7 Essential Pieces of Gear Every Filmmaker Needs

The filmmaker’s backpack is sometimes akin to Mary Poppin’s bag. We have gear for every kind of scenario we could meet in our shootings, and rightfully so. After all, there’s no limit to where your next gig could take you. It could be a spring wedding, a winter corporate event, an outdoor sports event on a rainy day, or a hot indoor disco.

Imagine how difficult packing can be for a filmmaker as Justin from MILE30adventures. Ranging from mountaintops to the bottom of the sea his travels are a perfect example of this broad variety of scenarios. There are, however, some pieces of gear that we can consider necessary to have in our gear bags: surely Justin has a great deal on the matter. The list could be much longer but he’s stripped down to the 7 core elements he’ll always carry around, wherever the next gig will bring him.

#1 – The Camera(s)

That is obviously the first item for any filmmaker. Being a travel filmmaker Justin always flies lightweight, and that reflects in his camera choice. You won’t find the bulky URSA or FS series or even Canon’s Cinema.

Stack away those big bodies and get yourself a mirrorless camera. Justin took the Sony way, but there’s a lot of choices available now. The first choice is the A7III, or he could go for the A6500 when in a situation with a high risk of damaging the camera.

Then there’s the action camera. You’re probably thinking, well, why would I need an action cam? If indeed it’s true that Justin’s line of work is keen to have the need for an exciting action shot of a plane’s wing or an underwater dive, you should not dismiss the idea so quickly.

Even a boring corporate event could benefit from a couple of spicy action shots. And if that’s the case, there’s only one name that’s eponymous with action cams, and that is GoPro, specifically the HERO7.

#2 – Lenses

We can’t stress this enough. Lenses are a piece of gear that will follow you around for a long time, so get some good lenses and think of the camera body later. They keep value in time and are pivotal to get nice cinematic images.

Shooting in a Sony environment Justin opts for native E-Mount lenses, but the reasoning stays the same on any lens mount. Get yourself some high-quality glass. He chooses two lenses, a wide-angle and a telephoto. Bot are zoom lenses, as that is what you’d prefer when traveling: his picks are the Sony 18-105mm f/4 and the Sony 10-18mm f/4.

In more static situations you can go with a fast prime, like the Sigma 30mm f1.4 Art he carries around, just in case. Word of the wise, the suggestion of having a UV filter on the front of every lens can be a life-safer the one time you’ll drop your lens.

#3 – Camera movement

In today’s scene, you just can’t approach the professional market if you’re not offering some kind of high-quality buttery smooth cinematic movement in your shot. And if you’re a one-man-band, there are two ways to get that. A gimbal or a drone, ideally both.

There’s almost no need to explain why, just get a couple, the quality of your footage will increase significantly. It’s actually amazing if you stop to think how complex it was to get these shots a few years back. Steadicams, dollies, helicopters… Today it’s just a DJI Mavic Air 2 (Fly More Kit) and a Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB Stabilizer.

#4 – Sound

Sound is often discarded as not important by amateur and beginner filmmakers, but little do they know about the mistake they’re making.

Sound is of the utmost importance if you want to create a professional-looking product. A bad sound will immediately draw away the viewer, and the client for that matters. Justin opts for the Rode VideoMic Pro that is a great lightweight on-camera mic. He pairs it with a lavalier kit, specifically the Sennheiser EW 100 G3.

#5 – Light

Saying sound is important does not mean that light is not to be taken into consideration, right? After all, cinematography means drawing with light! Croma Lite Panels are lightweight, dimmable and they have a dual-color temperature. Good for any backpack.

#6 – Storage

As many of us that have started their journey a while back, Justin has a plethora of bulky hard drives he used to stock his footage on. Now SSDs have changed all.

These are incredibly small and light, they are blazing fast, and now they are even getting affordable. The Samsung T5 is probably one of the most renowned disks, and rightfully so. Just a piece of advice: no spinning parts, it’s true, but don’t trust them to be perfect. Both disk and cables can die with little to no notice in advance.

#7 – Bag

All of the gear is safe inside the bag, meaning that the bag itself is your ultimate layer of protection. Don’t cheap out on the piece that keeps all together.

Besides, it’s also the piece of gear that will literally stick to your back, so choose wisely. ThinkTank Airport Accelerator is a great backpack: it fits as flying luggage (it’s there in the name!), nicely padded, lots of storage, comfortable and solid straps.

So there you are, these where Justin’s top 7 gear choices for traveling filmmakers. Do you feel he’s missed something important? Let us know in the comments!

[source: MILE30adventures]

Order Links:

  • Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony Alpha a6500 Mirrorless Digital Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • GoPro HERO7 Black (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony E PZ 18-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Art Lens (B&H, Amazon)
  • DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo (B&H, Amazon)
  • Zhiyun-Tech CRANE 3 LAB Handheld Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon)
  • Samsung 1TB T5 Portable Solid-State Drive (B&H, Amazon)
  • Rode VideoMic Pro (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3-G AV (Amazon)
  • ThinkTank Airport Accelerator (Amazon)

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