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Quick Guide to the 3 Top Lenses for Wedding Video

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In the world of wedding videography, shooters are responsible for capturing all sorts of situations and styles. From product and beauty shots, to documentary style shooting, you have to be ready for everything.

Versatility is key.

One of the best ways to keep your system tidy and light is to prepare with the right lenses. There won’t be time to change a lens on a rig for every different shot.


These are the 3 Lenses we make sure to have ready when shooting weddings.

24-70MM

In many people’s opinion it is the go to versatile lens. It covers very useful lens lengths and usually available at decent apertures. Each of the major brands have a version of this lens so there are plenty of selections out there for your camera and mount type.

This lens is so good that some days it doesn’t actually leave my camera. It can be used at every step of a wedding day from the morning to the ceremony and even into the reception if your camera handles the lack of light well. This is definitely the first lens I recommend for people to pick up if you do any sort of wedding or commercial work.

The only draw back to this or any telephoto lens is the tendency to get a little lazy with moving around a scene. Instead of moving forward a little you can simply just zoom. While this is extremely handy in getting a shot lined up quick if you can’t get into position, don’t lose sight of the creativity that actually moving yourself can create.

All that aside definite must have lens.

70-200mm

The big brother to the 24-70mm. This lens covers the next round of longer focal lengths that provides a number of advantages during a wedding ceremony and reception.

This lens allows you to stay a little far back in situations were you need to be inconspicuous or there is less room to be in front.(which is always what we want).

For ceremonies you can be perched up somewhere while still getting all the details you need out of a shot. In the same sense for the enterances of the reception you can get all the facial expressions and plenty of detail while staying out of the way.

Some choose to use this lens during bridal prep but I find in more situations than not, it is too long. The only real downside is that you are really locked down to a tripod with this lens. It is heavy and even using it on a monopod at these focal lengths, you will still find that stability is an issue. So I do recommend only keeping this lens on a tripod for when you need to pull it out quick.

The other downside can be cost of this lens. Generally this lens can get pretty pricey especially if you look at Canon’s “L” version, but there are cheaper options out there and almost all of my gear is used, so that is a viable option as well.

50mm

The nifty fifty. The golden standard of prime lenses. If you are going to have a prime lens in your arsenal this is the one to choose. It is the best between of focal lengths that can be used in almost any situation. The major benefit, speed.

Most 50mm primes are going to have an aperture of f,1.8 or lower which means come reception time you can throw this lens on and finish the night in any low light situation.

Definitely still good for the daytime though. With the wide aperture you can get some AMAZING depth of field for detail shots or the general documentative shots throughout the day.


I hope this list gives you an idea of the 3 quintessential lenses you should consider for wedding video. I personally recommend the 24-70mm and the 50mm as the first starting points but once you add the 70-200mm in the mix you won’t go back

These lenses will allow you to capture every moment no matter what comes your way. Having to only carry 3 means you have less to keep track of and more time to get those shots.

What if any other lenses are essential to you? What are your favorite brands or models for each length? Let us know!

 

Case Study: Okeanos Explorer Watch

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Okeanos Explorer from Black Horse Videography on Vimeo.

 

Task:

We were contacted by the Heitis Watch Company to make a new ad video for their newest and best watch yet. The ad is to be featured on their Kick Starter page in order to raise funds to put the watch into production. We were given the themes and qualities of the watch and what sort of tone was expected of the video. It’s GOAL is to be quick modern and exciting to drive a lot of sensory information in a 30 second spot.

 

Thematics:

The watch itself, called Okeanos Explorer, is filled with very clear and strong themes. Okeanos is the Greek  god of fresh water. Explorer gave it the feel as being adventurous and certainly something that is rough and tumble yet elegant. These two qualities is where we started and kept most of our focus. The other theme that the creator wanted to keep is the feeling of truly being made and born in Buffalo. Locally made products are something that the people of this community hold very dear to them. Luckily Buffalo sits on Lake Erie, so this meant tying all of these elements together would not only be possible but fairly easy to achieve, which means we had no limits to what we could create.

