With the influx of big name brands producing video cameras has meant choosing the right camera for wedding cinematography can a daunting task. Having been in the industry for over a decade and often being asked for advice, I thought a simple blog post was in order. This post was written to simply explain some of the basics and hopefully help you to choose the right camera or at least supply you with some additional knowledge before you make the leap into choosing where to spend your cash.
To achieve the look for wedding cinematography your camera must give you that film quality look whilst also being able to adapt to a variety of different situations. When going out to shoot Asian weddings we are forever presented with different lighting issues and this is mainly down to venues, stages, weather and the time of day. I set out to buy a camera which could help me in as many stations as possible.
Professional Cameras vs Consumer Cameras
When first starting out you may hear “You have to buy a professional camera and you need thousands of pounds” or something like “Clients will not take you seriously unless the camera is made by XYZ” . Ten years ago that may been the case but now things have changed. The gap between the consumer cameras and professional cameras is getting smaller and smaller and when playing footage back knowing which is which is nearly impossible to tell to the untrained eye. Don’t be sucked in by the word professional and be made to spend thousands when you simply don’t have to.
HD Cameras for Weddings
We are now living in the world of HD, there is no reason that you shouldn’t have a camcorder capable of HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) of course you can purchase cameras at even higher resolution (4k, 8k) , which does of course mean the quality will be vastly superior however when going down that route other considerations need to be made such as faster more expensive memory cards, additional hard drive space, faster computer speed and graphics cards etc etc and in my opinion we are still a few years away from shooting weddings above HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). So from this I would say the Camera must be minimum HD (1920 x 1080)
DSLR vs Camcorder for Asian Wedding
This is question which I’m frequently asking about and my answer is DSLR. I started wedding videography using the Canon XL-1 Camcorders, then moved to the Canon XHA1 Camcorder which did give me great results. They were branded as professional cameras, the build quality was superb and they always produced images that looked great however they came with a few issues. They were not the best in low light, meaning I had to use a big obtrusive light, they shot on tape which meant if I had recorded 5 hours of footage, I would then need to sit in front of a computer and spend another 5 hours digitising the tapes. These were all issues I could get around but my main thoughts were the look of the finished film, my work never had that film ‘look’ which I wanted to achieve. But things were about to change, forward to March 2010, Canon release the Canon 5D Mark II. A Camera that could not only take pictures but gave us filmmakers the ability to control DOF, allowing us to blur the background, whilst also switching lenses (we will go into lenses a little later). The DSLRS also recorded onto memory cards which means you simply copy the files from the card to your computer which can take around 10-20 minutes per card. So DSLRs for me win in almost every department of course they do take some getting used to as there are a lot more things to consider.
DSLRs have drawbacks but for me the look the cameras give are simply beautiful, I myself use the Canon 5DMKIII with a variety of Canon L lenses which give me all I need to create beautiful looking films. I vary rarely struggle with lighting and having been in the industry for so long I feel I have a good idea of knowing what Asian Brides and Grooms are looking for.
It’s not drone shots, cranes and million pound cameras it’s about capturing the story on the day. My words of advice to anybody starting out in this industry is practice practice practice with your camera and try to create your own unique style.Share