Let’s talk wedding cinematography gear for a minute. Each year my equipment evolves but one thing that I feel very strongly about is having backups. I’m sure a lot of startup or less experienced videographers are not thinking about this but there is no excuse for having your equipment fail you at a wedding and not having a backup. Certainly if you are just starting out then buying an extra set of equipment can be quite costly. But can you afford to capture something that cannot be duplicated?
A couple of tips that I’d like to pass on:
Test your equipment
If you haven’t filmed a wedding in a while it’s important to get your equipment out about a week before the wedding and do a quick run though to make sure everything is working properly. If not you’ve got some time to line up a replacement. If you wait until the night before you’re sunk.
At each wedding I start with a fresh set of batteries. Batteries for the audio recorders will last an entire day no problem so put a fresh one in at the start of the day and then you don’t have to worry about it. Also, change your camera batteries before an important segment is going to start. Usually right before the ceremony, the grand entrance or the toasts is a good idea. There’s nothing worse than having to switch batteries out during the ceremony. I’ve seen ceremonies that only lasted 8 minutes and to lose 30 seconds to a minute of footage because you had to change batteries would be bad.
Multiple sources of audio
I use multiple sources for acquiring audio during the ceremony and the speeches so that if something stops working I have other options. Typically the groom and the officiant are mic’d during the ceremony with my lavalier mics. I also tap into the sound system for a direct feed with an audio field recorder. I also have several small recorders that I can position on a podium or hide somewhere close in the flowers. If there are musicians performing live I like to place another recorder nearby to capture that as well.
And finally..have a backup. All of the essential gear that I need has a duplicate that I bring as a backup just in case. You don’t need two of everything. Just the essentials. Camera, audio, memory cards, etc. One thing I like to do is keep an extra bag in my car filled with extra gear, gaffer tape and tools. Here’s a quick snap of the backup audio recorders and different cables I keep for connecting to sound boards.
Capturing a wedding is a once in a lifetime event and there are no second takes. So be a good Boy Scout and be prepared. Get out ahead of potential issues and anticipate what will happen next.