Gear We Trust
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Here is a list of gear we have used enough to recommend to our viewers. We either own all of this equipment or have rented it in the past. We have recently hooked up with B &H photo as an affiliate. If you use the links below to buy something from them, then we get a tiny percentage to help keep this site going. This page will be updated every month. Please feel free to comment or add any equipment that you are digging right now. Thanks for the support! The gear is listed in alphabetical order by category. I also recommend that you look for used gear whenever possible. At the very least you will know the difference in price between Used and New.
The Apple iPhone 4 HD video camera is one of the best capture devices we have in our arsenal. We tend to use the Almost DSLR App to compensate for the automatic built in system. There are tons of editing Apps available and additional support like the OWLE bubo and Zacuto Zgrip to add stability or mount to a tripod. Simply put, this is the best camera because it is always with us.
This is by far the best “Digital Cinema” camera out on the market right now. It is a very simple and easy to manipulate system. All of the buttons are easily accessible and the image quality is exceptional. It has about eleven stops of latitude from it’s native ISO and uses PL mount 35mm motion picture lenses. It’s not cheap at around $80K but well worth renting if your budget allows for it. Bottom Line: It’s an Arri.
The Canon 5D MK II is one of the best MOS capture devices available. It will only cost you around twenty five hundred dollars and will work with most lenses available on the market via a mechanical adapter. The 35mm full frame still sensor is one of the largest available and produces exceptional video quality. We have used this camera extensively and are familiar with most of the workarounds to make it one kick ass cinema camera. The shallow DOF has redefined the “Cinema Aesthetic”.
The Canon 7D is one of the best “Hybrid” cameras on the market. It has a hard switch to shoot either stills or video. It will take a blistering eight frames per second in RAW still mode and will let you shoot 60fps in 720 X 1280 HD video mode. The ergonomics are kick ass and it is one rugged little bitch of a camera. The only downside is the AGC audio. Fix it, Please!
The Canon 60D is my new favorite sub $2K DSLR camera. It has many of the features of the Canon 7D and includes manual audio control. The adjustable LCD is a huge bonus for video shooters. It uses cheaper SD cards and runs on LP-E6 batteries. (Same as 5D and 7D). It truly is a killer “B” camera.
The tiny GoPro Hero HD camera is a great solution for sports photography. We have been shooting a Hang Gliding movie for the past year and use them quite extensively. They are rugged little cameras that produce a fairly decent HD image. Combined with the LCD BacPac, the Go Pro Hero HD can be a great camera to always keep in your kit. The GH2 has replaced it for most of the hang gliding mounts, but we always keep them around as a backup or “B” camera.
The Nikon D7000 has a few hurdles to overcome before we can “highly recommend” it, but it is a DSLR and it will shoot video. It will also take almost any nikkor lens out there. That is a huge plus for anyone highly invested in Nikon glass. The Nikon D7000 has a few pitfalls for video. One, there is no exposure meter in video mode. The second is that nikkor glass is a reverse focus throw from cinema lenses. This adjustment takes time, and time is money.
The Panasonic AF100 is a “Decent” video camera. The bonus here is that with the smaller Micro 4/3″ sensor almost any lens will work. This camera has all of the trappings of a typical video camera. That is what eventually turned me off about this camera. It LOOKS like video, even with the best PL glass available. It does have proper XLR audio inputs and uncompressed HD/SDI out. All of this combined makes it a viable cinema style capture device. At around 5K, this is a great video camera for the price.
The Panasonic GH2 is my new favorite travel DSLR. It produces some truly stunning HD video and can work with almost any lens on the market via a mechanical adapter. We have been using it with the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f0.95 with great success. I use it for most of the Quick Take Videos we shoot and it is a great “take anywhere” camera. I have been using it with the Glidecam HD2000 and the 14-50mm 2.8/3.5 O.I.S lens.
The Sony F3 is one of the best “Digital Cinema” cameras on the market under $20K. It truly is a motion picture capture device. It has a four pin XLR power input, uncompressed HD/SDI out, XLR audio inputs, PL mount lens port. This enables us to use all of the existing 35mm motion picture accessories available for the craft. The $3K S-Log firmware update gives the Sony PMW-F3 the ability to compete with any RED camera out in the wild, if you can find one.
