So you started doing weddings and business is taking off. Your old clients have referred you to all their friends and money is starting to flow in. Now you’ve decided to step away from your kit lenses and old tripod in exchange for supports and lenses that will take your game to the next level.
Without getting heavily into it, my approach is that the only supports I need for a wedding are a stabilizer and a fluid head tripod. You can also use a shoulder rig (or a gimbal if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one), but the important thing to note is you need something to move around with and capture the action. Also, if you’d like to add a slider to your tripod, that’s cool too. If you’re a one-person band, get a Glidecam. You’ll thank me later.
Now down to the nitty-gritty
If you’re using a Glidecam (or a Flycam, Steadicam, or VariZoom for that matter) you are going to want a super-wide. This lens is going to allow you to capture your whole setting, the church, golf course, synagogue, or wherever you are. These lenses are also very forgiving, where shakes are less noticeable and you won’t risk heads getting cut off in the shot. These lenses are also great for getting the bride’s dress in its entirety. It’s the one day she gets to wear that dress, and it is your duty as a videographer to get it all. Most of us need versatile lenses for both photo and video so here are some options: For APS-C, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5, and Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 are all solid choices. For full-frame, The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 are both really great lenses. If you won’t be using it much for photo, the Rokinon 16mm T2.2 Cine is super sharp and is full manual (including iris) for excellent control.
For more detailed and intimate shots, you’re going to need a mid-range. For this, you’ll almost certainly want a prime. Prime lenses will give you that extra level of sharpness and detail. They are great for capturing emotion, and having something that’s fast will be a huge bonus to you as the sun goes down. Primes will help keep your ISO down and require less light, reducing noise. Also, if you set up smart, you can adjust your rig and swap lenses quickly to get a more in-depth shot with smooth motion. If you’re on a budget, both the Canon and Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lenses will give you excellent results for less than $150. If you’re looking for something a little higher end, try the Canon 50mm f/1.2 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4
You don’t need all the gear in the world to make incredible wedding films. Some of the most talented and successful wedding videographers I know do the most incredible work with just a wide-angle, a 50mm f/1.8, and a hand-held stabilizer. Don’t forget that the most important part of videography is creativity, and if you continue to be creative, you’ll continue to learn, grow, and be successful.
Jordan Claverie is Videomaker's Web Analyst.
50mm lens closeup from Shutterstock.