The wedding filmmaking world is full of talented professionals who are passionate about their gear.
Filming with Fuji? You betcha, but first a little background.
I’ve been doing this a long time. So long, that I remember editing tape to tape on Beta, a million years ago, at the start of my television career in the 1990’s. I’m a girl, but I’ve always been a gearhead, and I remember being seriously excited to learn Avid and non-linear editing when HTV (now ITV Wales) introduced it around 1997. I was never a huge fan of traditional video cameras, so when I got my hands on a Canon 7D at InFocus in 2010, I knew that that DSLR’s were going to be a game changer for the wedding video industry and we hopped straight in with Canon and never looked back…
Well, that’s not entirely true. We started looking back until about 2 years ago when some of our friends like Sarah & Rick Pendergraft began shooting a Sony mirrorless system. So we watched, and evaluated, and stalked some more. The Sony stuff we’ve seen is beautiful, but something is always missing. The color grading just doesn’t hit the sweet spot for me. The ergonomics of it drive me crazy. All those menus and having to create shortcuts to make it manageable. Yuck. It just doesn’t feel intuitive for video.
So, we waited a bit longer for the 5D Mark IV to be released. Anyone who films with DSLR’s regularly knows that autofocus is in some cases non-existent, and in others not your friend. I had high hopes for the IV, so we rented one. Everything went great through prep, I was impressed at how accurate the autofocus was, but then we got to the processional. Utter and complete disaster. Autofocus was all over the place, and I had to switch to manual on the fly. Additionally, size wise, the camera is a beast. For me, great wedding filmmaking is all about being mobile, and the weight of the Canon body and glass compared to the mirrorless systems is substantial.
Enter Fujifilm. Last year we worked alongside the talented Harwell Photography in Atlanta, Georgia. Anytime we work with a new company, I stalk them first to get a feel for their style. I was convinced Jeremy was a film shooter. Fast forward to Kelli + Josh’s wedding day and I’m watching Jeremy composing a detail shot with a TINY camera. I was like “It thought you shot film?” Jeremy replies, “Nope it’s an XT1.” The next question was, of course, “does it shoot video???” It did, but 4K didn’t come along until the XT2 was released a few months later in July 2016. I rented one from our friends at LensProToGo later that summer, and fell in love.
I think it’s important to note here that we may be known for our wedding films under Sixpence Productions, but I was first and foremost a photographer. I’ve always joked that I got into photography when I was a kid because the only air conditioned room in our house was the darkroom. I could develop black and white film by the time I was 11. My mom, Marnie, was editor and publisher of a little newspaper called the Boca Beacon on Gasparilla Island in Boca Grande, Florida. I shot for the newspaper all through high school and later for a student magazine at Florida State called “Shout.” I only segued into video when I started working in television, but I never stopped shooting stills. I miss the darkroom, and have been known to sniff film canisters for a quick hit 😉
Anyhoo, I digress… I got that little Fujifilm XT2 in my hands and I felt like I was holding the Minolta I learned to shoot stills on. The ISO and shutter speed are all easily accessible on the body, the aperture control on the lenses. Unlike the Sony, the record button is the shutter button, and ergonomically easy to reach. And unlike the Canon, the body and glass are lightweight. Using a gimbal was in my future for the first time. The focus is something you have to dial in for yourself. Personally, I like shooting in “single” mode and refocusing my shot on the fly. Then there’s the glass. I could do a whole post on just how phenomenal the Fujinon glass is, so I’ll save that for another time.
The final selling point for me is the film simulations. Having started in film photography, I’m a sucker for the Fuji 400pro look. So when I first filmed in the Astia profile, and then realized how little color grading I would have to to do in post production, I was completely sold.
My only complaint at this point is the lack of IS, but there are rumors the next Fujifilm camera will have it.
Here’s a little preview of a recent film shot with the XT2’s. Let me know what you think or if you want to talk Fuji!