Lenses are the heart of any camera system. It is very easy to fall madly in love with a lens. Here are a few that have touched my heart.
Panavision Primo Prime Lenses are a fast T1.9 in all focal distances from 10mm through 150mm. They are Panavision PL mount only and can not be purchased directly or otherwise. This is a rental item only. They are some of the best motion picture primes available in the world. They do an outstanding job with skin tones. Simply put they make women look “Better”.
The super fast Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 is a party waiting to happen. The M4/3″ mount lens is made by Cosina of Japan. The f0.95 aperture makes a huge difference in low light conditions and will produce a gorgeous Bokeh. It is slightly soft and can feel like a spot focus lens at times. It does have an insane close focus distance of 6.7″ which gives it an almost macro quality. It is also both manual focus and iris and has no plastic or electronic components. This is one bad ass lens, if you can find it.
The Zeiss CP.2 primes are the most versatile lenses on the market. There are the only lenses with interchangeable mounting options. They are also the only PL mount lenses that will cover a Full Frame Sensor. This means they will work with almost any camera system in the world. They have a full 360 degree rotation on the focus barrel and have gearing for both the focus and iris. They are very compact and lightweight in relation to other Cinema lenses on the market. They are also dirt cheap in comparison. The CP.2 lenses are simply a re-housed still lens. The glass is hand picked and color matched in Germany and the housing is also built there. The sharpness and build quality is outstanding. If they are not within your budget the ZE or ZF line may be a more cost effective alternative. The Zeiss CP.2 Primes will cost you around $3500 each.
The newer Zeiss ZE and ZF line of lenses are the best lenses to use with DSLR cameras, bar none. They are much sharper than Canon and even Nikkor glass. The color rendition is much cooler than Canon and they are made of metal and glass, that’s it! No plastic here. They are manual focus and unlike their auto focus counterparts they have a much longer focus throw. This is a necessity for DSLR video work. the shallow DOF of the Canon 5D MK II makes it very difficult to follow focus. These lenses will give you a fighting chance. The 50mm f1.4 is a must have for any serious DSLR video shooter.
The older Zeiss Contax prime lenses are an affordable alternative to the newer Zeiss ZE/ZF lenses. They have the same T* coating and are also all metal and glass construction. They have both manual focus and iris and can easily be de-clicked for cinema work. The Zeiss Contax primes can be mounted to most DSLR cameras via a mechanical adapter. KEH camera has a steady supply and Fotodiox has very inexpensive adapters. A 50mm f1.7 will only cost around $200. I also recommend trying to get similar serial numbers as the color temp can vary every so often. They are the most cost effective solution for digital cinema. The Zeiss Contax primes range in focal distance from 18mm-100mm and can cost anywhere from $200-$1800 each.
The Angenieux ten to one zoom lens is simply one of the best zoom lenses in the world. It will cost you around 250K to get this bad boy and is typically a rental lens. It is a proper cinema zoom with a fast aperture of T2.8. If you own this zoom and you are reading this blog you are in the wrong place. You should be kicking it at your villa in Tuscany.
The Canon 24-105mm F4 zoom lens is one of only two Canon lenses that I can honestly recommend for video work. The only thing keeping this lens in the lineup is the focal range and the Image Stabilization. The f4 is really too slow for any interior work and the build quality is just OK. However the IS is a huge plus for run and gun hand held work. It is just barely sharp enough for 2K video. I would recommend getting this lens used as it was the older kit lens with the Canon 5D MK II. It will cost you around $1400.
The only other Canon lens that I can recommend is the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L I Zoom Lens. This is my workhorse zoom lens for DSLR video. The focal range is perfect for close ups and portraits. The Image Stabilization system kicks some serious ass on the long end. The f2.8 aperture is fast enough for interior work and it is the only rock solid lens that Canon makes. If only they other L series zooms were this heavy! I recommend getting the “L” one series over the “LII” as it is around 1K less. It is still available brand new here. The Canon 70-200 L I zoom will cost you around $1400 new or used.
The Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Zoom Lens will only cover a full frame sensor at around 15-16mm but it is a great option for a wide angle variable prime lens for crop sensor cameras. This compact and lightweight zoom will come handy for interior car shots and will give you an effective 17-25mm zoom on it’s intended crop sensor cameras. The fast f2.8 aperture works well for interiors and it has a solid manual focus adjustment for video work. The entire focus collar slides into manual focus with hard stops at either end of the barrel. It can be used at deeper stops on a glidecam rig quite effectively. The Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 Zoom will cost you around $650.
