Recommendations for Videotaping Weddings

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by highjumppudding, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. highjumppudding macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    I am videotaping a few weddings next month and wanted to get my gear, etc in order.

    I have a Canon XH A1.

    I wanted to hear suggestions/recommendations for microphones, and gear for videotaping the weddings.

    I may also have an HV30 as a backup camera or for two-camera shoots. Any additional suggestions for equipment between the two cameras would be great.

    If you have any more advice about videotaping the weddings, please fill me in!

  2. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    I would never imagine filming a wedding with less than 2 cameras (I've never tried more than 2, either). One reason is to, for example, capture bride and groom reactions during a particular moment. Another reason, which saved my butt countless times, is to simply have a usable shot in case you need to move your camera somewhere else quickly.

    Some other necessities...

    Tripods - steady shots are nice shots. A good quality, fluid-head tripod is well worth the money. I'm happy with Manfrotto tripods (501 head, 055 legs...they're pretty good for the money). I also use a monopod which is nice when I'm constantly moving around or I want an overhead shot.

    Microphones - a wireless mic on the groom (during the ceremony) or placed on the podium (during the reception) does wonders for anything vocal. A mounted mic for overall, better-quality sound would also be nice

    Lights - Receptions, especially, are often pretty dim, so an on-camera light (or a light on a stand, if you can set that up or afford it) will improve your picture quality dramatically. I'm not all about putting things in the way during a wedding, so I use 10w camera lights, specifically the Canon VL-10, because they use the same batteries as the XHA1, and I have lots of them!

    Those are what I feel are necessary to produce a good-quality wedding video. Then if you feel like you want to go more advanced, you can look into steadicams, wide angle lenses, dollys......

    Hope that helps. I've been doing wedding just over a year now and have learned a lot just by doing weddings. My first was simply with 2 GL2's and 1 decent tripod ;) and I just worked up from there!
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Borrow or rent at least one extra camera with tripod and AC power (don't rely on batteries) to set up as a static camera.

    Test your equipment at least 2 days before the event to give enough time for repairs and replacements.

    Don't assume that an event scheduled for 1 hour will be over in 1 hour. Plan tape changes / battery changes in advance.
  4. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2007
    Warminster, PA
    321estrellas was on the money.

    I'd almost hazard to say that during the ceremony audio is actually more important than video. MAKE SURE you have a wireless Lav on the groom so you can hear everything with the vows and I do's (or don'ts).

    Next, have a shotgun pointed right at the action either on cam or on a stand for redundancy. I can't stress redundancy enough, this is a hopefully once in a lifetime moment and you don't want to meet bridezilla.

    So bring at least a high quality wired shotgun and wireless lav at bare minimum, bring duplicates for redundancy if you can foot the bill.

    Do you know how you're going to frame the bride and groom at the alter with both cameras? Walk into the place with a schematic or something so you can just setup and be quick. You may run into a problem with exposing both the cameras. Obviously the XH A1 will look better, so have that pointed at the bride, it is her day after all.

    Do you know what format you'll be shooting in? Finalize it and buy the highest quality tapes that you can buy for the client. HDV dropout is MUCH worse than DV dropout due to the compression.

    Dont worry about dollies and stuff like that, too complex for a wedding. Keep it simple and steady.
  5. Sonicjay macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Very good suggestions here; also, try to make the rehearsal. You'll need to know where people will be coming in from, where they'll end up, Whether people will be doing singing/readings, etc, and have a good idea of the timing of things. Make a mental (or physical) checklist of shots the keep in mind that you absolutely cannot miss, such as the bride coming down the aisle with her father (or whomever is giving her away), the voes, the first kiss, etc.

    Additional equipment suggestions:
    * Earphones to monitor what you're recording; the day after the wedding is the wrong time to realize your mic wasn't working, etc.
    * Have a decent handheld mic for interviews/wellwishers at the reception.
  6. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Other non-technical things to consider:

    1. Black suit, white shirt, black tie, black shoes.

    2. Assistant to help out with microphones and other situations. Assistant should also be dressed appropriately.

    3. Keep some snacks (quiet snacks perferable) with you for hunger because you'll need to work on the bride/groom's schedule. Might want to wear a Depends as well, just in case. ;)

    4. Probably want to check in with the photographer so you're not crashing into him/her all night.

    4a. Also a good idea to check in with the DJ/Band/MC to go over the schedule during the reception.

  7. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    Another important tip...

    Find out (the rehearsal is a good time for this) who the important people are. Parents, best man/groomsmen, maid of honor/bridesmaids, sponsors, close family...

    Sometimes the wedding video is more for the parents than it is for the bride and groom, so they want to see themselves and the whole family too.
  8. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    I have some questions too, that may also help the OP...

    I'm starting to get into videography for weddings and events as well. I love using my steadicam merlin with my DVX, but the problem is, I can't attach anything (lights, cameras, mics) to the camera without having to do some intense re-balancing.

    When I need to attach my shotgun or wireless mic, I just shoot hand held or on a tripod.
    When I have to shoot with my little light on my camera, I do the same.

    But, I'd like to get more footage with the steadicam in low lighting and I was thinking of setting up a light - bouncing off the ceiling, on a light stand that I can just go to whenever I really need it.
    Do you think this is a smart idea?
    If so would you recommend any specific light/stand? I'd need a light that connects to batteries that I can just attach to the stand.

    Also, instead of putting wireless mics on the bride/groom during the ceremony... I was planning on using my shotgun mic OR just leaving my wireless mic near a speaker... Is that a bad idea? I've never done it, personally.

    Thanks for any advice!
  9. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2007
    Warminster, PA
    BAD Idea. You need to put a wireless lav on the groom. If you leave a mic near a speaker it will absolutely overload the mic and will come out so distorted. A shotgun will still pick up erroneous audio, but keep it as a backup.
  10. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    Ah, yeah I was thinking it would lead to some bad distortion.
    Just mic the groom though?
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It's funny but people can put up with small video problems, focus error or burned out highlights but everyone notices even the smallest problem with audio, slight echos or background noise. So you really have to work to get the sound right and that means mics that close up, maybe wireless mics or hidden in the flowers or whatever. Don't even think about using the mic that is built into the camera. Audio engineers will recommend some way-expensive mics and gear but really any decent quality mic placed close will do OK. You will need to keep two cameras rolling. More if you can and the same with the audio. At least two good well placed mics all the time.
  12. highjumppudding thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    Additional questions

    So far the feedback has been great!

    I have a Canon XH A1 and an HV30 which I'll be using for dual camera wedding shoots.

    If anyone has specific brand or model number recommendations for shotgun mics, video lights, etc please recommend. I am planning to purchase my equipment this weekend.

    Wireless lav on the groom? What brand? UHF? VHF?

    Also, any other video/audio input or input on wedding service in general would be great.

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