Absolute minimum gear needed to professionally shoot a wedding? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 31st, 2010, 08:18 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 160
Absolute minimum gear needed to professionally shoot a wedding?

Hi gang. I've been a long-time amateur, and I want to ease my way into "professional" wedding videography (part-time at first, and later, God-willing, full time).

I already own a Canon A1, but that is really the only pro gear I have. Can you fine experts give me advice about what type of equipment is needed? I don't need specific examples, though if you have them, that's great. But what items would you absolutely need in order to shoot a wedding?

Assuming a 2-camera shoot, here's what I have:

Camera: two HD native 16x9 cameras
Tripods: two tripods with fluid heads
Light: One on-camera light
Sound: personal recorder w/ lav mic for groom during vows or wireless mic.

Anything I'm missing?
Bob Drummond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2010, 08:32 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
It's the little things that you're gonna find make you or break you. Plenty of camera batteries, plenty of memory cards, and spare everything. Make sure you have double or triple sources of audio for the ceremony.
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2010, 08:50 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Hi Bob

Most definately 2 cameras but I only practically use one tripod as my cams are shoulder mount so doing cutaways of the guests during the ceremony makes a tripod a little impractical. Don't forget than receptions are subdued lighting almost all the time so you will need some sort of lighting when the speeches are done. I just use a CFL softbox for the speaker and the main camera and then use the on-cam light on the B-Cam for cutaways!

Practically you need to capture audio from the couple AND the people doing bible readings so I use 2 x wireless mic setups but a DVR will also work.

Weddings are a one-off event so as Bill says you really need lots of backup...there is no time to hunt for a spare gear if the current one fails!!! I basically have dupliactes of everything so if anything stops working I have a backup!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2010, 09:02 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Fontana, CA
Posts: 183
If you're talking "absolute minimum" then you already have everything you need. It's not likely to be a stellar film without a little more audio gear, but if you have one camera, a tripod, and a light, then you have enough to tell a story. The biggest factor in the quality of your wedding films will be your skill.

For what it's worth, both of the featured weddings films on my site were true single-camera shoots...though I had more audio gear than a single lav kit.

Go get em!

Alec Moreno
http://www.1Day1ShotProductions.com
Alec Moreno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2010, 10:32 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 51
You should really look into a iFP I-River 700/800 series with a line in function with a mic from Giant Squid Audio Labs. You should be able to get a good I-River for $20-30 dollars on ebay, mic runs about $15. Great for the Minister or podiums, you will be glad you did.

I would also look into the Canon HV30, tape based HDV camera that can be matched to the A1. You can get a good used one for about $500-600 dollars.

Also, I would get a good Monopod.
__________________
Sony HVR-Z5, Sony PD-150, Canon HV30, Adobe Creative Suite 4
Will Tucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2010, 10:48 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
Will makes a couple of good points. The iRiver is a great thing. Also, my setup includes an A1 and the HF20 - a file-based equivalent of the HV series cams. They match pretty well, partly because the A1 has so much latitude. The compression on the HF20 really makes it harder to color grade or correct, but it looks beautiful in good light. I also shoot with a 5D sometimes, and have a 7D now. They all can match pretty well. If any of those cameras were to go down at the shoot I'd still feel covered pretty well.

Good luck, and remember it's a process - you'll discover as you do shoots what you feel you need and don't. :)
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 12:03 AM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
Posts: 1,200
Bob,

My opinion is that there are two important things you need to begin film weddings successfully:

Redundancy and experience.

The redundancy is in the equipment - in that you have to be ready for anything - a jammed tape, a breakdown, a groom who fiddles with the recorder in his his pocket and shuts it off, a second camera angle to cover the shot when the big guy stands in front of your camera to take his point and shoot pic just as the b&g have their first kiss, etc.

The point being, you can't yell 'cut' at a wedding, so you have to be prepared for almost any eventuality.

The experience comes with... well, experience. Know your cameras inside and out, so you can set the white balance with your eyes closed. Know when to shoot AF and when manual is better. Know how to tweak the exposure just a tad when needed. Learn to shoot in all modes...

Oh, and one more thing... never treat the audio as a secondary medium.

Good Luck!
__________________
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
Ken Diewert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 03:17 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 387
I've actually been thinking about this question myself.

If you're working by yourself, how hard would operating two cameras be and what are the tips for doing this? - I was under the impression that you mount the one camera on tripod shooting from a safe distance and you can walkabout once in a while with a second camera to get the 'nice' shots to be put into the highlight/trailer.

