Budget Wedding Filmmaking Gear Guide for Beginners in 2020

– Hey guys, my name is Matt Johnson and today I want to share
with you my budget wedding filmmaking gear guide for 2020. So, if you are just getting
started in wedding filmmaking, or you’re considering getting
started in wedding filmmaking and you wanna know what
gear you need to buy to create a beautiful wedding film, without breaking the
bank or going into debt, I made this video for you. Let’s jump right in. The first thing you will need is a camera. And I’m my opinion the best budget camera for wedding filmmaking right now is this, the Sony a6400. It shoots 4K has amazing
autofocus with face detection, the battery life is improved
over previous Sony cameras. It is very resistant to overheating. You get all the Sony picture profiles like my favorite, MattFlat, which I will link to down
in the video description, and you also have access
to a ton of lenses. I own and love this camera and for $900, I think it offers some
of the best video quality you can get for under a thousand. The only thing I wish the a6400 had was in-body image stabilization
and better battery life. But considering all its
pros, I think it’s a great budget camera for wedding filmmaking. Also, you should know
that this camera as well as all the other gear I’m
gonna be talking about is gonna be linked down
in the video description if you wanna check it out. Now, let’s talk about camera upgrades. If you have more than $900 to
spend on your first camera, what camera should you buy? I would recommend the Sony a6600, which for $1400 will give
you in-body stabilization and better battery life
than the Sony a6400. As a plus, you also get
eye-detect auto focus for video, which is very impressive. Moving on, let’s talk about 2 things that you will need for
your camera to work. Batteries and memory cards. On my Sony A7S II which
uses the same batteries as the a6400, I go through around 4 batteries
on a typical wedding day. For that reason I would
recommend investing in at least 4 NP-FW50 batteries for the a6400, as well as make sure you bring
along your battery charger when filming so you can
charge your batteries throughout the wedding day. If you have the budget, I
would recommend purchasing this Watson dual battery charger. I’ve been using it for years
and it is great for charging batteries fast. Alternatively, if you decide
to purchase the a6600 instead, it has much better battery life and I would expect to go
through 1 to 2 batteries on a wedding day. I would still buy as least 3 NP-FZ100 batteries for the a6600 to
be safe and bring a charger. Moving on, memory cards are
one of the cheapest things you will need to purchase
for your new camera, but I would still recommend spending a bit extra on a quality brand. In less than $40 these
SanDisk 128GB SD cards will be plenty fast and
should give you approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes
of recording time in 4K, and over 5 hours recording time in 1080p. I usually go through 1 SD card, plus a little bit of a second card, so I would recommend picking
up 3 SD cards just to be safe. Moving on, let’s talk about lenses. Starting with wide angle lenses. You’re gonna want a good wide angle lens so you can show your audience
a beautiful establishing shot of the wedding venue. It’s no contest. For a budget wide angle, I wholeheartedly recommend
the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 lens. This lens is not gonna break the bank while still providing
you with great autofocus and amazing performance in low light. I’m still kinda shocked at
how Sigma priced this lens, it’s awesome. Moving on, let’s talk about
medium focal length lenses. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is a great option. Just like the 16mm Sigma,
you’re still gonna get great autofocus and low light
performance from this lens. Do be aware that this
lens is focus by wire, so if you want to adjust
your focus manually, you may notice a slight lag
between whenever you move the focus ring and the
focus actually adjusts. This is definitely a
con and for this reason I have an alternative lens
recommendation for you as well. The Sony E 35mm f/1.8
lens is more expensive, slightly tighter and
doesn’t let in as much light as the cheaper Sigma but it is much better with manual focus and it also has Sony’s optical image stabilization built in. If you buy an a6400 and
you want to shoot handheld, because the camera does not
have in-body image stabilization you will need a lens
with OSS like this one so your shots aren’t shaky. For these reasons if you
can afford the Sony 35mm, I think that’s a better
buy over the Sigma 30mm. At this point you’re probably thinking, “Matt I need a tighter lens, I need a lens where I can
film closeup shots of people.” Well, because you’re on a
