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#1 Jason Maeda

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 06:56 PM

http://www.jasonkolliasweddings.com/

Guys, tell me if the quicktime movies play on your computers. Two years with a pretty decent success rate and now, in the last month, at least three people have told me it won't play on their pc's...strange.

I hope it's fine because I have completely forgotten how to update my site and really don't have the patience or time to do so!

jk :ph34r:
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 09:54 PM

Hey Jason: When I saw your post, I thought "What the hell is a wedding photographer doing posting on a cinematography website?" I was quite surprised/pleased to see that you shoot wedding motion pictures. While I am a student filmmaker, I shoot stills at weddings; I never thought that there would be a market for film for weddings anymore with the proliferation of videotape.

As far as your site goes, I really enjoyed viewing it. Everything played just fine on my circa 2003 iMac G3. If no one on a PC chimes in here, I'll probably be on one within the next week, and will post as to my success with that, which'd probably be on a Dell.

I will probably continue shooting weddings with stills into the future, but I've always dreamt of documenting an event with film, and your business gives me a renewed interest in having this as an add-on to a still package. May I ask what camera you shoot with and how many hundred feet of film you expose in a typical wedding? Also, if you don't mind asking, what is a fair ballpark price for the type of service you describe? I have a buddy that shoots a lot of 16mm documentaries that is hard-up for money, and I was thinking that maybe I could send a few high-scale weddings his way for those that wax nostalgia for B&W 16mm like you and I :-)

Merry Christmas,

~Karl Borowski
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#3 timHealy

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Posted 25 December 2006 - 11:55 PM

what kind of compression codec did you use to compress the movies?

perhaps the pc users did not have that codec installed on their pc.

best

Tim

PS I have some wedding films shot in 16mm as well. I just do it for friends and family. I feel it is better and more personal than getting a toaster.

http://healyweddingf.../portfolio.html

I'll be adding two more films that I am currently editing soon.

Edited by timHealy, 25 December 2006 - 11:59 PM.

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#4 Jason Maeda

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 11:12 AM

I have no idea what kind of codec i used, i am sorry to say. i remember doing a lot of trial and error to find a happy comprimise between window size and download time, but i'm too stupid to write things like that down. to be honest, i expected to have to add every wedding i shot in order to encourage more business, but that first wedding keeps drumming up interest so i haven't touched that website for at least a year...and i think that was only to update my address when i moved to chinatown.

tim your films look great, seeing santorini really makes me wish i was back in greece! much, MUCH better than a toaster...or even a bread maker.

karl lets just say that a fair price is whatever you can convince someone to pay. i will say that i charge about the same as a good photographer, and most people think it's too much. it costs me a lot of work but this isn't my main source of income so "whatever". also, most people hate my films because they want a crappy video only because it has a terrible audio recording of the vows and three hours of human tripod work. quite frankly, i think those videos are the opposite of romantic, but thats what a lot of people want so dont be discouraged. you dont want to work for anyone who doesn't share your aesthetic or thinks you are too expensive and hates you for it all day.

as far as technique i shoot super-8 on a couple of different cameras. the nizo 6080 is the quiet one and the canon 1014xls is the workhorse. i have a wide adapter for both. i shoot however much film i think i need and that's usually 10 or 12 cartridges...sometimes 20. i have lots of experience shooting documentary footage and that's really important. you dont want to miss focus or exposure, and you want to be totally comfortable with your cameras. i can guess exposure very accurately and that is something you will want to learn. with natural light it's not complicated but requires hours of practice. lastly, know the routine of weddings. if you're not ready you can easily miss one of the bridesmaids' entrances and that is an unforgiveable mistake...like not shooting the mother of the bride or groom. seriously. oh yeah and dont drink too much. trust me.

thanks again guys. i really appreciate your help. if anyone else out there has a pc, as opposed to a mac, please let me know if this thing is playing correctly. i tried my parents computer and the image was jiggling like crazy, but i don't trust their hardware or software to be even remotely current.

jk :ph34r:
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:24 PM

The clips played fine on my PC.

