Filming weddings is different than any other kind of filmmaking, you want to be as light and fast as possible, so your gear really needs to be an extension of yourself. I love shooting weddings because of this, no two are the same and no matter how much you plan, it's much more documentary style than anything else. There are no retakes for the most crucial moments, you have to be ready for that first kiss or walking down the isle, which is exciting and scary all at the same time. That is the thrill of it though, knowing that you are capturing moments that will never happen again, and that will be cherished forever. To me, weddings are the ultimate test of filmmaking, telling a beautiful story of two people in love, shot usually in one day on your feet. Which means that gear is one of the most important parts of allowing me to be the best filmmaker I can be on that day, having gear that is reliable, never overheating on those hot summer weddings, and that gives me the best quality every single time.
Below is our latest wedding film shot in Palm Springs - If you want to check out all the photos Haley shot on her Panasonic Lumix S1R, head over to her blog here:
This latest wedding was shot in the middle of the summer in Palm Springs, and we were sweating and overheating, but our gear was flawlessly working. Of course we always have backups for everything, even our drone, but thankfully we never end up needing to use them. To us, the gear is only part of the puzzle when it comes to being a professional wedding videographer. You want reliable and high quality gear, but you also need to know how to really use it, that means you shouldn't be charging people professional prices while shooting on automatic. What gear you use is one part of being a filmmaker, the other half is knowing how to relax your client in front of the camera, understanding lighting, and telling their story through editing. With that being said, we are going to go through all our wedding videography gear and break down when and where we use what!
We shoot about half of our weddings as just videographers, but the other half we shoot both photography and videography together. This means that we want to make sure that our gear is as versatile as possible. One of the main reasons we went with lumix full frame mirrorless is because we really prefer wedding photography on full frame sensors for printing and cropping, so the lumix S1's are great for both professional photography and videography!
Wedding Video A Camera - Panasonic S1H
This bad boy is the newest addition to our family, and the workhorse of any shoot we go on. Since I got this camera I've put it through the ringer. I've shot with it in 110 degree heat, shot with it in water, and no matter the situation, it works, and it works great. One of the reasons we switched from Canon to Panasonic last year was that we really wanted to be able to shoot both photo and video with all the same gear, and have our footage and specs match between cameras - as well as wanting to go mirrorless. I'm not going to get into every reason why, and we tried a lot of cameras out, but the new full frame line up with Panasonic had us sold once we got our hands on them.
The lumix S1H really is such an amazing camera, being able to shoot 4k @60p as well as 6k @24p, or even 5.9k @30p. We usually shoot 4k the entire wedding day, but for certain parts like the vows or special interviews it's nice to have the 6K option for clips we know we won't be slowing down. The dual card slots are also a necessity for weddings (you don't want to be that person who looses footage), and the dual native iso makes dark wedding receptions a breeze! We can seriously bump up that ISO to at least 4000 without really ANY noticeable noise, which we've never been able to do on any other camera. Since I usually have the S1H on the gimbal, I am mostly using the panasnonic 16-35mm f/4 with this camera.
Wedding Video B Camera - Panasonic GH5
The Panasonic GH5 is still such an amazing camera, which is why this is our go-to for a second camera on wedding days. Perfect for timelaspes and always brought as our backup camera, the GH5 matches with our other lumix S1's really well. Another thing I love about this camera is that it's small. When Haley is our second videographer (instead of doing photos), having a lighter camera for her is great for really long wedding days. We are also able to mount it to the car and do other wild things with it that larger cameras just can't do. I think of this as my mini S1H.
DJI Phantom Pro 4+ V2
Like the S1H, this drone has been a game changer for us. We've always wanted a phantom, but since they were discontinued, we were never able to get our hands on (a new) one... until DJI relaunched this drone earlier this year and we bought it almost instantly. This was great because we were going to buy the inspire, and luckily were able to save some money but still get better quality than the mavics. One of the biggest reasons we LOVE our phantom over our old mavic pro is because now the controller is not our phone. Having a controller with a screen that you can actually see when it's bright outside is worth the extra bucks. Nothing is worse than a phone that's almost dead and that's the only way to fly your drone. If anyone has worked with DJI, sometimes the apps can be hit or miss, so it got to the point where we were never sure if the drone would even launch, always having problems with firmware etc. Now the phantom is so reliable and I love the user interface of the controller as well at the AI features like tracking.
