Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Have you ever wondered how to get into the wedding video industry? I will be explaining a few tips in starting your career. This one is for beginners and outlines a few basic pointers from cameras, lenses, stabilisation and more
What you will need:
It's important to be accustomed with your camera, to get used to using the settings and what they do. Cameras that are suited for wedding videography tend to be light and agile, but have the power to produce high quality images. Gone are the days of huge ENG cameras for filming sports.
Choose a camera you're comfortable with and can afford. They all do the same thing but others have extra quirks making them better choices than others.
Cameras which are currently popular in 2019 are...
Panasonic GH5 - Bang for buck! This camera does a lot in terms of slow motion and image quality, however, the camera has a micro four thirds camera meaning it struggles in low light. The native lenses for this camera in my opinion tend to lack compared to that of Canon and Nikon etc. With a price range of around £1300 you cant go wrong
Canon 5D mark IV/mark III - I combined the mark 3 and 4 as Canon have been in the hearts of many a wedding operator for years but are slowly losing the race. Due to leaving out all the fun features in their cameras Sony and Panasonic have taken the lead. A positive is that Canon to this day always win on colour and skin tones.
Sony A7sii/ A7iii - Powerful camera but the white balance and colour science burn me from time to time. The colours just don't seem to work very well once you start mixing tungsten (3000 Kelvin) light bulbs and daylight (5000-6000 Kelvin). The camera struggles to get a happy medium between the both whereas the Canon generally nails this every-time even in 'Auto White Balance.' These Sony cameras are full frame meaning the sensor is larger and that they deal with low light extremely well.
Lenses, often referred to as Glass, can create all kinds of effects and can change the look of your subjects. If you want sharp, bright and plenty of beautiful shallow depth of field you would favour a 'fast prime lens'. A prime lens simply means it doesn't zoom which is less versatile, however, since there are less moving parts they tend to be sharper. An example of a prime lens is the 'Canon 50mm 1.2' https://amzn.to/2LsrxLn
If you need versatility to change focal lengths then zoom lenses are for you. These lenses can be of great use if you don't have time to change your prime lenses. I find these lenses shine in studio photography as you can instantly achieve multiple crops with very minimal movement. The off camera flash will make up for any lack of light and therefore speeds up the process. The more money you pay - the lower the aperture and sharper the lens - in theory. An example of a zoom lens would be the standard Canon EFs (The s stands for canons cropped APS-C sensor cameras, meaning this lens can't be used on Full frame) 18-135 3.5-5.6 https://amzn.to/2DX9TcJ This lens loses light as it zooms but has a fantastic focal length coverage.
The more expensive lens would be the Canon 24-70 2.8 https://amzn.to/2J8j7Hf This lens has a low enough aperture number to achieve a suitable shallow depth of field but retain the versatility. This lens would be seen as a good all rounder but the trade off is the price.
Always go for the native batteries when you can, as some third party batteries can give no warning and fail on you at critical moments. Trusted 3rd party would be Swit, Hahnel, Hawkswood, but your going to get longevity out of the originals
Don't cheap out on Tripod and no, do not buy a photography tripod if you are shooting video. You need a tripod with a fluid head and robust legs - 'Manfrotto' will do you good. You get more expensive brands such as Satchler and Miller but Manfrotto are good enough for the job and are inexpensive. Here is a fairly cheap set up, but I would personally go for the one above this https://amzn.to/2JaLowF
The Versatle Monopod that gets into all those tough to reach places. Monopods are really the tool of choice when you're unsure of the scenario ahead. You get stable shots while having the ability to stay small and mobile. Check out the Manfrotto Monopod or the Surui brands for all your needs in this department.
6. Memory Cards
Don't skimp out on Memory cards they are the parchment to your paper. For peace of mind please just get the Sandisk brand for all your needs. There are different speeds and classes but the ones all videographers need are the Sandisk Extreme pro with 95mbs or higher.
The amount of space you need on the card is up to you but generally having smaller cards and splitting the shoot over them gives you a chance to retain at least half of the day if there is a card corruption (touch wood).
7. Sound gear
Cheap and effective sound gear would have to be the TX650 by sony, they are just so handy and easy to set up and have ample recording time. Not the best but great in a tight spot https://amzn.to/2VUbaeO
Other options are Rode Wireless go https://amzn.to/2DYnVKW wireless lapel mics Sony UWP-D11/K33 https://amzn.to/2DYnVKW and the zoom handy recorders (and similar) https://amzn.to/2JrkSyt
Get a few LED non flicker lights. Yongnuo do a few budget lights that can get you the desired brightness https://amzn.to/2JAoDC3. For something with a bit more quality and punch I would recommend the Godox SL60w Led light and softbox https://amzn.to/2H4YgkE. This is over kill for weddings but if your in darkness plugging in one of these would light up the room beautifully.
For achieving run and gun stable shots it takes some practice but these are very popular in the current market. You can get varied sizes. From small, like the zihyun crane https://amzn.to/302tzoQ or big like the DJI Ronin 2/ Ronin M https://amzn.to/2H7aZDr. I would do some research to find what works best for you. Personally, I would go for the smoothest and the most ergonomic as extensive use can cause RSI (repetitive strain injury)
The alternative, avoiding electronics, would be the Glidecam. This is a 3 axis mechanical gimbal where balance and set must also be applied. Each type of gimbal has it's own special characteristics and achieve both similar and also specific results. The choice is user dependent: https://amzn.to/2JqS0Xi
It is extremely key to back up your work over multiple drives. When purchasing drives look at the warranty. If it says over 3 years you have a drive that has been manufactured to higher spec than a 1 year drive. Although drives feel like a waste of money they are not. if a drive goes and you have not backed up thats your reputation and jobs on the line.
My personal favourites are the G drive https://amzn.to/2Jrce37 and Lacie. At times I have bought WD which is the parent company of G drive. The same rule applies to look at the warranty. I purchase the desktop versions for editing and rigidity as they tend to be faster and more hard wearing than the smaller mobile ones. SSD drives are faster and more robust but cost a lot more for less storage https://amzn.to/2Ltxt73
Buy a solid and robust bag such as this one https://amzn.to/2Ltxt73 On a job my camera fell out of a cheap bag and smashed on the floor. It's imperative to protect your gear while in transit, as anything that is broken can lose you work and reputation. Backpacks that open backwards are key in keeping your gear from falling to its demise, such as the Manfrotto https://amzn.to/301H7kB
Above are my personal views on gear and I will be doing more intensive blog post about individual items.