The good folk at Rhino wanted to challenge themselves by trying to shoot a cinematic short film with just 5 pieces of camera equipment. Everyone knows that camera equipment can get overwhelming at times. Sometimes when you’re trying to pack light for a shoot, before you know it, your camera bag weighs over 50 pounds. Which brings us to the question, can you really only bring 5 main pieces of gear to shoot a cinematic short?
Below are the 5 pieces of camera gear that they decided to bring with them on this shoot and why:
1. Camera (Sony A7SII)
Our first choice is of course, a camera. For this shoot, we decided to choose a our trusty Sony a7sii. This camera is a beast for a wide range of reasons. We really enjoy using the a7sii for its low light capability and 120fps at 1080p. Furthermore, the dynamic range is solid with this camera especially when shooting in SLOG. Color grading can be tricky at times but for the most part, we are happy with the end results. Another reason why we like this camera for the small form factor. The camera body itself is very small so it fits into our bag and takes up little to no space.
2. Camera Slider (Rhino Slider EVO)
The Rhino Slider EVO is a must for our shoots. We mainly use the carbon 24″ slider with Motion and Arc on our shoots. The Rhino slider is super easy to use and we can count on it to get the smooth consistent shot we envisioned. It is a great tool for cinematic b-roll or a steady shot. We love using the slider on our shoots because the slider can be setup in just a couple minutes. Another feature that we love is the ability to loop the camera on a move. Sometimes, we keep the slider in one spot looping on its own so we can get some BTS or b-roll footage.
3. Drone (DJI Mavic Pro)
It’s 2018. How can you not bring a drone with you to a shoot? Using aerials in your video can give it that professional feel and look. It also gives the viewer a different perspective then they would normally see, which keeps them more engaged into your film. We like to use the DJI Mavic because of its small size. The fact that you can fold it up and throw it into your bag is amazing. Although there are drones with better image quality, we’re all about workflow here at Rhino. So having the Mavic allows us to save space and time when getting drone footage.
4. Gimbal (DJI Ronin-M)
Gimbals are awesome tools due to its versatility. We mainly use gimbals to get smooth tracking shots or if we know were going to be moving locations often. The Ronin-M is high quality and works flawlessly with our small Sony A7 bodies. The battery life is also pretty solid so we don’t have to worry about carrying a ton of batteries with us. The only hassle about the gimbals are that they need to be balanced each time you adjust the camera and you also have to bring a stand in order to keep it off the ground. We also use the Zhiyun Crane for smaller shoots. However, being able to use two hands for the gimbal allows for more stability and control.
4. ND Filters (Breakthrough Photography)
ND filters are something many people overlook when first getting into filmmaking. They are super crucial to your workflow if you want to be able to obtain smooth cinematic motion blur. Having an ND filter allows you to stop down in bright setting so you can get your shutter speed just right. We really like the breakthrough photography ND filters due to its thin form factor and quality glass. They also have little to no color cast and they are the most accurate ND filters that we have used thus far.
Its not always about the amount of gear you have but rather, the type of gear you have. Many times, people get stuck in “gear lust”, when they think that they need to have all the latest and greatest equipment. Yes, having a lot of expensive gear will most definitely increase the image quality of your films. However, it will not automatically make your videos better. Filmmaking is all about the story and process. If you have a story to tell, tell it with the gear that you currently own. People have made beautiful cinematic films with just their iPhone alone. We want to inspire filmmakers to continue to make videos and enjoy the process. Never stop creating!