May 5 Wedding Recap

On May 5th I shot a wedding in Sioux City, Iowa. It was a standard package, which for me means it includes full day coverage, full ceremony and reception video (2 hours) and a 4-8 minute short. It was my last wedding with my Panasonic HMC150, which has served me well for two years but sold the next day on ebay, and it was my first wedding with my friend Jake as an assistant.

It was a great, if hot day, and my first though is this: dress appropriately not only for the formality of the event, but also for the climate. I wore an undershirt, and got quite hot during the outdoor portion of the photo shoot. It was another opportunity to work with my favorite Sioux City photographer, Megan Meyer. I’ve worked with her and her husband Justin a few times, thanks to them graciously recommending me to their clients regularly. I love working with friendly, professional photographers.

The day went well overall, though no wedding day – it seems – is entirely without mess ups. For example, I forgot to check the recording mode on the HMC150, and recorded the ceremony in 30i, instead of 24p. A problem rectified relatively easily, but unfortunate nonetheless. I simply used Cineform Neoscene with “convert to 24p” checked. The result was acceptable except during pans, which I didn’t need anyway.

The other oops was my fault as well. Jake, while a good cameraman, didn’t have experience shooting with DSLRS, or with GH2s in specific. I gave him a good crash course, but couldn’t cover every eventuality. Surprisingly, his problem wasn’t pulling focus (for the most part) it was not noticing that I’d left a camera in slow-mo mode. On the GH2, this mode shoots in 30p and converts to 24p in-camera without audio. I like to use this mode to quickly shoot slightly dreamy shots of details, flowers, candy, etc. It’s a quick dash into the menu to go to this mode or get out of it, but when you are in the mode, the only indication is a relatively small icon on the screen. If you don’t know to look for it, you’ll miss it – which is exactly what happened to Jake. So the first dances and some other things from the beginning of the reception on the B-camera (with the 14-54 lens) are slow-mo. It’s not that complicated to fix, just speed it up 125% and it’ll match, but it’s some extra work for me, and the lack of audio means no PluralEyes syncing for me – I have to do it manually for that camera.

So what went right? Well I think we got some really great footage of prep, and the ceremony is probably the best looking ceremony I’ve shot yet. There were big skylights in the sanctuary, though there wasn’t that much light coming in from them (still had to shoot at ISO 1000), it was enough to make the video pop and look really vibrant. In the ladies’ hotel room in the morning I got great footage using my slider, some really fun stuff, and having two shooters means that the ‘first look’ footage is particularly well executed – I hope.

As of right now, I’ve completed the ceremony edit and am trucking through the complexities of syncing up everything at the reception and figuring out how to piece it together. Reception edits always take a bit of jump-starting for me, never can seem to jump into them properly. Once that is done, hopefully this week, I’ll get to editing a fun short – which you can look forward to seeing here as soon as its done!

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