These days there are so many options that it’s hard to choose the perfect camera for your purpose. Do you go for best quality with the disadvantage of portability and weight (which it can became a real problem towards the end of a filming day) or you choose a more portable set up that allows you go into the real action?
I would say: don’t look at the process but at what you would like to achieve.
What’s the message you want to deliver with your video? Do you want to show how beautiful are the light works and visuals made by artists for a specific music festival? Or you are filming a daylight party on a boat in the river Thames?
For the first scenario I would go for a camera that works well in low light, as the Sony a7sII, even if it came out few years ago it’s still at the top range of the game. Why? Because it’s light, can shoot in 4K, slowmotion up to 120fps and has and incredibly high ISO that makes it the perfect camera for clubs, festivals and any kind of event that requires professional quality without having the hassle of a big camera as the Canon CineCamera or Sony FS7.
If you are filming during the day a camera with a good sensor to perform in low light is not that important. But still you have to think of what you want to capture. Are you making an aftermovie that shows great visuals of the DJ playing, the crowd dancing, the birds flying in a nice open sky, while the sun is up and warm? Do you see all these in slowmotion? If so then you are looking for a cinematic effect! Go with a high quality, yet portable, camera with a great internal stabilisation system as the Panasonic GH5. Or again our beloved Sony a7sII.
Take in consideration the use of a gimbal or crane. Cameras as the Sony a7sII or the Panasonic GH5 works perfectly with it as their small size.
We use the Zhiyun Crane. It can load a camera plus lens up to 2.5kg which is quite a lot so you wouldn’t have any problems with virtually any lens attached to a camera as the Panasonic or Sony, but bare in mind that the heavier the lens the more the gimbal has to work to make it stable. So to avoid shakiness especially when going down the stairs or running use a relatively lightweight lens (not as light as the Sony 28mm f/2.8).
When I filmed for WE ARE FSTVL, a famous dance music festival in London I could have take lots of gears but I went for a different approach.
I thought of what kind of video I wanted to deliver, it wasn’t a cinematic portrait of the festival (one good reason was that I couldn’t get the intimacy I wanted due to big scale of the festival), it wasn’t a reportage with a narration showing all the stands, stages and activities of the festival. But there was something fascinating in just moving around and seeing all these people dressed differently dancing together, drinking, talking, having fun.
So I decided to use just a GoPro Hero 5 with a chest mount. The video will start from my house and tell the story of someone travelling to the festival, with the nice add of crazy stuff on the way (as giving flowers to strangers). I also took a mirrorless camera with a vintage look to take photos, so the video would show me actively taking pictures, that would have been my way of interacting with the festival. Is important to define what your role in the event will be when you go for this way of storytelling. Filming with an action camera as GoPro automatically gives a personal prospective of what you are seeing (not just filming). It’s a different situation with the Sony as7 or Panasonic GH5 as you are separating yourself from what you see. With GoPro you became part of the story you’re telling and so you have to define your role before filming!
Now it’s time for you to watch what I have with just a GoPro at WE ARE FSTVL!