It seems like a very risky multi-tasking..
Johannes Soetandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 04:16 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Hi John

That's the way I work!! One cam on the tripod and the other on my shoulder. The main cam does quite tight shots of the couple and I use the B-Cam for guest cutaways, and wide shots plus of course the bridal party walking down the aisle. I use a single cam for the photoshoot (all on Stedicam) and then revert to a two camera setup for the speeches. One of the speaker and the other for cutaways. The rest of the reception is done with just one cam.

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 08:12 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 789
I am speaking for myself, but I would also invest on Tota Lights with stands for the reception. Mark Von Lanken also suggested a battery operated lights on stand that doesn't destroy ambiance than would also be a good investment.

my 2 cents.
__________________
Noel Lising
Noel Lising is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 11:35 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Madison
Posts: 330
The absolute MINIMUM needed to shoot a wedding?

1 camera... that's it. You could get some great shots and then edit a fancy highlight clip to some short music.

After that, I'd quickly add (as the budget allowed):
1) Tripod
2) Wireless microphone
3) Another camera
4) Another tripod
5) Another wireless microphone
6) A Glidetrack <-- love that thing!
7) A monopod
8) A fisheye lens
9) Another camera?
10) Another wireless microphone
11) Another tripod
__________________
I like my oatmeal lumpy.
Blake Cavett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 01:30 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
And when your ONE camera goes south for some unknown reason... you'd better hope you didn't charge too much.

A second cam is mandatory, if only for the above reason, and it doesn't have to be the same high end cam (although that's nice if the budget alows!), but better to have a backup handy, which also can serve as a second angle - it's not that difficult to get a high tripod (Sunpak makes a reasonably priced 75" one that will tower over most anyone except Herman Munster), you can set it, visit once or twice during the ceremony to adjust (zoom typically if you set the field right in advance). Gives you a "safety" cutaway shot, and if your main cam develops a problem, have QR's on the tripod and shoulder brace or whatever you use, so you're not out of the game...
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 04:35 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 51
I added a 3rd camera, and I have to say I love having that third shot to add to the mix. It's hard to go back to two after a while.
__________________
Sony HVR-Z5, Sony PD-150, Canon HV30, Adobe Creative Suite 4
Will Tucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 07:57 PM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Personally, I like 4... (shoulder mounted, left and right angles up front on tripods, carefully placed, and a "safety" on a high tripod at the back) but since the question was "minimum", I wouldn't think of any less than 2...

Once you have shot with multiple cameras, you begin to appreciate the possible angles you'll have available later in post!

I suspect with 2 manned cams with experienced shooters, you'd be good for most events... but for "solo" shooters, having a couple extra static shots from carefully placed cams can take up the slack.
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2010, 09:51 PM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 1,997
Your "absolute minimum" will change as your standards and risk change. I wouldn't consider shooting with less than 3 cameras now, but I have a high risk aversion for missing shots and cam op mistakes (including me in the cam op talent pool as well as the hired assistants).

You have to have tripods. Don't bother with out them. And I would say that if you intend to take this beyond the hobby level, start using 2 cams immediately. The possibilities (and technical strain on your post production) will be a good indicator if you are going to survive.
Audio is a must, even for 1 cam... again, assuming you intend to take this further.

I would add that the DV MultiRig Pro was the single BEST piece of equipment I purchased as far as utility (even if I bought it when it rev 1 meaning I have one of the less feature packed models).

The multi rig is what I use for the ENTIRE reception (second cam on sticks) and it is fantastic to use for +3hrs straight. I put the importance of the Multirig just slightly below that of a good audio system.

You learn fast that bad audio will be noticed by bride, but fancy angles, DOF, can get missed. Nothing gets a bride / MOB calling or emailing their displeasure faster than bad audio. Audio is the single issue that causes most of my pre-wedding prayers ("Lord please bless this wedding with no wind and a clear 600Mhz spectrum with no interference today".... no I'm not kidding)

Beyond the 2 cams, sticks, audio, and Multirig, then comes an on-cam light & softbox for the reception. (pretty cheap too.... just get the cheapo Canon VL-10i (or whatever it is) and put a soft box on it and use it in short bursts. Then get fancier lighting. Then get a 3rd cam (doesn't have to be an A1 either... HV30 is decent aide angle back of aisle cam to match the footage from your A1).

Your "must haves" might also be dictated by the competition and your market. Is everyone sliding around on glidecams / merlins / (or worst case) Steadicam® Flyers & 8' jibs in your market? If so.... dont' worry about playing instant catch up at first, but that might be an indicator of what your market desires from their wedding videographers. Or.... is everyone else still shooting 2 cam locked down docu style productions? Great news! You can easily eclipse them (with a bit or work and marketing luck).
Jason Robinson is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:15 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network