Basic Kit




EOS 70D Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comments: While I’ve never been a fan of the smaller sensors on these cameras… this camera is definitely a sign of the FUTURE.   The built-in AF capabilities of this camera (while shooting live video) is exceptional.   It may change the way you work in terms of not having to worry as much about keeping your subject in focus with expensive wireless follow focus, or even simple (yet still expensive) follow focus units and rigs to support them.   So I think this is a fantastic camera to start out with – both in terms of photography and definitely in terms of video.   

Description (from B&H): This camera features a 20.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ image processor to ensure high-resolution images and excellent low-light sensitivity. Both the sensor and processor work together to produce well-detailed, full HD 1080p video recording in multiple frame rates with manual exposure and audio level control. The 3.0″ 1,040k-dot vari-angle Clear View II touchscreen LCD monitor profits greatly from the advent of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system and its ability to utilize Touch AF focusing for finely controlled selection of the point of focus. Providing a wealth of additional functionality to the camera is integrated Wi-Fi connectivity. This functionality also allows for wireless remote control over camera settings, including exposure controls, focusing, and shutter release, from a mobile device when using the Canon EOS Remote app.

Rebel T5i Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comments: While this is missing many of the “pro” features that the other cameras have (and I would recommend you purchase a 7D over this model) I have to admit that this is nonetheless an impressive little camera. In fact I know people who have opted for this camera over the 7D as their personal camera – people who know about video. I’ve used it only once – but that doesn’t meet it’s not a perfect starting camera that fits much more easily in many people’s budgets! 

Description (from B&H) an APS-C format digital SLR camera with an 18MP CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 5 image processor. With 14-bit Analog/Digital conversion, an ISO range from 100-12800 (expandable to 25600), and Multi Shot Noise Reduction, it offers sharp details, accurate colors and low-noise imaging in both bright and low-light shooting situations. A 9-point all cross-type autofocus system provides fast focusing when shooting with the viewfinder and Hybrid CMOS AF increases autofocus speeds when shooting in Live View. A 3.0″ Clear View II Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD with 1,040k-dot resolution provides composition and playback viewing.  Full HD 1080p at 30 fps and 24 fps is supported with Movie Servo for continuous autofocus during shooting. Manual exposure is provided in video mode and 60 fps is possible when shooting at 720p HD. A built-in stereo microphone with manual audio level adjustment is provided for quality audio recording with your videos.  The EOS Rebel T5i utilizes SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards and is compatible with the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses.



EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM  B&H Mfr. Site 
Comments: This is the perfect range and price point to start out with.  The notable feature is that this will work perfectly with the Canon 70D’s video autofocus system, and the IS (Image Stabilization) will further help steady your video.  This is a great way to start.

Description (from Canon): Designed for high-quality still image and video capture while being compact and lightweight, the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens features the optics, AF and image stabilization necessary for shooting in any number of situations. For brilliant image quality it has one high-precision aspheric lens to reduce chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range. It features optimized lens coatings to ensure exceptional color balance while minimizing ghosting and flare and a 7-blade circular aperture to ensure beautiful, soft backgrounds. For outstanding performance, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens perfectly complements the Movie Servo AF feature found on select EOS Cameras with a compact six-group zoom system and a new stepping motor and focus mechanism to deliver smooth and quiet continuous AF during movie shooting.

EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site 
Comments:  The 24mm is my single most used focal length in cinema.   This is the most “inexpensive” way to start your lens kit – and you’ll always need these as you grow for your “B” or “C” cameras.

Description (from Canon): Canon’s EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Autofocus Lens is a compact wide-angle 24mm lens that gives you superb image quality and smooth, silent operation. It’s equipped with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer that provides up to 4 stops of shake correction–ideal for working in low light. A ring-type USM and advanced CPU with optimized AF algorithms for fast auto focusing make for a nimble, fast-operating lens. Aspherical lens elements help improve image quality on the periphery while a 7-blade circular aperture diaphragm delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds.

EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site 
Comments:  The 50mm is my second most used focal length in cinema.   You’ll never stop using this lens and it’s a great (affordable) starting point before you go onto the brighter lenses or zooms that cost quite a bit more.

