Recommended Kit

 

 

CAMERA  |  LENSES  |  SUPPORT  |  ACCESSORIES  |  MONITORING

JIBS & SLIDERS  |  AUDIO  |  LIGHTING  |  POWER  |  MEDIA & COMPUTING

 

CAMERA

EOS 5D Mark III B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This is still (in my opinion) the best DSLR in the world for both video and stills in terms of price / value & feature ratios.   This is the camera I shoot with for my still + HDSLR video work (notably my timelapse.)   If you have a 5D MKII – the Autofocus and motor speed make this the easiest upgrade choice, and the video is significantly cleaner and w/o moire issues.  This is in effect Canon’s update to the wildly popular full frame EOS 5D Mark II, which changed the Industry with it’s full HD video capabilities.  The Mark III improves upon the Mark II with a range of mechanical upgrades, including a Dual CF Card Slot, and an improved ISO of up to 25600, making this one of the best low-light performing cameras on the market.

Description (from B&H): A full-frame 22.3MP DSLR featuring exceptional still image and movie recording capabilities. Integrating Canon’s new DIGIC 5+ Image Processor and 14-bit A/D conversion, this camera is able to produce superbly detailed imagery with immense low-light sensitivity that is further aided by an extended ISO range up to 102400. The 5D Mark III is capable of recording full HD video with manual exposure control and in multiple frame rates, including 1080/30p and 720/60p. Image review is possible using the 1,040,000-dot 3.2" Clear View II LCD monitor, which features a high-transparency, reflection resistant multi-coating for adequate viewing under bright conditions. A highly durable magnesium-alloy body surrounds the components and offers increased dust and weather resistance. Dual CF and SD memory card support also increases the compatibility of the camera. Support is also provided for the optional Canon Wireless File Transmitter and GPS receiver for remote logging, tracking, and sending of your imagery.

EOS 6D B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  Basically this is the BEST STILL camera out there today (without going to the PRO 1D series.)   I’d get this hands down over any other camera including the 5D MKIII perhaps… the only catch:  the video has moire issue as did the 5D MKII… if you want to shoot stills, consider this camera over the 5D MKIII if you’re on a budget.  If you want to shoot video: the 5D MKIII is the way to go over the 6D.

Description (from B&H): A full-frame 20.2MP DSLR offering exceptionally high image quality and detail while providing compatibility and convenience through its design and features. When paired with the powerful DIGIC 5+ image processor and 14-bit A/D conversion, the full-frame sensor is capable of recording vivid imagery with expanded sensitivity up to ISO 102400. The 6D employs an 11-point autofocus system for acquiring precise focus regardless of the shooting situation, which is further enhanced by a center cross-type focus point for improved low-light focus sensitivity.  Full HD video recording is possible up to 1080/30p in the All I-frame or IPB compression, as well as the standard H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec. The 6D features a smaller form factor compared to other full-frame DSLRs, but still integrates a large 3.0" 1,040K-dot TFT LCD monitor for clear playback and review of your imagery. The construction of the body integrates an aluminum alloy and polycarbonate chassis within a magnesium and polycarbonate shell for durability while still maintaining a lightweight profile. Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS technologies also provide extensive connectivity to the 6D. 

 

LENSES

24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: If you need to buy ONE lens to start your still or film career.. well this is it.  End of story.   This range (on a full frame sensor) covers almost every single "classic" focal lenght – from 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm (which is the only non-standard one…)   It’s the perfect travel lens, the perfect sports lens, the perfect aerial lens, the perfect photojournalism lens, the perfect full body portrait lens – I think you get the picture – along with the 70~200mm 2.8 it’s one of two lenses that almost every single photographer in the world owns.   It’s a great range for the beginning filmmaker as well – but is quite difficult to focus or set marks with given about a 1-2 inch rotation between macro and infinity.   It is a GREAT macro lens too by the way – making it even more versatile.

Description (from Canon): This new lens does what many pros thought couldn’t be done – replace the previous L-series 28-70 f/2.8 lens with something even better. Extended coverage to an ultra-wide-angle 24mm makes it ideal for digital as well as film shooters, and the optics are even better than before with two Aspherical elements and a totally new UD glass element. It’s now sealed and gasketed against dust and moisture, and a new processing unit makes the AF faster than ever.

