When I was first getting started the biggest question I was constantly back and forth about was what route did I want to take when it comes to my kit. I needed it to do the job well but also be mobile enough to travel with. This is a serious consideration due to the cost of camera bodies, lenses, tripods, filters, storage cards, ect. Some people safeguard this information so hopefully my transparency will help someone just getting started to know what I wish I had known when I was starting.
My current mobile set up consists of a Sony A7SIII as well as a Sony A7IV. The A7S is fantastic for video but lacking with the 12.1 megapixel capability when it comes to high resolution photography, it still works well for social media and website photos but you won’t be stretching it on a billboard. The A7IV has a solid range of photography and video capabilities, I don’t have a ton of reps on this camera yet but so far I’m very pleased. I also have a gopro hero 10, it’s great for filming energetics or FPV style video and much cheaper to replace if damaged.
As expensive and specific as which camera to get, lenses are no exception either. I currently run a Sony 14mm, a Sigma 55mm and a Sony 70-200. The 55mm alone is a solid lens for all around shots but can be difficult in tight spaces. Since a lot of my photography and video is done in confined spaces such as shoot houses, and indoor facilities the 14mm definitely has the advantage in that setting. The 70-200 is great for getting very tight shots and being at a distance that is safe, which in my world is also very important due to some filming being done on active ranges. Paired with the A7SIII you can drop the speed to .75 for some solid video content that is smooth and crisp, or the A7IV’s 33 megapixel sensor for high resolution photos.
I’m still living and learning in this department. I use a pelican for my two camera bodies and the 14mm. I chose the size to fit under a seat back so I don’t have to stow it in an overhead. I still have the other two lenses plus a laptop in a manfrotto backpack. I want to switch that to a rigid case as well that will fit in an overhead for better protection on take off and landing.
Invest in a good tripod, I run a neewer but there are several brands out there, don’t skimp, you’re trusting it to hold thousands of dollars worth of gear.
I use the Rode wireless mic. It’s a solid mic and I have no complaints. Low profile and crisp.
GET RAIN GEAR.
I REPEAT GET RAIN GEAR FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR CAMERA. Just trust me.
I’ve used rugged san disks and sea gates. Whatever your preference, have a good storage system. SAVE EVERYTHING TWICE. It is redundant because it’s supposed to be. A client is trusting you to hold up your end and the last thing you want to do is work all day to lose the content and have to do a reshoot.
Know your worth.
Everything I’ve talked about is expensive, not only does it take a lot of money but it takes a lot of time. I’ve been fortunate to learn from some of the best (shout out Thomas Carlson from Base Camp Creative) and I still have a lot to learn. Gear is a small part of the equation. The job doesn’t stop when the camera shutter quits, 6 hours of photo/video equals days of sorting, then days of editing. Know your worth.
Lastly, speak up.
I’m a cop, so I speak cop, I can manage cops at a shoot because I know how to set the stage for the content. Don’t pose them, just ask them to do something they know how to do, it calms them down and removes the fear of a camera being pointed at them. Clear this room, take that hallway, bound in these woods ect, but never be afraid to speak up. “Redo that for me”, “pause that position”, “let me fix your chin strap”.
Thanks for reading. Hope to film with you someday.