Have you tried shooting color Super-8 for the weddings?
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#6 Jason Maeda

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 03:18 PM

great. i assume your pc is pretty up to date, david, especialy knowing that you don't exactly shy away from technology. i'm going to wait and see if more people complain.

yes i have shot several with color super-8 film with mixed results. shooting with tri-x is kind of a "no-brainer" as it always yeilds a romantic image, and it really helps with that timeless quality. with color there are many more cases of distracting information finding their way into the frame, and if the light is glaring from above...yikes. but magic hour and sunset light look absolutely mystical, and all the options available during telecine are really fun. on the other hand, it's crazy expensive to run color neg and then do a supervised transfer... but, then again the extra speed of 7218 is pretty great.

i suppose the most difficult problems of wedding work if i had to rate them, are

1. low light levels (pushing super-8 is dangerous territory, and on camera lights are so disruptive to the mood.)
2. access (people hate to have a camera pointed at them)
3. boring weddings (i hate to have to say that it's hard to wring romance out of some ceremonies)
4. editing (it just takes so long to get something worthwhile, and how on earth did they do this in the "old days"?)

basically the same problems as any documentarian work, minus funding.

to be honest i think if i were really serious about my wedding work or were to start over, i would get a small 24p or hdv ( i don't even really know what i'm talking about here) camera and go that route. it is shocking how good those cameras are beginning to look. did you guys see "iraq in fragments"? wow. i like them because you can turn the screen so your body isn't facing the subject, and because you have more light sensitivity. also it costs less to shoot. and you know if you've "got" something. wait, it's also easier to hold onto two tapes instead of 15 cartridges.

man why am i shooting super-8 at all?

jk :lol:
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 03:28 PM

Excellent footage, both of you.

I'm shooting my brother's wedding in March, and I was contemplating mixing some HD with some supplemental Super8. As the film stuff will undoubtedly be gorgeous, I know most the family is going to want some sound and the voices of the people in the final cut of the video. Although I would like to do it all in Super8 :/

ahh well
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#8 Jason Maeda

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 03:57 PM

thanks! there are crystal sync options for super-8, especially if you're in cali. also, if you dont sync the sound you can do whatever you want. but be careful: a robert altman style long take with interweaving streams of dialogue might be a hard sell to the bride's grandparents.

an editor i met recently told me that back in the day he shot a wedding and did the whole reception from the perspective of the wait staff or something...tracking shots following the waiters out from the kitchen and around the floor, etc. he said it did not go over well.

jk :ph34r:

Edited by jasonkollias, 26 December 2006 - 03:58 PM.

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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 04:05 PM

Personally, my response to Mini-DV would be lackluster, because, as you said, everyone shoots it, and in annoyingly long, continuous takes. THere's no skill in it whatsoever these days (no offense to those of you that do that kind of work; I have seen some pretty good wedding videos, just that there's an aweful lot of people who almost set the cameras up to run themselves and just swap tapes every hour). Super 8 has a film look, even as a little MPEG file that is very "sexy" and nostalgic. YOur style is much akin to some still photogs whose work I've seen that only work in B&W, often 35mm pushed without flash for the grain.

I second shooting without lights. I shot some dances in HS with bar lights, and boy did everyone get away in a hurry. You almost have to play the footage in reverse to make it look natural.

As to how they did it back in the day, it's funny you should ask. The guy whose photo studio I work out of started out doing weddings in 16mm (with our favorite bar lights), and I'm pretty sure they shot a lot LESS than you do. Working with film, either still or cine, with digital entering into the market is naturally forcing our shooting up. I shoot probably over 500 frames in the average wedding, and this is with medium format for all of the shots except the candids, where I shoot 35mm. In the old days it would have been maybe 250 shots tops. When you're competing with idiots that are firing off sometimes over 3000 shots though, it gets harder and harder to justify small numbers; I'm still starting out, so I don't charge much and don't have that impressive of a portfolio built yet. Obviously, as I get more and more good work, I will be able to just say "My results speak for themselves" as your work obviously does.

Anyway, I am going off topic, I was talking about the old days of 16mm. I'll ask the boss today if he is in, but I doubt they shot more than 400 feet of 16mm. I think it would have been similar with S8. Just like working with a larger film format in stills, you'd probably get more usable footage with 16mm than with 8mm due to better pushability and higher sharpness. The downside is that it is more expensive. So it'd be what 10 minutes for the whole evening with 16 and 20 with S8.

To most people in the age of tape, that doesn't sound like much, but say I were shooting stills at 24 fps. I'd have gone through those 500 pictures in about 20 seconds, so that seems perfectly reasonable shooting no more than 20 min. at a wedding. TV news crews used to go out with one 400 foot spool of VNF to shoot a whole day's worth of news footage, so maybe if you feel you spend too much time editing you should charge more for footage over 400 feet.