24-105mm f/4 – IS Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This lenses is basically the 24~70mm 2.8 that is 35mm longer making it a much better portrait lens but with a 1-stop loss in light (f4 vs f2.8.)  That being said it has Image Stabilization built in – which is very very nice.  Personally – I’ll take the f 2.8 24~70mm over this lens any day.   But I have many photographer friends (including Walter Ioss Jr.) who SWEAR by this lens.  And many videographers are choosing this lens over the 24~70mm 2.8 because they can afford to shoot at f4 with the higher ISO cameras and benefit hugely from the IS (Image Stabilization.)

Description (from Canon): This easy-to-use standard zoom lens can cover a large zoom area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm portrait-length telephoto, and its Image Stabilizer Technology steadies camera shake up to three stops. Constructed with one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses, this lens minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion. The result is excellent picture quality, even at wide apertures. Canon’s ring-type USM gives silent but quick AF, along with full-time manual focus. Moreover, with dust- and moisture-resistant construction, this is a durable yet sophisticated lens that meets the demands of advanced amateur photographers and professional photographers alike.

70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This is another one of the mainstay lenses – along with the 24~70mm 2.8 lens.   This is the second MUST HAVE lens for any photographer and filmmaker.  With these two lenses – you can literally cover the world.  I’ve made a high percentage of my best images of my career with this lens and would recommend it to everyone.  Buy the 24~70mm 2.8 first – and then this one.  And then you can start buying the specialty lenses you see that surround these two lenses on this page.  This is one of the sharpest zoom lenses in the world.

Description (from Canon) : The pinnacle in Canon’s constant-aperture telephoto zoom lenses, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L "IS" lens is an incredible optic with robust design and tacksharp results. Second-generation Image Stabilization responds in as little as 0.5 seconds, while providing stabilization that is three times as handholdable as a normal lens. IS now automatically deactivates when on a tripod by sensing non-movement of the camera and lens, also conserving battery power. An entirely new optical formula produces images that are superior to even its highly regarded predecessor, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L, despite having more reflective surfaces within the lens.

16-35mm f/2.8L II Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: When I used to shoot with smaller sensor camera (with the 1.3x crop factor) this was a go to lens.  Then I switched to full frame sensors and put this lens away for quite awhile in favor of the 24~70mm 2.8.   Now this lens is a new favorite for wide shots on the full frame sensors in cinema.  The above 3 lenses will allow you to cover the world and carry just these 3 lenses in one bag… a combination that’s very hard to beat.

Description (from Canon):  The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM is a high performance, water-resistant, and ultra wide-angle Canon L-series lens. It has been specifically designed for improved edge-to-edge image quality that will meet the strict requirements of professional and high-end amateur photographers. It features 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements, each of a different type: ground, replica and GMo for even better image quality than the original EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM.

24mm f/1.4 – Series II Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is a beautiful bright wide angle lens – that will allow you to photograph with almost two more stops of light than most zooms.  A great photojournalism lens.  This also happens to be my single favorite focal length for cinema… and Kubrick’s btw…  

Description (from Canon): Professional wide-angle lens with an ultra-large maximum aperture of f/1.4. This is the first EF lens to employ both a replicated Aspherical lens element to suppress distortion and spherical aberration, and a UD lens element to correct lateral chromatic aberration. Thanks to the floating construction, excellent corner-to-corner delineation is attained from 10 in. (25 cm) to infinity.

50mm f/1.2 Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is pretty much a MUST have lens for any HDDSLR filmmaker – I’d recommend it as part of any standard kit.  The 50mm range in film on a full frame sensor is perfect for tighter wide shots, and for loose portraits.  Perfect for dialogue scenes.   Used with care it can be an incredible photojournalism lens as well – not to mention portrait lens (see the 35mm 1.4 description above.)  Obviously – it’s a fantastic longish lens to shoot in very dark areas…

Description (from Canon): The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a peerless new standard lens featuring an ultra-large aperture for a narrow depth of field and soft background blur so loved by photographers everywhere. The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is suitable for any shooting situation; its lens coating and construction are optimized to minimize the ghosting and flare that frequently occurs when lenses are used with digital cameras. This high-performance, weather-resistant lens delivers all the superb image resolution and contrast you expect in a Canon L Series Lens.

 

100mm f/2.8 – Macro Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is a stunning Macro lens.  Incredibly sharp and stunning.  BUT the REAL secret with this lens is that is is the only lens to date that has the new "hybrid" IS stabilization system – which is almost like having a built-in gyro.  It’s the only lens that I can operate an HDDLSR 100% handheld – the Image Stabilization is stunning.  I wish they would put this new system in EVERY upcoming Canon lens.  But saddly I haven’t seen this happen yet…

Description (from Canon): Canon’s newest "L" series lens is its first mid-telephoto macro lens to include Canon’s sophisticated Image Stabilization. With the highest quality optics available, combined with near-silent Ultrasonic focusing and life-size close-up capabilities without an adapter, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is simply unrivalled.

Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 ZE Wide Angle Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is THE sharpest ultra-wide-angle lens you can buy.   Kills everything else out there.  No brainer purchase for most serious filmmakers and photographers.

Description (from Zeiss): With a field angle of 110°, the super wide-angle Distagon T* 2,8/15 is the ideal companion when it comes to capturing events in a way that makes them dynamic and extraordinary. Whether salt crystals or drops of water – its integrated lens shade and standard filter thread afford the front lens optimal protection from wind and weather. The technically impressive features of the Distagon T* 2,8/15 include extraordinary chromatic aberration correction as well as two aspheric lens elements, special types of glass with exceptional partial dispersion and a floating elements design guaranteeing high image quality from close-up to infinity. Allowing you unlimited possibilities to let your imagination run free.

 

SUPPORT

microShoulderMount B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  Consider this the skeleton of any rig you built – it will work with any camera system out there and you can grow with it and adapt the parts as you work with other cameras along the way.

Description (from B&H): The Redrock Micro microShoulderMount Deluxe Bundle turns nearly any camera into a portable, shoulder-mounted production rig. Whether you’re shooting with a tiny consumer camcorder, a video DSLR, or an ENG-style camera and 35mm lens adapter, this kit not only increases the stability of handheld shooting, it provides new levels of flexibility to how you shoot. The shoulder pad and two rubberized handgrips can be adjusted in nearly any configuration along the included handlebar rods and 18" carbon fiber support rods. And with the addition of a Redrock microMount (not included), the rods can be used to support a host of accessories, from articulating arms to external monitors, batteries and portable hard drives. Generally this system requires at least one additional component: a rod clamp or a microMount with spud for external monitoring.

504HD Head B&H Mfr. Site

Comment: This is THE head I would get if I was looking to start in video and was on a budget.  It’s pretty rock solid – you’ll do fine w/ a basic HDDSLR kit on it – but don’t expect to put a full cage w/ accessories or a long lens on it as it’s not meant to support that type of weight… for that I’d go straight to the 526 head below.

Description (from Manfrotto): The 504HD is Manfrotto’s latest video fluid head. It is a perfect balance of design and performance. The bridge design improves the head’s rigidity and its PAN friction control is fast, simple to fine-tune and protected from knocks. All structural components are made from aluminium, with the PAN axis rotation unit using ball bearings to obtain smooth, totally vibration-free controlled movements that can be directly adjusted using the head’s FDS variable friction system. FDS on both the PAN and TILT axes also ensures that the head works perfectly at all temperatures, with all types of equipment and under all loads. Ergonomically improved lever and dial designs combine with the new friction index to give you complete control over the 504HD.

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.

 

ACCESSORIES

ultraCage DSLR B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  I LOVE these cages.  I use them extensively for both time lapse and video – the ability to have hard mounted rods and other accessories make this a GO TO accessory you won’t soon regret.  HDSLRS are NOT built to have heavy equipment mounted to them, even the tripod mount is far from ideal.   The fact that this screws in to both the base and hot shoe of your camera means you can build and entire eco-system around your HDSLR and not regret things "moving around or slipping" without permission down the line…

Description (from Redrock Micro): ultraCage is a thing of beauty. The vertical supports stretch from the ultraBase platform and wrap around the camera to meet the upper support clamp. At top and bottom are 15mm rod supports, with 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 mounting holes along the entire surface of the cage. All buttons and functions are fully accessible within ultraCage, so there’s no reason to ever take the camera out.

microFollowFocus v2 B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: A solid follow focus system – greatly improved over the first version.  The ARRI FF-1 is by far the best and most versatile (compact) follow focus I would recommend to anyone – but it costs more than some HDSLRs… so this is a good compromise for most.

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 B&H 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: THE BEST Vari ND Filter money can buy with close to zero (I haven’t seen any actually) loss in image quality.  I don’t leave home w/o one of these.

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.

