Part 1: Gear
In the months leading up to our departure for Quito, Ecuador I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what gear we would need to film our first documentary. I watched countless on YouTube and doing as much research as possible so that we would be prepared. The most important factors for us when selecting our gear was safety, comfort, portability, high quality and I think we nailed it. Below is a list of all of the gear we took along with a bit of other information regarding our experience.
Traveling safely with our gear was a top priority. I purchased the Pelican 1510 last year for our wedding business and it was absolutely perfect forthis trip. It was able to hold all of the cameras, lenses, and audio equipment. It’s designed to work as a carry on and fits in the overhead bins. I put my laptop and other electronics in the Lowepro backpack. I was able to use this as my personal item and it fit perfectly under the airline seats. The tripods and monopod were too large to fit into our carry-ons so those went into our checked luggage. Once we arrived in Ecuador we used the Lowepro to carry all of the gear as we traveled each day.
The Canon’s worked really well for us during the entire process. We use these cameras for our wedding business so knew what to expect. The Tamron 24-70 and the 6D was the main setup for most interviews with the 70D as the B-Cam. Being on the go meant that we had to be ready at a moments notice to stop and grab a shot or to setup in a short amount of time. It was very important that we were comfortable with our gear and able to quickly get the cameras ready to get the best results.
While planning and preparing for the trip I wasn’t sure of the best way to capture high quality audio on the go. Prior to, we really didn’t have a lot of experience with formal interviews and our main form of audio capture was the Rode VideoMics. I debated for a while between a shotgun mic and a wireless mic. I ended up going with the later and I think for the run and gun type of work we were doing it was the right choice. Whenever possible I used some Rycote covers and placed the lavalier mic under the subject’s clothing. I chose the Tascam DR-40 to record audio for two reasons. One, neither the 6D or 70D have a headphone jack and the Tascam does. Two, the Tascam records two separate audio tracks at two different levels. With limited setup time it was vital for me to check levels by ear but also have the peace of mind that if by chance my levels were high, there was a backup.
It took use 4-5 full days of filming to get everything wrapped up. Most days we tried to film two interviews and then spent the remainder of the day gathering b-roll. It would have been nice to have two tripods with us everyday but that just wasn’t realistic with our crew size. For a few shoots we used a small cheap tripod along with the Manfrotto but after a day or so we realized it was too much to carry. We love the versatility and portability of the monopod and decided it would be a more valuable tool than a second tripod. For a few of the interviews we used a mini-tripod and just placed it on a desk or bench. If I could do it again I would have liked to of added a bit more movement to the film using a slider or gimbal of sorts.
After each day of filming I would off load all the footage onto an external drive and then do an immediate back-up. I think all told we ended up with 300+GB of footage. I like to use smaller 16GB SD cards just in case one was to fail it limits the damage. We took 6 x 16GB cards I don’t recall ever having an issue with space by days end. I bought like 8 off brand LP-E6 batteries and that seemed to do us pretty well for a full day of shooting.
Hopefully this is helpful for any of you that are interested in filming your first documentary on the go! If you haven’t already check our ‘Movilidad’
1) Canon 6D
2) Canon 70D
3) Tamron 24-70mm 2.8- (Not Same Lens In Picture – I rented it)
4) Canon 100mm 2.8
5) Canon 50mm 1.8
6) Pelican SD Card Holder 16gb Lexar x 6 http://amzn.to/1CZfSI2
7) Tascam DR-40D http://amzn.to/1vBuN2C
8) Sennheiser G3 Wireless Mic and Lav http://amzn.to/1EUxyGP
9) Small HD DP4 http://bit.ly/14hPiM6
10) Neewer 160 LED Light Kit http://amzn.to/1xeoes4
11) Manfrotto Mini Tripod http://amzn.to/1xCJgiQ
12) Western Digital 1TB x 2
13) Tiffen 77mm Variable ND Filter http://amzn.to/1BqPZg4
14) Rode VideoMic Go http://bit.ly/1BqQ57l
15) Rode VideoMic Pro http://amzn.to/1xCJxCh
16) Manfrotto Monopod http://amzn.to/1xAHQIG
18) Neewer 22″ Reflector http://amzn.to/1yft89V
19) Lowepro DLSR Fastpack 250 http://amzn.to/1vQt7mI
20) Friction Arms http://amzn.to/1BonrE9
21) Pelican 1510 http://amzn.to/1DaYIVd