Description (from Canon): This EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens from Canon is a standard length lens featuring superb quality and portability. Its f/1.4 maximum aperture makes it very effective in low light situations and able to provide shallow depth of field focus. Two high-refraction lens elements and new Gaussian optics eliminate astigmatism and suppress astigmatic difference. Its ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) enables fast, smooth and silent autofocus action and full-time manual focus override allows for the precision of manual focus even in One Shot AF mode.


theEvent B&H Mfr. Site
Comments:  Simple little rig to get you stared.  The idea is the more points of contact you have w/ your body – the steadier your video will be. 

Description (from Redrock Micro): Designed for extra stability while maintaining the freedom of handheld shooting, theEvent is designed with wedding/event and photojournalists in mind. theEvent sports two rugged handgrips and the microFinder loupe accessory, and adds our new microBrace body pad for and additional point of contact. Lightweight 6″ carbon fiber rods keep the rig light and compact, and still allow enough room to add a microFollowFocus if desired.

MVH502AH Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comment:  This is a fantastic video head for your buck.  While you won’t be able to used this with heavier systems (greater than 12.2 lbs) it’s a perfect starting off point.

Description (from B&H): The Manfrotto 502HD Pro Video Head with Flat Base (3/8″-16 Connection) is an affordable yet remarkably full-featured professional head that represents an advance over the popular 501HDV, with sturdier construction and featuring Manfrotto’s patented bridging technology (inherited from the 509HD and 504HD heads). This head is designed for executing cinematic moves with compact camcorders and DSLR video cameras. The 502HD comes in two versions — the “AH” flat-base version, which this one is, and the “A” ball-base version, which is separately available. Weight capacity is 12.2 lb and counterbalance supports 8.8 lb. It can support 13 lb as a static weight. The balance plate’s 3.27″ range allows you to correct for uneven payloads that might be due to matte boxes or exotic DSLR rig configurations.

546B Pro Video Tripod B&H Mfr. Site
Comments: This is the go to set of sticks for professionals who work with Manfrotto gear – reliable and versatile.  Extremely fast to get in place and adjust.

Description (from Manfrotto): Two-stage, extremely rigid, stable tripod. Able to carry loads up to 20kg (44lb). The 546B has a die cast aluminium crown with a built-in 75mm bowl. The tripod’s telescopic mid-level spreader helps set leg angles accurately. Leg locks are secure and reliable, and spiked feet with rubber overshoes are provided for solid grounding on both uneven terrain and smooth floors.The tripod can be used with various dollies.


microFollowFocus v2 B&H Mfr. Site
Comments: A solid follow focus system – noticeably improved over the first version.

Description (from Redrock Micro): The microFollowFocus version 2 is a new version of the award-winning microFollowFocus. The new version sports a quick release clamp, lighter weight design, and compatibility with the Redrock 19mm follow focus clamp.

microLensGears Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comments: If you don’t want to modify your lenses (with permanent gears) this is the way to go.  Some people like the extra “throw” you get given the larger diameter.  I prefer not having to mess with putting gears on lenses as it can take time and the lenses obviously take more space in your bag/case when you leave the gears mounted.   With EF lenses that rotate endlessly – you need to make sure to align these carefully with your follow focus unit so that the tightening section never makes contact with your FF gear.  Overall – this is an excellent way to start.  As you work on more expensive productions – the time you take to put these on and off justifies CP.2 lenses or permanent gears on your glass in my opinion.

Description (from Redrock Micro): microLensGears are industry-standard film pitch (0.8 mod 32) designed to gear your still photography lenses (canon, nikon, pentax, etc.) for use with the microFollowFocus.

77mm Tru-Match Vari ND Filter B&H Mfr. Site
Comments:  YOU MUST get ND filters if you shoot video so that you can shoot at 1/50th of a second and still be able to open up to anywhere between f2.8-f.56 – without it you’ll shoot fast shutter speeds which will make your video look stuttery, or you’ll be shooting at f16 which looks like “video.”  A Vari-ND is the best way to get started, as individual filters aren’t cheap.. and you probably don’t want to deal w/ Matte-Boxes anyway!

