We have been a major player in the Chicago Wedding Videography business since 2006 and I can tell you first-hand that we have undergone huge equipment changes in the past couple of years. This is mostly because of the DSLR video revolution. There are many pros and cons to using DSLR cameras for videography, and I will get to some of the in a moment. But first it’s important to understand that there are two types of wedding videography in my opinion. Many videographers put the video camera on a tripod and hit record, burn that video to a DVD or Blu-Ray disc and call it a day. They are really just documenting the day. Then there are the videographers that are more full service and artistic and do a great deal of work after the wedding. That is to say they spend a lot of time at the computer making the wedding into a story full of music and cinematic story-telling. Obviouschild Productions falls into the latter. We got married and we understand that budget is a big part of planning a wedding. So, if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a videographer, you had better get a product that your Uncle Bob couldn’t do himself using his 500 dollar camcorder. If you are doing the work yourself, please take a look at our TIPS for filming a wedding. One more awesome thing about DSLRs is that they take great pictures. I’m not saying you’re likely to parlay your videography business into other business, but we have done just that. Because we started out using DSLRs our move into wedding photography and architectural photography was a lot less painful.
Take a look at how to start a DSLR Wedding Videography Company.
Now, this is where the DSLR comes in. Here in Chicago, our summer is short, and that means we do a lot of wedding video work indoors. One of the biggest difficulties a wedding videographer faces is the absence of light. It’s no secret that most weddings, especially the receptions, tend to be dark. The guest like it this way. It is more romantic and encourages a crowded dance floor. However, a bunch of candles just don’t provide a lot of light. One of the big advantages that the DSLR has over a typical video camera is its low-light ability. Even at high ISO settings the noise is minimal. A typical camcorder has a sensor the size of a pencil eraser, whereas a DSLR can have a sensor the size of a postage stamp or even bigger. This extra size in the senor means that each pixel gets more light! This is a really big deal. Add to that the fact that the lenses are interchangeable and you have the ability to put super fast lenses on the front and you have another major advantage of the DSLR.
Shooting at f1.4 allows the camera to see in dark better than we humans can. I have written an article to help you understand aperture settings.Does that mean you should never use a kit lens for wedding videography?
Additionally, when I am not in full manual exposure, I like to film with my exposure compensation adjusted to be about 1/3 stop down (dark) – because it is a lot easier to bring up the dark regions of the shot than it is to rescue blown out white areas.
There are some downsides that we have had to adjust to. One of the most talked about is the need to manually focus the lenses. Coming from a videography background and short-film making, this was nothing new to me. Almost all professional videography is manually focused. And certainly everything in Hollywood. Yes, it does take practice, but it is not a reason to abandon the idea of using DSLR to shoot video. The next short-coming of the DSLR is that it takes a large investment to have all the various lenses necessary to capture a wedding. You likely will not be using the same lens to film the ceremony from the back of the Church as you will be using to film the dancing or cake cutting at the reception. This is not something you can skimp on either, because you really are going to want to save up to buy those fast f2.8 + lenses. Audio, is another area where the DSLR can be a problem. When I first started using DSLR there was a learning curve as I struggled to capture good, clear audio. Many videographers have turned to products like the Zoom H4N. This is exactly what OCP has done. The on board 1/8″ microphone jack is good enough for most of the day, but the ceremony requires some extra attention to assure good audio. Every ceremony is different and there is no universal tool.
One idea we employ is to throw a smartphone in the breast pocket of the Groom.
There are many cheap MP3 recording apps and this can really add some punch to your clarity and volume. Syncing the video and the audio can be tough and add a lot of time to your post production, but software like Plural Eyes has really saved us an enormous amount of time in the editing room. To put it simply, this software does the audio syncing for you! It has been on of the best purchases for us for audio challenges.
Below is an example of a wedding filmed entirely using DSLR cameras.