 

Pre-Production:

With the themes in mind we started to brain storm ideas for the final video. Obviously working with water was a must on the list. The choice was then to decide how. Do we go out on location to Lake Erie or do we mock something up in the studio? As much as I love shooting on location for product shoots. The weather hadn’t quite agreed and dropped a foot of snow the week we wanted to shoot. Rendering the site we wanted to use buried under snow with no access to the beautiful rock walls underneath. So to the studio we went. I was able to gather some rocks together, ones that would be designed for a large fish tank. With a mock up of a “lake setting” in my head the next task of indoor water was ahead of us. So I bought a big tarp. It actually came together quite nicely. A 9′ x 12′ tarp with the table in the middle and out mini set on top gave us plenty of room to splash away. And this is what we did. Song choice was also important to maintain the right feel for the production. I went with a slow tempo electronic song with powerful bass to represent crashing waves and contrast with moving water.

 

Production:

I set up the tarp around the studio, designed the set and placed my watches. I decided to shoot the wettest parts first. We used Panasonic’s GH5 for the shoot because of it’s really good slow motion ability and cinematic look. This allowed us to capture the large water splashes as slow as possible. We took turns throwing buckets of water at the watch and were very pleased with the results. After the special shots we shot the “usual” product shots focusing on the close ups of all the features of the watch and building the supporting footage all while still incorporating water into each of the shots.

In the editing room I decided to support the themes even more with found footage of Lake Erie to really hammer home what the watch represents and where it is from. Everything cam together quite easily and all parties were very satisfied with the results.

 

Results:

The Kick Starter campaign has surpassed its original goal and the watch will be going into production as planned and delivered on time to the backers.

Okeanos Explorer from Black Horse Videography on Vimeo.

Traveling with Gear

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Have a gig 2,000 miles away? Wondering the best way to get equipment there?

Well we may have some tips for you!

Recently we had the opportunity to film a wedding in Puerto Rico. Besides being an amazing and beautiful place, the question always becomes how are we getting equipment down there as efficiently as possible. There are certainly a number of ways to do it and obviously each gig will need different methods of doing so.

Probably the most important thing is planning. It starts at the top with a solid structure and knowing what you need and where. We were doing a wedding so we pack at the core: 3 Camera’s, Tripods and monopods for them, a glide cam, audio equipment, lenses, plenty of batteries, cables, chargers. Realistically this is a light load. When we shoot weddings we generally only use available light, with an exception here or there, so lighting equipment did not need to make the list.

We decided the best way to go was to bring our own stuff instead of renting what we needed. This certainly depends on what it is you need and whats available where u are going. We made a checklist of what we needed to bring and how we were going to pack it. This is important to do so you make sure you have everything by the end of the trip. Checking it before you leave, when you get setup for the shoot, when you do a final pack up and finally when you return home.

Next we had to figure out the air travel. Depending on what airline you choose the rules will be different but for most of the big name ones a checked bag is about $25 dollars up to 50 lbs (anything after 50 its usually $100 more even if it is 51 lbs).

There were two of us going down to shoot so we divided the equipment up between us. Each packing our carry on with cameras, lenses and batteries (which are not allowed in checked bags). In our checked bags we put the tripod and monopod we will be using along with our clothes and travel extras. While the tripods and monopods aren’t that big, they are long so I would recommend a good size duffel bag as opposed to a suitcase.

As for the cameras and lenses, these we were putting in our carry-on. We each took 2 camera’s and 3 lenses, a set of lavalieres and on-camera shotguns mics. These fit nicely into a camera bag which was acceptable carry on size. (you can confirm the size of the carry on requirements per airline on their websites)

Now most of the larger name airliners will let you do a carry on and a personal item so i was still able to bring a back pack for my usual travel gear and my laptop so I could back up footage right away.

The next step was airport security with all the stuff. The last thing you want to happen is getting to security and something in your bag is not allowed. The best way to prevent this is research. Get online, read the items not allowed or if you are unsure call the airport and get in touch with the TSA. Preparation is everything.

Nothing we had was a problem. This is with all our cameras batteries and audio equipment in our carry-ons. Some airports will make you take more out of your bag and into the bins but besides that there were no actual problems.