The Tokina 28-80mm f2.8 Zoom Lens works well as a mid range variable prime for DSLR video. It has a great focal range and the fast f2.8 works well for interiors. The build quality is much better than the Canon 24-70mm lens and it also has a hard stop manual focus collar similar to the Tokina 11-16mm zoom. It is not the sharpest tool in the shed but the build quality makes up for it. It does produce amazing flares and used properly it can be a great dream sequence or effect lens. It can only be found used and prices can range from $350-$500 depending on condition.
The 501HDV head is not my first pick but will get the job done. It has been relegated to a lock off or travel tripod as part of my arsenal. This is the tripod I don’t really care about anymore. It was a great first tripod but is quickly lost performance and was kicked to the curb. It is one of the least expensive tripods out there and will work in a pinch. If it was not so inexpensive at around $450 it would not be part of this list. Bottom line: it’s cheap.
I was pleasently surprised with the new 504 HD head from Manfrotto. The new Bridge system works well and looks pretty cool. I was very impressed with the 535K carbon fiber tripod. This is one badass piece of gear. It will extend to a whopping six feet when fully extended. It is relatively light weight and feels solid. The 504 HD has a four step counter-balance system and resistance adjustment for both pan and tilt. It can handle a payload of up to 16lbs. This setup will cost you around $1K but is well worth it if you plan on using a heavier camera system.
The Manfrotto 682B monopod is one of my new favorite tools. It works very well as a second camera lock off and has little or no footprint. This is a huge bonus when navigating through crowds or any tight quartered space. I treat it like a bazooka for corner perspectives or elevator shots. It will also get you higher in crowds for overhead shots. At just under $125 this is a new kit essential. We recommend the Manfrotto 496 Ball Mount Head to make this one killer setup.
The O’Connor 2575 is typically a rental item and is used for larger 35mm motion picture cameras. However I have seen it in the wild with little two pound DSLR’s, it will handle a payload of up to 91 lbs. It has a percentage based counter balance system and both the pan and tilt drag have a ten point adjustment system. The O’Connor 2575 can be found on most motion picture sets throughout the world. In many ways it is the gold standard of fluid heads in the industry.
The O’Connor 1030 HDs is one of the best small tripod systems available on the market. It was originally designed for smaller motion picture camera systems and now works well for larger ENG style digital cameras. The 1030 has a “sinusoidal or continuous counter balance system” (whatever that is) that balances down to zero percent and both pan and tilt drag can be adjusted continuously. It uses a standard sized dovetail Quick Release plate to mount the camera. The O’Connor 1030 HDS will handle a payload of up to 41 lbs and will cost you around $5600.
The FSB 4 and carbon fiber speed lock tripod is my top pick for smaller camera systems. Sachtler is one of the best manufactures of tripods in the world. The FSB 4 has all of the features of a larger system bundled into a very compact setup. The foot print of the tripod is tiny in relation to other systems. The CF speed lock tripod is super fast to set up and only has one tie down per leg for both extensions. Anyone that has had to set up a tripod multiple times per day will quickly realize how much time this will save on set. The pan and tilt adjustments are very intiutive and easy to adjust. The FSB 4 has a “Dynamic Counter Balance System” whatever that means. The FSB 4 can handle up to 8lbs and will only set you back around $1200 with the carbon fiber Speed Lock tripod. That is a great deal for a tripod that will last forever. See Quick Take Demo Video Here.
The new Sachtler Cine-DSLR fluid head has a ton of features specifically designed for use with DSLR cameras. The quick release plate is super long and will work well for front heavy cameras like DSLR’s. It also has a front and back lip to help prevent the camera from shifting while pulling focus or adding pressure to one side. The Cine-DSLR has a three way adjustment for both pan and tilt and a ten way counter balance adjustment. The Sachtler Cine-DSLR will handle a 2-11lb payload and is not too expensive at around $1200 with the 2-Stage Aluminum tripod. The foot print on the aluminum tripod is also very small but can be extended if necessary. See Quick Take Demo Video Here.
Shoulder Mount Hand Held Systems.
