The Gear I Use for Filming Family Events

by Sean Setters
Whether for Christmas/Hanukkah, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, MLK Day, or in this case, Thanksgiving, holiday events offer exciting opportunities for documenting family traditions, personal relationships, physical development, and all the joys togetherness brings.
This Thanksgiving, I filmed my family throughout the day, focusing much of the camera's attention on my 14 month-old daughter, Olivia Jane. My hope is that she will enjoy watching videos such as these as she matures, with an eager fascination to see what life was like long before her long-term memory kicked in.
Of course, there's a ton of video filming options available, and while my own video kit is continuously evolving, the following items were what I used while filming that day:
Having only purchased the Canon EOS R about a month before Thanksgiving, this event was my first experience producing video with the camera. Overall, I came away impressed by the camera's performance. The EOS R was just small enough to allow the battery grip to be used with the DJI Ronin-S Gimbal, a feature I appreciated as I didn't have to continuously watch my battery levels throughout the day. Of course, using the battery grip increased the size/weight of the setup, but I didn't find use of the battery grip to be burdensome, especially as filming was limited to relatively short segments throughout the day.
As I don't have any RF mount lenses yet I defaulted to my favorite EF-S/EF-series lenses, the lenses I have historically utilized while filming with a gimbal – the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM and Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. Why use two of Canon's most inexpensive lenses for filming video? Because 1) they're small and light, 2) can be swapped out for one another with very little need for rebalancing the gimbal, 3) their optical performance is surprisingly good, 4) the f/2.8 aperture is wide enough allow for relatively low ISO use when the shutter speed is set to 1/60 second (twice the frame rate of 30 fps), and 5) the lenses' STM AF systems do a very good job transitioning focus between subjects when the camera is set to a subject (face) tracking mode. Note that because the full-frame camera gives me a 38.4mm full-frame equivalent angle of view while using the EF-S 24mm STM, I set the camera to crop mode while using the EF 40mm STM to provide a noticeably different angle of view.
In a previous video, I had used lavalier mics with a couple of Tascam DR-10L Micro Portable Audio Recorders and really enjoyed the results, but this larger family event necessitated the use of a different audio recording solution as I needed to record a number of people. This need motivated my newest audio recording acquisition – the Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro Shotgun Microphone. Looking online, you'll find numerous videos hyping this microphone's performance and value; the hype is well deserved. This is an excellent shotgun microphone, it is reasonably priced, and I'm really glad it's now part of my kit for run-and-gun applications.
So, those are the items I'm now relying on to record family videos in addition to the occasional for-hire filming request (the Tascam DR-10Ls also come in handy for the latter) and are certainly worth consideration when documenting your own family's memories.
Posted: 12/15/2019 7:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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