A smartphone with a strong internet connection is the only tool you really need to livestream a wedding to your friends and family. But if you want to heighten your production quality, and pull off a memorable livestream for your digital guests, you’ll need some extra gadgets.
To help livestream their May 16 wedding in Cincinnati, Jennifer Noble, 32, and David Gregory, 34, hired ChiliDog Pictures. The Cincinnati-based video production company used several cameras, a microphone and a soundboard to record the couple’s vows and first dance. Ms. Noble and Mr. Gregory, both actors who live in Astoria, Queens, said the event, which was filmed at a catering hall owned by the bride’s family had exceeded their expectations.
“When you think of a Zoom wedding, you just think of a couple standing in front of a computer, but ours was a big production,” Mr. Gregory said. “And because we’re actors, we got some gentle ribbing from our friends saying, ‘Of course your wedding would look like a TV special.’”
Livestreaming weddings gained popularity in March when the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of Americans to stay inside their homes. And although some states are now loosening their shelter-in-place restrictions, many couples are still broadcasting their ceremonies online.
If you’re planning to share your wedding via livestream, here a few tools to help make it look like it was shot by a professional.
If you want to capture multiple angles, you’ll need to have several cameras. Glenn Hartong, the owner of ChiliDog Pictures, recommends getting camcorders, like this Canon model, that have long zoom lenses and the capability to livestream footage using an encoder. “A good close-up of the bride is key,” Mr. Hartong said. “The bride is the star of the show.”
The caveat: The XF305 costs $5,000. So you’re better off renting them from a professional camera gear rental company.
$231 for a seven-day rental; lensrentals.com
This product synchronizes with up to four cameras, allowing footage to be cut together live. With a built-in livestream encoder, the machine can stream directly to Facebook, YouTube, or another streaming platform, so there’s no need for a computer. You can also use it to add graphics, dynamic transitions and other effects. “It’s the only device I know of that combines all this functionality in one,” said Paul Selker, the president of Spark Street Digital, a live webcast production company with offices in Washington, New York, and San Francisco.
Note: You’ll need someone to operate the switcher during your wedding.
$595; blackmagicdesign.com (also available for rent from authorized resellers)
Determined to stick to your smartphone’s camera? To film steady footage, Mr. Selker suggests mounting your phone to this reasonably priced, compact tripod. Just make sure the camera is positioned at eye level, so that guests can have a clear view of your faces.
To take production up a notch, Mr. Selker recommends this LED lighting panel. Because it’s bicolor, you can adjust the color temperature to match the lighting in your space. “Two would be best, and you will need stands for them,” he said.
You’ll need a microphone to achieve excellent sound quality. A lavalier microphone, or a mic that attaches to a lapel, works well for weddings, Mr. Selker said, “because the couple generally stands close enough together that even a single lavalier, worn by one person, can capture sound from both.” This one connects directly to your computer, so depending on where your computer will be, you may need a USB extension cable, he said.
Pro tip: “It’s best to clip the mic on the taller person, because then the shorter person will be closer to the mic even though they’re not wearing it,” Mr. Selker said.
When Mig Pascual, 44, and Jessica Lopez, 41, livestreamed their wedding from their apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens, on May 23 the couple purchased a green screen to create the illusion of different settings for their nuptials exchange (the New York City skyline), first dance (a dark room with a spotlight on them), and cake cutting (a banquet hall). “It made it feel real, as if our guests were at our wedding,” said Mr. Pascual, a digital marketing professional.
You can create your own effects by using this green screen, which comes with lightweight support system for easy hanging.
Mr. Hartong set up a smart TV at the wedding of Ms. Noble and Mr. Gregory so that the couple could see their family’s reactions during their more intimate moments, like the exchanging of rings. “That was the most special part for me, just being able to turn and see my siblings and my parents on the Zoom,” said Mr. Gregory, whose family lives in Alaska and attended the ceremony remotely.
This affordable and lightweight Samsung TV monitor is easy to transport, and it measures more than double most standard laptop screens, allowing for a more immersive experience.
If you’re filming in a location that doesn’t have a strong Wi-Fi connection, don’t rely on your cellphone provider’s internet network. This battery-powered gadget provides a strong Wi-Fi connection on up to 10 devices — and it’s available to rent for under $10.
$9 per day rental; skyroam.com