I am not wedding guy, could never be a wedding guy but if you put a gun to my head and forced me to be a wedding guy then I would use DSLRs for sure!!!

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Gabi
Gabi

After much bullying from my family 😉 I relented and agreed to do a highlight film for my cousin Gabi’s wedding to James yesterday. I really hate filming weddings. Like going to them. Hate filming them for the very simple reason that they are the hardest thing in the world to do, especially on your own. Also filming for family is not ideal. Especially if you f**k up!

Now, if anyone knows me I have the most complete and utter respect for anyone who shoots weddings for a living. I know many of them due to my work with RE:Frame and recently my speaking engagements at WEVA. In fact next week I go to San Francisco to do a shooting workshop for the latest Re:Frame. Now, I have now done 5 in my career. All for family and friends. Never commercially. Two were wonderful fun as they were for my best friend and the other was for my dad’s best friend in Majorca. Although the one for my best friend I put the most ridiculous amount of effort into both the shooting and video. I had 6 cameras on the ceremony but was doing it all on my own and the edit took about 140 hours of very hard graft but it was epic, funny and more importantly they adored it. But for those people who do it every weekend. Wow, how do you do it? How do you keep the energy, the enthusiasm? How do you cope with no second takes? How do you cope with the enormous pressure you are under? Some of the work I see from people like Joe Simon, Kevin Shahanian, Jason Magbanua, Still Motion and many others blows me away. They are truly beautiful films. But real.

All the shots on this blog are still frame grabs from the 1080p video of the Canon 7D. None of them are graded (which most need doing) just straight out of the camera. It will be very easy to tweak the balance, exposure, saturation etc with Magic Bullet Looks and make all the shots below look really great. You can look at some very simply tweaked versions of the below grabs here done just in iphoto in 2 minutes.

Getting married
Getting married

I didn’t get off to the best of starts for sure. I was doing an appearance at The Flash Centre to talk about the 7D in the morning and as soon as I wrapped there I zoomed to Essex to be there for 130pm (they were getting married on a Thursday as it was anniversary of when they first went out). Trouble is London traffic was hell and it took me about 3 hours to do a 45 minutes journey. I arrived just as the Bride was waiting to go in. NOT A GOOD START.

So obviously I was very stressed. I had with my 2 7Ds and my JVC HM100. One Miller DS20 a monopod and my Zacuto tactical shooter. The plan was to shoot the long talky bits on the JVC and the rest on the 7D. Problem is with no time to set up and no recce I knew as I as soon as I walked in that the JVC was a big no-no. My god it was a dark room with sod all lighting! So it was JVC back in the bag and the two 7D’s out. As I was doing just a short highlight film I wasn’t too stressed about sound but I still wanted some half decent stuff. Not going to happen here. At this point, no time to stick a LAV on the groom (no time to even say hello to my family!), no table to stick anything on and not just that, a baby cried very loudly the whole way through! I kept the tripod 7D on a 24 f1.4 as a wide-ish shot (I was very close to them) and the second 7D on a monopod doing tights, cutaways etc. The main camera has the RODE Stereo Mic on top. Don’t know what was wrong but the sound it recorded was very very low level. Disappointed. Need to look into that. Problem with 7D, no way to monitor sound being recorded. Well I got some nice shots and was utterly thankful I had the 7D. HOW DO PEOPLE WITHOUT THEM SHOOT WEDDING IN THE DARKEST ROOMS KNOWN TO MANKIND WITHOUT LIGHTING THEM?!!? Answer me please? There is no way I would film in a location like that for one of my professional gigs without lighting it, and that would have taken a lot of time to do. That is where the DSLRs come in so handy.

I do
I do

still5

I shot all the cutaway stuff on the stock lens that came with the 7D. 28-135mm f3.5-5.6. Not the fastest lens but a good range. I needed the ability to change shot size very fast and the only fast f2.8 zoom I own is the 70-200mm F2.8 and I was way too close to them to use that. So the stock lens was used, ISO 1600 and it was fine. A tad under on the tight shots but nothing one couldn’t grade up.