The JAG35 Field Runner shoulder rig has all of the componets I want in a shoulder mount system. It has two handles, a decent shoulder pad, a carry handle and proper rod mount spacing to allow use of a follow focus system. It is also one of the least expensive rigs available on the market at just under $300. The crew over at JAG35 are always working on cost effective solutions for independant filmmakers. Everything is made and assembled locally in California. The shoulder rig combined with the $150 D|Focus Follow Focus will get you into a shoulder mount rig for under $500. Bottom Line Here: It’s Cheap and It Works!
Redrock Micro has been making rigs for quite some time. The Field Cinema rig is a stripped down version of the older EyeSpy Deluxe kit that included a follow focus. The RRM follow focus V2 is not the sexiest beast out there so I can only recommend the rig without out the FF system. This setup will work well with an EVF or on board monitor. There is a 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 thread on the bottom of the shoulder pad which will allow you to mount the entire rig on a tripod. This makes for quick and easy moves from tripod to hand held mode. The Field Cinema Hand Held Rig will set you back around $1200. Note: If you are not planning on using a monitor or EVF with this rig you will need to purchase an additional off-set mount for a DSLR camera.
The Vocas rigs are quite impressive looking, however they lack functionality to some of the other rigs at a similar price point. The DSLR rig consists of an off-set mount and a massive carry handle. The grips are ultra comfortable and the balance is quite good. The tie downs are a quick latch system that does an OK job of keeping everything together. You can adjust a tension screw to make it tighter, then you have to be able to close the quick latch tie down. Catch 22 thing going on there. Vocas also makes a DV Pro version for non-DSLR video cameras. It does not include the carry handle and costs the exact same price. Not sure how that works. The Vocas DSLR Pro rig is not cheap at around $2100.
The Zacuto Scorpion Rig is by far the most comfortable rig I have ever used. It has a very cool ball mount joint that gives you infinate adjustment options for the front of the camera. It is one solid piece with a heavy duty collapseable carry handle. It has two handles and proper spacing to allow for a follow focus system. The Zacuto follow focus is quite good and one of the smoothest units I have used. The balance on the Scorpion rig really makes it a workhorse in the field. Release Date TBD.
The Fast Draw from Zacuto is one of the best rigs for DSLR work that I have found on the market. This rig can easily break down for travel and has more adjustment options than some of the other rigs out there. The system is well balanced and can be worn all day long. The adjustable handle makes it much easier to keep steady in run and gun situations. I would suggest adding another handle and getting the Z-Grip Gloves. They make it that much better for long hand held shooting days. The Fast Draw will cost you around $1400 and comes with a Lifetime Warranty. If you treat your gear the way I do. This is a must have.
Follow Focus Systems
The Arri MFF-1 follow focus is one of the best smaller follow focus units money can buy. It is also one of the most versatile units available on the market. The engineering behind this follow focus is simply bad ass. It is infinality adjustable to reach almost any lens. The gear can work on either side of the gear box. It has a super cool recessed mechanical hard stop knob and the entire gear box can be flipped for reverse throw lenses. It is also one of the most expensive units at around $2k. Bottom line here: It’s an Arri.
The Chrosziel DV follow focus is one rock solid piece of equipment. The focus knob is one of the largest of the mini follow focus systems and the gear can work on either side of the gear box. There is also a mechanical hard stop system that works well for canon glass. The Chrosziel is not cheap at around $1700.
The D|Focus follow focus is one of the most cost effective units available. It has all of the features of other units at a fraction of the cost. The gear can be used on either side of the gear box. There is an Allen wrench that can be used to fine tune the follow focus gearing that doubles as an indicator marker. There is little or no play in this follow focus. At just under $150 it really can’t be beat.
The IDC system zero is a friction based follow focus that does not require lens gears to pull focus. This may be a great option for still photographers or anyone not wanting a traditional follow focus system. It also has no play whatsoever as you are pulling directly off of the lens and there is no gear box. The adjustment process from lens to lens can be tricky at first but is fairly quick and easy via three dovetail slots on the baseplate. The IDC system Zero will cost you around $400.
