Wedding videography with a DSLR

If you have attended a wedding recently with video coverage, you may have noticed that instead of a regular video camera, the videographer was using the same camera as the photographer. No he was not trying to horn in on the photographer’s business (at least we hope not). He was shooting video, high quality HD video. Initially added on to digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR) as an add-on, the video capabilities of these devices has been embraced by not only wedding videographers, but other filmmakers including those doing TV shows and documentaries, and in some cases Hollywood productions.

In most cases the cameras used are the Canon EOS 7D and 5DMKII although other models are also found. Why would we use a camera that is not specifically designed for video over one that is. The answer is image quality. DSLRs have much larger image sensors than video camcorders (at least those that wedding videographers can afford). This results in a much more film-like image due to the shallower depth of field. DLSRs are also more sensitive to light which allows us to get a cleaner image in dim lighting conditions. Another plus is interchangeable lenses. While many camcorders also have this feature, they tend to be big and bulky, not what we prefer shooting with. In fact a DSLR is smaller and lighter than the camcorders that we do use. As it looks just like the cameras that the photographer and guests have, it helps us blend in better.

But the main advantage is, as I mentioned, image quality. None of the HD cameras that are commonly used in wedding and event videography are quite as good, close perhaps, but the DSLR still has an advantage.  As an example, several noted videographers recently created the concept film City Of Lakes in India using Canon DSLRs.

We have just started using a Canon 7D in our work. While we still use our camcorders, the 7D brings a new dimension to our work. It is also interesting that when I pulled the camera out of the bag at a wedding we were filming a couple of weeks ago, the bride knew all about using a DSLR for video. The word is getting around!