budget, I’m not gonna recommend that you pickup an 85mm or a 135mm lens, instead I have a different option for you. I recommend you purchase a zoom lens and this zoom lens is gonna
let you hit those longer focal links while filming the
couple but it will also offer you the versatility of letting you use it to film your wedding ceremonies. Often times when filming a ceremony, you’re gonna be stuck on
the sides of the chairs, or sometimes the back of the church. So you’re gonna want a versatile lens that can zoom in a ton. My first choice is gonna be this, a 70-200mm lens. This is a very standard zoom level that offers great sharpness without being too large or heavy. And a ton of lens manufacturers offer 70-200mm zoom lenses. The con of the 70-200mm lens, is that this lens right
here is the cheapest 70-200 that Sony makes and it currently retails for $1400. This is a great lens, I love mine, but that is a huge chunk of
change when you’re trying to build a budget wedding filmmaking kit. So here’s my recommendation to you. Buy Canon’s 70-200mm f/4 lens for $600 instead of Sony’s for $1400. Then pick up a FotodioX Canon
EF to E-mount lens adaptor for $60 and voila, you
have an awesome zoom lens that will work great on your Sony camera. Please be aware that you are not going to get autofocus with this setup. If you want autofocus you
have to pony up the 1400 for the official Sony lens. So you’re looking at
roughly $660 for a zoom lens that you can use to
film closeups of people and of wedding ceremonies. Great, but this is a budget
wedding filmmaking guide. So, there’s gotta be some cheaper options for zoom lenses, right? First of all, those Canon 70-200mm lenses are quite plentiful on the used market, so you may be able to pick
one up for even cheaper. Second, if you want an
even more budget option, look at the Canon 70-300mm instead. This lens will still require
you to buy an adaptor for $60, but this lens sells new for $377 and I’ve seen it sold used for under $200. Not bad at all for a lens
with that much focal range. At this point you know what cameras and lenses you should buy, now it’s time to talk about
the other big investment that you need to make
for wedding filmmaking, audio gear. Don’t worry, it’s not as expensive as the cameras or the lenses but audio gear is arguably more important than the video gear because
your couple will forgive footage that isn’t
white balanced properly, or that’s slightly out of focus but they are not gonna forgive bad audio. First for audio, I would
recommend purchasing at least 1 Tascam DR-10L, 2 if you can afford it. I’ve already made a video about why I love this audio recorder, I’ll link to it up in the corner
and down in the description if you wanna watch it and
fall in love with it too. If you can only afford one DR-10L, I would put it on the groom
during the wedding ceremony so you can record his and the brides vows as well as hopefully
the officiants message, as long as they are standing close enough. If you can afford 2 DR-10L’s though, I would recommend putting one on the groom and one on the officiant, so
that way you’re guaranteed to get the vows and the entire message. These tiny recorders also
work great for recording letter readings or you
can throw one on someone giving a toast if you need to as well, they are super versatile. Don’t forget to pick up a triple A battery and a micro SD card for the DR-10L, it supports up to 32 GB cards. The other recorder that
I recommend you purchase is the Tascam DR-40X for $200. This recorder’s gonna let
you plug into the wedding venue and DJ audio soundboards
so you can have another source of audio from the
wedding ceremony and reception. With this recorder, you’re
also gonna wanna pick up a set of XLR quarter inch and RCA cables. I will link to all those
cables that I recommend down in the video description. These 3 cables will let
you connect to virtually any soundboard. Don’t forget a full size SD
card for recording audio, 3 double A batteries and you’re also gonna wanna pick up a set of headphones. Any cheap set will do,
you just need to be able to monitor your audio and
make sure that it’s recording. As a side note, if the DR-40X
is our of your budget at $200, be aware the Tascam has an
older DR-40 audio recorder which is basically
identical to the DR-40X. There are a lot of used options out there for significantly cheaper if
you wanna save some money. Let’s wrap up this gear guide
by talking about support gear. The gear that you’re
gonna need to stabilize your camera while shooting. This is a place where I’m gonna recommend you spend a bit more money, because in my experience if
you spend a bit more on high quality tripod or monopod,
it’s gonna last you years. Because the a6400 does not have
in-body image stabilization, you’re going to need something to keep this camera stable while filming, to do this I would recommend a monopod. I use and recommend the