I then knocked off some shots during the mingling, photos etc using the Zacuto Tactical and a variety of lenses. Some primes with fader ND on for extreme Shallow DOF. My tilt shift and many others.

still6

My Jaime
My Jaime

still10

My lovely Jaime
My lovely Jaime
My dad and Gabi
My dad and Gabi

still14

Gabi
Gabi

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Fish-eye of top table
Fish-eye of top table
My sister Nathalie
My sister Nathalie
"Hey!"
"Hey!"
Both are obsessed with old VWs
Both are obsessed with old VWs

still27

Listening to best men's speech
Listening to best men's speech
Cutting the cake
Cutting the cake
First dance
First dance
James with his bride and new in-laws
James with his bride and new in-laws
"Shit, I am married!"
"Shit, I am married!"
my mum and dad dancing
my mum and dad dancing

still29

My mum blowing bubbles just before she fell over
My mum blowing bubbles just before she fell over
James the groom during his speech
James the groom during his speech
Ian the father of the bride during speech
Ian the father of the bride during speech
Confetti
Confetti

When I was at WEVA people were asking me could they shoot weddings entirely on a 5dMKii/ 7D. I was emphatically no as I thought it would be too much off a pain in the backside with sound issues etc but my view has completely 180 degree turned around, so long as there are two of you though. The sound is not a big deal. Get a Zoom H4n (amazon link on the right), some wireless lavs and you are all set. For the speeches I used the Zoom H4N internal mics and the results were really good. Yes, if I had a second person then I would get each speaker to wear a mic but I was on my own so that was too fiddly. The low light again in the room made using the 7D a must. I was on the 70-200 at f2.8 and 1600 ISO, the max I would normally use for my PRO DSLR work. For weddings I would go to 3200 ISO as the noise would be acceptable if it meant getting the shot. It was a bit underexposed but nothing Magic Bullet couldn’t fix. I would rather underexpose a little and fix in post than jump up to ISO 3200 and have loads of noise. Much cleaner to underexpose and grade up.

I also had a lot of fun with the second 7D doing some timelapses. I did three inside during the dinner which were very cool and two outside which you can see below…I LOVE DSLR TIMELAPSE. The creative options it opens up are amazing.

Very brief 7D timelapse test 2 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Could I have done this on a video camera? Yes, but it would have looked rubbish! WAY too dark for most locations! Could I have done it on one 7d? Probably but I always like a cutaway camera, gets you out of all sorts of holes.

So how you are asking do I get past the 12 minute record time issue on 7d? Easy, i button off at a moment I can live without and quickly button on again, but this is where a second person comes in handy. If that second camera is locked off doing a wide you need to remember to go back and make sure it doesn’t stop at 12 minutes.

So yes, limitations. The sound being the main one, but the plusses are huge. The low light really made the world of difference for me yesterday. Without the 7D, I would have shot some really quite awful video!

So 5dmkII/ 7D for weddings. Absolutely. Once you get used to them I don’t think you will go back.

If you want to talk about convergence then I am not for it on these occasions. Stills and video are two very different beasts and if you want to do both then both will suffer. You need to concentrate on one or the other. You can take a still whilst rolling, the video will pause whilst the still is taken, but this is far from ideal. NOW, if the Scarlet is all it’s cracked up to be then maybe a 4k or 5k Scarlet could be a terrific convergence camera. You could just concentrate on video and lift frame grabs for the stills and they would be brilliant, more reportage mostly unless you did very posed video but I can certainly see that possibility happening.

Will I be shooting a wedding again? Probably, at some point but I would rather not! I am sure some friend or family member will blackmail me into it! But what I am doing in December is taking the stills for my friend’s wedding in Scotland. Shooting with 5dmkII reignited my love for taking stills so I am actually looking forward to it, especially as she wants reportage. No big group photos with every combination known to man being done of guests….”OK, now we want Bride and Groom with everyone who has had a curry in the past two weeks” etc…

What do you lot think, will we see Scarlet impacting on the wedding market? Are you a wedding shooter who used DSLRs exclusively? Let me know and more below!!

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73 comments

  1. Wow! the time-lapse is amazing!! Someone, not knowing the details of the video could easily think it was Computer Generated scene and not real. Nice article, thanks for sharing!

  2. Great job Philip! I too have taken a vow to never film another wedding for the exact same reasons. No matter how well scripted it is – it is always a pain, something always goes wrong and you always end up spending way more time than was billed for – not my cup of tea. My hat goes off to those who do this for a living as well and I have seen some incredibly talented people shoot some amazing wedding videos – just not me.

    It’s great to hear how well you did with the 7D by yourself.