The Zacuto Follow Focus is one of the smoothest units I have ever used. It is a very simple and effective follow focus that can be flipped to the dumb side if needed. The gear will also work on either side of the gear box. It also has a very beefy indicator marker. The marking disk is not my favorite but will get the job done. The Zacuto Follow focus will set you back around $1500 and comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
The Arri MMB-1 was designed for use with smaller HD video cameras. It will work well with DSLR cameras and will not vignette with wide angle lenses. It has a two stage 4X 5 filter holder and mounts to 15mm rods. It’s not cheap at around $1400 for just the matte box without any accessories. However, it’s an Arri and will retain it’s value over time.
The Chrosziel is my favorite matte box of the three listed here. It has many features not present in some of the other matte boxes available on the market. The MB 450 has a two stage 4 x 5 filter holder. One stage rotates for use with a polarizer. It also has a very special rubber donut that will work with almost any lens. The donut is made of some type of neoprene that does not loose its shape. This is a huge plus for quick lens changes. Chrosziel also makes a bevy of accessories to go with the MB 450. Their DSLR base plate has an adjustable lip to prevent camera shift. The Chrosziel MB 450 will set you back around $1600.
The D|Matte is one of the most cost effective matte boxes out there. It has a two stage 4 x 4 filter holder, one rotating stage for use with a polarizer. The D|Matte will mount directly to the lens or to 15mm rods via a separate mounting bracket. It comes standard with a top flag. Side flags can be purchased separately. The D|Matte 4 x 4 matte box is set to be released in the Summer of 2011 with a very reasonable price of around $300.
The Azden SGM-2X is a great alternative to the much more expensive Sennheiser MKH-416 shotgun mic. It is powered by one “AAA” battery and does not require “Phantom” power to work with DSLR cameras. We have actually just plugged this bad boy into the camera for some quick run and gun style shooting. We have also put this mic through our harsh shooting conditions and it seems to still work just fine. I would recommend this over the Sennheiser MKH-416 simply because of cost. It will only set you back around $200.
We recently picked up the less expensive 105 LT wireless Lav kit and have been using it as a back up to our Sennheiser EW100. It has performed well but we have not had it long enough to really put it through it’s paces just yet. In this case I feel more comfortable recommending the slightly more expensive 310 LT kit shown here. We are quite reliant on back up systems of all kinds and sound is no exception. The 105 LT or 310 LT serve that purpose quite well. They also have headphone outputs to monitor audio while recording. The 105 LT will set you back around $250 and the 310 LT is around $350. Bottom line here: it works and it’s cheap.
The Sennheiser 416 is the industry standard for shotgun microphones.it is used on everything from after school specials to major motion pictures. It is one rock solid piece of equipment. I am sure a sound person could rattle off a bunch of cool technical things to say about this shotgun mic. I can only say that is is one of the most reliable mics I have ever used. The Sennheiser MKH-416 will set you back around $1k, but is well worth the investment. It will literally, last forever.
The Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun microphone kit is a great alternative to the more expensive 416 system. In many ways this system gets you into the Sennheiser name without the extreme cost. The Sennheiser ME 66 system will cost you around $500 as shown here. Thanks to Rick Macomber for pointing this one out.
This very basic wireless microphone setup has worked well for us for around two years. It has delivered rock solid performance time and time again. It is a fairly easy to use system and includes the “butt plug” transmitter that we require for on the spot interviews. We also attach it to our shotgun mic and boom pole for wireless run and shotgun action. The system is relatively inexpensive at around $800. There is a stripped down version called the Sennheiser EW 112-p, that does not include the butt plug transmitter and will only set you back around $600. This is by far the best solution for wireless audio at an affordable price. If you need a reliable sound solution then it is worth the extra coin to buy the Sennheiser brand. It is synonymous with motion picture audio.
I have only had limited experience with the Sony wireless Lav system. It performed quite well and was easy enough to use. It is simply another alternative to the more costly Sennheiser wireless system. It does have a headphone output to monitor audio while recording. If you are a huge fan of Sony products then this might be the microphone for you. It is only slightly less in price then the Sennheiser system at around $500.
The Zoom H4n is one of the best four track audio recorders on the market for the price. It will take two XLR inputs and has an additional 3.5mm mic input. It has two decent on board mics and will record to .WAV files in 24bit 48MHZ. It records to SD cards and can last all day on one 16GB card. The Zoom H4n has worked exceptionally well for us as a separate sound recorder. Tascam also makes the DR100 two track recorder that is quite popular with indie filmmakers. We have not used it but wanted to at least mention it here. The Zoom will cost you around $300.
