The following is a catalogue of the different pieces of gear I have been using in my kit – some for years and some only more recently. I have included the items I currently use and love most, and just like my kit, expect this list to be ever evolving. There will be new additions, gear taken away, and still some equipment that may never make it because I don’t keep it long enough.
Canon 5D Mark II
I’m a big fan of the Canon 5D Mk II mainly for the full-frame sensor… there’s just nothing quite like utilizing the lenses to their full capacity for video. Everything looks so sharp! However I’m bummed that the 5D MkII can’t do 60fps. I use this camera for just about all my work – especially interviews and landscapes.
I keep this at the ready at all times. Since it’s the camera that does my 60fps work for those epic slowmo shots I have to keep this around. I also like the toggle switch between video and photo mode. But I must mention the Canon 60D – since it’s basically the same camera but half the price. I’d suggest buying the 60D instead if you are on a budget.
Mounted on the 5D with utilizing the full frame sensor this lens works a the perfect wide angle… but it’s versatile enough for me to use for interviews when I want the background to play a part in the story. When I put it on the 7D the crop sensor makes it almost a 50mm which is a great focal length for interviews! This is a great lens for a commercial look and for shooting on the go.
This is quite possibly my favorite lens of all time! It’s was also my first lens investment. The 50mm gives any scene the perfect bokeh and is by far my favorite lens for interviews. It’s incredibly sharp and if you keep the interviewee’s eyes in focus they almost seem to glow. If you can only afford 1 lens get this one! And if you’re on a budget get the 50mm 1.4/f to save almost $900
I have to be honest I’m not very satisfied with any part of this tripod kit other than it it pretty quick to setup and strike. Otherwise the head is not that great and the sticks are pretty wobbly for the amount of gear I usually put up top. I’d suggest getting something stronger if you can afford it.
When I started looking for a rig everything on the market was either way too expensive or totally dumb looking. Jag hit the spot with looking beautiful, working well, and being affordable. This rig is the backbone of my entire on-the-go system with the addition of a few extra parts (see below) and I bought Zacuto rods instead of the Jag rods. My only drawback was the offset bar since I use a monitor… so I replaced the offset bar with a riser instead (below).
With the addition of the cage I can now mount gear above my camera and protect it at the same time. I currently just have a top handle and top rods (see below) on top but at least I have the option to add more gear if I need.
This is the riser to replace the offset piece of the should rig. The reason I use this instead of just buying the straight rig is because it allows me to still remove the shoulder piece from the rig to go hand-held or to tripod.
I’m a big fan of the Zoom H4n! It records to SD card – that’s convenient. I can let it run for somewhere around 6 hours so there’s no concern of running out of storage space on my shoot. It has 2 XLR / 1/4 inputs so you can record up to a total of 4 tracks if you enable to onboard mic too! It also has a 1/4 20 threaded mount on the back so I can mount it to my shoulder rig.
This little kit comes with everything I need to plug into my Zoom H4n. And it comes with a plate to mount the receiver to my shoulder rig. I also really like the XLR transmitter – I snap that into the bottom of my boom pole to make it wire free.
This monitor is not only affordable but it’s also one of my favorite pieces of gear. The most convenient feature is that it uses the same LP-E6 batteries that my cameras use. It also has a mounting plate so I can put it on my shoulder rig. Having the monitor helps me keep my shots perfectly in focus and I don’t feel claustrophobic looking through an viewfinder.
I don’t use lights very often…. so I decided to not spend a large chunk of my budget on lights. These two fixtures are perfect for most my my lighting needs and they are very portable. They usually become my key light and hair light.
The two main soft boxes usually become my primary light source for backdrops. They were inexpensive and produce a ton of soft light! But the hair light in this kit has an internal fan so forget using it on a shoot when you need to capture audio. I bought it mainly to acquire the boom stand to use for other lights. I also often use 1 soft box in my 3 light setups as well.
This might be the best $30 I’ve ever spent! I have 2 of these toolboxes: 1 for all of my audio gear, camera accessories, batteries, chargers, etc… and 1 for all of my grip tools and other filmmaking kick-knacks.
Even though I was given this bag and didn’t actually fork over the dough for it, I would still highly recommend it to anyone! It has just the right number of pockets and compartments. Plus my laptop fist nicely in the outside pocket! Pretty much the only bag I need for shooting run and gun on location.
I start every project with one of these little beauties! It’s super fast, super rugged, and super small, all while running in RAID 1 mode which means that I’m always backed up. And… on high-profile projects I run a second one so I can backup my project off-site every night.
Freelance filmmaker, video director at ROCKHARBOR Church, film blogger, husband, motorcycle aficionado and man with a first-rate beard. I travel the globe for cool project opportunities, epic adventures, or the chance to see something new.