Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


So if you take Philip Blooms DSLR wedding advice and decide to use two Canon 7Ds you are looking at a minimum spend of £10,370…remember you will need to buy Canon L glass if you intend to get full benefit of the shallow depth of field as cheap glass is soft when fully open. A big minus to having to buy “L” glass is not the glass itself but the 1.6x APS sensor…your 50mm f1.2 becomes an 80mm f1.2 and so on.

Your weddings will become a nightmare… forget the initial cost, I get serious moaning from various colleagues who are still in the wedding game about the time it takes to edit their weddings and this leads to a severe editing bottle neck trying to satisfy customers waiting 6-8 weeks for their DVD.

The other major problem you have is your second cameraman, you may have time to get used to the 7D and it’s quirky way of working but you also have to rely heavily on your 2nd cameraman being as good as you and in my 25 years experience that does not happen, no one is as good as you…or so you think. Not to mention an extra wage and what if the 2nd cameraman is not available due to illness…you are up the creek without a paddle.

The other problem with a 2nd person is focus and exposure…DSLRs are bad enough to use but getting critical focus is a nightmare and a lot more effort than video, exposure…well lets see how many over and under exposed shots your 2nd cameraman produces,bad enough using a video camera wait till you use this baby !

The video by “stillmotion” filmed with 3 DSLRs was not filmed on a measly budget so are you also willing to up your prices to compensate in the middle of a recession not to mention your cowboy friends charging £300 a wedding ! Strangely these DSLRs have one of the worst rolling shutters in the industry but it’s not that obvious in “stillmotion’s” video clip. See this link

hero_1_largeRemember it wasn’t that long ago when you were all using film adapters to get the same look and where is that thriving market now ? Take my advice stick to video till we get past this stupid DSLR stage you will kick yourselves if you spend £10K upwards this year and Canon bring out a film look camcorder during 2010. RED Digital Cinema are working on a budget film look camcorder called “Scarlet” at just over the £8K price bracket during 2010.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

8 thoughts on “DSLR basic wedding kit

  1. So Your between gear and you need to get something for weddings , what do you get these days?
    BTW I would scale down a fair bit from mr Blooms kit, I can buy a light and a stand and get the F4 70 200with , with the change I can get the tokina 16mm wide its a wedding ffs. Oh and get the slower 50mm as well.
    I know its not as romantic as all those L series lens …
    Jack Atley

  2. I would use a Sony EX-3 if I were still filming weddings. I would use the DSLR for openings and closings to music. If you are planning to give your bride and groom the best then “L” glass should be the only choice start the way you mean to go on. As my father always told me “cheap’s dear”.

  3. Yes the Sony is a great camera, I was just ( last week) outbid on one on ebay lol. I would love to be working in that bigger colour space.
    I am not being a jerk about those lens’ I happen to know that Stillmotion get away with the cheaper 70- 200mm F4 Non IS. And I have used that Tokina wide it is sharp as a tack. A 1.4 opposed to a 1.2 the 1.4 is pretty respectable at video resolutions. But I spose its a bit in the eye of the beholder. And what you can do with it.
    I really love golf and have a dropped a bundle on scientifically designed clubs. Never the less I am sure Tiger Woods could could still beat me with a stick!
    I have yet to have a bride or groom ask me what camera or lens I am using. In much the same way they probably never asked the florist what type of watering can they used.
    Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against those lens’ , they are all great,
    I personally don’t consider them necessary in wedding videography. Having said that if Canon were to ever give me one I would claim that a full set of L series Lens is the bare minimum for shooting a DSLR wedding 🙂
    I can only talk for myself
    Jack Atley

  4. Not sure I told people to go out and buy what you have suggested. If I had to shoot weddings I said I would use DSLRs. Not for everyone. You also dont need a lot of what you mention.

    Why two audio recorders? You only need one for both cameras. One z-finder for handheld is fine. Other one on tripod without is what I do.

    I wouldn’t use the 16-35mm F2.8 on 7d. I use Tokina 11-16 f2.8. Much cheaper. You don’t need the f1.2 50mm, it’s just what I have, never said it was essential.

    Not sure why you are so upset about me saying that I would use DSLRs to shoot weddings. Many people are doing wonderful stuff shooting weddings exclusively with DSLRs. It’s not for everyone!

