Pro-Video Blogger - gear list

by Martin Johnson


I'm often asked what video gear I use, so here's a list of the equipment I own and use on every shoot. (The embedded links are to the same or similar equipment from the guys at Adorama in New York)

 

Cameras

The first camera I bought was a Panasonic HMC 150 with a Zeiss lense. (That's me holding this camera in the pic on the right.) It shoots a range of high definition formats (although no standard definition) plus it has a range of 'scenes' which each have a different look. I use the scene with the most filmic look.

The camera records to one SD card which fits neatly in a slot at the back. (With a 16gb card on the 1080P setting, I get up to two hours of shooting time). There are two audio channels with mic/line switch, phantom power and menu selected limiting/AGC (which is NEVER on). I carry my SD cards in a Pelican card holder.

This model has now been superseded, but it still produces great pictures and over six years it has never missed a beat. The one issue I have is that there is no momentary 'auto-iris' button on it - whilst I rarely use the full auto-iris function, a push button for this function would be very handy.

It is prone to highlight over-exposure, but I have learned to be careful with the exposure to avoid this.
 

Canon 5D Mk III

I recently bought a Canon 5D Mk III which I take on every shoot and use it either as a second camera, or when I want the narrow depth-of-field effect that the camera is known for. I use one main lense, a Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8. I tend to use this camera mainly for interviews or presenter to camera. It's not really a 'run and gun' camera.

Some might argue with this, but when you've come from a TV news/documentary background, I'd much rather a 'traditional' video camera that has audio, viewfinder, shotgun mount, etc all built in. I have shot a lot of documentaries in the third world and whilst the 5D produces great images for when you want to shoot sunrise at Angkor Wat, for example, the Panasonic camera is a lot simpler and easier for the 'run and gun' approach.

I also have a Zacuto viewfinder for the 5D.

GoPro Hero 3

I have two of these which I sometimes use for lock off high-wide shots, or as body cameras for horse riders, climbers on high rope courses or even on top of my Panasonic camera for an alternative wide shot. Their integration with the iPhone app is great. I use these all the time with their array of mounts.

Audio
I started my TV career as a sound recordist, so I always make sure my sound is as good as possible. I use a Rode NTG 1 as my camera mounted shotgun and a Sennheiser EW100 radio mic system with an ME 2 capsule. I also have a Sennheiser handheld 'reporter' mic (e835) with either a cable or Sennheiser transmitter (ew100) plugged into the bottom.

I love Sennheiser mics and still have an MD 421 which I got in 1966 - and its still going strong.

I also use a Zoom H4 Digital audio recorder and have just bought a Teac PR 60D recorder - mainly because it mounts directly under my DSLR camera and I can see and monitor the audio right there at the back of the rig.


Camera mounts

I use a Manfrotto tripod and a Cinevate slider for my DSLR. 


Lighting

For years I used a Lowel Pro Tota light kit which I gelled if I was shooting under daylight or fluros. I recently bought two Light Panel 900 LED lights which are great as they're daylight balanced and have V-Lock battery connectors on the back.

 

Pelican cases

Pelican cases have become the industry standard for film makers and frankly, you'd be hard pushed to buy anything better to carry camera, lights and sound gear. Here's how I travel:

  • Lighting: My two 900 LED light panels are packed in a Pelican 1600 case together with filters, power packs and remote dimmers
  • Camera: My Panasonic HMC 150 camera is packed into a Pelican 1550 with a custom foam cut out. This case also carries my basic audio kit of a Rode shotgun with suspension mount and windshields plus one radio lavalier mic.
  • Two other cases (Pelican 1450) carry my Canon 5D kit with lenses and another one carries my GoPro kit with accessories.

That just leaves my light stands and tripods. Tripods generally travel in their own carry case with light stands being the only part of my kit that tend to rattle around amongst the other cases.

I also carry a 'Energi-Backpack' from TYLT - which comes with an inbuilt battery which I use to charge my phone, iPad or GoPros. This pack also carries spare AA batteries, a selection of audio cables, Zoom recorder and headphones.


Love to have your feedback and comments.