Gear Up for Weddings

Posted on 4/9/2008 8:59:00 AM

Here's what you need to know in preparing shooting for weddings.


With only one camera is very dangerous. Aside from camera mulfunction that you need a backup, you also need to do multi-cam for different angle and B-roll. Imagine in the wedding ceremony that they are about to say I do, but you need to change tape.

Fake LANC using Remote Control

If your camera doesn't have a LANC controller port, you can fake a LANC using the remote control with an optical cable. Take a look at this page on Missing LANC.

Wide Angle Lens Adapter

A lot of the wedding preparation and gaming happened in tight space. For Canon HV30 camera, get a WD-H43 or Raynox Wide Angles lens adapter.

Lens Hood

Lens hood is made to block lens flare to the camera sensor. It also helps making your camera a bit more professional looking or less amaturish looking. For the Canon HV20/30/40 camera, you can get the lens hood from Canon XH-A1. With a little DIY, it fits well on WD-H43 or the Raynox 6600.

External Microphone

Most on-board camera does not record good sound. Some also picked up motor noise from the camera transport. An external microphone is a good investment. Basically there're are two types of microphone, uni-directional (Shootgun) microphone or omni-directional micrphone.
Take RODE VideoMic as an example, It is a shootgun mic good for itnerview, vocal, mono, and to filter/reject sound from the side. RODE Stereo VideoMic picks up a wider angle of sound recorded in 2-channel stereo. It's good for recording ambient sound or live music concert. It has a higher fiderlity than mono shootgun mic.
Others also use wireless lav mic to record vows in the wedding ceremony. Because of the range and interference issue, I would suggest using a voice recorder with a lapel mic instead. Unless you have expensive wireless mic/receiver, there will be lots of interference. It also screws up your sound track recorded to tape. I use an Olympus voice recorder. It gives really good result with a wired lav mic. It also gives you an additional audio track to work with.

Video Lights

Most wedding reception took place in dim ballroom. You will need some decent lighting that accomodate all lighting environment. Through the years, I have tried several lights. I put together a comparison video . you can take a look by yourself.
Both the Comer CM-LBPS900 and Comer CM-LBPS1800 professional LED lights deliver strong light but less power consumption. The 2-level brightness switch on CM-LBPS900 and the dimmer switch on CM-LBPS1800 is proved to be useful in interviews. Check out the Comer Twin Lights on HV30.

For a cheaper alternative, there is also the Canon VL-10 that delivers a 10-watt output. It uses the BP-970G battery for Canon GL2 or XH-A1. Check out the Canon VL-10 twin lights on HV20.

Batteries and Chargers

Get lots of batteries for the cameras. The wedding day shooting will be hectic enough. It gets worst if you run out of battery juice, or you have to constantly locate a power outlet to recharge the battery. Most cameras do not come with a separate charger. You can only charge the battery with the camera. Therefore, it is wise to invest a separate charger too.
For my Canon XH-A1, I use the highest capacity BP-970G battery. For Canon HV20, HV30 and HV40 camera, the high capacity BP-2L24H battery that last almost 4 hours per charge in record mode and LCD on. The CB-2L charger is essential. It also comes with a cable to charge the battery in cars. Here's a review of this BP-2L24H battery.

Lots of Tapes

That's straight forward. You rather shoot more video to begin with than finding out you don't have enough coverage. Tapes are cheap. To avoid drop-out, it's best to use higher quality, professional grade tapes. The Panasonic PQ series is a good choice between quality and price.


Post Editing

I use Adobe suite with a Matrox editing card to capture, edit, export, and DVD/BluRay authoring. HDV native .m2t or .mpeg format is a pain to work with. If you are serious about this business, you should consider either Matrox or Cineform product.

Luggage Lock

If you are a one-man band, you should consider getting a luggage lock to avoid your gear beign stolen. I had both of my GL2 stolen in a Sheraton hotel before by their kitchen staff. Lesson learned, this kind of luggage lock this is a must
On top of that, you can check if your renter or home owner insurance will cover this kind of equipment. Otherwise, it worths paying for additional insurance to cover equipment and liability.

