HDC-SD40 for close up shots in wedding?

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    • #49396

       Hello all,

      I’ll be shooting my first wedding in March and they will be letting me use their video for marketing (on account of the friends/I’m going to use this footage for marketing at this price discount).  I want it to look good but I’m some what strapped for cash when it comes to getting more HMC150s.  I’ll be using that one from the choir loft to get everyone coming in and to follow the bride down the aisle then have the bride, groom and minister in frame for the ceremony.  Since there will be ok light on the three of them I was thinking of getting two HDC-SD40s, one close on the bride and one on the groom.  Would these cameras do a good enough job to mix in with the HMC150?  All the audio will be recorded on the HMC by use of a wireless mic placed on the groom. Any info would be great. Thanks. 

    • #202270

      The price is good, butyou get what you pay for.

      Considerthe followingbefore you buy it/them:

      1.5 Megapixel 1/5.8″ CMOS – That’s a REALLY small chip and will not perform well in low light conditions. It’s so small it doesn’t even show up on comparison charts. It will have an enormously deep depth of field (which is perfectly fine for your purposes. Most consumer cameras have large dof anyway.) A 1/3″ sensor will have four times the surface area. (My Canon has a 1/2.7″.)

      It claims to be 1080i (60fps.) This is often code for 540p. With a 1.5 mp chip, I can’t see how they can claim it will give youa 2.1 mp image. Unless they’re processing the image by upscaling it like your TV does when it plays a DVD.

      For someone who wants to shoot wedding videos for money I would stay away from this camera. I just don’t think it will mesh well with your HMC150 (which I hear is a pretty solid performer. Kudos.) The SD40 might work for cut-aways of the audience in decent lighting but I wouldn’t use it for anything beyond that.

      I can understand wanting to stick with Panasonic (I’m a Canon guy, myself.) So consider buying one HDC-SD800 instead of two of the others. It has a slightly larger chip – three in fact. Low light performance is ratedsimilarly however the three chips should provide better color and dynamic rangeunder difficult conditions.

      The HDC-SD800 is also a true HD camera that can shoot up to 1080p 60 instead of the 1080i 60.

      Overall, it’s got a lot more options and better guts. I think you’ll be much happier in general.

      Use one camera for your basic wide shot and the other close-ups and cutaways. You don’t need two close-up cams on the couple. Use justone so you can see them look at each other at the same time. And shoot from either the center or from the groom’s side towards the bride. She’s the one you need to make happy. (Or her mom, usually.)

      Consider putting the smaller cam in the loft shooting the wide, establishing shot. (Face the altar.) And stand on the groom’s side with the nicer camera and change your shots periodically to get closeups and cutaways. Don’t lose track of the ceremony though – you’ll want to be on a tight shot for the key parts like the vows, the ring and kiss.

      And one other consideration about placement – everyone stands up when the bride comes down the aisle so don’t get caught with a great shot that gets blocked by the crowd.

      Regarding your second camera, and this is purely marketing,accessorizeit to make it LOOK more professional. Most clients don’t know anything about cameras. They think if it’s bigger it’s better. Throw on a lens hood for about 5-10 bucks to help build the perception ofa professional cameraandthe quality that comes with it.

      I recently had my new Canon HD camera next to my XL1 and everyone commented on what a great camera the XL1 must be. Little did they know the small black camera at its side had better video. The mere appearance of my XL1 used to get me a lot of referals.

      Another accesory to consider is a wide angle attachment. It’s sometimes hard to get a wide enough angle with a consumer camera if you put it up close. Avoid something that will cause barrel distortion, however. Only skateboarders and skiers like to see that in their videos.

      You may also want to add a larger battery and another memory card. Amazon has Transcend cards that are very affordable and off brand batteries WAY cheaper than OEM.

      Regarding audio – place the mic on the officiant, not the groom. It will be evenly centered between bride and groom. And oncethe groomhits that aisle you’llspend the next hour trying to track down your mic. He (and the new Mrs.)certainly doesn’t want to be distracted from the moment by getting it back to you.

      I hope this has helped.

    • #202271

       Thank you for the info.  I have already gone ahead and purchased the HDC-SD40s and like you said, it would be a stretch to call them HD.  Not sure if I have the setting wrong but I’ve found that they seem to have somewhat of a narrow field of view.  The macro setting is pretty cool but using a tri pod is a must.  I’ve found when looking at the test footage that the camera will focus in sharp on one shot the the rest will fade just a bit.  This stands to be quite a problem if subjects face isn’t the focus point it will ruin the shot.  I’ll be looking into the HDC-SD800 for sure.

      I only paid $150 a piece for the sd40s and can use them for filming my day time jobs blasting operations.  So they’re not a total loss.

      I was planning on placing the HMC up on the chior loft to follow the bride down the aisle and then stay fixed on the couple during the ceremony.  I guess I’ll use the SD’s to catch the crowd and bride from the angles you mentioned.

      Just stinks that my HMC when decked out will be hidden up high, but with the sanctuary being so large its the only cam I have that will catch the whole room and still be able to fill the frame with the couple during the ceremony.


      Thanks again for the info.  This all helps a lot and is very much appreciated.

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