Description (from Formatt): The Schneider 77mm True-Match Vari-ND Filter is a solid variable neutral density filter providing a reduction of about 1.3 to 11 stops. The 0.4 to 3.3 density creates a darkening of the entire image, allowing you to photograph with a wider aperture or slower shutter speed than normally required. The degree of density is easily controlled by rotating the front filter ring, allowing you to previsualize the additional exposure length required. By slowing your exposure time or increasing your aperture, you are able to control depth of field and convey movement more easily. Neutral density filters do not affect the coloration of the image and are ideal for pairing with other filters.


Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comments: I’m not even sure I need to say anything about this unit – it is probably THE SINGLE MOST POPULAR HDDSLR accessory out there – and probably the first purchase I recommend to EVERYONE getting into HDDSLR.  This will allow you to mount the eyecup over the LCD of your camera and see what you’re shooting in bright daylight.   This is a MUST have until you get into external monitors – which in turns will lead you into much more complex setups and power/rig/balance requirements.   This is a no-brainer purchase and still the best finder out there to date optically.That being said – I have come to rely on external monitors more and more myself – as I don’t find the rear LCDs to have a great enough resolution to pull critical focus or judge exposure.   Nevertheless – this is what you likely need to get going as you try your hand at HDDSLR video.

Description (from Zacuto): The Z-Finder Pro 2.5x is another one of Zacuto’s Optical Viewfinders that allows DSLR cameras to have the correct form factor for video. It offers 2.5x focusable magnification (3x is available),a 40mm diameter Zacuto optical designed lens, an anti-fog coating protective cover, an eyecup preventing extraneous light leakage, a diopter and a field of view perfectly matched to 3” LCD screens. The diopter allows you to dial in the focus to match your eye.

V-LCD56MD B&H Mfr. Site
Comments: Basically – the LCD on the back of your HDDSLR is simply not a professional solution for monitoring your video.   I typically travel to any job with 2-4 Marshall monitors – for use onboard the cameras, for the 1st AC’s use (focus puller) to pull focus from and also so that the client can monitor our progress.These monitors do several key things:1. On the most basic level – they allow you to view the video you are shooting – from any angle that is convenient – either on camera or at a great distance (when the camera is on a JIB or mounted remotely for example.)    As you well know the HDDSLR’s LCD is not well positioned for video shooting – it cannot swivel and has limited resolution.  The monitors come in both HDMI in and HDSDI in configurations – and some offer the option to do both with user swappable inputs.  If you’re going to go straight from the Canon HDDSLRs into the monitor – you’ll want to use the HDMI input.  But if you’re going to get into multiple monitor setups and with other professional video wireless transmitters and connections – you’ll default to the HDSDI models with the use of a BlackMagic (see bottom of this page for details) HDMI to HDSDI converter. Some monitors also display scopes – which is the video equivalent of a histogram – as all still photographers know: this feature is INCREDIBLY important and worth its weight in gold.  There is one general rule with ANY monitor in the world (under $10K-$20k) and that is to NEVER trust your eyes.  Always use the the scopes/waveforms/histograms to judge exposure, color, highlight and shadows.  No matter how expensive your reference monitor is – you can and may be fooled by the ambient light level and color you are in – so knowing how to read these mathematical displays is an invaluable skill.

Description (from Marshall Electronics): The Marshall Electronics V-LCD56MD 5.6″ HDMI On-Camera Monitor is a 1280 x 800 high-resolution camera-top panel, equipped with IPS technology and an adjustable LED backlight, featuring 300 nit brightness, a 500:1 contrast, an icon-driven operating system, and advanced versions of many familiar features, (and a not-so-familiar feature: DSLR Ratio Adjustment). Connections are on the rear panel and consist of an HDMI input and an HDMI output (and a micro USB port), with the input giving you 8 channels of de-embedded stereo audio. You can monitor the audio on-screen on a dual-bar Waveform display and with headphones via a stereo headphone output. The front panel has 14 buttons four of which are user configurable with 32 possible uses. For mounting, a 1/4″-20 screw-hole is available on every side of the monitor.


