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Getting back into the game and need advice

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Dwain Williams
Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 28, 2015 at 1:41:09 am

I'll try to make it short as possible...thanks in advance.

I have worked in wedding videography in the past and I'm looking to get back into it. Along with weddings, I'm also going to be doing sports work as well. (filming games and providing season highlights DVDs and editing recruiting videos). My equipment is outdated. I was shooting with Panasonic DVX100 (it was the IT camera when I first purchased..lol).

I would like some feedback on what I should be looking at. I know DSLRs are all the rage but I don't think one would be in my best interest for all the other work besides weddings. My budget is somewhere in the 3k range for a camera. I know this is vague but just looking for some guidance. I've enjoyed reading here for a while. Thanks


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 28, 2015 at 2:52:52 pm

I agree with you about DSLR. There are options now in many form factors for conventional video cameras with sensors and lenses providing tight depth of field control equal to what a DSLR gives you, but with better audio and no quirks like overheating, limited record times, etc. I would take a tour of the B&H web site, setting the search criteria to order by price, and see what stuff comes up within the limits you've set yourself.

Think about not just one, but two cameras, or a prime camera and some cheaper b-roll sources like go-pros. Redundant gear and shot angles are vital in event coverage where "the barn only burns down once" and you HAVE to get the shot, no excuses.

Since you've been to this rodeo before, I'll skip the speech about all the OTHER stuff one needs besides a camera or two. Since your last go-around, wireless mics and free-standing digital audio recorders got smaller, better, and cheaper, multiplying your options for clean audio coverage. Likewise, hot tungsten lighting that sucked lots of power has largely given way to low-light cameras and lighting with LED and fluorescent tube instruments, often battery-powered.


Maybe your biggest issue isn't tech, but the changes in expectations and formats for "modern" wedding coverage. I used to shoot them in the era just before you got yer fancy DVX1000, I was still shooting in VHS and SVHS, and back then people wanted wall to wall documentation of everything, but today's millennials, with their mayfly attention spans, seem to prefer quick, short montages with overly-grandiose jib and slider moves, cut to look like movie trailers, and goofy staged parody dance videos. Or maybe that's the impression I get from what pops up on youtube. Still, it may be important to study what's different stylistically these days, and what the clients want.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 29, 2015 at 4:16:23 pm

Thanks so much for such a great reply.

I'm definitely gonna get two cameras, even if it means upping my camera budget.

I don't have much experience at all when it comes to selecting/purchasing audio equipment. Would love to have some suggestions on reasonably priced options.

You bring up a great point concerning the new styles of wedding videography. That's the first thing I've noticed when taking a look around.

Thanks again for the reply and I'm open for more suggestions.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 29, 2015 at 7:04:37 pm

Well, if you don't mind synching audio in post (and FCPX makes that a snap),and you're afraid of RF nose, the ZOOM audio recorders, inside a groom's jacket pocket, with a wired lav mic, will get great coverage of the vows. Countryman lav mics are so tiny they're easy to hide in the groom's boutonniere. lavs need not always point up at the face to get a good pickup: indeed, the BBC guys wear their lavs pointed at their shoes, to avoid any breath sounds and plosives.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 30, 2015 at 4:03:09 am

Thanks, again! I'm sure i'll have more ?s after digging around for a bit.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 30, 2015 at 5:19:33 am

Any thoughts on Canon XA10 (1,499) XA20 (1,999) or the Panny AG Ac90A (1,899)?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Apr 30, 2015 at 3:52:06 pm

Well, I will always prefer actual shoulder-mount form factor camera bodies; these cameras you mention are held out in front of your chest and though they have eyepieces, they're more likely to be used with their flip-out screens as the main VF.... which can get you in trouble sometimes... this form-factor also will get your arms and back tired faster, unless you add a shoulder pod or a fig rig or similar stabilizing grip system to them.

I like the Canons for their lenses, but this Canon camera has a single image sensor - albeit, styled like the sensors on a DSLR. The Panasonic uses three image sensors and has optical image stabilization, where the Canon, arguably the master of electro-optical image stabilization, surprisingly, doesn't seem to mention if it does. They both record AVCHD, which fcpx now handles natively without conversion.

