Introduction – What’s in the Bag
What makes a good videographer or filmmaker is not “having top of the range, super expensive kit”, it’s knowing how to use it and how to use it right.
Gone are the days where video cameras were huge, with lights and big screens on them and you struggled to carry them – today it’s about blending in with the surroundings, to make people less aware that you are filming, so they can relax. Candid, handheld, relaxed, all perfect ways to film.
To this end I often get stood on because someone didn’t notice me, impressive for a 6’4″ human or people think I’m a photographer so stand and pose… I leave them a good 5-10seconds holding the pose before letting them know it’s video 😉
My first DSLR was a cheap Canon 650D which I purchased from Gumtree and you know what? I LOVED it. It was perfect for filming, it taught me a lot about light and composition but with the advances of HD and 4K it was becoming a backup camera, rather than my “go to” camera. Especially when I bought by first Panasonic GH4.
Fast forward through all the upgrading, to today, what’s in the rather heavy bag today?
Because of it’s outstanding and possibly industry-leading IBIS (in-built image stabilisation), the A Cam or main camera is the Panasonic GH5 – it is definitely my “go to” camera.
Lenses are equally as important as the body you use – the Sigma Art 18-35mm 1.8 is a tremendous lens. As well you’ll find the Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 85mm 1.8, Panasonic HD 12-35mm 2.8, 25mm 1.7 and 14-140mm 3.5-5.4 lenses. For the non-native lenses I use the Viltrox EF-M2 speed adapters to convert to the Micro 4/3rds system.
Stability and Non-movability
Years ago, it was tripod central to ensure every shot was solid and stable, the mere idea of handheld filming was laughed at. Today, it’s my favourite way to film. It’s quicker, more convenient, no humphing heavy tripods about then waste time setting them up. I can pirouette like a ballerina (sans spandex) and capture the action as it happens.
For fluid filming I use the GH5 on a Zhiyun Crane 2 3-axis gimbal – perfect for walking shots, tracking and capturing mad shapes on the dancefloor. Plus with my long arms, the Crane can get shots almost 9.5ft in the air which is great for group shots or dancing.
My B & C cams are GH4’s and I still have a mix of Velbon and Manfrotto tripods and monopods. Ceremony and Speeches do call for fixed shots so it makes sense to have the cameras locked off on tripods.
Audio – testing testing 1-2-1-2
Capturing clean audio on the day is crucial, no longer can we rely on omni-directional mics on the cameras, that’s a dangerous game to play.
Never do I trust or use the onboard or mic’d cameras to capture audio, you would need to be placed too close to the subjects to ensure you pick up what’s being said. To me, that’s a mix of selfish, unprofessional and just wrong. You can ruin the moment for the couples, guests and photographers if you are too close. Nope, no thanks, not me!
So, normal practice is to mic up the celebrant, the groom and anyone doing readings or making speeches. We still have Rode Video Mics on our cameras too but this is more for room/ambient audio.
Yes, this is a lot more work in the editing suite but it’s worth it to ensure we can hear what the couples are saying, what the celebrant is saying without the distraction of chairs being moved, cutlery being rattled, people talking, babies crying, all which get picked up by on-board mics and can overpower and silence readings, speeches, vows, the important spoken bits during the day.
In the bag we have the super handy clip on Sony TX650 digital recorders as well as the TASCAM DR-10 with lapel mic. Back up Sony recorders are used when there are more than the “standard” number of people speaking and also to capture ambient audio, placed out of view but still able to pick up audio.
Get this wrong and life is pretty tricky.