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Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance

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Lisa Hurley
Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 7, 2013 at 3:41:04 am
Last Edited By Lisa Hurley on Dec 7, 2013 at 4:23:41 am

I need some advice.
I do not know the specific distance - so I can't tell you BUT, I have a dilema.

I have been hired to shoot a wedding where I am not allowed to be anywhere but on the balcony, which is in the back of a very big church. I live 6 hours away, so I can't go scope it out. Won't know exactly til I get there. Anyway, it's a big church, and I'll be in the very back.

I am fairly new to DSLR video. I have only recently begun to work with this type of camera. I am using a Canon T3i and a Canon T2i.

I plan to have one of the cameras on the ground floor, right outside the church, to video from a straight-on view. The 2nd camera will be up in the balcony. I want to get wide-angle shots from the ground floor, and close ups from the balcony.

Can anyone here recommend lenses?

I was thinking along the lines of a 70-200 2.8, but I'm not sure I can actually get close ups from a really long distance.

Anyone got any ideas? I'm going to have to rent the lenses, so I'd need to get your ideas asap, if anyone would like to help me out :)

thanks in advance!
Lisa

*as a side note, I also have a Panasonic GH2, but because I'm not allowed to film inside the sanctuary, I'm not sure how or where to put it, or if it would be better than one of the canon cameras to film the ceremony with. I'm a little hesitant about the GH2 because I have very little experience with it.


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Steve Crow
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 7, 2013 at 4:37:14 am
Last Edited By Steve Crow on Dec 7, 2013 at 4:44:49 am

We've had this basic balcony question several times already on this forum

http://forums.creativecow.net/search.php?q=balcony&content=F&f%5B%5D=280&ag...


but Yes, you can get closeups from the balcony if you have a lens that is long enough and if it has a wide enough aperture to let lots of light in. (2.8 is reasonably fast)

Because of the crop factor of your camera, your 200mm lens will actually be giving you the equivalent reach of 320mm which I would THINK would be sufficient but I haven't ever tried.

I bet you can find pictures of the inside of that very church online and you can make some rough estimates of how far away you would be - you might use the pews and estimating the distance between them to give you a rough idea of the distances you will be dealing with (don't forget to add in the vertical distance, ie how high up the balcony is)

Once you know that you can ask people about specific lenses and if they've shot from that distance before but I got to believe it won't be a problem since sports photographers shoot at LONG distances from the sidelines (but yes with HUGE and expensive lenses)

Most of these shots from the balcony are going to be very very boring and we haven't even yet talked about the sound.

Have you thought about putting 1-3 GoPro Hero cameras on the sanctuary? and just let them run continuously by themselves so that you can have a camera(s) that will capture the couple from the opposite direction? (When they face the priest, their back is going to be to you and everyone else so you will be getting a very boring shot of just their backs unless you have cameras facing the pews.)

You can even turn on a GoPro remotely over Wifi but that may be more hassle than its worth to you.

Honestly, given the restrictions I hope you are underselling to your client what they can expect. How are you going to get the shot of the bride and groom walking down the aisle as they enter the church??? I didn't understand your description of where the 2nd ground floor camera would be, what direction it would be facing and if anyone is going to be operating it.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 7, 2013 at 5:04:06 pm

Thank you both, Bill and Steve for your solutions. I'm getting a bit anxious at the last minute, wondering what would be best, and not wanting to mess up - wishing I had gone another route after it's all said and done.

I SO appreciate the detailed ideas for the lenses I should rent, and being new to DSLRs, I am not even knowledgeable about crop factors, which I guess will be something I need to educate myself on.

Thanks again. I WILL be taking your advice!
Lisa


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Bill Bruner
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 7, 2013 at 1:15:13 pm

Hi Lisa - I had a T2i and still have the GH2, so I may be able to help.

Something you may find helpful is that both the T3i and the GH3 have lossless "crop modes" that extend their effective focal length beyond the sensor crop.

For the GH2, this mode is called Extended Tele Converter or ETC mode, and gives you 2.7x more magnification, for an effective crop of 5.4x.

If you rent a Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 lens, ETC and the 2x sensor crop combine to give you the equivalent of a 540mm at f2.8.

The other advantage of the GH2 as an unattended balcony camera is that it doesn't shut down and require a restart after 12 minutes of continuous recording (which is what you will need to do with your Canons). The GH2 can record continuously for hours.

If you don't mind restarting every 12 minutes, the T3i has a similar crop mode. It gives you 3x more magnification, for an effective crop of 4.8x.

If you decide to rent the Canon 70-200 f2.8, the crop mode and the 1.6x sensor crop combine to give you an effective focal length of 960mm at f2.8.

If you're going to be in the balcony with the camera, I recommend the T3i and the longer lens. If it's an unattended camera, I recommend the GH2, the 35-100 f2.8 and ETC.

(When you feel more comfortable with the GH2, you can put your Canon lenses on it with an inexpensive adapter, and get both the 5.4x crop and the longer lens.)

Hope this is helpful and good luck with the shoot!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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David Rehm
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 7, 2013 at 11:23:56 pm

Hi Lisa,
Here is another idea that will help you get those close-ups you need. Shoot the ceremony @ 1080p and then nest this 1080p footage in a 720p sequence in your editing program. Now you can pan and zoom in (using the Position and Scale properties) and get even closer.

What I like to do also, when nesting a 1080p into a 720p, is keyframe the Scale and Position properties throughout the video or even make cuts. This gives it that extra professional edge.

Hope this helps,
David Rehm


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 8, 2013 at 12:24:42 am

Also bear in mind when shooting with that long lens, that you'd better have a rock solid tripod, and you may want to set up your shot and lock it off. In the balcony, if there's a choir there, or an organist, you may want to check out the vibration levels from either of them - they could introduce unwanted jitter in the long shot.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 8, 2013 at 12:48:17 am

Hi Joe,
Thanks for reminding me. I had on my list of things to get "A rock solid tripod".... :) I've never really had a GREAT tripod, but I need for this wedding to look really good, so I'm gonna bite the bullet and get one. There's no choir or anyone up in the balcony, so I'm good to go there. The church woman told me today that I would be able to place a small unobtrusive camera down low, and up front, as long as it's where the minister doesn't see it. One thing I'm not very happy about is being told that I cannot have access to their sound system. The minister wears a mic, but I'll just have to place a recorder up close to where they are I guess... he won't wear one of my mics either... so I'll just do the best I can. I'll place a mic in the groom's pocket and hope for the best with it.

I would like to thank each and every one of you who has responded. You cannot imagine how much help this is to me!


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David Rehm
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 9, 2013 at 4:42:19 am

If you have access to a speaker anywhere in the church - place a recorder in front of it. It will turn out pretty good. Being there's a balcony they might have some small speakers by the balcony.

In the past I have placed my Tascam Dr-40 on a tripod pointing at the speaker and it came out fine. Before I had my Tascam I used a Mini-disc recorder with a Radio Shack electret mic - it also turned out really well.

David


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Recommended Lens for Filming a Wedding from a FAR distance
on Dec 8, 2013 at 12:42:51 am

Now that is clearly something I would have not thought of doing. A friend of mine from the U.K. had shown me some samples of video he had shot where he did some panning and zooming in post. This is something I have yet to try out, but it definitely looks 100% better than doing it manually. Thanks so much for this suggestion!


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