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Tape Management For Weddings

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beb850Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 20, 2007 at 4:02:00 am

Hello anyone and everyone. I am about to shoot my first wedding this Saturday and could use some advise. I am shoot on a HVX200, I am only shooting MiniDV (I will have just bought the camera on Thursday and will not yet be set up to shoot on P2 cards). I will have about 63mins per tape if I am not mistaken.

My question is does anyone have any advise for changing tapes in the middle of the Ceremony in case it runs longer than expected, which I am thinking it will. I am also planning on having a second camera for the back. My thought was to have the back camera change to a fresh tape 45mins or so into the Ceremony, then I (front cam) will change after that. This would give a continous flow of footage.

I would appreciate anyones advise that might have a better suggestion. This is also my first post and am very excited about the feedback.

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Kerry BrownRe: Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 20, 2007 at 6:18:34 am

Use Panasonic AY-DVM83MQ tapes fpr 83 min of recording time. They have worked well for me. Yor other approach is good also. Combined withe 83 min tapes you should do okay.


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Doug GrahamRe: Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 20, 2007 at 1:25:52 pm

That's the way we do it...stagger the tape changes between the cameras. Be sure to record a "leader" on all your tapes beforehand. I record 60 seconds of color bars, but anything will do. That gives your capture software a running start so you don't lose the first few seconds of the tape. Also, most tape defects occur in the first and last two minutes of the tape.

I don't use the 83 minute tapes; I'm worried that the thinner tape stock will cause problems (although I haven't heard of any).

I don't use LP (available on some DV cameras...not sure about the HVX-200), because of potential playback problems, especially in devices other than the original camera.

A 63 minute tape should be enough unless you're recording a Catholic or an Episcopal ceremony.

Go do a lot of test shooting with your HVX on Thursday and Friday. Two days isn't a lot of time to get familiar with a new camera.

Doug Graham

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Mark SuszkoRe: Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 20, 2007 at 2:25:35 pm

Offsetting the camera starting times to stagger when you make the changes is good standard practice. Depending on what kind of ceremony it is, you have different options for good places to makea tape change without losing anything vital. In a Catholic weddin mass, for example, once the bridal party has had communion, you can change tape while everybody else is going up for theirs, and not miss anything vital.

Don't forget to think about changing batteries in staggered phases as well. When I shot weddings I ran AC power wherever practical, saving the batteries for handheld post-ceremony and reception stuff. I come from a time when battery capacity was much less than it is now, and you really had to have plenty of extras, plus a few on the charger in some corner, to cover everything on the Big Day.

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Brad at KT VideoRe: Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 21, 2007 at 3:55:45 pm

Good that you are thinking these things through in advance. Some advice from what I've learned:

1) Don't be shy about asking how long the ceremony is expected to go. The wedding director should have a good estimate.
2) NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use LP for critical footage. I did ONCE for an unmanned camera (unmanned because the church wouldn't let me be anywhere near the front and they made me start it 30 minutes before the hour long ceremony so I wouldn't be up there). The footage would only play on that camera and even then I had some artifacts/drop outs. This on a VX-2000. I have since adopted a way to utilize my remote if this ever happens again so I can start the camera later.
3) I can see where some may be hesitant on using the 83 minute tapes, but I find them invaluable in situation such as this and have never had a problem with the Panny's.
4) Your idea of planning your tape changes as certain time intervals is good.
5) I'd be afraid of going solely on A/C power as suggested without some battery back up or UPS. I've experienced the church's power going off and on during a ceremony. If you're soley on A/C, your camera is going to stop.

Hope this helps.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 21, 2007 at 4:39:24 pm

Brad, you misunderstood regarding your point 5. I said I always tried to run on AC, *with the battery attached and ready to take over if the AC failed*. At the point of the final departure back up the aisle, soon as they cleared the door, I'd unhook the AC and tripod, and scoot out tot he vestibule to get my hand-held, knowing I had a full battery ready on the camera.

Like I said, this was before lithium ion or Nimh technology was affordably available.

(Get off my lawn, you darn kids!)

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Brad at KT VideoRe: Tape Management For Weddings
by on Jun 25, 2007 at 1:38:36 pm


Sorry for the misunderstanding. I started using Canon for HDV recently after using Sony for nearly 7 years and quickly forgot that you can have the battery installed and AC simultaneously. Not so with the Canon which requires me to use their proprietary AC connection which goes in the battery well and keeps the battery from being used. I've yet to order the dual charger/AC adapter so I can go back to the simultaneous AC/battery.

No offense meant by my comment. Just misunderstood your suggestion given my current cameras. Brain fart...please excuse.

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