  10′ HDMI Mini to HDMI Ultra-Thin Cable B&H Mfr. Site
Comments:  Use this for monitoring, and get shorter versions to go from your camera to your on-board monitor if you have one.  THIN is the key here… 

Description (from PNY):  The PNY Technologies 10′ (3 m) Mini HDMI to HDMI Cable (C to A) provides an ideal way to connect a digital camera, camcorder, or any other mini HDMI-enabled device to an HDTV for smooth motion HD video displays on a larger screen. This cable is pliable for ease of use and compact to reduce the space required for installation. In addition to an ultra-high capacity of 10.2 Gbps bandwidth (far in excess of the throughput needed for 1080p video), this HDMI cable supports resolutions up to 4096 x 2160p at 24Hz as used in state-of-the-art digital theaters.


VideoMic B&H Mfr. Site
Comments: This is a great starting off point and the easiest solution for most.  Plug this into your HDSLR and “voila!”  you have sound.  The limitation is that you always want to have your microphone as close as possible to your subject as possible… NOT on your camera where you can hear the operator and every other unwanted sound.  Needless to say: this is still WORLDS better than the built-in microphone on your DSLR.

Description (from Rode): The RØDE VideoMic is a professional grade 1/2″ condenser shotgun microphone designed for use with consumer video cameras and personal audio recorders. The integrated shock mounting system isolates the VideoMic capsule and electronics from its all-metal shoe mount, providing isolation from external physical factors that may cause unwanted rumble and vibrations in the microphone.


Micro Pro B&H Mfr. Site
Comments: This unit has become so popular (because it uses AAs and can mount on a hotshoe) that I’m seeing a lot of still photographers using them!  They are perfect for video as well of course.  Easy to put on your hotshoe and go!

Description (from LitePanels): The professional LED light that runs off 6 standard AA batteries. MicroPro daylight on-camera lighting fixtures harness the company’s proprietary LED technology in ultra-lightweight, compact package. With twice the illumination of the Litpanels Micro, the MicroPro offers luminous, soft, directional lighting, with the same warmth and great color characteristics that made Litepanels an integral part of television, broadcast news & motion picture productions worldwide. Shift-free, Flicker-free, Heat-free At the top of the Micro Pro housing is a convenient integrated dimmer dial that puts instant 100% to 0 dimming with minimal color shift right at the operator’s fingertips. Output is flicker-free and heat-free and remains consistent.


LP-E6 Battery Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comments: Get a few of these to shoot all day, and also you’ll find they power almost every accessory you buy given how popular this battery has become (due to the Canon 5D MKII/MKIII.)  I power my monitors and a multitude of accessories with these actually… 

Description (from B&H): • The Canon LP-E6 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack (7.2V), has a capacity of 1800mAh, making it possible to shoot up to 850 shots at normal temperatures on a single battery charge. The battery is also more compact and lightweight than previous battery models. The LP-E6 battery also communicates with the EOS 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 60D, 70D, 6D and 7D digital cameras, so that you can always check the remaining capacity on the camera’s power source info screen.

LC-E6 Battery Buy From B&H Rent From LensProToGo Mfr. Site
Comments:   For every 2-3 LP-E6 batteries you get (above) get one of these.   You always want to be charing dead batteries as you continue shooting with fresh ones (so you never run out.)  Multiple chargers will save your production… not having extras:  DEADLY.

Description (from B&H): • The LC-E6 Battery Charger from Canon is designed for use with the for LP-E6 battery pack, which powers the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 7D and 60D Digital SLR cameras. This unit can be used to charge a battery for these cameras from a standard electrical outlet. The charger operates on 100-240VAC power for worldwide use. Its 2-prong US plug goes directly into a wall outlet, so no power cord is required. • Canon LC-E4N


32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro (160mb/s) CompactFlash

64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro (160mb/s) CompactFlash

128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro (160mb/s) CompactFlash

Comments:  When you consider the incredible investment in time energy and of course funds you’ll make into even the simplest of productions – why in the world would you ever risk the integrity of that production by trusting your data to a cheap CF card that is not reliable?  Frankly, I’ve never understood people who try to save money on CF Cards – after all, ALL of your day’s work rests on the reliability of the CF card you use.   If it has a bad memory block – an entire take or setup can be ruined.   The SanDisk cards have been incredibly reliable for me for years – and their speed saves you a tremendous amount of time when it comes time to copy an entire day’s take – especially if you’re shooting with multiple cameras.  I find myself using the 16GB for the most part – and the 32GB cards when I shoot time lapse videos. The Extreme Pro cards are also optimized for 4k recording – something more and more of us require for use in cameras today.

