, but I doubt it. Either way, I appreciate you keeping your eyes open for me.

And if I could bother you for just one more question, it's about combining footage from different camera sources. Obviously, resolution, frame rate, and aspect ratio have to be the same, or it's going to look like a crappy music video I tried shooting back in high school (but I digress :P). What I'm wondering is if bit rate plays a factor at all. If it does, is it best for it to be exactly the same or is there a limit as to how far apart they are? This is something that I've been wondering for some time now. And seeing that the GH3 can power through to 72mbps, I want to make sure that this wouldn't overpower any additional footage in any way.


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David Rehm
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 28, 2013 at 8:22:39 pm

For the ceremony I would use a zoom. A prime might be disastrous if you don't have the correct angle and viewpoint. A friend of mine uses a Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 lens for all his wedding ceremonies and they look great. It's almost $1000 but covers it all.

The most recent wedding I shot was outside. My kit lens actually did the trick (though I would never have used it for an inside wedding). The reception, which was inside, was dark in the room. I used a Nikon 35mmm 1.8. I cranked the ISO up to around 1200 - 1600 and everything thing turned out decent in post. I wouldn't go over 1600 ISO as you will get the grain showing. Also you want to shoot flat as blacks will be crushed. Everything will turn out great in post.

David


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Pablo Aura
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Oct 31, 2013 at 11:12:17 pm

Hi Trent!

Congratulations on your first wedding gig!
Regarding your camera questions and some of the answers of other fellow members, I'd tell you to be careful on going to Panny just as a quick solution. If you are starting to build your rig for a more formal production business consider your first purchases as investments to the future. With this I mean that if you go for the Canon then the following equipment you will buy will need to fix your Canon body, the same for Nikon or Panny.
All the DSLRS have the same problems and I've shot weddings with 60d's, if handled properly they can render amazing results. The same goes to the other brands.
If I was in your situation I'd consider the following:
- If you go 60d then match it with another Canon. xf-100 renders beautiful color and can be matched to the 60d, the same goes for the xf-300
- if you plan on going handheld get some support for your dslr, and try to keep a stabilized lens on it, it will make a difference, even if it's the kit lens (careful with the focusing here, can be very tricky!)
- don't forget a good tripod for the ceremony that could be handled with the zoom lens too
- shotgun mic is your only option if planing to hear some of what people are actually saying. But remember dslr audio is mostly useless.
- don't discard the idea of using the camcorder for handheld also,as they can give better results sometimes, because they don't have the imaging problems of the dslr. Plus a real autofocus.
- some onboard light might save you in difficult situations
- go for the beauty shots with the dslr and the more wide descriptive with the camcorder
- try to make a shooting list so you start to work on the creative aspects beforehand

Have fun!


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Trent Slabaugh
Re: Is combining camcorder and DSLR footage a good idea for filming a wedding?
on Nov 2, 2013 at 3:41:29 am

Hey Pablo,

I appreciate the feedback, and thanks for your congratulations! I'm really starting to get excited for this shoot, but I've also been nervous since this will be my first one going solo. I want to make sure I get as much right with this as I can, so naturally I've been trying to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions.

That's a very good point you brought up with the camera I choose to go with, whichever it may be. I understand that either one will have its benefits and sacrifices, but I have to think about what will serve as the best convenience to my needs both now and down the road. I'll be sure to give this plenty of thought before I make my decision.

As for the points you bulleted, I found that they were all for the most part things that I was already thinking of. I mean no disrespect by that, just to say that it goes to show that my research has really paid off. Like you really hit the nail on the head when you said, "Go for the beauty shots with the dslr and the more wide descriptive with the camcorder." If anything, that gives me the assurance that I know what I'm doing here :P now I just have to get the camera I aim to buy and put in all of the practice before the shoot!

Once again, thank you all for your help and your feedback!


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