Our Filmmaking Kit
Over the past few years we've had many filmmakers reach out to us and ask questions about video production. Questions range from starting your own business and securing clients to the type of gear we use... Let's be real, EVERYONE asks about gear! We figured that we take some time to breakdown our gear, piece by piece, for those who may be interested!
First of all, we shoot exclusively Sony cameras. When Sony launched the A7sii, we quickly sold off all our Canon gear and jumped on the bandwagon. Since then we've acquired all sorts of Sony cameras, and we LOVE them all! We won't be covering our lens selection in this post, for all that good stuff, you can read here.
SONY A7Sii (x2)
We love our Sony A7sii's. They function as advertised, small, mirrorless units with absolutely ridiculous low light performance. In fact, a little party trick of ours (by ours I mean mine, Jordan) is to look across a dark field or room and dial up the ISO incredibly high to show people how our camera's can literally shoot in the dark.
When we wouldn't dare push past 1600 ISO on our Canon DSLRs, we'll totally dial up to 8,000+ ISO when needed. In fact, we once used footage shot at 25,000 ISO for a commercial project we were working on. It was noisy, but totally useable for the purpose of the shoot.
These are our primary cameras on the wedding day, they'll be close to us all day long. They do have some unique features, and drawbacks, but we won't get into those here. You can send us an email if you're interested!
This camera was our most recent pick up and has quickly become our favourite! We love it's size! It fits into a purse or backpack with ease, and we find ourselves carrying it almost wherever we go! We carry it around with a Sony 24mm, which with the 1.5x APSC crop factor becomes a 36mm equivalent.
Moreover, we love the fact that this tiny package can match the picture profiles of the A7sii (Cine4, if anyone was wondering). Overall, an awesome C camera that we use on a daily basis.
This camera was our first introduction to Sony! We purchased it as our original C camera before we bought the A7sii's. We've had a love-hate relationship with the camera. It falls in the awkward range between point-and-shoot and DSLR. To be honest, the ISO sensitivity isn't nearly in the range of other Sony models (which it was never designed to be), which makes it a great camera for outdoor ceremonies, but not indoor speeches. Overall, decent camera, but limited uses.
We bought this camera right before our honeymoon so that we could have a camera to fit into Lauren's purse! If you haven't read about our honeymoon yet, you should do that here. We shot like crazy on this camera and fell in love instantly! We even use it at weddings! A point-and-shoot at weddings? Yeah, for real. We'll toss it onto a Gorilla Pod and leave it at the base of the aisle, right next to Lauren. It's our fail safe shot, if for whatever reason Lauren doesn't nail a shot of the the bride coming down, we know that this camera will give us something to work with! Annnnnnnd, don't look too closely at our films, but we totally have used it once to bail us out!
GOPRO HERO 4 BLACK
Everyone needs an awesome action cam in their kit, and ours is the Hero 4 Black by GoPro. It's exactly what you'd expect out of a GroPro. This camera has come in handy a million times, most notably while surfing in Tofino. We also use it at wedding ceremonies, as a fifth camera. We put it really high on a light stand and get a cool top down angle for ceremony films!
DJI MAVIC PRO
Because who doesn't love drones, right? Seriously, people are obsessed! We once received a wedding inquiry that asked us to film their ceremony from the sky, with three drone angles. We told them that while potentially cool, it was a terrible idea and not really our style. People need to hear the drone hard truth sometimes... Anyways, our Mavic is awesome! To be honest, we don't use it at many, if any, weddings. We usually just fly it for fun and use it to take really cool photos at the lake.
ZOOM H1 + RODE SMART LAV (x2)
In our opinion, capturing good, clean audio is just as important as capturing good video. There is nothing worse than trying to make bad audio, decent audio. We can't even count the number of times we've been called and someone said "I hired someone to shoot me a video, but the audio is terrible, can you fix it?" In order to capture great audio we use the Zoom H1 with RODE smart lav units on the groom and officiant at all ceremonies. We'll also use this combination whenever we shoot interview style footage as well. After setting up these two units, we know we'll be able to have crystal clear audio from every ceremony.
I should also mention that a Zoom H1 on a Gorilla Pod has totally bailed us out in a number of terrible audio situations. It's really simple to rig up and can be deployed discreetly almost anywhere.
The Zoom H5 is our audio workhorse. We will plug this unit directly into sound systems, speakers, DJ turntables, or whatever other piece of audio gear will give us a good output signal. In not-so-nerdy terms, this recorder allows us to record the same sound that everyone hears from the sound system, directly onto a nifty little SD card. About 80% of the audio we use comes from the H5.
It's important to note that we carry around every possible connection cable with this unit. XLR, 1/4 inch, RCA - 1/8 inch and so much more. Audio is so important that it's better to be over prepared than have to rely on someone else.
Stabilization is the least glamorous, but most important part of our wedding filmmaking kit. If your footage is shaky no one wants to watch it, it's as easy as that.
To every wedding we carry around the following:
- x2 Manfrotto Tripods
- x2 Manfrotto Monopods
- x1 Zhiyun Crane V1
- x1 Edelkrone Slider Plus
Each one of these units is fitted with a Manfrotto 502 fluid head or plate. This allows us to switch cameras between stabilizers with no quick plate fumbling.
Our encouragement to young filmmakers is to invest in good stabilization first. Buy a tripod and a monopod before anything. Those two pieces of gear allow you to shoot so many projects where handheld wouldn't suffice.
Our lighting set up is pretty simple. Where possible, we use natural light, but we have one little bag in our kit which contains a Dedolight DLH4 and an Aputure AL528. We also picked up an Aputure ALM9 which we mount on top of the A7sii, attached to the Zhiyun Crane, during reception dancing.
In conclusion, we have an addiction to gear. But seriously, we're always trying to limit our gear selection, mostly because we hate having to carry so much stuff around, but also because it's nice to streamline our filmmaking process.
If you have questions about our gear, we'd love to answer them for you! Feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email! We're always happy to help!
Lauren & Jordan