“Tools do not a craftsman make.”
– Sean Wes
People always wonder what’s in my camera bag, whether it’s fellow filmmakers or new buyers with a tight budget. I have a modest collection, which fits in a smallish backpack and my smallish budget. Because my kit is well-rounded and efficient, I’ve taken it all over the world – to the Virgin Islands, Mexico, NYC, Hawaii, Israel, Florida, and all over California. It’s easy to hop on my scooter with such a small kit. With the right gear, my run-and-gun-all-day-pit-stains filming is more doable and more fun.
Some guys think buying top-notch gear and shiny gadgets will make them a better filmmaker. As we know, it’s simply not true. Instead, aim to buy smart, quality, basic gear and take good care of it, while honing your skills and constantly make-ing. The gear will quickly pay for itself.
When I moved to LA, I made a budget plan with my wife to avoid overspending. Then I did all my research/shopping , and when black Friday came around I cashed in. Here’s a list of links, perfect for a well-rounded, no-fluff starter kit that gets great results:
(See the whole Amazon Wish List here.)
- Canon 70-200mm L (telephoto lens). Heavy but glorious – Amazon
- Canon 24-105mm L (zoom lens). All-around awesome – Amazon
- Canon 50mm f/1.4 (fast portrait lens). #1 for portraits and people – Amazon
- Canon 40mm (tiny “pancake” lens). Perfect for everyday life/travel – Amazon
- Mounted mic: Rode. Must-have for field audio – Amazon
- LensPen (for cleaning). The best tool for fingerprints – Amazon
- Manfrotto QuickRelease mounting plate (for tripod/glidecam) – Amazon
- Circular Polarizer (for daylight). Higher-end for stunning colors – Amazon
- Giotto’s Air Rocket (lens cleaning) – Amazon
- GorillaPod SLR/Zoom. Our family photographer – Amazon
- Canon 6D camera body. Lighter, cheaper, and on par with the 5D MkIII – Amazon
- Adapt-Its loops (for the camera strap) – Amazon
- Camera neck strap with aluminum carabiners – Dollar store!
- Extra Canon Battery – Amazon
- Fancy and Generic SDHC memory cards – Amazon
- Canon IR remote – Amazon
- Microfiber lens cloth – Amazon
- Hotel shower cap (for rain protection) – Hotel
- Timex Weekender watch – Amazon
- Fat Gecko suction mount – Amazon
- Glidecam HD-2000 stabilizer – Amazon
- Gold Fold document wallet – Goldfold.com
- Zoom H4N audio recorder – Amazon
- Zagg Sparq backup battery (for gadgets) – Amazon
- GoPro waterproof camera – Amazon
- Manfrotto monopod – Amazon
- LowePro camera backpack – Amazon
Of course there’s other gear that doesn’t fit in the bag, like this large pop-up bounce, Sennheiser wireless lav mics, and a decent Manfrotto tripod. And I have a lovely insurance package (including drops!) from NSSI, which isn’t just for students anymore.
Leave your tips and questions in the comments. Happy shopping!