It is interesting you mention lights ruining the ambiance of a situation. Several bar-light mishaps were actually what got my boss to switch over to still photography. Imagine switching on some barligths to shoot a wedding reception, and then having the lights of the dance hall short out, and then, as he says, "acting like a football player after a referee throws a flag against him".

I completely agree that people totally undervalue wedding photographers/cinematographers and the ammount of work they do. I'm just starting out, and to counteract the price of shooting predominantly medium format, I actually do all the processing myself, to keep my profits up, but it will pull my dollars per hour figure down to probably $4/hr. after all is said and done. I'd say it takes in excess of 40 hrs. to develop, proof and make final prints for a 40-print album, not including the day of the wedding which takes usually 12+ (one nice thing about shooting film: when you run out, no amount of alcohol can hurt the quality of your pictures ;-) ) I am probably goingn to raise my rates for the next year, because I'm tired of DJs, who are done after working their 8 hrs., making as much cash as I do, and working less than a fifth of the time. It's hard though, gauging price. A LOT of people are believing the fallacy that "digital" equates to "quality".

~Karl

an editor i met recently told me that back in the day he shot a wedding and did the whole reception from the perspective of the wait staff or something...tracking shots following the waiters out from the kitchen and around the floor, etc. he said it did not go over well.

jk :ph34r:


This is very similar to those in the still photography world that are in love with wide-angle lenses or IR film. Wideangles like my 50mm (like a 4-5mm in S8, 8mm in 16mm, 28mm in 35mm 8perf.) are good for the most part, but shooting with anything wider, like a fisheye, especially for the whole wedding, can get one into trouble. Likewise, a photo instructor I have in college told me about a friend of his that shoots almost exclusively with Kodak HIE B&W IR film. A bride and groom liked his work and asked him to shoot their wedding, presumably in all IR. Needless to say IR isn't very flattering to human beings, as it can see through certain things, like human skin, so you run into seeing the veins under the face, not what the bride necessarily wants.
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 02:25 AM

Hi Jason,

The clips play fine on my PC as well, it's a Sony Vaio, about three years old. Very nice work!

Karl, what are "bar lights"? I've been to a few weddings where the banquet hall lights were kept very dim, presumably to set a more "romantic" atmosphere. Must of been hell for the photographer and video crew. Maybe if you talked to the family beforehand, they would let you pre-light the room with china balls and a few par cans or something?
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#11 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 10:17 AM

http://www.jasonkolliasweddings.com/

Guys, tell me if the quicktime movies play on your computers. Two years with a pretty decent success rate and now, in the last month, at least three people have told me it won't play on their pc's...strange.

I hope it's fine because I have completely forgotten how to update my site and really don't have the patience or time to do so!

jk :ph34r:


Jason, it looks great on my MacBookPro. How are you editing? Did I see some splices or
just some flash frames to give it that film look? Editing Super-8 is murder with splices.
You're going to transfer it anyway so why not start before editing? What did you use to
record the ambient sound?

Forget about bar lights. They'll scare away a pack of wolves, never mind wedding guests.
What about an on-camera 50w light? Should be plenty for close-ups anyway and not to
intrusive if you back up and zoom in a bit.


what kind of compression codec did you use to compress the movies?

perhaps the pc users did not have that codec installed on their pc.

best

Tim

PS I have some wedding films shot in 16mm as well. I just do it for friends and family. I feel it is better and more personal than getting a toaster.

http://healyweddingf.../portfolio.html

I'll be adding two more films that I am currently editing soon.


Tim, your stuff looks great too. You quote prices. How much film do you shoot and how long of
a program do you provide? I've shot weddings and even with video (I give the couple all the raw
footage) I find that an edited 20 minute piece is usually plenty to show their guests (longer if
they want it.)

What do you use for a 16mm camera? What film stocks? I loved the look when it went from B/W
to color, looking like that old fashioned hand tinted work on stills.

Do you shoot any snyc sound for the vows or the reception?
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#12 Jason Maeda

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 10:28 AM

thanks guys. i've got an on camera light that started with a 50w (way too dark) and then i put in a 100w (just enough). but still a 100w light is like the most annoying possible thing to do to someone at a party...and forget about the ceremony. i edit on a g4 mac with final cut. as far as the splices go, i save them in a special file i have for when i need them, but usually i just use them when they occur, if it feels right. the audio on that film is just a looped sample i found on the internet called "people settling in a church" or something. i remember laughing when i found it because it was so aptly named for what i needed.

as far as editing, i just do it intuitively at first. i arrange the clips in whatever order i feel tells the best story (usually not exactly in actual chronological order), then i trim them a bit for feel. maybe then i will lay in some music and trim again or re-order the clips. i don't know if you can see it in those tiny quicktime vids, but i sync musical cues to the video very tightly, as opposed to my personal work where i really don't use music very often, and never with such a close relationship to the images.

sometimes i scan family photos and interweave ken burns pan and scans into the mix but thats a lot of work.

jk :ph34r:

Edited by jasonkollias, 28 December 2006 - 10:30 AM.