Frame Rate

I personally can't stand to shoot in 60i as the "home video-ish" look makes the production cheap. 24p has the rich expensive film look but it's not easy to work with only 24 frames per second. All slow motion and panning shots become stuttering. I would suggest shooting in 30p. If your camera doesn't have 30p, you can shoot with 60i in Tv mode with 1/30 shutter speed to fake progressive shooting. It has no interlace comb lines, no loss of image quality. But the resulting video has film look.

DVD Authoring

Adobe Encore is a powerful DVD authoring program (and buggy too). You can author just once, then you can output to DVD, BluRay, and Flash format for the web. This link shows an actual example of one of my client's DVD.
Read more here DVD and BluRay Authoring


BluRay Popup Menu

Encore CS3/CS4 supports BluRay authoring. BluRay doesn't have the Root/Title menu as in DVD but Top/Popup Menu. It's tricky to create a nice BluRay Popup menu in CS4. I created a sample you can download from.


DVD Cover Design and Label printing

Your DVD insert art and label design will make the first impression to your customer. There're many templates to create nice DVD cover and labels. For DVD insert, I created a template to print on regular photo paper. With the inkjet printer borderless printing, just have to trim off the right and bottom edge.
For DVD label, DO NOT USE STICKY LABELS. Throughout time, the disc label will start to peel off. There're also many DVD players won't handle the extra weight on the disc and start to spin funny. Get an Epson Stylus Photo printer that can print directly on the DVD. Buy those inkjet printable white DVDs. Get this Taiyo Yuden water sheill white inkjet hug printable DVDs. Hub printing means you can print all the way to the inner 22mm of the disc instead of the regularly 43mm. You have more room for your design, and less tricky to work around the empty inside circle.

You can download the templates in this blog entry.
Take a look at this discussion about DVD cover design and label printing.



Posted by plnetweckesser on 5/23/2009 3:37:00 PM Taky - congrats on the website and blog section. Very well put together and a lot of useful information. Your comment about using 1080 30p for shooting video rather than 24p is right on the mark - I have tried 24p but was put off by the stuttering. Also the idea of using printable media and not stick on labels is excellent advice - I have only used printable BD-R's for all my blu-ray projects.
Posted by Kerry on 6/29/2009 7:57:00 PM My boyfriend and I were asked at the last minute to record my sister's wedding coming up this weekend. I did some research on Canon HV20's since my boyfriend uses the camera for his other video projects and came across your blog. Your advice is proving to be great for our purposes. Thanks so much for the information!
Posted by Darryl Bradford Jr. on 2/22/2010 9:48:00 AM great website and info...has really helped me out a ton!!!! i will be referring back to this blog if i have any questions or need advice!!!!
Posted by Cialis on 3/9/2010 12:42:00 AM 81743d Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

Replied by LA Color Pros Glad you like the article. Hope it will be helpful to you.
Posted by Nancy Fleming on 3/11/2010 3:33:00 PM Great Article and very helpful. I also thought of the idea of someone stealing equipment while I am busy filming. I clicked on your luggage guard link and it appears to be old. FYI. -thanks again!

Replied by LA Color Pros Nancy, thanks for your comment. The blog article was posted few years ago. I'm sure I can update it with newer info.
For the luggage lock, you can actually get similar one for surf boards. As long as you can chain up your gear bag with lock, that should scare the thieves away. =)
Have you received the light yet?
Posted by Ron on 8/23/2010 9:50:00 PM I wanted to thank you for the blog post in regards to wedding gear. Specifically using the external mic. I told the groom that he would be wearing it and he was reluctant at first, I then explained that the mic(s) on the two cameras would not record him and his bride exchanging vows.
After listening to the recorder it sounded excellent.
Thanks again,

Replied by LA Color Pros I'm glad my blog actually helped someone =)
Posted by buy seroquel on 9/5/2011 8:14:00 AM Thanks for tris interesting information! I found it very useful =)
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