The other best part of the phantom is that I can change the aperture with a range of f/2.8 - f/11. Our old mavic pro had a fixed aperture at f/2.8, so if you were flying it mid-day, the footage often looked muddy and not very sharp. Now the footage on the phantom really is breathtaking - matching the quality of our other shots.
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum - Backup Drone
Most people really want drone footage in their wedding videos, and for us, it's something that really makes the final video looked polished and professional. As long as we can fly it, we make sure to, because who doesn't love an epic drone shot?! So of course, we jumped at the opportunity to pick up this extra drone for pretty cheap as our backup. Now yes, we do have to use our phone as the controller, which is also why we keep 2 external battery packs with us at all times so we can always have our phone charged up in case we need it. It's also nice that our extra drone is smaller and can easily fit in a backpack.
You can't be a wedding videographer without a gimbal, I mean who doesn't love that incredibly smooth shot of the bride walking down the isle?! We went with the ronin-s because of the size and price. For about $500, it's something that you will really get your moneys worth out of and won't baby too much. With the handle lasting about 14 hours, there is no need to have extra batteries for it as long as it's charged up the night before. I love building it out too, so sometimes I'll shoot with it on the regular handle, and other times build it on a pro-ring. Again, this is such a versatile tool, because I can also break it down and throw it in a bag, which it makes it easy to travel with!
Our 3 favorite lenses for wedding videography
Since we like to travel light, we always bring as minimal amount of lenses as possible if we know we are going to be on our feet all day or have to carry them with us. We do have other lenses that we will bring, but for every single shoot, these are our staples for basic wedding and elopement videos.
Panasonic Lumix 16-35mm f/4 L-mount lens
This lens is our go-to for gimbal shots. While I never really loved the 16-35mm lens when it came to photography, this lens is great for those wider shots when it comes to video. Everything about it is crisp, the f/4 is great for video, I honestly don't want to shoot any faster than that if my subject is moving at all, and the zoom doesn't throw off the balance of the gimbal which is necessary if you want to balance it on your gimbal. On the S1H, it crops in to super 35, so essentially it's closer to a 20-45mm ish lens when you shoot 4K on the S1H. This is the perfect range that I want to be in for beautiful like life shots.
Panasonic Lumix 70-200mm f/2.8 L-mount
This lens was the first lens we bought when we got the S1R for photography, but we share this lens equally for both photo and video! Once I shot a few videos with this lens, I really fell in love, so if you are a video shooter who is unsure, trust me you will love it too! The focal length is great for getting the tighter face shots during the ceremony without being distracting to the guests. We usually have it on a tripod near the back and love the look of cutting between those tighter and wide shots in nearly any video we make. The f/2.8 is great for photo, but stopping it down to f/4 or f/8 gives the video such a sharp and life-like look, so it has been one of our best investments when it comes to glass. In the past we've bought expensive lenses that just sit there, so we really tried to only buy lenses that we knew we would use all the time when we switched to Panasonic.
Panasonic Lumix 10-25mm f/1.7 m4/3 mount
This lens is our go-to for the GH5, or any other micro 4/3 camera we are using. It's a very interesting lens that panasonic came out with. It's a native micro 4/3 mount, and one of the only lenses that is a fast zoom lens. Panasonic built it mostly for video shooters to compete with the metabones adapter with the sigma 18-35mm lens combo that a lot of video shooters use. No matter if I'm using the GH5 on the ronin or rigged out for handheld, this lens is so sharp and so fast that it is amazing.
Our Emergency Bag
Weddings or elopements are some of the craziest days, which means that we always want to be ready for whatever the day may throw at us. Did the Bride's phone die? We got her!
We always carry two extra external battery banks, tape, camera batteries, advil, pepto bismol, tools, extra HDMI cords, bandaids, chapstick, etc. Anything you can think of, we have it! And we are constantly updating it and adding to it when we needed something that we didn't have. This is one of the most important parts to being a wedding photographer or videographer, always be prepared for WHATEVER the day may give you, because you will be a better filmmaker for it.
And with that, we hope this post was helpful! This is what we love, after trying out so many different cameras and systems, but that doesn't mean you should go out and sell all your gear. We really wanted to write this post to show that most importantly we try to pack light, be prepared, and have gear we really know how to use.
Till next time,
Ya boi B