Description (from SanDisk): The  Extreme Pro CompactFlash Memory Card from SanDisk features enhanced data read speeds of up to 160MB/s along with data write speeds up to 150MB/s. This Extreme Pro CompactFlash Card is designed to support both full HD and 4K video as it is VPG-65 certified. VPG-65 (video performance guarantee) offers sustained data write speeds of 65MB/s ensuring a smooth flow of data keeping video streams crisp and clean. This CompactFlash card is also compatible with both RAW and JPEG file formats and comes equipped with an RTV silicone coating and writable label.


VincentLaforet_gear_SDHCcards_Sandisk32 VincentLaforet_gear_CFcards_Sandisklogo SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC U3 Memory Card (Class 10)

SanDisk64GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card (Class 10) 

SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card (Class 10) 


Comments:   I’m always afraid of sneezing and losing these, but once you get over that these are perfect for many of the “non-pro” HDSLRs that don’t accept CF cards. 

Description (from SanDisk): The Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC U3 Memory Card provides photographers and videographers with a high-speed SDHC memory card rated Ultra High Speed Class 3 (U3) and SDHC Class 10, offering up to 95 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write speeds. This high-capacity card is specifically engineered for sustained RAW + JPEG burst shooting modes and fast-action Full HD video recording.

VincentLaforet_gear_cardreader_Sandisk VincentLaforet_gear_CFcards_Sandisklogo SanDisk ImageMate All-in-One USB 3.0 Reader / Writer  B&H Mfr. Site
Comments:  It’s all about speed and copying off data quickly after a long day’s shoot.   That speed = more sleep prior to your next day’s shoot.  USB 3.0 is the defacto “high” speed slot and I use these for all of my photography and video needs.Description (from SandDisk): The SanDisk ImageMate All-in-One USB 3.0 Reader / Writer is a multi-format card reader and writer. Featuring a compact vertical design it utilizes the USB 3.0 interface with a data transfer rate of up to 500 MB/s. The ImageMate enables fast, easy photo and video transfer between your card and computer. A versatile reader, it has four card slots and supports most major card formats, including UDMA 7 enabled Compact Flash and SDHC / SDXC UHS-I. The ImageMate reader is fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0. A convenient detachable metal stand is included.


G-DRIVE mobile (500GB)

G-DRIVE mobile (1TB)B&H B&HMfr. Site Mfr. SiteComments:  I love these drives – they’re fast and durable.    Don’t buy cheap drives… when you consider the time / money and energy you put into your shoots (and the impossibility of re-creating those moments or doing ‘re-shoots’ for most of us:  you need dependable drives.  These are the ones I chose.

Description (from G-Tech): The 1TB G-Drive Mobile Hard Drive from G-Technology comes equipped with both FireWire 800 and USB 3.0 interfaces allowing for a variety of connection options. The G-Drive is Bus powered eliminating the need for an external power source when connecting your drive via a USB 3.0 cable. The included FireWire cables ensure fast data transfer when connecting to your system running Mac OS 10.5 or newer.

G-DRIVE Slim (500GB) B&H Mfr. Site
Comments:  i LOVE these slim drives.   These are the ones I travel the world with – usually 2X 500 or 1TB drives in my bag at ALL TIMES.

Description (from G-Tech): The G-Technology 500GB G-DRIVE Slim USB 3.0 Drive for MacBook Air is a slim, light and portable hard drive for your MacBook Air. It features USB 3.0 connectivity, a 500GB hard drive, bus power and an all aluminum enclosure for efficient heat distribution. The drive is Time Machine ready right out of the box. It’s plug-and-play compatible with Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) or higher, but it can also be reformatted for use with Windows.