Traveling with equipment is actually easier than it seems. The rules are very easy to follow and our trip went fine without a single travel problem. All the gear made it there and back in one piece. This all comes down to the preparation so put a little extra time and you’ll save plenty on broken or missing equipment!

 

 

Black Horse Originals on Youtube

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This week marks the release of our channel on Youtube!

We are expanding where you can see our content! Earlier this year we launched “Black Horse Originals” which is our original in house content purely for your entertainment.

What do we do in our original content?

I’m glad you ask.

We have a few different different shows rolling out now and more on the way. Everything like comedy shorts, Behind the Scenes shenanigans, Holiday fun, Vlogs, and our new show called “Meet the Pros”. This is a platform where local professionals in different industries to a sit down interview and talk about what it is they do and gives these local business a little exposure and have some fun with us. We end every interview with a fun challenge and a game. Most recently we smashed eggs on out faces.

Remember, it’s all for your enjoyment.

You can think of “Meet the Pros” as Buffalo, NY focused late night talk show. Being from Buffalo, we have a strong sense of community and love let people into our culture and encourage people and business to collaborate and work to build eachother.

The goal of our channel and content is number one to provide entertainment, but also as a video production business we want to show who we are as people and give people some transparency to our personalities to help put faces behind our company.

The link to our channel is here

We would love it if you subscribed or even just checked out a few of our videos. We are working hard to bring as much quality content as we can to your screens. We also love feedback from our audience and community members.

Have an idea for a video, or even someone who would enjoy being on “Meet the Pros”? Let us know!

Top Ten Wedding Shoot Locations 2017

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This week we sat and talked a little about our favorite shoot locations of the 2017 wedding season! You can check out the video below!

 

We decided to count down our 10 favorite wedding shoot locations from this past season. This is the part of the wedding day where the wedding party and the videographers and photographers do the video and photo shoots. It’s one of the most  fun parts of the day!

So what do we look for in the best locations?

Probably the most important factor to locations for weddings is the couples comfort level. Usually they have ideas in mind, from research they’ve done or special places to them. It’s their day after all and places they love always turn out amazing! Other factors we looked for on our are lighting, parking, how busy it will be and weather adaptability.

With out further adieu!

Number 10: Albright Knox / Hoyt Lake / Delaware Park

This location is extremely popular and for good reason. Plenty of options when around Delaware park. Form the art gallery to the lake it offers a wide range of different looks and feel. Weather you want the beautiful stone columns of the gallery to the nature and wide open views of the lake. As a bonus these are all a one minute walk from each other. This is always a very reliable go to for amazing shots, but to the same account there are still some downsides. Because of its popularity there are often multiple wedding parties gathered here through out the season, so occasionally you have to wait for your turn at shooting. During the summer months the park is also pretty busy, with plenty of people around. Luckily the space is large enough where when people see cameras and the whole wedding party they stray away from interfering.

Number 9: Central Terminal

Central Terminal is one of Buffalo’s most amazing spots. With one of the most distinct looks it makes for some amazing shots. People love the Art Deco architecture as well as the amazing history that it represents. Being an indoor location it is perfect for the times of year that the weather isn’t always guaranteed to be nice for outdoor shoots. The only caveat to this is that it is by appointment only and is not always available, but this does mean you will get the entire place to yourself with no interruptions.

Number 8: Baseball Diamonds

We had the pleasure this year to go to baseball diamonds with a wedding party to film. This spot was very cool because we were able to completely utilize the space. We ad equipment to actually play ball and it created for some amazing moments. This is a great example of going a little outside the box to a location that isn’t a historic or known place, but one that is very important to the couple. When we get to do these sort of shots it makes for a lot of fun for the bride and groom as they usually have history with the spot and their comfortability comes across well on camera. These are often childhood places, spots where they met or even just a favorite date spot. Often the only tough part sometimes can be the unpredictability of shoot conditions. Where many of the other places on this list are done multiple times a year the videographers and photographers have plenty of experience with them. With the locations like this it allows your video/photographer to get out of the comfort zone and get really creative.