O Box B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: THE BEST MATTE BOX (outside of Arri) out there period.   Listen I’ve used dozens of other matte boxes  out there that are 1/8 – 1/2 this price, but nothing comes close to the build of this matte box.   I can’t recommend any of the cheaper models down the line.  So I say:  don’t buy a matte box if you don’t need one or can’t afford this… or wait to buy this one when you can afford it.  The good news:  you’ll use this same matte boxes on fancy cinema cameras down the line…

Description (from OConnor): The OConnor O-BOX WM Set (15mm LWS) is a matte box that includes the O-Box WM matte box, a wide mini sunshade, top flag, two 4 x 4" filter frames, two 4 x 5.65" filter frames, and a 15mm LWS rod bracket.

4 x 5.6" HD Neutral Density Set (0.3 – 1.8) B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: ND filters are an ABSOLUTE necessity when shooting video/film.   For still photographers: remember that in video you shutter speed is mostly locked down at 1/50th of a second – therefore when you go out into bright sunlight – you can find yourself at f/11 or f/16 at 100ASA depending on where you.   Therefore NDs are one of the single most common tools in film – to keep the apertures open and the depth of field shallow.   Unless you’re shooting indoors or at night – you can’t leave with a set of NDs – period.  These are of course rectangular filters – meant to work with matte boxes.  You can of course use circular screw on filters on your Canon EF glass to do the exact same thing.   If you are using cine lenses or CP.2 lenses – you’ll need to use a matte box and these type of filters.  (p.s. make sure you always get the correct sized filter for your matte box – there are different sizes out there to accommodate smaller and bigger matte boxes.) One important note:  people always ask me if they should spend money on their filters or go the cheap route.   My answer is: why in the world would you put a cheap/or worse plastic filter – in front of your $1,000-$3,000 lens???  It sounds insane when you think of it that way doesn’t it?

Description (from Schneider): Schneider Neutral Density (ND) filters are designed to control exposure or depth of field under various lighting conditions without affecting color or contrast.

4 x 5.6" Circular Polarizer B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: If you wonder why other videographers/filmmakers/DP’s films look so rich – have deep skies – or the water in their frames look so much better than what you’re shooting… chances are they’re using a polarizer.   Some never shoot without one.   Besides eliminating unwanted reflections/glare – these filters really help to saturate colors, darken skies, and lead to a richer image.   You do lose close to 2 stops of light as well.  Lastly – the part of the sky that is 90 degrees to the sun will go the darkest with a polarizer – in other words shoot at right angle with a polarizer.  If the sun is behind you as you shoot – the polarizer will do almost nothing.

Description (from Schneider): Polarizers are commonly used to control glare on water and to allow the camera to see below the surface. They are also used to reduce glare on car bumpers and to control reflections on plate-glass windows. Polarizers are so versatile that they can perform the opposite functions as well. Some cinematographers use polarizers to increase or enhance reflections, simply by changing the filter’s setting.

Cine Arm B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:    The standard arm in the cine world – period.  You DON’T want to cheap out on this as there’ nothing more frustrating than a monitor that slips or twists off during a shoot – NOTHING.  You’ll break cables and cameras as a result of a bad arm…  the cine lock on this unit is also a Godsend… no more twisting these arms in forever as you’re rushing to shoot or pack.   This is a FANTASTIC investment – the only other one I would suggest is the Zacuto arm which I commonly see being used on Alexa/Epic packages because it never slips… 

Description (from Noga): The MG38CA-CL1 Cine Arm & 16×9 Cine Lock from 16×9 Inc. is a cinematic arm and lock mount. This equipment helps saves time and effort when setting up camera rigs.

microBalance Starter Kit B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  These are pretty critical to balancing your rig.  It it’s front heavy – making smooth tilts will become very very difficult – not to mention movement in general.

Description (from Redrock Micro): The microBalance Starter Kit enables counterbalance weights to be attached to any 15mm rod setup so rigs can be conveniently and comfortably balanced (instead of front heavy). Additional microBalance counterbalance weights can be added in single weight increments to exactly and economically meet your needs.

 

MONITORING

Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: An Electronic viewfinder that accepts the HDMI output from your DSLR.  This can be incredibly helpful if you are trying to find a more comfortable way to monitor what you are shooting, especially when building a shoulder rig for your DSLR.  However, if you are looking for a larger display for tasks such as AC focus pulling, or client playback – you will need an off board monitor like those listed below.

Description (from Zacuto):  The Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro (3.2 ) is an electronic view finder with a TFT LCD display and offers a resolution of 800 x 400 and 16.7M color. Consisting of an EVF Flip model and an optical viewfinder, the EVF Pro allows you to operate a DSLR or any other camera with an HDMI port, by offering an image as seen by the camera itself. Designed to be attached  in-line to your rod system, it aids in stable and efficient shooting, and ensures correct form factor for the video. The EVF can be used with all Z-finder models and is compatible with most cameras including Panasonic AF-100 and Sony F3.

