People often ask us about what kind of production equipment we use on our films and photo projects. We actually started out on nothing more than an iPhone and used a towel closet for a sound studio. We have been building ShadowCast Studios ever since then and now have an extensive collection of production equipment at our disposal. The key to building a studio is to continuously reinvest in yourself and your work. This is how we've grown over the past several years.
Today we are going to take a look at the main production cameras we're using on our projects as of 2022. This won't include all of our gear, but it will show you the cameras that are fundamental to our projects and used regularly on our shoots. These are the workhorses of our projects.
Among some of the bigger equipment upgrades we made in the later part of 2019 were the upgrades and modifications to our jib crane. Some of these were called for out of necessity, such as the stronger mounting hardware we installed to accommodate the heavier cameras we now use. Other upgrades increased functionality and ease-of-use, such as a tilt-lock mechanism, a monitor mount, and more.
However, there were two upgrades we made which really expanded the creative possibilities our jib provides. These two upgrades are gimbal mounting hardware and a motorized pan/tilt head. We often get asked about what types of shots these modifications allow us to produce, what the differences in the two are, how do we decide which one to use, and what our thoughts are about both.
Today, we'll not only tell, but also show you some samples of the cool camera moves these modifications allow us to capture with our jib crane. We'll also share some of the pros and cons, as well as our own thoughts and opinions of both of them. If you have a jib crane, these upgrades are worth looking into.
Drone Footage without a Drone
A drone can give you unique and epic shots for your projects. However there are times when using a drone just isn't possible or practical. The area you are filming in might have laws preventing you from using a drone.
Other places, such as dense woods might make it impossible to fly a drone safely. Then there are events with large crowds where flying a drone presents safety and even legal issues. If you are filming near airports, you will likely be in a no-fly zone for drones. So how can you get smooth overhead shots in these situations? Today we'll look at an alternative to drones which can come in very handy on your projects.
Building Your Camera Rig
The 15mm rail camera rigs are sometimes described as "Barbie for filmmakers." A rig allows you to add a wide range of equipment to enhance your camera's functionality and make it easier to capture amazing shots.
It provides a more stable platform for filming than can be achieved just by holding the camera directly in your hands, but it still allows some motion which is great for making more intense, dramatic action shots. It gives you a handheld look without excessive jittering and shaking that would distract the audience. When you want to be completely stable, a rig can easily be mounted to a tripod or other support.
We have been using a camera rig for years in many of our productions, and even though we now have motorized gimbals and steadicam systems, we still find our shoulder mounted camera rig very useful in many situations, such as shooting exciting action shots. It also provides a great deal of extra versatility that other supports can't.
A rig is, in our opinion, the best support platform to start out with using, and one you will continue to find use for throughout your production career. We won't cover every accessory you can mount on a rig, but lets look at some key elements of a camera rig that you should remember as you build your own!