Gear I use for my documentary work

After I publish or share a recent project I often get asked by former colleagues or friends, “what gear did you use?”

Even though I feel that this question is something that should never be asked because ultimately the gear doesn’t matter.

Despite that I’m writing this post so I can just share it with those who ask.

Camera and Lenses

The camera of choice that I use is the Panasonic Gh5. It’s a micro four-thirds, mft, sensor camera that’s packed with features that many other camera manufacturers shy away from. Like 4K at 60p, unlimited record limits, large selections of recording flavors.

The main lens I use is the Panasonic lumix g 12-35 f2.8. It’s a 24-70mm full-frame equivalent. It’s a fantastic all around lens. Up until recently the only other lens I had was a 14-140mm f3.5-6.

After my most recent project I have pulled the trigger on the lumix g 35-100 f2.8 lens, the 8-18 f2.8-3.8, the 14mm f1.7 and 25mm f1.7 lens.

The main reason I got the prime lenses is because even though I’m more of a zoom lens guy. I decided to get some prime lenses to compensate for the smaller sensor performance in low light.

Others might suggest why don’t you get a speedbooster and a lens like the sigma 18-35. Which I have but, for me, it negates the main purpose i went with the gh5 mft system which is to be compact.

That’s just a personal choice and for me having that limitation pushes me to be creative.

The Rig

I’ve decided to lump my camera cage and audio gear together in this category of my rig.

The Cage

For a good chunk of time I didn’t use a cage but I had some projects where I wanted to mount my shotgun microphone and lava liner receiver to my XLR adapter while getting coverage and I had to choose one or the other.

So I got the small rig gh5 cage and a camvate nato top handle. Because I have small hands the cage make it a littler harder to hold but not enough for me to change.

The top handle however isn’t my favorite and I might sell it and get a different one sometime in the future.

Audio

When it comes to audio I use the Panasonic XLR adapter. This thing is amazing and I highly recommend getting it. Normally I use it with my Arden SM-2700 shotgun microphone.

It’s a pretty great combo and it picks up solid audio. When I’m using it with the cage I have to use one of those cold shoe mounts on the left side of the cage to get it up high enough to mount it but then it has a little swivel arm to adjust it’s direction.

It’s ideal to have it there when I’m also running a wireless lavaliere. I use the Sennheiser lavalieres that like any filmmaker uses. I usually mount it on the cold shoes mount on the top of the XLR adapter and then just set the adapter to stereo.

Finally I have a zoom f1 field recorder which is usually what I use when I want to lav someone up. This little bad boy is really pretty amazing and versatile. It can record to an SD card and it can be a lavaliere, a shotgun mic, or a stereo mic all by switching out the zoom microphone modules.

The biggest negative I have with this thing is it’s batter door it’s super flimsy and has broken on mine and I have to gaff tape it shut.

Now this isn’t really a piece of audio gear but I use it to store my audio gear. That’s my peak design field pouch. Up until recently I would store this pouch in my bag but on my most recent project I attached it to my belt and found it be really useful.

Bag and Miscellaneous

My bag of choice is the peak design everyday backpack v1. It’s been a fantastic bag and for me does everything I need it to.

I have a 2019 15” MacBook Pro for editing in Final Cut Pro x.

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