• Johnny Hendrikus

Essential Kit for Wedding Videographers on a Budget

“Whisper something in her ear that you wouldn’t tell your mum and action!” One of the many prompts I use to get a laugh or a giggle out of a newly wedded couple before clicking my record button. Wedding videography is a sport, it's upbeat, fast-paced and requires reliable gear that is going to quickly and efficiently capture the moments, that’s why it’s important you have full control and confidence in your gear that it’s going to capture the best shot every time.

At the end of the day a wedding only happens once, you’re only there once, and therefore every shot you get is as important as the last.

For this, my absolute number one recommendation over any camera, lens, drone, sound equipment, is your SD card. I once read an ancient proverb and it said “thy is only as good as thy SD card”, meaning you can shoot all the beautiful shots you want, but until they’re off your camera and on your computer you haven’t captured anything at all. For this, I didn’t skimp on my storage and bought the Sony TOUGH 128gb which is a one-piece SD card 15x stronger than anything else on the market. I’ve never been caught out with a faulty SD card but I have damaged and cracked them over time pushing them in and out of my camera and USB adapters, a risk just simply not worth it especially shooting weddings.

That aside, I’ll give you the top 8 essentials you need to kick off your wedding videography career. I’ve spent four years filming weddings and have built up my kit over time. I’m going to provide you with my exact kit so you can see what I use, but this list here is more of a general list of gear to consider in which you could pick and choose which brands & models you see fit for your budget.

Johnny's Set-up

My Kit

Drone:

DJI Mavic Pro 2 2.5 inch

5 stop ND filter

Camera (A):

Panasonic Lumi x GH5

12-35mm f2.8

Rodenstock Variable ND filter

Camera (B):

Panasonic Lumix S5

24-70mm F2.8

Polar Pro PM Variable ND filter

Zacuto cage

Wasabi batteries

Sound:

Sony UTX B03 wireless lapel

Rode Videomic Pro

Top 8 Items To Consider

#1 – V90 SD card.

You want to buy an SD card that can record the speeds that your camera can handle. Most shoot in 8-10 bit 4k so you want something that can read and write at least 150mb per second. I’d recommend the Sony RUGGED 128GB, but a good cheaper version would be the SanDisk Extreme Pro.


#2 – ND Filter.

I don’t care how nice your lens is, if you’re filming video and using shutter speed and aperture to adjust your lighting situation then you’re already a step behind what the professionals are doing. ND filters allow you to maintain a correct shutter angle in every lighting situation, and without it, you end up with jittery fragmented footage. I never change my shutter speed from 25fps or 50fps for full speed, or 50fps or 100fps for half speed.


If you want to learn more about shutter angles, Gerald Undone does a good job breaking it down. I’d recommend anything from Syrp or Polar Pro. Rodenstock does a pretty good job too if you can get your hands on one.

#3 – Lapel Mics.

While couples recite their vows and the celebrant conducts the ceremony, it’s important to capture good quality audio for a wedding. I recommend a lapel mic so you can attach the lapel to the celebrant, which works to capture their audio and is usually close enough to pick up the vows of the couple. For this I recommend the Sony Lapel Mics, or if you’re on a budget the Rode Go’s, although I’ve had experience with them cutting out from distances longer than five metres.



#4 – Drone.

Drone’s are a give or take, but I’ve put them here at #4 as it has become a staple inclusion for wedding video services. It’s one of the first questions I get from a couple is “do you do drone?”. Drones are great because they allow you to introduce the space and venue. Couples go through months of planning to finally decide on a venue and you want to be able to preserve that effort by including it in your video. Although not essential, it is becoming an expectation.


I shoot on the MAVIC Pro 2 but you can get a DJI Mini for $800 to get your foot in the door. The biggest recommendation I can give with a drone is to get a set of ND filters so you can keep your frame rate consistent. Drone shots usually have a bit of movement and you want to have your footage looking silky smooth.



#5 – Batteries.

It's guaranteed you’ll gas through a whole battery shooting video, so before you get caught high and dry with a dead camera you should invest in at least one more battery pack. I usually rock the Wasabi’s as they’re cheap enough to buy and have relatively good battery life.

#6 – Lens.

The old saying is “you date your bodies but you marry your lenses”, meaning the lens that you choose should be with you right throughout any camera body you might have. Camera bodies are always going to upgrade with better sensors and technology, but lenses always stay quite true to their function. I shoot on a 24-70mm because it gives me enough width to capture wide shots of the tables, venue and group shots, but tight enough at 70mm to give me plenty of bokeh and character to my mid to close shots.


If you can, spend your money here on the lens and get yourself something that’s going to be versatile and functional. Remember weddings are run and gun, you don’t want to be flicking between lenses all the time as you might miss the moment!


#7 - Camera 2

I’m not being biased because I use Panasonic but I genuinely think the LUMIX G85 and in general, the LUMIX micro four-thirds range packs some serious punch for the price. Although they’re about a B student in taking photos, they’re a solid A+ when it comes to their video functionality. They’ve got great battery life, easy to navigate menus and a whole lot of lenses to choose from.


If it were up to me, the ultimate starter pack for under $2,500 would be a Lumix G85 with a 12-35mm F2.8. Of course, Sony put out some beautiful cameras with full-frame sensors, and Canon now have a range of Mirrorless camera’s, it's up to you which company you like best and the budget you’re working with.

#8 – Camera 1

Now, this could be a Go Pro, your phone or a cheaper camera, but you want something you can put on a tripod and leave to record the whole ceremony and speeches. It doesn’t have to be polished or look overly flashy, it just needs to serve its purpose and that’s to document the processions. In all my wedding videos I use the audio from the A cam to overlay and include in my finished video.


The A cam should have your audio set up into it, and this should never turn off throughout the whole ceremony. Your B cam is the one you’re using to get the nice cinematic shots with.

About Johnny Hendrikus

Johnny Hendrikus is a Wellington-based content creator and photographer. After finishing his design degree at Massey in 2015, he has spent the last five years as a content creator in the photography and video sphere. When Johnny isn't shooting wedding videos in the summer or editing rugby or travel content, he loves to whip on his hiking boots and mission up somewhere high to shoot a sunrise or sunset.


Check out more of his work here!