(Side note: The above photo is just a stock photo, not my actual gear. I thought it looked nice. But who puts a potted plant in their lineup???)
Many times when people watch my travel videos, they ask “what’d you shoot that on?” or “you must have brought a lot of gear on that trip!” And what I’ve realized is that many people think gear is everything. They think having the top gear is how you make a great video. I used to believe this too. I’ve been guilty of saying “Well, if I had X camera, I could do that too.” But the truth is I couldn’t. Good story and execution is what makes a video great. Everything else is just tools (although I fully admit great gear can elevate your work). Once I learned this, I stopped focusing so much on having the best gear. I still buy stuff and I still plan on upgrading from time to time, but the gear I don’t have never stops me from trying to make great videos.
But, when people are just starting out and getting into video as a hobby, sometimes they don’t even know what’s what. “What do I even need?” It helps to peek into someone else’s bag and get an idea. So that’s why I’m making this list. This is the gear I use to make my videos. It’s in no way the best, the only way, or even comprehensive, but I hope it serves as a good starting point.
Bag – Almost all my gear can fit in this bag. It’s great knowing that it’s all in one place. Plenty of space for a few lenses, the front opens for easy access, and there are compartments for batteries, cables, and random things you want to throw in there.
Lowepro Fastpack 250
Day Bag – When you don’t need your full-size backpack and all of the accessories, this one is much easier to take on a hike or go to the beach. I actually started with this one and bought the bigger 250 once my gear grew.
Lowepro Fastpack 100
Camera – I have the Canon 60d. It’s old now. It doesn’t shoot in 4k or capture slow motion footage. But it’s still capable of shooting great looking video and photos that I’m happy with. Until I make some serious extra cash, it’s not going anywhere.
Lens – My Canon 17-55mm lens gives me variety to shoot things both close and far away, portrait style and wide. I use this lens the most.
Canon EF-S 17-55mm
Wide lens – When I’m shooting landscapes and I really want to show the vastness, I’ll pop on this lens.
Circular Polarizer – Improves color and contrast while reducing glare. Really helpful on bright days. Kinda like sunglasses!
Tiffen Circular Polarizer
Microphone – The microphone on most DSLR cameras is pretty lousy. I like this one because it’s small, produces good sound, and mounts directly on top of the camera.
Rode VMGO Video Mic GO
GoPro – When I’m going in the water or want to try something creative/risky with the camera, I’ll pull out my GoPro. I like the accessibility it provides. You can get shots you normally wouldn’t be able to.
GoPro Hero 4 Black (Previous model)
Cell Phone Battery Packs – If you film with your phone, you’ll want the extra juice to last you through the day.
Anker PowerCore+ mini
External Hard Drive – Having an external hard drive to store all this footage is key. I like the rugged drives because of their durability. That’s important when moving around all the time. A little pricey, but good.
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 2 TB
Phone Tripod – I’ll shoot time lapses or just set up an establishing shot with my phone. Being able to place it exactly how I want is key.
Tripod or Bendy Tripod – Useful for your big camera too. Great for night-lapse, long exposure photography, or interesting angles.
MacBook Pro – This is what I have, but there are plenty of great Windows options for editing too.
Let me know if you have any questions. I hope this short list was helpful for anyone interested in video and photography.
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