If I had to choose between only these two, I think I'd go with the Panasonic. But Sony has a camera in this same market space, which you should also check out.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 5, 2015 at 2:59:07 am

How would a Go Pro footage look mixed in with one of these options. I have access to one and could use it on a balcony, etc for a wide static shot.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 5, 2015 at 2:05:38 pm

Should not be a problem, after you apply a fisheye remover and color correct it.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 5, 2015 at 7:20:42 pm

thanks....

Thinking about renting my camera for the first couple of gigs, which would allow me to purchase my computer at this time. Any suggestions for camera rental?


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 5, 2015 at 11:09:39 pm

I see Panasonic HMC 150 is available to rent for a reasonable price. Would this camera still be capable to do the job for an upcoming wedding?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 6, 2015 at 2:43:30 pm

For the entire 2-3 years of my wedding business, I never owned the cameras. I rented them on an as-needed basis from local guys that knew me. Kept my costs low and my profit high.

The HMC will probably be fine for the upcoming gig, as long as you have great audio captured. What you want to do, and this I've learned from friends who are better at the business than I am, is to always have enough mark-up in your price that each gig buys you one more piece of what you need to own. If you're not charging enough to be able to add a new light or whatever from the profits of each gig, your business is stagnating, not growing.

You don't need to own everything right away; build a core of the "evergreen" things like the good tripod and pan head, mics and cables, basic lighting kit. Then from there, budget for growth, so you can expand the lighting kit, get more grip gear, more mics, recorders, etc. over time. They dont need to all be new, either: people who bought too much new stuff without any business to pay for it are constantly dumping low-mileage stuff on ebay and craig's, pawn shops, etc. Shop smart.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 6, 2015 at 4:29:22 pm

Can't thank you enough for all your insight to my extremely novice questions....here's another...hehe

Currently the to offers I'm looking at is:

(2) Panasonic HC-X1000 4K for (4) days for $380 delivered

or

(2) Panasonic AG-AC160A for Fri-Monday for $300 (not sure of shipping charge yet)

Best Deal?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 6, 2015 at 4:54:50 pm

An advantage of shooting 4k is that you can frame your actual shots a little wider, then add zooms, pans, tilts, and re-framings in post, while delivering a clean 2K final product. Helpful when you need to create a closeup from an existing wide shot, or crop out the uncle nobody likes to re-compose a key shot. That's probably worth the extra money in this case, as long as your editing system is up to the load.


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Dwain Williams
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 15, 2015 at 1:29:31 pm

Well, I'm going with the new retina Imac and the Panasonic AG Ac90A . I want to rent a second AG AC90A but can't seem to find one. Will a different camera (a different HD Panasonic) look close enough to use? Thanks


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Mark Suszko
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on May 15, 2015 at 3:39:58 pm

What I do in mixed camera situations is, I have a color chip chart, ( a Macbeth) I set out in the actual lighting situation, and after white-balancing all the cameras, I shoot a sample of that chart on each. When you bring that footage back, it's easy to do a split-wipe and apply color correction until the scope patterns are identical. Even once you do that, though, cameras from different makers will have different reactions to identical environments. If you calibrate carefully, customers won't notice, but a professional grader might.


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Max Palmer
Re: Getting back into the game and need advice
on Jun 4, 2015 at 5:42:09 pm

I shoot weddings as well, and am trying to come off of the dSLR bandwagon (it's a great way to start though, which is why I did it). I haven't had a hand at shooting with many different cameras, but I picked up a C100 MKI, now that the price has dropped so much, and I am completely flabbergasted by the images I'm getting out of this thing. It's blowing away both my 6D and my XF100 in both image quality, noise levels, and dynamic range. It's pretty frills-free, but from what I've been reading and experiencing, the image quality can't be beat at that price range. It does exactly what I need a camera to do, which is allow me to still get that "big sensor" look (it's a Super35), have professional audio features, and have something I can leave locked off on a tripod without worrying about recording limit.


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