Manfrotto video monopod, which currently retails for $230. The feet at the bottom
make it extra stable, the fluid tilt head is nice, this thing is a work horse
that can take a beating. If you want a cheaper option though, you can literally purchase
any photography monopod and it should still work,
though it may not be as stable. Now, you could shoot on a
monopod all day if you wanted to, I know filmmakers that do that, but wedding ceremonies
tend to be pretty long and you’re not gonna wanna
be standing there holding your camera up the entire time, that can be a pain. So in that case, I recommend
investing in a good tripod. For $307 the Manfrotto MVT502AM legs, and MVH500A Head, make for a great combo that isn’t too expensive. It has a smooth panning tilt head, and the head has a half ball
mount which makes it super easy to level on an uneven surface. If you don’t have a $300
budget for a tripod though, there are a ton of
cheaper tripods out there, including the Manfrotto Beefree
Live which retails for $188, I have that one and love it, of course depending on your budget, you could also go onto Amazon
and buy their Amazon basics video tripod, but I wouldn’t
expect that to last very long. Do keep in mind, one of the
reasons that I’ve recommended these Manfrotto monopods and tripods, is that they share the
same quick release plate. So you can take your camera off one and put it on the other very quickly which is critical for a fast
moving event like a wedding. With that, that’s all you
need to film a wedding. I know I filmed my first
wedding with less equipment even than this. But I know some of you are watching right now screaming at your screens, “Matt, what about the gimbal? What about the drones? What about the slider? What about all the other cool stuff?” Do not worry, notice that I said, need. I feel like those things are
more of a want than a need, you do not need those to
make a good wedding film, but they are nice so we
should talk about them. To be clear, spend your
budget on the things that you need first, then if you have leftover budget, now we can talk about
spending it on more things. The first think I would buy
would be a second camera for another angle during
wedding ceremonies and for a second shooter to use. Ideally, this would be the same camera or at least a camera from
the same manufacturer so you can match up the
colors easily when editing. Next, let’s talk about
what everybody loves, the gimbal. Gotta get those pretty
shots while you’re walking. For a cheap gimbal, I would
look at the Moza AirCross, which currently retails for $250. You may also be able to
find a Zhiyun Crane V2, or a Zhiyun Crane Plus used for that price or cheaper as well. All of these should serve
you well as a first gimbal. If you have a bit more budget though, the Jhiyun WEEBILL-S is one
of my favorite new gimbals. At $439 it isn’t nearly as cheap. But the motors are much stronger, so if you decide to upgrade
to a bigger full framed camera in the future or use heavier
lenses, this gimbal should be able to handle it. Lastly, let’s talk about drones. You love drones, I love drones, you don’t need a drone to film a wedding, but hey, I bring mine to every wedding, if there’s a change for me to fly, you know I’m gonna be doing it because I love flying my drone. For a budget drone I would
recommend the DJI Mavic Mini. At $400, this drone isn’t
gonna break the bank but it still offers
decent 2.7K video quality and in my opinion it is one
of the best starter drones available today. You’ll be able to get
some great aerial shots at weddings with it. If you wanna upgrade,
you should also consider the DJI Mavic Air. And that is my budget wedding filmmaking gear guide for 2020. Some of you are thinking,
“Matt the slider, you said slider, you
forgot about the slider.” you don’t need a slider. I own a slider, I have not
brought it to a wedding in years, instead of taking all the
time to set up the slider, I would much rather get
10 shots with a gimbal. Buy a gimbal, don’t buy a slider. With that, thank you so much for watching. I hope this video helps you get started in wedding filmmaking. I’ve linked all this gear
down in the description if you wanna check it out. It would also be a huge help
to me if you would consider liking this video and
subscribing if you wanna see more videos like it in the future. I also host a monthly wedding
film review livestream, where I review wedding films
submitted by people like you, and I would love to review your film. So, if you’d like to
submit a film for my next wedding film review livestream, you can click the link
down in the description to sign up for my email news letter where I will email you out
a link where you can submit your film about a week
before I host the livestream. Thanks so much for watching
and have a great day.


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