Number 7: Knox Farm State Park

Knox Farm is an unbelievably beautiful location in East Aurora, NY. The vibe here is very country, out doors, and nature oriented. With beautiful lines of trees, lots of fields, and the farm houses there are plenty of amazing spots here to get different looks with great backdrops. (there is also a full dog park, so bring the furry friends!) Being all the way in East Aurora, it is about 40 minutes form downtown Buffalo and lots of the venues so it’s not always good for a tight schedule or if you want to hit a few locations during the day. Arguably the best times for Knox farm visits is for the fall weddings. The colors are AMAZING and the views become even better with the leaves beginning to fall.

Number 6: Gallagher Pier / Beach

Located at the outer harbor of Buffalo, Gallagher Pier offers something special and unique. Combining a beach front pier with the old industry of Buffalo, old grain elevators over look the beach and can be used as awesome back drops along with the lake. Certainly the board walk and the pier itself make for excellent shots as well.  The location is great because in the hot summer months it offers the breeze coming off the water, which also makes for some great flowing dresses and veils for the shoot. (but be warned hair may be affected).

Number 5: Broderick park

This small but amazing park is downtown on the Niagara River directly on the boarder of the US and Canada. The back drop to the park is the Peace Bridge which makes for an awesome shoot opportunity and a grand and romantic feel. The park also offers paths with lines of trees and a stage with stone steps for all your shooting looks. The best part of the park is the Water Walk, which is a path on a break wall that goes right under the Peace Bridge! This allows to have amazing rock formations, the bridge and the river on both sides of you for amazing and romantic shots. This one is gaining and popularity and we hope to be back here a few more times next season!

Number 4: Ted’s Hot Dogs

Yes Teds. In Buffalo, we love our amazing and local food joints. We’re famous for some of the best food in the country and we are not afraid to live it. Our local eateries become staples of the community and the people. As a hub for this we’ve had couples that have met at these spots and they become very important places to them. Also through out the wedding day you may find yourself get a tad hungry, and where a lot of people have some catering in the limo stopping for a bite to eat at a amazing spot is always a fun option and it will hold you until the dinner which may seem forever away. You certainly don’t want to end up hangry.

Number 3: Cobblestone District

One of downtown Buffalo’s coolest districts. The Cobble Stone district gets it famous name from.. well… the cobblestone roads, who would’ve thought. Anyways this area is beautiful for very industrial looks, the stone, the brick work buildings and the colors offer amazing looks for any shot. It is just a small area consisting of only 4 streets so it is a quick one to hit for a few amazing shots. We love coming here it is always fun and we can’t get enough of the way it looks, and during the times we typically have the shoots it is usually pretty clear of people and cars.

Number 2: Theatre District

Ah the Theatre District, another of Buffalo’s most famous locations, possibly the most well known actually. Located on Main street downtown, the area is home to the famous Shea’s Theatre, among others in the area. That provides a great backdrop to it self and the sign is a staple of Buffalo. The surrounding area is also very “city” so you get a lot of the great architecture that buffalo is known for. The Metro rail also runs on Main street so people love using the crossing tracks and as a nice spot. Around the corner is an amazing gigantic mural on the side of the 710 Main Theatre which provides an explosion of color for a background for fun and different shots.

AND FINALLY

Number 1: Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens of Buffalo were our favorite place this year! As a part of Delaware Park the Japanese Gardens sit behind the Buffalo History Museum. There is amazing trails, statues and stone works, trees, plants of all sorts and the lake. What more could you need! On a nice day you will never want to leave. Even into the fall months the location changes again with the different colors and falling of the leaves. Every time we come here we find a new way to use the space. It seems to never run out of angles and shots. Also a 3 minute walk up to the Museum gives us a lot of the shots with the stone pillars for a look similar (but better in my opinion) to the Art Gallery. There is also Abraham Lincoln so yeah. Now the location is not flawless there can be a few wedding parties here at the same time but it never really is an issue. There are so many spots that not everyone is trying to get the same shot like other spots and we share and all sort of rotate around so it makes for good fun!

That was our Top 10 Locations from this year! Have others you want to share? Comment Below!

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