I have been asked by many of our readers to share details regarding my personal Gear Bag. I use a vast array of tools to be able to tell all types of stories and wanted to break it down with detail. If I roll out with a Canon 5D MK III, then this is what I would use with it. If I am shooting with a C300, C500 or a 1DC, this is how I would accessorize it.
Pulling from years of experience and extensive lens, camera and rig testing, this should help you to avoid the land mines and make educated choices in building your personal kit. You will see price points that are vast, Mercedes vs. Ford style, but I wanted you to see that I have used both and these are the ones that I would recommend for a variety of budgets. I am also including pearls of wisdom with the plethora of lenses and cameras. I have learned so much on this journey. Here we GO!
The first thing that’s always in my gear bag is a DSLR of some sort. Navigate my choice of cameras along with lens systems that can be paired with them. Look to the blog for in depth tests and research that we have done over the years.
These lenses have been vetted and tested on my feature films and spot work. All the still lenses will again have internal links to the blog to educate you on in depth tests and research that we have done over the years.
35mm Sensor Size Pro Cameras
A professional 35mm sensor camera section highlights each of my cameras of choice and the projects for which I would use them. Pearls of wisdom along with camera, lens and gear specs are included to help make your choice easier on your custom kit.
These lenses are what lensed Need for Speed. All of these are new to the glass world and have been battle tested in extreme conditions on this DreamWorks feature film.
Once these became readily available, it changed the whole ergonomics of the Canon platform, making it look and feel like a 35mm motion picture camera.
These are the monitors that I roll out with. I love the unique characteristics of each one and try to put them in that right place for success.
The lighting monitor section is set up to give you a price range to work with. All of these have worked on the feature films I have shot as well as my commercial and music video work.
This is probably one of the most essential pieces of rigging that you can buy to be able to build out and accessorize your camera. Viewfactor was the one who started this whole idea of surrounding the Canon 5D with the necessary aluminum frame that could support rigging and a base plate technology. After they paved the route, many others followed with their own version of the same idea. Here are my selects.
The rig systems in my gear bag have been battle tested on Act of Valor, Need for Speed and many commercials and music videos. They each have their unique abilities to assist you in your creative capture.
Manual Follow Focus
As essential as a cage is to your rigging support, the quality and smoothness of a good follow focus is paramount. We all know that focus is very challenging with this new digital sensor technology. The way a film camera would fall off is much different than how the 35mm sensor size chips fall off. Here are a group that I stand behind.
Remote Follow Focus Systems
Finding the right remote follow focus system can be daunting. I have selected a group that fits all price points. With the new form factor of these small, lightweight cameras, remote follow focus gives you that unique ability to move a camera in ways never imagined with 35mm film cameras. Without having an extra camera operator’s hand wrapped around the focus knob while you are framing your creation, it allows agility in movement.
Filters intensify the cinematic quality of your HD image. Using Neutral Density filtration is the secret to a shallower depth of field and will give you that filmic look. I have found that Tiffen really has knocked these out of the park. They created really clean glass called Water White, which keeps your color space pure.
The other filtration methods that I use frequently are diffusion filters. These are very good for taking the HD edge off your footage. I love using different types for specific applications.
I find that I use these filters more and more with car commercials and on feature films where it is not so much about getting a bold blue polarized sky, but to cut through the reflections in windows so that you can see the actor in the car and vice versa. This is particularly useful when you have a stuntman in the car and you do not want to see him. You can use the polarizer to make the reflection more intense. I also use them to darken roads, intensify colors, especially greens. It dials the sky reflection out of the leaves and saturates them.
I wanted to add my go to motion makers that do not break the bank to my gear bag. With simple moves, can take your story that much higher. I have assembled a group of sliders, dollies, cranes, etc.
Gyro Stabilized Hand Held Systems
A whole new world of movement devices are upon us. The way that they move and feel will establish a whole new film language. They save time and increase set ups, help make impossible shots possible and expand your creativity with a device that breaks all film motion rules. Exciting times!
Great for moves that don’t require any operation. Lock the little head and crank the handle and BAM! You have cinematic motion added to your creation. I also use these for Over Keepers, which gives operators the ability to adjust without a dolly grip moving you when you are shooting a scene with over the shoulders.
When you are in a jam, this tool is critical. I take them on all of my feature films. When the director turns to me and makes a last minute request for a crane on a rooftop to be swung over the edge, this tool goes into action. The lightweight crane is carried up the stairs to the roof and can be built in 30 minutes.
To give your crane and time-lapse shots movement that is cinematic, I love these remote heads.
Why has it taken me so long to do something like this? I have been very busy with both features and commercials. This is the first week that I have had the time to create this section with thoughtfulness. I didn’t want it to be rushed.
Thank you for all of your support and kind words. We have a variety of new and exciting ideas to roll out. This is just the beginning. Please give your feedback and any additional suggestions because we want to hear from you.
Click the link in the categories on this page and you are ready to go for a RIDE!!!!
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