Tag Archives: video

My Top Video Gear for Road Trips and Travel

(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 are 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 DSLR Camera Backpack

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.

Canon 60d

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.

Tokina 11-16mm

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.




Road Trip Randy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

I’m Teaching On Udemy: How To Make Videos

Ever since I started making videos, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I do things.  How did you edit like that?   What should I do if I want to start making my own videos?  What kind of camera should I get?

I’ve also always wanted to create an online course.  There’s a small bit of entrepreneur in me.  I wasn’t sure what the topic would be though, because I felt like I had a lot of random skills and knowledge, but not enough in one area.  Then I remembered I have a film degree, work in Hollywood, and constantly make and edit my own videos.   I do know a few things!  So I sat down and wrote out a rough outline and realized I have enough material to create a nice course for beginners.

And that’s what I did. How To Make Videos: Learn Production Basics From Scratch is my video course for beginners.  If you’re interested in making videos for your own brand or just as a hobby and you have no background in it at all, you might enjoy this.  Check out the course description (about halfway down the page) and decide for yourself: https://www.udemy.com/learn-video-production-basics-from-scratch/learn/v4/overview

video production for beginners

I’ve even got a coupon code for readers of this blog.  If you purchase my course by the end of July you’ll get it for 50% off.  $10!

Use This Link To Get 50% Off


And if you don’t care about learning how to make videos, no worries. I’ll still post to this blog very regularly (currently that seems to be once every three months).

Thanks for reading!



Road Tripping Down Memory Lane

(If you just want to see pictures and ignore all the text, scroll to the bottom.)

A few weeks ago, I took a road trip that I’ve been taking for years – 24 to be exact.  Every year in July my family has packed up our van and drove up north to a little town in Michigan called Oscoda.  My grandparents have a condo right on Lake Huron and we get our own private beach.  It’s incredible.  There are so many great memories on that beach.  Some include puking and knocking out teeth, but most are quite enjoyable.

If you follow my blog religiously (please always tell me you do), you remember from my first post that I work in television.  Initially, I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to take time off to fly home.  In the television world, you usually can’t just book a week of vacation whenever you want.  You have to wait until you have a break between shows.  We were right in the middle of production, but since I have an awesome boss, she told me I should take the week off.  Sweet!

Just hearing the word Oscoda is one of the few things in life that can bring me instant joy.  The association is that strong.  Another would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Because my family has been going to Oscoda for so many years, we’ve made a lot of great memories and traditions.

Some of my favorites:

  • Playing in the waves that were nearly two feet over my head.
  • Playing capture the flag on the beach after dinner.
  • Riding bikes into town to buy candy (and then always being reprimanded by my dad for buying too much).
  • Not being able to control the paddle boat and drifting out way too far from shore (not sure why this is a fond memory).
  • Spending hours in a small attic with six other kids (again, not sure why this is a fond memory).
  • Hitting golf balls on the beach.
  • Seagull chasing in our speed boat.
  • Late night swimming.
  • A huge storm flooding our parking lot.
  • Being able to see millions of stars in the sky at night.
  • Drinking around the bon fire for the first time (legally, of course).
  • Driving to Harrisville just for the ridiculously large ice cream cones they used to serve at The Cove.

My least favorite:

  • Knocking a girl’s tooth out with a golf club when I was four.  Her tooth is still messed up to this day.
  • Looking at a porcupine through binoculars and not being allowed to go pet it.
  • Getting small frogs thrown down my shirt after the big flood.
  • Getting grounded (probably for throwing bread) and missing one of our nightly bon fire.
  • Going to the 4th of July parade, standing at the end, and never getting candy because the people in the parade ran out. EVERY YEAR.  Why didn’t we move up to the front?!

road trip randy

Every year since 1990, a group of us kids shared these memories together.  This year we can add two more to the list.

In May, a Piping Plover decided to lay eggs in the middle of our beach.  For those of you who don’t know (I sure didn’t), a Piping Plover is an endangered bird in North America.  Apparently there are only three left in Michigan.  Because of this, officials closed off half our beach until September!  I was pretty mad.  And they gave that bird way more room than it needed, in my opinion! Think of roping off half of a football field for a potato.  Oh well, I guess if it keeps the bird alive, it’s all good.  And we still had plenty of room for our bon fires.

The other change this year was the addition of babies to our group.  What is it about babies that makes grown men and women change their personalities and act completely unlike themselves?  It was very bizarre to watch everyone talk like babies.  The oldest in my group of friends, Michelle, was the one who had twins recently.  They’re cool and all, but now I see why people say parenting is a full time job.  The twins didn’t let Michelle relax for one minute. Babies are so selfish.

I’ve noticed that within the past few years, we’ve been doing less and less of our yearly traditions in Oscoda.  We still go to the sub-par 4th of July parade, play on the beach, and have nightly bon fires, but something has changed.  Now we argue about politics, relax on couches after dinner, and complain about how much we just ate.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have a blast every year, but I think a big part of the appeal now is the nostalgia the place brings.

I guess I don’t like change and I don’t like growing up.  I’m a traditions guy.  I love traditions.  Last Christmas, my mom tried to put the presents under the tree a few days early because she thought they would look nice and wanted to enjoy them for longer than a couple hours.  I refused to let her do this.  Presents don’t appear under the tree until Christmas morning!  It’s tradition.

I think what I’m trying to say is that traditions seem to make activities better because of the memories attached to them.  The activity itself might not be that great.  Sitting in a hot attic?  Not that amazing.  But it was tradition (and we were weird).  Now that we have endangered birds and babies and politics changing our traditions in Oscoda, I guess it’s time to make new ones.  And maybe that’s a good thing.  But it might take me awhile to accept.

What does this have to do with road tripping?! Absolutely nothing.

Anyway, Oscoda taught me a couple things:

  1. Making new traditions can be a good.
  2. I’m not having babies until I’m 50.


Here’s a time lapse I made of the beach at night looking down towards the pier.  Turn on HD!

And here are a few more pictures I took with my new camera that I bought with my new money.

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy

road trip randy


Get ready for my next post to actually be about a road trip, in California, like my blog actually suggests.  Enough with the pointless, deep talks, Randy!