    I think Scarlet has some good potential to change this market – when it actually comes out. The photoshoots that have already been “filmed” using the RED One with the new Epic sensor look pretty good. I haven’t actually seen a still from these though so can’t vouch for the quality of the stills, but I hear they’re pretty impressive.

    I think the convergence concept is logical. A camera is just an image capturing device – whether that’s for stills or motion shouldn’t really matter. Hopefully these new cameras will come out soon!

  3. I shoot about 20 – 25 weddings a year in Nashville,TN. I moved to the 5d mkii about a month and a half ago and have shot five weddings with it so far. I’ll never go back… I love shooting weddings with the 5d, and as of yesterday, the 7d. I use the h4n as well and an edirol 4 track recorder during the ceremony – heres a pic twitpic.com/kw6hz. I can’t even imagine ever going back to the sony tape cameras I use to shoot with. I loved my letus/z5 combo, but it was a monster to shoot with and haul around! I’d also recommend, for those shooting weddings and reading this, to get the fastest lenses possible. The ISO range on these DSLR’s are great, but those extra few stops make such a difference, as I have learned. Im also going to get a scarlet when I comes out, and most likely move to a full scarlet setup in 2010, and move away from the 5d/7d world, as the scarlet wont have the horrible h.264 compression…. I’ll still keep my 5d in my daily backpack though to shoot random stuff with.

  4. Do you have any fear of overheating the 7d/5d sensor or other parts during the long repeated video takes for timelapse?

    I’ve done a few of these and things tend to get a little warm.

  5. I’m a wedding cinematographer and have yet to purchase a DSLR. I want to soooooooo bad though! Just can’t justify the cost yet. Right now I shoot on a DVX100b and Canon HV20 and devliver on SD DVD. What I find, you have to be really creative when it comes to lighting. I have a simple light kit that I use, just a 50watt video light that I put on a light stand and put it in the corner of the dance floor. I avoid at all costs on camera lighting. You get that awful “news video” look.

    As far as using a DSLR for a the entire wedding….personally, I wouldn’t. Like most of our kits, they’re all specific tools to be used for a specific purpose. I would use my video cams for day shots and the ceremony and use the DSLR for when the lights go down and specific shallow DOF shots. But thats just me 🙂

    From the stills you posted, the framing looks awesome and so does the lighting. I’m more than positive that your wedding film will be amazing as usual!

  6. Great article! Very funny intro, if only in retrospect.

    I shoot weddings almost exclusively, and recently switched to the MkII, about to take delivery of a 7D as well.

    For all the reasons you’ve mentioned, HDSLRs blow normal video cameras out of the water, for this kind of gig. My main cam before was an A1 with Letus and Nikon primes, spectacular gear in daylight, but horrid for weddings, even with the A1 naked.

    I love, love, love the MkII for this kind of work, and I’m really excited to have the 7D in the bag, for overcrank. I’ll never go back.

  7. Very nice images as always Phil.

    I just wonder if they should have waited until James turned 16 before tying the knot? 😉

    I don’t do weddings either but do some events filming (conferences, awards shows etc) and cannot wait for the Scarlets to come out. I love the images from the 5D and 7D but there are just too many headaches and compromises for me to invest in them. I can see me buying several Scarlets over the next few years though.

    They look like offering the perfect mix of image quality, low light sensitivity, the ability to shoot straight to drives for long events,
    proper pro connections for sound and monitors etc, and lens compatibility. And the price is pretty incredible.

  8. Loved reading about your adventure, Philip. Considering I have been a media shooter/producer for years but am just now starting out on my own as a wedding/event shooter, I can relate to much of what you say. I’m about to shoot a wedding tomorrow, and I have a 7D on order that hasn’t come in yet. I’ve been renting a 5D for shoots up to this point. Everything has been fine with the 5D rentals until tonite, when a mixup at the rental house caused me to have to go into panic mode and find another rental place – they rented out the camera I had on hold! Ugh. I’m also in Nashville, TN (yo Jeffrey!)

    Anyway, great article, great pics, wonderful timelapse. Time will tell but I’ll probably get another 7D as soon as business picks up enough.

    1. Hi Bill,

      I’m curious – how did you teach yourself with a rental camera? Book it out for a week for yourself to learn how to operate it? I’m in a similar boat – I’m going to have to rent a 5D / 7D for upcoming gigs.