  5. “Why two audio recorders?” You would need two audio recorders if 1 camera is filming at the house and getting interviews with the bride etc. The other camera is filming at the church or the grooms house it all depends on what package the bride and groom choose.

    “One z-finder” We have got to keep Steve Weiss in business so 2 is my recommendation…kidding aside as focus is so critical especially in a dark church both operators should have the same chance by using a Z finder.

    Can’t argue with the Tokina as you will have used it and come to a conclusion about it’s performance.

    50mm on the 7D at 80mm would not be as sexy as it would be on the 5D2 but it would allow you to film in very low lighting conditions.

    Not upset at all…I am only giving my take on it and my 20 years experience filming hi-end wedding productions.

    “stillmotion” are the perfect example of a great wedding experience produced entirely with HD DSLRs.

    I like to point out the pitfalls as well as the good points with all HD technology. When you are in the middle of a wedding season and you have 10 wedding to edit you need a workflow that will get the work done and I think using the DSLR will cause a serious bottle neck in such circumstances.

  6. Look I agree these solutions are not yet perfect, but my competitors are using 2 5Ds I have to move with that. I have the 2 7Ds and a pair of GH1’s. Even the Gh1 blows everything away in its price range and I would need to spend 3X that to get a video camera that would never look as good as it. Let alone the 7D.
    Like I said I manage to get over 30 weddings a year. Small time but pretty decent for a one man show. In a small town. under 200K people
    You did forget the wireless lavs Sliders steadicams , decent fluid head tripods , a monopod , a few lights , yeh ditch those big cards get 4GB if it fails its not game over,and well other stuff , Weddings are a hard game there is never enough light or time. That is why we all jaw drop at stilmotion , not because its pretty, because they got those shots in the war zone.
    They are disciplined enough to do that. It sets the bar for all of us.
    It makes me want to make this weeks wedding better than last weeks ( sorry Brides).
    I know those Lens are “better’ than what I use. But I still need to work to eat ( drink heavily ) and feed my family. Sorry its not very sexy but with a dollar that is 85USC sexy is not affordable all the time.
    If I was to be angry it would be towards the fool that decided a same day edit was a good idea…sigh
    Jack Atley

  7. The stupid dslr stage? While the equipment isn’t ideal, what is, especially on a budget. The capabilities of dslrs are revitalizing entire industries. Photography, videography, documentary filmmaking, music and concert videos, web testimonials. Not to mention the massive ecosystem suddenly appearing with very reasonably priced equipment opening up new creative avenues to huge numbers of people. Your snarky comments aside, photographers and filmmakers can’t just shoot anymore. Software skills and digital editing have become necessary extensions to the art form. For the cost of a low end pro video recorder I can buy a complete kit with digital sound and rent prime lenses. The workflow might be more tedious, but I can produce high grade professional results for less than a tenth of what it cost five years ago. For the pros who have been at it for decades and have access to RED cameras, crews, etc, you should thank your lucky stars there’s now a reasonable path for upstarts to learn the processes necessary to be employable. Your whining about how “hard” it is to find good help is just that whining. Nobody can shoot as good as you can? Yeah right. What I can’t figure out is, why all the bitterness? All I see are industry advances that make your skills more valuable, more marketable, and more lucrative. Anybody can pick up a camera and shoot video, but the end result will be more people paying good money for training, and the rest calling a professional demanding the results most people know is now available. I just bought a T2i, the cheapest camera I know will deliver professional images. Why not a 60d or better? Because I know I’ll have to buy a second body soon to do multi cam shoots. My original interest was church testimonials, advocacy videos for foster and adoptive parents, and shooting a few town halls to keep my local representative’s feet to the fire. There are thousands more just like me whose interest in both photography and film has been reignited by technological advances. You should be thrilled.

  8. Philip I know you have ample years experience in film and my next comment certainly isn’t directed at you…

    I quote from the original poster: “in my 25 years experience” STOP, there is your problem… its not the fact that you think DSLR are terrible for weddings, its that you are used to filming with more conventional hardware. The way in which a DSLR functions is not something you are used to, so you slate them… Half of the equipment you have listed there is completely un-necessary! You do not need a 10k setup to film weddings…

    However, if you happen to have a setup that costs that much, then using it is a great idea!

    I have to say that out of all of the articles I have read up on shooting weddings, this has been the most useless and misleading.

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