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#13 Shane Bartlett

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 10:54 AM

Plays fine on my PC, which I handbuilt in 1999. Pentium 500mHz, 1.2GB RAM, Windows XP Pro. All software updated, and every codec I was ever asked to install . . . plus some.

I have to admire you folks who work weddings. At one point, I thought shooting weddings would be great practice, until all of our friends went through a wedding craze and I had to attend 8 weddings in two years. Now I can't stand even sitting through a wedding.

However, I think you've got something here, shooting weddings in super 8. I think if you can properly sell the idea, you'll start getting a better response. The nostalgia look, etc. More and more people are liking black and white, as well. My wife, in fact, will not let me photograph her in color unless I light her in such a way that her face is dark enough to cancel the effects of color (silhouette, or slightly washed-out). She says that color film always brings out the worst in a face--the angry red pimples, the scars, the color patches and blushes.

At the last wedding I attended, they paid way too much money for a videographer who came in and set up two Canon GL1's, one at a distance, and one behind the altar. The guy turned them on, and walked away. That, to me, is a sales pitch--when someone shoots film, the young marrieds get someone constantly behind a camera, THINKING about what they are shooting.

I think a similar pitch can work regarding still photography. I've seen too many digital shooters, most without any talent, who use the shotgun approach and hope for some successes. Some of our poor friends have had to sit and look through thousands of photographs to find the few they wanted to keep. The terrible thing is that a lot of these photographs are nothing more than snapshots--bad composition, unflattering angles and perspectives, etc.

Good luck, and keep shooting.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:19 AM

Karl, what are "bar lights"? I've been to a few weddings where the banquet hall lights were kept very dim, presumably to set a more "romantic" atmosphere. Must of been hell for the photographer and video crew. Maybe if you talked to the family beforehand, they would let you pre-light the room with china balls and a few par cans or something?


If you haven't shot with bar lights, you haven't lived. . . Just imagine a room being illuminated by, maybe, 60W with people dancing in a cozy environment suddenly being illuminated by 1500W of concentrated, hard light :-)

Oh, it is hell shooting weddings in the dark, especially with medium format lenses and manual focus :ph34r: Last wedding was really scary it was so dim and hard to focus.
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#15 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:57 AM

thanks guys. i've got an on camera light that started with a 50w (way too dark) and then i put in a 100w (just enough). but still a 100w light is like the most annoying possible thing to do to someone at a party...and forget about the ceremony. i edit on a g4 mac with final cut. as far as the splices go, i save them in a special file i have for when i need them, but usually i just use them when they occur, if it feels right. the audio on that film is just a looped sample i found on the internet called "people settling in a church" or something. i remember laughing when i found it because it was so aptly named for what i needed.

as far as editing, i just do it intuitively at first. i arrange the clips in whatever order i feel tells the best story (usually not exactly in actual chronological order), then i trim them a bit for feel. maybe then i will lay in some music and trim again or re-order the clips. i don't know if you can see it in those tiny quicktime vids, but i sync musical cues to the video very tightly, as opposed to my personal work where i really don't use music very often, and never with such a close relationship to the images.

sometimes i scan family photos and interweave ken burns pan and scans into the mix but thats a lot of work.

jk :ph34r:


"and forget about the ceremony." Where do you set up? I've done mostly Catholic weddings
and I usually set up in the door to the right of the altar "downstage" as it were, and often
most people can't even see the camera or me. It's a great angle for seeing the bride and
groom from the front (their backs are usually to the audience) and I set up a 300w Fresnel
in the doorway with some diffusion, aim it at them and they don't even notice it. It sounds
like a big set-up but I do it early and when the priest sees it and sees that I'm not going to
intrude on the ceremony (I'm practically hidden) he's usually happy.

Just make sure to talk to the altar boys/girls. They often stand where they'd block the shot
but
everytime I've explained that to them they've been helpful and shifted enough so that the
shot is clear and they don't even have to compromise their duties.
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