  9. I am with you all the way with respect to the Wedding guys. Having just waved bye bye to Film Fells Cast 4 and seen the trailers for Re:frame I was thinking what a cool event. However, I know I would never have enough bottle for that gig. I have shot stills for friends before now as a second camera doing candids and that was scary enough. Working alone is especially tough. I was trying out separate sound tonight for the first time and I was only about 50% successful at getting recordings at the same time as I filmed.

    Your stills have that same feel as your video work Philip, they are so full of life. The one of Jaime is my favourite.

  10. Great job as usual, I have done weddings for the past two years and have recently said no more to them. It’s the hardest work but you get the least respect for it I find. Like your into, I don’t want to be known as a wedding guy.

    You are right about the dslr my canon a1 is good but there have been times when I am on full gain and 1/12 shutter for a first dance. It’s a hard combination of being unintrusive and getting good shoots and it’s normally the latter that suffers.

  11. Hi Philip,

    i feel you. I don’t really like to attend weddings eighter. Next week is the next one I am invited as a guest (for now at least, prob. a day before or so.. they are going to ask: “Don’t you wanne film or take some stills”).

    I did like 3 weddings. After the first one I told my self to never do it again. But then there was the wedding of my best friends sister. Both filmed with an Sony FX1 HDV camera, the light was okay, since they luckily married in a glass house here in Germany at a garden show.

    The last one I did like 4 weeks ago. I hated it. Used the JVC GY-HM 700, the light was awefull, very dark, behind the bride it was artificial light and just with the couple the light source changed to a blue sunlight trough colored glas. Very dark, footage all very grainy…

    All by myselfe.. also a sound issue… I put my Zoom H4n on a table next to the couple and two phantom powered mic right next to the priect and the other one directioned at the couple. worked great for like 20 minutes.. then the phantom power sucked the batteries empty. Although it was also only supposed to be a highlight film, I wanted at least a little sound for like the most important parts like the “Yes words”. Awefull to mange the sound and get good framing.

    In the post production process I did cut together a hightlight film that got quite long, 20mins, but only since they asked me to make it long.
    They then wanted it on a DVD, not checking out the cut. So I went from HD, to SD, to mpg2 , build a menu off to a dvd.
    After they saw it, they called me and said it was too short…
    What a mess.. I tell you!!! Now they want at least an hour, telling me after they googled for wedding films, that would be a standart. (hahaha… Told them it was only a hightlights film, and I was all by myselfe) also I only have 2 hrs of footage.

    And also they want the raw footage, wich would also be a standart…JESUS…
    Fine.. told them they can have it.. but probably wount be able to play it cause of the codec. also it is now two hours straight.. there is passages… some is 60p, some 50p some 25p…. some full HD some 720p.
    Enjoy!!! Also there is parts, when I only tested out some shots.

    Those things for friends and family are horror… and this couple totally distroid any chance for other friends of mine for me filming again.

    My resume, weddings films on a regular bases… If by any chance… then absolutely not by myselfe… at least a second person to help with all the equipment, better someone who also knows about sound and can handle the second camera.

    Respect for all those out there doing wedding films!!!

  12. I shoot weddings on 5d and Zoom h4n. The only reason I haven’t got the 7d yet is this- I’m going to be all over the Scarlet s35 when it comes out!
    I don’t care what it costs, it’s a new toy!!! Real convergence wedding photo/video packages will be a realistic option with 4/5k raw.

    My latest 5d wedding:-
    http://www.vimeo.com/6961356

    I predict that all the dslr wedding guy (Jason Magbanua, Still Motion, etc.) will switch to Scarlet when the time comes. We’ll see soon enough. Interesting times are coming.

    Jeff

  13. Great job, and yes it seems that you are wedding guy. Great idea of the time-lapse, I think there are several creative ways to use this in weddings. It would be interesting job just to do many time-lapses from one wedding and make movie from that.

  14. I’ve done some contract shooting where I use the XH-A1 for the long shots and then I dig out the 5D Mark 2 for B-Roll where shallow dof would be best. At one wedding the reception was dimly lit when I arrived to set up — and then they turned the lights down further! Augh! The A1 footage was as grainy as all hell. The 5D footage (at ISO 3200) was just great — 90% handheld on the dance floor with minimal lighting. I did some shots with just candlelight.

    If I had a second shooter I’d definitely go with 2 DSLRs and separate audio recording. (Oh, I suppose I’d need another 5D or 7D — but that’s what rental houses are for!)

  15. Hi, Philip –

    Can I ask the exposure/interval/iso details you used for the timelapse?

    Do you use mirror lockup for these?