Arri tungsten lights are some of the best and most reliable in the world. Their softbank kits are not cheap but worth the investment. We have a custom kit that I was unable to find online. Our Arri Softbank kit includes one 1K, two 650W and 2-300W tungsten lights. We have a soft box for the 1K and stands, scrims and typically use either 216 or opel as diffusion. The Arri Softbank kit linked here is a good alternative to our kit. It consists of one 650W and two 300W lights. It all fits neatly in the supplied rolling case and will cost you just over 2K.
These little Kobold 200w HMI lights pack a serious punch. They can run off of a battery belt and will compete with direct sunlight. I used them on “Someday Hero” to fake day for night. They are cool to the touch and water resistant. All of this performance comes at a price. Each 200w light kit with ballast will set you back around 4K. Not cheap. I would suggest renting these bad boys instead.
The ikan 312 is our new favorite on camera LED light. It packs enough punch that we can use it as our key light. The ability to dial in the color temp from 3200K to 5600K makes it a very potent lighting tool. It runs on two Sony L style batteries and is small enough to travel anywhere. It also has a battery indicator. A huge bonus as LED lights tend to flicker when the battery gets low. Inevitability ruining the take. We always bring at least one light with us everywhere we go. This has become that light. The ikan 312 LED light will cost you around $450. The smaller ikan 144 LED light will set you back around $300.
The Litepanels 1 x 1 Bi-Color LED light is one kick ass travel light. The battery will last for around one hour at full power and this lights are quite small when broken down into a travel case. They are dimmable and you can dial in the color temperature from 5600K to 3200K. There are a few new style LED light out on the market. They may be more cost effective than the Litepanels brand. ikan has a few that should be checked out. The 1kan 500 is only around $450 but we have not used it so cannot recommend it at this time. Litepanels are not cheap. LED lights tend to feel green in color. A minus green gel filter will help this tremendously. The Litepanels Bi-Color light will cost you around $2500.
Mole lights are the industry standard for most film sets and studios throughout the world. The mole burgundy color should be a familiar hue to most in the film business. They were one of the first major lighting companies in the USA and continue to produce some of the best lights in the world. However they are not cheap. This light kit shown here will cost you around $3500. They do sell smaller single lights that are fairly reasonably priced. Mole lights can easily be found used on places like eBay.
Source Four spotlights are infinitely adjustable and can be manipulated in many configurations. We typically rent the 750W. This is a speciality light but wanted to include it in the list because it’s one of the best spotlights around. The Source Four Spotlight will cost you around $800 .
There are way too many A.K.S items to list here but this will evolve in time and we will update this portion of the gear section as new items hit the street.
We have both the 13″ and 15″ MBP laptops. We always bring the 13″ with us everywhere we go. This is typically used as a backup system. The 15″ is a little better with FCP but the 13″ will work in a pinch. We have FCP 7 installed on both and are toying around with FCPX on the 15″. I highly recommend checking out the Apple Store Refurbished section when looking to buy a Mac. There are some great deals on older model computers there.
Anton Bauer is the gold standard for video batteries. They have a DSLR kit that will work with most of their existing batteries. If you already have made the investment in A/B Batteries then this may be a good option for DSLR video. The system shown here is not cheap at around $1200.
EWA makes very inexpensive underwater splash bags for many types of cameras. The one listed here is for a full size DSLR with an 82mm front thread. We simply use a 82mm-77mm step down ring for our 24-105mm in this configurition. I have used this system a few times and it is not completly 100% waterproof. It does work well for short bursts in shallower water. This bag is rated to 60′ but I would be very cautious at that depth with this system. It is one of the most cost effective systems on the market. Other underwater housings can run into the thousands. This EWA system will only set you back a few hundred.
Fotodiox is simply the best place to go for filter adapter rings and lens mount adapters. We started mounting Contax glass to our Canon DSLR’s very early on. We also use step up rings to make all of our lenses a uniform front filter thread. Fotodiox has a full line of step up rings and lens adapters. Shipping is super fast here in the USA. Fotodiox filter rings will set you back around five bucks apiece and the lens mount adapters are around forty bucks each.