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: Get the thinest cables you can to work w/ your HDSLRS – this is great for working w/ external monitors or get a shorter version for your onboard monitors.  Thick cables don’t work – they coil and become tripping hazards, not to mention that they will pull themselves out of your HDMI port due to their own heavy weight.

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.

 

JIBS & SLIDERS

Kessler Stealth Slider Mfr. Site

Comments: The Stealth is meant for smaller rigs as it has a weight capacity of 15 lbs. whereas the CineSlider (below) has a weight capacity of 35 lbs. (if centermounted) and 80 lbs. (if fully supported). The Stealth has the same drag control feature as the CineSlider, which is always good for adding tension for more control of slower moves.

Description (from Kessler): The Stealth is a hybrid slider that combines the lightweight portable rail & carriage system of our standard Pocket Dolly™ with the drag control of our CineSlider™. Features include drag control, measuring tape, smooth rolling precision stainless steel ball bearing wheels and multiple mounting options. The Stealth does not have a crank handle.

 

AUDIO

DR-40 Handheld Digital Audio Recorder B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  Again – after 2 yeas of working with the Zoom – this line of Tascams is well worth a look.  We’re still in the process of testing them out over a period of months before I draw any final conclusions – but so far: EXCELLENT.

Description: he adjustable mics, four-track recording and extended battery life of the TASCAM DR-40 give you the flexibility you need to record tracks anywhere. The DR-40 captures up to four tracks from built-in, high-quality condenser microphones, XLR mic or line inputs. The internal mics are adjustable from XY to AB position, helping you to tailor your recording to the sound of the room. A pair of great-sounding TASCAM microphone preamps welcome condenser microphones with phantom power, recording at up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution. It accommodates balanced XLR or 1/4" line inputs using locking Neutrik Combo jacks. The DR-40 accepts SD or SDHC cards up to 32GB, and a 2GB card is included.

ew 100 G3 Wireless Microphone System B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is the first kit I purchased and I use it to this day.  The Sennheiser wireless units are pretty standard across the industry.  Remember – you need one set PER actor…  and if you get two sets make sure you get them on different frequencies – Sennheiser sells them as separate packages for that reason. 

Description (from Sennheiser): This ENG set offers a great amount of flexibility for portable recording indoors or outdoors. Its SKP 100 G3 plug-on transmitter transforms XLR equipped devices (such as microphones and mixing consoles) into wireless devices by simply plugging the unit in. The bodypack transmitter, as well as the plug on, can be synced up to the receiver with the simple push of a button. A very small high-quality omni-directional clip-on microphone completes this set.

NTG-2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: I’ve found this to be an excellent shotgun mic  – with excellent base.  

Description (from Rode): The new RODE NTG-2 is a lightweight condenser shotgun microphone, designed for professional applications within the film, video, television and production industries.The NTG-2 provides a balanced low impedance output stage and operates either from an internal 1.5 V battery (AA) or 48 V to the P48 standard. A wide bandwidth and controlled polar response coupled with low noise SMT electronics, makes the NTG-2 the perfect choice for film, video engineering and voice-over work.

KE-89CC Avalon Series Internal Cabled Boom Pole B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: A must have part of any audio kit.  This is a great starting off point for your audio kit. 

Description (from K-Tek): Crafted in cost-effective aluminum tubing, Avalon boom poles are designed to meet the needs of ENG and DV Camera crews. The series offers many of the same benefits of the original Klassic boom poles in an affordable package — eliminating some deluxe features but without sacrificing any of the K-Tek quality.

 

LIGHTING

Croma B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This light is a camera-top light in the same vein as the MicroPro (below).  However this light allows you to adjust the color temperature.  Great light for documentary and video journalism.

Description (from LitePanels): The Croma™ is a sleekly designed, camera-mounted LED lighting fixture that provides Litepanels hallmark soft light with the addition of variable color temperature output. It is a versatile solution for run-and-gun news shooters, event videographers or still photographers who move rapidly from one light environment to the next, with no time to change lighting equipment or add gels. Delivering powerful performance in a small package, this self-contained light can be a secret weapon on any set or location, wherever extra kick or nice fill is needed.

