Major Update To The Gear Section

I started the gear section on this blog in 2008, and I haven’t done that much updating to it since.

Needless to say:  the gear that has become available since the 5D MKII was launched has virtually exploded and created and entirely new market.   I’ve used most of it – and today I’m publishing a list of what I have come to rely on for all of my HDDSLR productions:  This is a list of gear that I USE on a regular basis – along with some more “specialized” items that I use once or twice a year but always yield incredibly unique results.

You can go to see this new section on the My Gear Section on the top left menu of this blog.

It’s a pretty extensive list and will continue to grow with time.  Right now we’re already put up over 100 items so far – it’s taken 3 of us more than a month to put this together for you.  My goal is to make this one of the the most comprehensive gear lists on any personal blog out there.  I also want to make sure that I do more than just publish a list gear.   I’m going to do my best to explain how and why I use each piece of gear, and to give visual examples whenever possible.

So here’s what I’ve done:

1. I’ve listed each piece of kit along with a photograph of it, and I’ve organized the gear within nine categories.

2.  I’ve listed the manufacturer’s specs from their sites – and linked directly to those sites so that you can find more out from them.

3. I’ve added a list of comments as to WHY I have come to choose each product – and I’ve done my best to speak to each piece of gear’s strengths and weaknesses (every piece of gear has BOTH!)

4. I’ve added links for you to purchase this gear from two popular retailers (Adorama and B&H.)

5. As I find more time – I will include more photographs and/or videos that demonstrate how each of these pieces of gear is used.  Expect the list to continue to grow as new products are released and I get a chance to work with them on future productions.

Here is a video that I put together recently that shows how I’ve come to include many of these pieces of gear in an actual production – this is something that I will be looking to as often as I can.  I think it’s the best way for me to discuss the uses of each piece of kit:

One important note:  This past week – I was shooting the Phantom HD Gold camera at 600 fps, with Cooke s4 lenses, a J.L. Fisher Dolly, a Motion Control rig and 225,000 Watts of power – with close to 100 people on a series of commercial shoots in Vancouver.  The cost of gear we used was well into the millions of dollars.   Never lose sight of the fact that while some of the gear listed in the My Gear section is expensive  – it’s still a fraction of what the gear one needed to use with larger/heavier cameras just a few years ago (before HDDSLRs existed.)

As many of you know – I work on both large and small productions. The list I’m publishing is one that I have come to trust for my HDDSLR productions.   The idea here is to share with you the gear that is not only the “best of breed” – but also gear that is accessible to everyone. This is gear that you can invest in and use long term.

Also – just because this gear exists: doesn’t mean you NEED it.   You can do some pretty amazing things with a bare 5D and an old school still lens.  However as your expectations for a “higher production” value grow (and if they ever do… they don’t have to) you’ll find that some of this gear can become pretty essential.

Phantom Gold shooting at 600 fps with a 12X - 24mm~290mm Optimo lens during a recent shoot in Vancouver. The gear I am listing in the "My Gear" section won't include ANY of these things - just HDDSLR gear. (There will of course be some crossover.)

Another  very important point is that everyone out there has their unique budgets (big and small) and everyone has different needs.  Trying to put a list together of gear that works for EVERYONE is close to impossible as far as I am concerned.

So my goal is to put all of the gear that I use regularly – and not withhold some of the cooler/more expensive toys back, for fear of scaring people off.    Never forget that in still photography and especially in the world of film/video – the costs of things and the degree of sophistication varies INCREDIBLY.  The sky is literally the limit in terms of cost.  Most cinema gear is produced in significantly smaller quantities – at times still assembled by hand –  and as a result the cost of gear can skyrocket relative to still camera equipment which is relatively mass produced.

For example, the gear that we were using last week in Vancouver can only be rented for the most part – and a $40K lens or $200K camera is the norm.

You may also notice that some of the pieces of gear listed may at first appear to do very much the same thing.  While many are indeed somewhat redundant – is each unique in what it does (and how) and I’m going to do my best to flesh that out for you.

I use four different types of sliders for example – and I’ve made a point of not playing favorites and instead listed them all: I’ve listed them individually and explained why I use some at times and others for different jobs.

We needed 220,000 watts of lighting to shoot the Phantom Gold at 600 fps at f 2.0 on the Cookes. That's just a "little bit" of light! The fake snow helped us out with at least a good stop of light!

You should also expect another section soon: One that will have me put together different “packages” for different types of filmmakers with specific needs and/or budgets.

As you can imagine – these sections can take a lot of time to put together – so check back in a few weeks.

Lastly – you will notice that many of the pieces of gear are produced by this blog’s “supporters.”   As I mentioned earlier – this is quite a natural progression – as I only asked the companies who’s gear I use regularly to become supporters of this blog.

I hope you enjoy this new section of the blog – and look forward to hearing your comments.   Please keep in mind that this is the gear that I use – and that there may very well be “better” gear out there – or gear that “you prefer.”  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment sections within each category so that we can all learn more from one another and share experiences.