In the past five years of shooting weddings I’ve accrued a lot of photographic and cinema gear. Although this accumulation of kit may have all been used over the span of a year there’s a few go-to items I’ve found make a huge difference in my ability to cover weddings by myself or as part of a team.
The first piece of my kit is not really used to record any key audio such as the reception or ceremony, instead this microphone will become your best friend as the quality of sound it records excels in the ambience and emotion of the wedding day. It’s during these events I find this easy to use microphone carries it’s weight with a good quality recording, without it much of the emotion and ambience would simple be missed. There’s no point recording a once in a lifetime event with sub-par onboard camera audio when the Rode Videomic Pro is readily available.
Following on with the RODE audio gadgetry is this miniature Sony Digital Flash Recorder. This piece of audio engineering is no secret to the Australian Wedding cinematographer’s gear bag and I’m pleased to say it’s been part of my regular kit for the past year.
So why is it so special?
When paired with a good quality lavalier microphone this tiny electronic marvel makes for a compact recording device that can easily be slipped into a grooms pocket, allowing the viewer to hear each emotional word said during those special moments. Additionally, the inbuilt auto levelling feature means you don’t need to check up on the recording during crucial events during the day.
I’ve personally found some fantastic uses for this device including when the bride and groom are preparing before the ceremony. It’s during this time the exchange of hand written cards between the bride and groom happens. With the sound recorder in place the reading of these personal messages truly creates some rememberable emotion in the story of their wedding day.
Okay, this is the last piece of audio equipment for this article I swear!
During the DSLR cinema uprising the Zoom H4N was the workhorse everyone turned to and to this day, it’s a staple for many cinematographers current kit. The Tascam DR-44WL on the other hand is the Lamborghini of audio recorders.
It’s features like the ability to dual record, which means you can have one track recording -10 db lower than your main track to avoid any peaking. WiFi is also a standout feature for me. You may ask, what’s Wifi doing on a audio recorder?
Let me explain, Tascam have created an app for their new current WL systems, it simply allows the user to monitor their levels via a smart device. If audio levels are peaking or too low the user will be able to adjust the audio levels remotely via the app. For the solo wedding cinematographer this is a must have feature as it puts the control in their hands more than ever.
This is my newest piece of gear after envy swelled in my eyes having witnessed my colleagues using them throughout all of last year. I had to get my hands on one after ‘borrowing’ it frequently from my industry friends. The Sirui monopod system is fantastic and certainly a real step up from other monopods I’ve used. This single leg even has the ability to lock off at its’ foot, allowing you to have both hands free. Using the Sirui P 324 Monopod has really saved me from getting my tripod out all the time for those static shots. It certainly does make all the difference on a big day / night shoots!
I also found, having this sturdy monopod really put me in a comfortable position to use non stabilised lenses up to the focal range of around 135mmm. Previously this was a big NO when using my older monopod system.
This one is very simple, but it’s a piece of gear that will make a huge difference on a long wedding day. The Tascam BP-6AA External Battery Pack has been designed for USB charging. In other words it allows you to plug in multiple devices when they’re nearing the end of their cycle. Whether it’s your new iPhone or a 4 track recorder this nifty piece of backup will provide a little bit more of a power boost, making portability a true reality.
Remember when I said “Okay guys last piece of audio gear” I may be slightly bending what I said!
The last piece of equipment I’ll recommend to any wedding cinematographer out there is the Rycote Under & Over Covers. Their certainly an inexpensive piece of gear to add to your bag, and they’ll make a big difference to your audio on a windy day. Lavalier microphones should be paired for life with these!
How they work:
Step 1) Remove sticky adhesive from the packet.
Step 2) Apply the stick adhesive to either clothing or skin close to the person’s mouth.
Step 3) Apply your small lavalier microphone to the other side of the adhesive.
Step 4) Apply the correct coloured windshield over your lavalier microphone.
The end result should be a camouflaged microphone, allowing you to capture perfect clear audio.