  1×1 LED   Mfr. Site

Comments: This is the best value you will find out there in terms of price – it’s 40% cheaper than the competition, 40% brighter and is significantly more color accurate.  Sound too good to be true?  It’s really not.   This is the next generation of LED lighting and is lighter, has more mounting points, can switch from daylight to tungsten or anywhere in between instantly and even has a handle in the back.

Description (from Visual Buddha): The new VISUAL BUDDHA™ variable color LED 1×1 panels offer High 93+ CRI, high quality, soft, directional light at an affordable price. Backed by industry professionals, the Visual Buddha LED 1×1 Bi-Color light comes with a free V-Mount or Gold Mount Battery Plate mounted to the back panel, and features the ability to instantly dial up color temperatures from cool-white daylight to warm-white tungsten (and anywhere in between).

 

POWER

LP-E6 Battery B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  Get several of these for your cameras but ALSO to power most of your accessories which have adapters for these batteries due to their popularity (monitors and a variety of accessories.)

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 B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  Get an extra one for every 2-3 batteries you buy so you can keep shooting all day.

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

 

MEDIA & HARDDRIVES

32GB Lexar Professional 800x CompactFlash

64GB Lexar Professional 800x CompactFlash

128GB Lexar Professional 800x CompactFlash

B&H B&H B&H Mfr. Site Mfr. Site Mfr. Site

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 CD 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 – and entire take or setup can be ruined.   The Lexar cards have been incredibly reliable for me for close to 5 years – and their speed saves you a tremendous 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.

Description (from Lexar): The premium Lexar Professional 600x CompactFlash® (CF) memory card provides ultimate high-speed performance and reliability for professional photographers, with industry-leading 600x (90MB/s) guaranteed minimum sustained write speed.* The card provides support for high-resolution UDMA-enabled DSLR cameras, lets you capture and store high-quality images and video, and dramatically increases card-to-computer transfer rates when paired with a UDMA-enabled reader.

Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual Slot Reade (UDMA 7) 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 Lexar): The Lexar Professional UDMA Dual-Slot USB Reader is a compact, portable, high-performance reader. Fully compatible with UDMA CF, standard CF, SDHC, and SD cards, the reader provides versatility and the ability to leverage blazing-fast UDMA card speeds when paired with the Lexar Professional UDMA 300x memory card.

Atomos Ninja 2 B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is a SECRET weapon.  Why?  Basically all DSLRs heavily compress your video.  That video is hard to process due to the compression when you use most video editing software.   This unit takes a clean signal from the 5D MKIII for example and DOESN’T compress it – instead it goes straight to ProRes 422 or AVID DNxHD.  I power these with my LPE-6 batteries (The 5D MKIII batteries) and the unit can start and stop recording automatically when you hit record on your 5D.   Definitely recommend you look into these instead of CF cards and compressed workflows – you can mount these on the hot shoe of your camera and run!

Description: The Atomos Ninja 2 Video Recorder is an HDMI recorder and 800 x 480 resolution monitor that records up to 1080/30p/60i resolution directly from your camera’s sensor to an HDD or SSD in Apple’s ProRes or Avid’s DNxHD edit-ready codecs. Color precision records at 10-bit, even from an 8-bit sensor, and color sampling at 4:2:2. Recording an 8-bit signal in 10-bit won’t increase the quality of the signal but will let you work with the signal in post-production as if it’s 10-bit, meaning you can add effects and not see jagged lines and other artifacts. Being able to record direct from the sensor lets you bypass your camera’s compression and instead have the first compression be in an edit-ready codec. Generally, the less compressions, the less image degradation.

G-DRIVE mobile (500GB)

G-DRIVE mobile (1TB)

B&H B&H Mfr. Site Mfr. Site

Comments:  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  (2TB)

G-DRIVE  (4TB)

B&H

B&H

Mfr. Site

Mfr. Site

Comments:  These are the drives I travel the world with on bigger productions.

Description (from G-Tech): The G-DRIVE USB 3.0 External Desktop Hard Drive by G-Technology is an external hard drive that features a generous 64MB cache, a fast 7200 rpm spindle speed, and hi-speed USB 3.0 and FireWire connectivity. It also features a SATA II 3Gbps interface for smooth transfer and reliable operation on the inside. On the outside, the USB 3.0 port can deliver maximum transfer rates of 5Gbps. If you’re a Mac-based user, you still get the convenience of FireWire 800 (backwards compatible to FireWire 400). The fanless drive has its own internal heatsink built into the unit which offers improved cooling and quiet operation.