So as some of you may very well know, I’m planning on shooting a movie in February and March. It’s going to be an opportunity for me to explore my life as well as an awesome chance for me to dive deep into filmmaking—to go through the entire process and workflow of a film, from initial notes and storyboarding, to setting up shots, to capture, and onto post.
In terms of equipment I’ll need, it took a while, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to the bare essentials. Here’s the final list:
Canon XA10: $1949.00
I’ve been debating if what I’m used to—DSLR Video—is sufficient for my needs, and ultimately, the choice to add an actual camcorder to the roster of equipment boiled down to the 12-minute recording limit the DSLR’s are able to provide. Another reason to pick up a camcorder is the oh-so-desired shallow depth of field that DSLR’s give isn’t always desirable; sometimes, everything needs to be in focus. Check out this awesome video to see what I mean. Best of all, the times when I’d need more-or-less unlimited focus are also the times when I’d need a longer recording limit (like macro views of events, or interview situations). The XA10 kind of sits on the fence of being a consumer camcorder and a professional video camera. I’m grabbing it because of its size—perfect for dumping in a daypack—but also, because it has features like XLR audio inputs, internal ND filters, on-board 64gb ssd, and two SDXC slots for continuous or redundant recording.
GoPro HD Hero2: $349.00
Yup, it’s here. I don’t think it’s a hard sell for anyone. At just $350.00, it really seems like a no-brainer. But if you really feel like you need that push, check out this video, shot entirely with this tiny machine. Big paws on a puppy, for real. As for why I feel like I actually need it? The built-in intervalometer coupled with the F2.8 lens will give amazing flexibility in terms of taking time lapse video, and the fact that it shoots in full 1080p at 24 and 30 fps is faaaantastic. It also shoots at 120 fps for slow-mo junkies (but only at 480p). Because the movie will involve a lot of travel, I’ll be slapping it on scooters, cars, and my airplane windows non stop.
Tokina 11-16mm F2.8: $780.00
After scouring tons of review sites and videos, this lens has proven itself to me as the super wide angle lens to grab for crop sensors—it’ll link up all the same with both the T2i as well as the 60D. I see myself using this the most, in conjunction with the Cinevate Atlas FLT slider (described a bit later in this post). I plan on capturing tons of breathtaking scenery shots, so I’ll definitely need a wide-angle lens—like I said above, after a poop-load of research, this was the clear winner.
Canon 70-200mm F4.0 L IS: $1299.00
Yup. This was going to be my first L-series. I thought I’d need some good distance shooting, but with the purchase of the XA10, I’ll have the zoom I need without the need to lug around this behemoth. Don’t get it twisted; I’m still going to be picking this up for the summer wedding season, but I won’t need it for this project.
Canon 100mm F2.8 L IS Macro: $1249.00
The jury’s still out on this bad boy. Like the 70-200 mentioned directly above, I’ll be grabbing it for the wedding season for sure, but will I really need to get so up close and personal for this travel project? Well, in my mind right now, it’s a 60% no and a 40% yes. So for now, it’s a “no”.
Cinevate Atlas FLT Slider: $579.00
I love it when stuff works out. Like this Cenevate Atlas FLT. Recently launched, it’s the most affordable slider from Cinevate, and at just 26″ in length, it’ll fit in my suitcase—how perfect is that? I know, I know. So perfect.
Glidecam HD 2000: $549.00
I can not wait to get my hands on this stabilizer. Because I’ll be doing so much walking, it was pretty obvious, while I was making this list, that I’d need to have this. My friend Jon rented the Steadicam Merlin, and was sorely unimpressed. But check out footage of someone who literally ran with the Glidecam HD2000; this video demonstrates how awesome this tool is.
Zacuto Z-Finder: $379.00
I had the opportunity to test this thing out, and it really is far superior to the current eye-cup viewfinder I have, but the one I have works for me, so I really can’t justify spending $400.00 extra right now.
Zoom H4N: $370.00
This one’s a no-brainer. I’ll be using wireless microphones which will work just fine with the Canon XA10 because of the XLR inputs, but when I’m just shooting with the T2i and the 60D, I’ll need to capture audio somehow, and the H4N is definitely the best bang-for-buck option.
Sennheiser G3 Wireless: $699.00
Speakin of best bang-for-buck options, the Sennheiser G3 Wireless with lav mic, body pack, and wireless receiver, will come in real handy for interviews and follow audio in louder surroundings like the Night Markets in Taiwan, and crowded restaurants.
RODE VideoMic Pro: $249.00
Right now, I’m using my friend Ray’s RODE VideoMic, and it’s so awesome, especially when coupled with Magic Lantern’s AGC Hack. Problem is, I won’t be able to take his mic away for that long. For an extra $50.00, upgrading to the VideoMic Pro will also help me save space due to its smaller footprint. If for any reason, I’m unable to afford the H4N and Sennheiser G3, this will be my lifesaver.