Why Wedding Videographers Need Good Gear

When you’re searching for a wedding videographer, one thing is apparent, we tend to cost a lot of money. There is a reason for that, and truth be told, most of us in the wedding business don’t charge enough with the massive amount of overhead that we carry with us. Today, I want to explain why we need good, high-end gear to make some of those cinematic style wedding videos that you often see on social media platforms.

The Cinematic Look

Having a great, low light camera and low light lenses are part of the key to having such a great video to begin with. The DSLR has overtaken many traditional video cameras in recent years as they provide much better clarity in sensor size and evolution.

A cheap DSLR can start at about $500 and a high end for what we can easily reach into the $3-4K range and that’s without good lenses.

The main difference between the $500 and say a $2,000, the tech that comes with it. Built in stabilization, the ability to record good in low light, audio inputs and outputs, dual memory recording, great ISO are all key features a wedding videographer needs and features cost money.

In order to achieve the cinematic look, you also need the experience to take the camera and change the settings to be able to give it that motion picture look. Frame rates, recording in log style shooting and being able to tell a great story are all key components to having the cinematic look, if you don’t have that experience, then you’ll need to learn it.

The Floating Look

Another key component to great wedding video is the floating look. From the popular drone footage and sliders that you often see now to using gimbals, a device that helps make the video camera feel like its floating.

A gimbal is basically a device that absorbs the foot traffic that the operator creates, giving a more smooth, free floating look.

One of the newest things on the market right now is IBIS, in camera body stabilization. This is where the sensor itself is built onto a gimbal inside the body of the camera. Again, you find this in higher end camera units.  

And again, these devices cost money, which adds to the overall cost of the wedding video production. Gimbals can range from a few hundred for manual ones to several hundreds of dollars for a brush-less motorized one depending on what you want.

Hearing Everything Well

Being able to hear your vows is by far the most important thing at the wedding ceremony. That being stated, you simply need good audio devices.

Most of the time they will come in the form of wireless microphones that are worn by the groom or the wedding officiant. A more popular trend is to use and audio recorder which is very similar to the wireless mic, it just records locally to the device instead of the wireless device and many times is clearer too.

Using a Tascam DR-10 for example, can easily set you back $200 or more. The great thing about those devices is that you can also put them on brides as they make them in white as well as black.

Finally, if your wedding ceremony is going to use an in-house audio system, we many times will need to have a XLR audio recorder to get a direct board feed.

A decent wireless mic will easily cost $300 and of course there are the audio recorders ranging from $200-400 each.  I for example, carry all the above at the wedding because you won’t know until you get to the venue what’s going to happen many times. It’s better to be over prepared and not need it than to need it and not have it.

The Post Production

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Ah, yes post-production. This is what you newlyweds never see or hear about. There are more overhead costs in this area too. From the super computer than can crunch that 4K video, to the music you must purchase, then the LUT’s or color correction filters you must buy and even the media we put your wedding video onto, it has lots of costs.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

Computers that render just normal 1080HD many times need to have an iCore 7 processor with easily 12+GB of RAM, plus hard drive space, backups and a graphics card that can process everything. On the low end, you’re lucky to get by building one yourself for about $1,000, but many of use just build a system from places like Dell or HP that can get into the $3,000+ mark.

I have an iCore 7, six core processor HP with 32Gb of RAM, 3TB solid state hard drives, dual monitors and a 6GB graphics card. That system costs about $3,500.

Add in Adobe Creative Cloud for about $600 a year, plus music license for $200 a year, then about $200 in LUT’s and another $400 in backup drives and memory sticks, the computer will get into the 4-5,000 price range.

Okay, so you get my point about the cost of the gear. One thing to think about throughout today’s blog is the amount of gear we purchase and use at your wedding to make a great video.  

With that being said, we need good gear in order to make a good wedding video. It takes a lot of production value to make those wonderful, emotional videos that you see. It takes a lot of practice, dedication and understanding to make them too.

Sure, you’ll always see those offering a wedding video for a few hundred bucks (you see it more with wedding photography), but more times than none, there is little expertise and those “pros” won’t be in the wedding market for more than a handful of years to begin with.