Filmtools is one of the best resources for motion picture accessories in the world. they have so many specific mounts it’s impossible to list them all here. Some of our favorites include, car mounts, cardellini clamps, camera carts and mini gobo heads and arms. They literally have everything and the kitchen sink. The fact that they are just a few minutes away makes our lives so much easier. I highly recommend checking them out. They are always adding new gear to their website.
We have been using G-Tech Mini 500GB 7200 RPM Hard drives for most of our shoots. We always bring at least one on every job. We have four in our line up. G-Tech hard drives disperse heat very well via built in heat sinks and use Hitachi optical drives. They have always performed well for us with a zero fail rate. We are planning on swapping out all of our drives every six months as a standard procedure. We recommend only buying new drives that are under warranty.
Kimwipes are the film industry standard in lens cleaning tissue. Unlike a microfiber cloth that may gather dust and small particles that may actually scratch the lens elements, we use a fresh Kimwipe every time. They are somewhat wasteful. However in the scope of the waste that proliferates this business, it is a drop in the bucket. Kimewipes come in various sizes we dig the small box at around four bucks a pop.
We have been using Marshall monitors exclusively for the past two years. They have performed extremely well over that time in the worst of conditions. The 5″ HDMI works well with DSLR cameras. It is portable and runs on “AA” batteries that are available anywhere in the world. The false color feature is very helpful for fast lighting setups. I rely on it all the time for interiors. The 5″ HDMI will cost you around $500 and the 7″ models are about 1K.
C-stands are an essential tool if film production. They are much more versitile than light stands and can reach up to 10 feet. We have used them to mount cameras, lights, and flags. The “C” stands for Century, the company that first manufactured them. We like the Matthews brand in black. this will reduce the change of glare and just looks cool. I recommend getting at least two of these bad boys
Pancro is the best lens cleaning solution money can buy. It is used on most of the film sets throughout the world. It has some kind of super secret ingredient that instantly keeps everything in focus. Not really, but at $15-$20 per bottle, it should. It is costly but well worth the expense. I never leave home without it.
Pelican waterproof cases are the best solution to help protect any camera system. We recommend the 1500 series. The Pelican 1514 with padded dividers is a great carry on case. There are many variations available. Please do your own reasearch to find the one that suits your specific needs. The one shown here is the Pelican 0940 Memory Card case. This and the 0910 SD card case are the only thing keeping our media safe. I highly recommend spending the twenty bucks for one of these cases. They help me from loosing those pesky little SD cards.
Sandisk are the best CF and SD cards money can buy. We have been using them exclusively for almost two years without fail. I cannot emphasize the importance of investing in NAME BRAND cards. Please do not trust off market or eBay memory cards. This is your film, the entire day rests on the shoulders of your memory cards. We typically keep our cards Hot until production signs off or enough time has lapsed that we feel safe enough to format them. It is also not recommended to erase single clips on any memory card. always format to extend the life of the CF or SD card. We recommend only using 16GB CF and 8GB SD cards. We use the Sandisk Extreme Pro versions. the 16Gb CF will cost you around $150 and the 8GB SD will cost around $40.
The Switronix Powerbase 70 battery system is the best option for DSLR video on the market. It will power the camera via a LP-E6 adapter cable and multiple accessories via a P-Tap input. One battery will run the camera all day long and they are a great option for timelapse if there is no available AC outlet. The Powerbase 70 will replace up to six Canon LP-E6 batteries. At just under $300 it is a considerable savings. The peace of mind is priceless. We are in the process of testing their LP-E6 replacement battery and will keep you updated on their performance.
The Teradek Cube is the best option for HD wireless monitoring. They have been quick to address the latency issues from the older systems. The delay is only a few frames at this point and it is fairly stable. Wireless monitoring has always had some kind of issue. The older wireless transmitters always required some kind of tweaking while shooting. They have partnered with Livestream and the newer WiFi models will get you up and running in a jiffy. The HDMI cube will set you back around $1400. The HD/SDI version is around $2K.
The Zacuto EVF is one of the best systems for on camera monitoring on the market bar none. The image quality is phenomenal, the HDMI pass through is rock solid and it lasts all day on one battery. Using an EVF with DSLR cameras is much more ergonomic. The Zacuto EVF lets you get the camera where it should be. On your shoulder, not in front of your face. The Zacuto EVF will set you back around $750 and is a worthwhile investment.