    My 7D arrived, and I’m loving it. Still looking forward to your training DVD…

    all the best, Randy

  16. As just a simple hobbyist film maker, I volunteered to take on two family weddings – one in the US and one in France, both for cousins. For the first in the US I had to take all my gear with me from Europe. I didn’t really know what I was leting myself in for. It was really hard work – on my own, in >30C summer heat, – I had to hump all my gear round, and as I only have one video camera with a letus found myself switching out adaptors, lenses, balancing steadicams and so on. I made a ton of mistakes and learnt from it. For my second one it got better, but still hard work with only one person (me) and one camera I still ran around and around. Then low light at the end of the evening caused me even more headaches. I have huge respect for wedding cinematographers. I think you hit the nail on the head Phil – there’s a lot of stress, I think preparation helps a lot, but you can’t plan for everything….I was ready to rugby tackle several of the pro-photographers for deliberately walking in front of my shots. I’m glad I had a go at these weddings I learnt so much on the day. I am seriously considering the 7d – even with the limitations you’ve documented on our blog, there appears to be a huge versatility with these cameras in movie mode when used for the right occassions. If I finally get one, I may yet volunteer again!

  17. Better get that DVD out. Barry Green is on his mission to destroy anything NOT Panasonic. I wonder why he didn’t do this trumpet tests with the GH1? Hmm.

    God what a shill for Panasonic. It sickening.

    1. Mitch Albin: Better get that DVD out. Barry Green is on his mission to destroy anything NOT Panasonic. I wonder why he didn’t do this trumpet tests with the GH1? Hmm. God what a shill for Panasonic. It sickening.
      ______________________________________________________________________________

      As one Mitch to another, this is quite frankly a ridiculous statement. Barry uses the Red, has spoken favorably of the Sony EX-1, etc., and has also been critical of Panasonic (as have I) when it was deserved. He says publicly that he has a love/hate relationship with the 7D, and I don’t blame him. Many people (who are honest) will admit the same. He admits that he hasn’t used a 5D, and I’d like to see him try it, once it’s a proper 29.97.

      DSLR’s are in the early stages of development, and as Philip has so eloquently stated, they are not replacements for video cameras. To that I’ll add “not yet”.

      Canon is at a tough crossroads. Making one camera do stills and video will always leave someone unhappy. I personally, would like to see them make a model with the focus on video, and let us take stills from the video. If they need to put the 5D sensor in an H2 body to accomplish that, then fine…

  18. Scarlet should have a huge impact on everything video from weddings to news gathering even.

    I curious to see what Canon has up their sleeve in the next 2 – 4 years.

    They’re unique in that they have both a successful still camera line and a strong video camera market. Which I think explains Nikons lack of foresight.

  19. Looks great Phillip. You sold me on the 7D and now its coming next week (stock lens though) BTW Global warming is doing wonders for England, it looks like Spring over there.

  20. I spent 15 years producing top end weddings and THREE things would put me off using DSLRs…

    1. The time limit on filming, most wedding ceremonies are between 25-45mins well past the recording time limit of the DSLR. It could end at a crucial moment in time.
    2. Focusing is far more critical with a wider fstop like f2.8 and weddings are one off events, if your focus is a nats crotchet out you can’t re-shoot the event.
    3. Sound…the 5 D2 runs at 30fps and you need to use an external sound device to get decent sound, what if it fails on you.

    Sorry but as someone who has been at the coal face as far as weddings are concerned there is too much to go wrong swapping a video camera for a DSLR. Anyone who lives with weddings knows how long they take to edit so if you are prepared to double that time…good luck to you.

    My advice for weddings would be to use the DSLR to film a musical montage and instead of using lights for the dancing…use the natural light and the DSLR for a nice effect. (Great in low light).

    PS. You could not film the speeches with a DSLR with the time limit on it !

    1. I hesitated to publish this Phil as you sent me an email accusing me of censoring you by not publishing it. How very silly! I had a backlog of 40 odd comments that needed reading and approving before publishing, don’t be so paranoid! Everyone is entitled to their views and you are more than welcome to state yours (as you have done here and on your blog). I disagree purely from the experience last week with DSLRs and what many top wedding guys like Joe Simon, Still Motion and Ray Roman are saying that they use them exclusively now. I also clearly stated that you need to use two cameras. Doing it with one would be a massive nightmare. BUT it is very easy to button on and off if you have a cutaway camera rolling and sound rolling simultaneously. Each to their own. I have no intention of shooting weddings again but I can state categorically that shooting this wedding on the 7D made my life enormously easier than shooting with a video camera. I have clearly also stated many times that I do not believe DSLRs can replace video cameras for most applications. They are a tool for certain things that work well.

