What's in your kit?
There are thousands of lenses, tripods, and video production accessories that we haven't had a chance to try yet. But many of you have, and your gear choices lead to entirely different filmmaking kits. This site's readers would greatly benefit from your input!
To share what's in your bag, please contact us and we'll put together a post. Thanks!
Guest Post by Arturo Marinho, DFilms
Once upon a time I was a child living in small countryside town, with just 5,000 people. No AC/DC till I was thirteen years old. Just weekly entertainment: an old cinema with 2 movies on Saturdays and 2 movies on Sundays.
Year by year, four movies each week, I built an extremely deep sense of visuals, unconsciously. My last two years studying Psychology in college, I found a job as a junior writer at an advertisement agency. And I fell in love with shooting tasks.
Twenty years ago I chose a way to earn money while having a lot of fun: to be a camera operator.
I won prizes worldwide, and gathered a lot of knowledge along the way, mainly in documentaries.
Presently I'm mainly a one man crew, shooting corporate videos and documentaries.
After careful search, trial and error, reading tons of reviews, charts and shootouts, I've arrived at this current gear kit
My main camera is the Sony PMW-F3, using S-log with Element Technica armour. For my second camera, after a long journey through Panasonic GHxx and Sony A7xx cameras, I'm back to Canon. Six months ago I got a 1DX mkII.
With my Sony F3 I focus on short feature films and commercials. I use my 1DX to shoot corporate and web videos.
The F3 gives me an extremely silky image, along with SDI, a 10bit RGB 422 S-log image feeding a Video Devices PIX-E5H or a Video Devices PIX 240. The images are a joy to grade, with plenty of subtle gradations, highlight roll off, and strong ProRes files, all with an unparalleled film look.
I think the Sony F3 is the most underrated camera in recent history.
The Canon 1DX mkII is a beast. The DPAF gives me peace of mind during corporate interviews, the well established Canon color science provides great media directly out of the camera, it's weather sealed, and there are lots of L lens choices. Unfortnately, transcoding from the MJpeg codec to ProRes is time consuming.
In essence, the 1DX mkII is a perfect tool when traveling light, especially when paired with the PIX-E5H. It is very helpful when properly exposing the image, and together with the PIX-E, the 1DX recording, transcoding, and editing workflow is nearly flawless, with minimal color grading necessary.
As a one man crew, it's mission critical to get gear that is as reliable as possible. The PIX-240 is a pristine exteneral recorder with two XLR inputs, it uses CF and SSD media, it has SDI and HDMI inputs/outputs, and it can be powered by Sony NP-F batteries. Most of all, it's built like a tank. The limitation is that it can only record in 1080p.
The Video Devices PIX-E5H, however, records 4k, it's lightweight, has plenty of scopes and video assist tools, and it's more friendly to mounting on a DSLR. Paired with the PIX-LR XLR module, it also gives me another option when shooting corporate or low budget short feature films.
My Canon 24-105mm is my all terrain partner. I use the Canon 16-35mm for architecture and landscape shots. And the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro is a must have for shooting incredibly detailed products for corporate clients, especially in 4k.
I also use the Leica R 28mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2.0, and 90mm f/2.0 Cinevised Kit to be able to shoot a vintage look, with a low-contrast, film-like feel. I like the manual focus, and the Leico flares and microcontrast details give the image that Leica "look".
Twenty years ago I got a Miller 30 series II 100mm bowl fluid head, along with three-stage carbon fiber legs. It cost a lot, $3500 or so. But at an annual cost of $175 so far, it's a bargain.
The Miller sticks are rugged, very fluid and smooth, and the payload is more than enough, from Betacam-era cameras until now.
In the DSLR and small form factor era, I bought a used, pristine Miller DS 75mm bowl fluid head, along with Solo VJ carbon legs. It's a reliable piece of gear, and I really enjoy it.
I also use the Miller 311 carbon monopod.
The Sennheiser AVX system, along with the MKE-2 lav, is very tiny and portable, but is trustworthy. Be smart and buy additional battery packs for the receiver, since the batteries are a proprietary format.
My light kit serves me well, with a reasonable cost-benefit ratio. The three panels fit into a customized Pelican 1640 with wheels.
They have a high CRI of 95, and they are powerful enough to use for interviews. Plus, they are bi-color, dimmable, and have Gold Mount brackets.
I also like to bounce natural light, trying to avoid intimidating people with a ton of wires and gear, plus the long setup. My secret recipe is to be as invisible as possible, in order to capture authentic moments.