We often get asked about our travel gear but since the lockdown, about our commercial shooting gear. Below, you will find all of the gadgets we use on a weekly basis to create the content our clients love. Some are bigger ticket items and some are the fun, cheaper finds we can’t go without.
Follow us on Instagram and let us know what gear you just can’t replace.
1. The Most Anticipated Camera in Years
The Sony A7s mark 3 is without a doubt the most anticipated camera in recent memory and for good reason. Outputting 16bit RAW in SLOG3 and 120fps in 4K, impressive auto-focus and an image stabilization system that is truly out of this world, this camera was years in the making and essentially blew the competition out of the water as soon as it was launched.
The specs on this camera are incredible but what really matters is what you can produce with it. It rivals, dare we say, the more expensive cine cameras on the market right now and the content you will be able to shoot for clients or on your travels will impress you. If you are a video content creator, this is the one for you!
Full disclosure, we are still using the Sony A7 mark 2 but are waiting impatiently on our upgrade.
2. Let There Be Light
We’ve been using Godox lights for the better part of two years now and it’s hard not to love these inexpensive essentials. The Godox LC500 LED stick has been our go to light when portability is a necessity. with both warm (5600K) on side and cool (3300K) on the other, this stick is light and powerful. With an internal battery that charges quickly and a remote that controls all of our other Godox lights, the choice is clear.
Do you find yourself needing a more powerful light source that can travel with you on your next shoot? The Godox VL300 is a serious light that does not come with the Aputure price tag and performs beautifully. Paired with a softbox (with Bowens mount) and you have yourself a studio light source on the go (the light can be powered in studio by DC power or with dual V mount lithium battery).
3. All About Glass
All lenses are not created equal. That said, we are not huge fans of spending thousands of dollars on one single lens when some brands out there are making incredible “comparable” glass for a lot less. We get it, a sweet G Master 600mm is nice to have but at a hefty price of $13,000, let’s skip it!
Let’s look at a 24mm prime lens that would fit the Sony e-mount system. Sony makes a delicious looking G Master F1.4 lens for just under $1,300.
Which one do we own? The Rokinon 24mm F2.8 retailing at $240. Sure, we don’t get the same detailed corner to corner resolution or the extreme low light capability but we figured that the savings balanced it out. If you can shoot with sufficient light and a steady hand, clients won’t notice if your lens was worth a fifth than the one in the camera shop window.
In comes as no surprise that we would have a plethora of inexpensive lenses to recommend but there is a caveat. The one lens we will spurge for eventually for a few reasons is the one and only: 24-70mm F2.8 G Master zoom lens. It’s almost $2,000 which is why it is hard to justify the cost but once you try it (and we have), the amount of care in making that glass is apparent. With a constant F2.8 throughout the zoom, it truly feels like an exquisite prime lens with zooming capabilities. For fans of bokeh, this one is sublime and we’re in love with the custom button right on the lens. It has to be said that if you do not like heavy lenses, this one will have you swearing up a storm.
Below are the lenses we use on a regular basis and some that are in our cart for the near future.
4. Cage + Accessories
This section serves three purposes explaining why you may want to be using a cage for your cameras on your next shoot:
- Protection: Smallrig designs rugged cages that fit cameras and protect them from the constant dinging and bumps it may endure during a shoot. It has been, without a doubt, a life saver on many occasions.
- Accessories: A camera straight out of the box has either a cold or hot shoe and a bottom threaded hole for a tripod. That’s pretty much it. Fitting a cage around your camera now enables it to receive and outfit a variety of important accessories you may want to add to your rig. Handles, microphones, extra cold shoes, monitors, lights, follow focus systems and even hard drives.
- The last one is a little silly but such a reality when dealing with some clients. It is clear that some clients will judge you by the gear you use and therefore justify the cost and your production value even before you show them a single frame of footage. Showing up to any type of shoot with a slightly bigger rig with monitor, lights, microphone, handle, etc. will work in your favor right away. The only issue now is to back it up with some actual talent and make use of those accessories to their full potential 😉
The links below are the various accessories we fit our cage (depending on the shoot) to protect our camera and help us shoot with the least amount of wasted time and the most versatility.
5. Reflectors + Backdrops & More
Here are some of the cheaper products you can buy that will make the most difference in the quality of your productions. Whether you’re shooting products or on location shooting talent, having one or all of the items below will definitely up your game.
6. Office Essentials
It’s not always all about shooting, creating content, traveling and being on the go. Everyone needs a functional office space to get things done. Here is our set up and we absolutely LOVE it.