      Personally if I would much prefer, if I ever had to shoot a wedding again, for it to be properly lit, have a sound recordist and shoot on a big HD camera. Then I could shoot it like I shoot most of my work. But the reality is lighting a wedding venue properly for an HD video camera is an unrealistic prospect hence my life was saved by the 7D. Without that the bride would have been very very dark indeed!

      So anyway I always had every intention of approving this and I wanted to just say to people if you don’t see your post straight away it’s because I need to make sure no posts are offensive so it can sometimes take time to go through them all with everything else going on! But to be brutally honest if I decided to censor posts then it is within my rights to do so. This is my site, done for free by me and not a free for all forum. So if I decide to (not that I have or plan to) censor then I will! 🙂

      Best wishes,

      Phil

      1. I have a 5d mark 2 and an ex-1 and use both when filming weddings. I shoot most weddings alone and film the majority of the wedding with the ex-1 and do specialist shots with the 5d, mainly film all of the prep with the 5d and the bride and groom photo shots then the rest of the day with the ex-1.

        I must say ive never had a problem with lighting in a church or venue with the ex-1 and the max db ive ever needed to go to is 3db but shoot most of the day a -3db.

        Ive toyed with the idea of fully shooting a wedding with the 5d mark 2 but i feel its just a bit risky.

        If i have to to 1.4 in a church to film the bride walking down the isle im going to struggle to keep focus and thats a shot I cant mess up, but i do think the look the 5d gives is amazing and perfect to bring a wedding to life.

        Thanks for the post though phil, really has given me food for thought, do i get another ex-1 or do i get a 7d, as im looking to get 3 camera’s shoot

  21. Philip,

    Two quick questions…

    Are we going to get to see the finished edit on here? and…

    Is your sister single and into American men who are freelancers and have all their money invested in TV gear?? If so, I’m her man! Yowza! 🙂

  22. I’ve shot weddings for over a decade and I can tell you how you shoot things in such dark rooms… bring a light. A small, camera-top, fully dimmable light set just high enough that you ( the person adding it) start to see it, would make images of your bride and groom pop, without being garish or obvious. It provides eyelight. It gives sparkle to the eyes.

    Yes, there are many who use lights too bright. But there are also those who spurn the use of light and end up with flat images that require tons of post work (grading) to make them into what they could have been from the outset. You can’t add a rimlight in post. You can’t make the eyes sparkle with Magic Bullet. Remember, there’s a reason it’s called bullet. It does one thing. Bang.

    A lesson I learned in still photography work is, the best time to fix an image is when you’re taking it. Change the angle, declutter the background, change aperture, add light where appropriate.

    1. A toplight for adding sparkle is always nice but it doesn’t get passed the problem of a room that needs 18db on a video camera or during a reception where you have to shoot on the end of the lens for speeches. I think you are missing my point. It simply is that shooting with a DSLR in places that have no light is a lot easier than shooting with a video camera that can’t see a thing. I have always said just because DSLRs don’t need much light doesn’t mean you don’t light!

        1. If i hadn’t arrived at the venue AFTER the bride I would have put up a light for sure, someone, not sure where though as they faced a dark curtain most of the time so I coudn’t even bounce off a wall!

          Reception room was way too big to even attempt, especially on your own. I hesitate putting up lights where there are kids running around everywhere. I guess when shooting a wedding it comes down to compromise and decide what you and can’t do.

  23. Great article. I already swore I would do a War Zone before another wedding, but this was a very interesting read. My question is about Flashes, not from your 7D of course, but from all the random guests discriminately shooting their flash for no apparent reason. I’ve seen on live concerts (more my interest) that this could be a problem as the rolling shutter tends to make an appearance on frame and it tends to look not so great (great example http://www.vimeo.com/6859071). Did you have any issues like this?
    Thanks!

  24. I so recognize this! I only did one wedding so far, and it is scary! You’re on your own and all the good stuff seems to happen in precisely that angle that you can’t cover. I think most filmmakers are perfectionists, and therefore are reluctant to take an average shot ‘that will do’. Time is needed to set up the best possible composition – and time is exactly what you don’t have at weddings. Scary stuff!

  25. Haha- this honesty here cracked me up! I think you just summed up the rigors of doing wedding videos! We do about 15-20% of our business in weddings and it never gets easy. Had lunch with some wedding photogs the other day, who charge $10k, and it blew their mind how much MORE work a videographer has to do. Terrific work as always Bloom!

    Cheers-

  26. Hi Phil,
    there is a firmware available to download so You can monitor sound.
    Secondly I prefer good “old” Nikkor F ais Manual lenses to plastic ones.(16mm,20mm,28mm,50mm)Real glass and metal…i am considering buying PL mount for my 7D so I can use decent real Glass Zooms.(RED zoom).

    Having decent,fast,manual glass in front of camera is a MUST.Lastly consider new Zeiss Manual SLR Primes-not a bad bang for money.
    regards Jiri

    1. Not on the 7d there isn’t! I assume you are referring to Magic Lantern.

      I have the Zeiss ZF lenses and use them on the Canon. Very nice, but I do love my L series glass too. Plastic they may be but the image is incredible and they are VERY fast!

      1. Just sold my EX-3 ….worst camera i ever bought)[after 3 months] so I have some money left.
        Now it is up to F330 with 2 lenses and canon 7D.Zacuto Z finder arrived yesterday and Senheisser top mike is on the way.
        i am sure Magic Lantem upgrade is on the way soon.

        By the way like Your shots.

        p.s. Nikon is going to release their new Full Frame SLR soon with better Video features…will see..next 2 yers will be interesting.
        Big boys(sony,pana) might consider start doing something different now-i hope.

        jiri

  27. Hey Philip,

    Wanted to reply to your question about how videogrophers do weddings every weekend. I’ve shot a few weddings (only stills) in my early days so I have some experience here and have met quite a few event videographers. The days are long (some 12+ hours) and the work is grueling to say the least (even in stills – at least the videographers equipment is mounted most of the time, saving their backs). You only really get a few breaks throughout the day/night and always have to deal with overzealous DJ’s, poor lighting, and bumping heads with the photographers.

    To sum it up, the enthusiasm has left these guys a loooong time ago. If you pay attention to a photographer’s overall attitude at the event, you’ll notice that he anticipates everything and cannot wait for the event to be over. He’s callused beyond belief. This is why I stopped shooting weddings. I remember at a particular wedding when I was happily waiting for the bride & groom to make their first public appearance. I was preparing my equipment for the shot while I glanced over at my partner holding his medium format relic. He had his camera loosely planted on his side while the rest of his body was slouching over and just waiting for the shot to be over so he can squeeze another cigarette in.

    It’s a tough business 🙂

  28. Bummer that the HM 100 couldn’t handle the low light of the wedding. How do you think the 5d would have done compared to the 7d in the same situation. I’m trying to decide which route to go (not a wedding guy). Your time lapse is cool, got me thinking???. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. 5dmkII is better in low light so frame rate aside would have worked great. Although the extra shallow DOF of the larger sensor would have meant going to a higher ISO to keep both the bride and groom roughly in focus from my side angle.

  29. Okay guys. I need your help in answering this question. I’ve been drooling over the 7D for months now. I really want to pull the trigger. But here’s my need and problem.

    I’m setting up a little studio in my office to shoot web videos. It will be well lit. The problem is, I often speak for more than 12 minutes, like 14 to 15 minutes on average. I’m a one-man show. It’s just me in my office. I’ll be recording the audio through a mixer directly into FCP. but I can’t figure out how to shoot and get beyond the 12 minute limit of the 7D. I mean, I know I can’t extend it, but what could I possibly do to stop recording at 11 minutes, get up from a recording, started back up, go sit down, and keep going. Am I crazy for wanting to do this? Is there another option?

    I would really much rather buy the 7D than a camcorder. I just can’t figure out this one problem. If I had both a 7D and a camcorder running at the same time, without help?

    Thanks for your advice.

  30. The answer is going to be YES to DSLRs exclusively for weddings!
    Just shot a Wedding yesterday with 2 Canon 7D and a Canon A1 (just at the ceremony for audio… until our new sound gear arrives).

    I’m also waiting for my timer remote to arrive and can’t wait to take it to my next Wedding shoot!

  31. Mr. Bloom!

    Been following you for quite a while, and I’m a great fan of yours.
    Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words of respect in this BRUTAL field of work.

    I have been considering pulling the trigger here this next year’s wedding season on some 7Ds.
    Been shooting with Canon’s XH-A1, and have gotten AWESOME results with it.
    The small form factor and the low light capabilities of the 7D are very attractive in the next step of acquisition in wedding cinematography.

    Have just a couple questions real quick:

    1. Do you see the overheating being an issue in both the short term (the actual day of a wedding shoot) and the long term (wear and tear over time)?
    I would be using these exclusively for video.
    2. Could I go the JuicedLink route and get good sound too? This rather than a dual-system with the Zoom H4n.
    What is the audio format on the 7D, btw?

    If you could help answer 2 very important questions, it will definitely help me in my equipment purchase for this next year.
    Thanks!

  32. I use two 5D M2s for Wedding videos. The footage comes out great! Focusing is not a big deal. You get used to it. Even at f/1.2

    And who needs long get than 12 min shots anyway?

    I use external sound sometimes, but most of the time the sound from the cameras is good enough, especially at events that use PA sound systems.
    Actually, 5D sound recording is great when you have a live band or a speaker using a microphone.

    P.S. I don’t see a point using 5D/7D if you don’t give your client the end result on a Blu-Ray DVD disk.

    I love hearing clients’ impressions the following day after they see it 🙂

    It just looks amazing.

  33. Hi Phil, good looking stuff!

    You mention the F2.8 70-200mm zoom: do you refer to Canon, Sigma or Tamron model with those specs?

    I´m looking for that kind of glass for strictly 7D video shoots, and wondering if the extra money invested to a Canon shows in 1080P video: one would think the optical differences would be quite minimal when only 1920×1080 resolution is used (versus, for example 4368 x 2912 still)?

  34. If someone starts using 5D2/7D to shoot weddings at this point, you are considered as a late comer. There are hell a lot of “Still Motion Copiers” out there doing identical or even better wedding videos (thanks to Still Motion’s Vimeo). For those who did 15 years wedding videos and don’t think 5D2/7D works well at weddings… he/she may not be out of business now but less than 2 years. Reality is technology changes everyday. You don’t catch up; you fall behind.

  35. Hey Philip, I know I’m a month late, but just wanted to say that I look my new 7D to a friend’s wedding last night after reading this thread (and all the comments), and it saved my arse.

    I was doing it more as a favour than as a job, but I still like to cover my bases. I was on my own and the rental camera had a faulty battery so it cut-out halfway through the ceremony. The other camera at the back had people standing in front of it and the church was quite dark… so the 7D with a Carl Zeiss 1.4 50mm came into action shooting 50p and took some lovely shots.

    Thank you very much Philip, I praise your work and your advice. If you’re ever down in Australia give us a bell, would love to shout you a beer! Cheers mate.

    Also to the wedding videographers – I have incredible respect for you lot. Last night was my fourth wedding and probably my last. I felt like crying in the foetal position.

  36. Hi Philip,

    I shoot corporate promos and corporate events exclusively although like you, I get blackmailed into shooting weddings for friends and family.

    I get a wide contrast between corporate promos and corporate events like product launches/dinners. I usually prefer to shoot corporate videos/promos as I can light them and there are always 2nd or 3rd takes.

    For events, I usually attach a LitePanels LED video light to my video camera and this helps tremendously as it has a dimmer and I don’t have to spend too much time in post correcting it. After all, if your guests’ face isn’t lit properly, there’s hardly anything MB Looks can do.

    Thanks for the blog entry, now I know the 7D can hold its own in event videography. Thanks for a glimpse into your family… your dad looks quite different in your short film, Return to Dungeness.

  37. Hey Phil,

    I know this is a year late, but I just read it! Great article, thanks a lot! I was wondering what kind of lenses you’d recommend for doing montage/trailer style event shoots? I have all primes for my 7d except the tokina 11-16. Would you recommend primes to shoot or a certain kind of zoom lens? Did zooming with your legs and using nice primes work all right for you for the highlights stuff? Keep it up!

  38. I used to be a wedding photographer and I can tell you that it sucks. There’s a lot of stress like you said Philip if you #@&^ up.

    Also you have no idea if you sign a contract for a date from a year from now if you will be sick with the flew and you have to go and work. There are no sick days in wedding photography for the most part.

    I have heard about some photographers asking a friend if they could shoot a webbing for them.

    I know one photographer his Mercedes Benz would not would not start up. He was lucky his wife did not go out he used her car.

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