We were recently asked to write a column on Adventure Filmmaking for Pro Movie Maker magazine - and what kind of equipment you need to kick start your career in adventure films...So for those of you wondering what we, in our humble opinion recommend, read on!
Obviously there are no hard and fast rules, what works for us doesn't mean it'll work for you. By no stretch of the imagination do we have the latest and best gear, but it works for us, is affordable and most importantly can deal with the conditions we work in.
"While Action Cameras like GoPro are a useful asset to have when shooting action sports they’re not really sufficient to use by themselves if you’re trying to create professional productions. Considerations we need to take in mind are weight, quality, durability and weatherproof-ness.
Weight is a big issue for us, we need to be able to carry everything on our backs, and have our hands free for scrambling and balance, but most importantly we can’t afford to be wasting time trying to lug up huge cameras and the missing our shot! A lot of our filming is on record attempts or mountain races where you don’t have time to recreate the shot, if you miss it, too bad. We pride ourselves on being able to move along fast and light, so that we can keep up (at least for a short time!) the athletes we’re filming.
Our cameras have to be fairly robust, be able to take a few knocks and not be too sensitive to rain or snow, action cams here, are fantastic. You can shove one in your pocket, run with one on your head and have it filming in seconds and in all weather. They are a brilliant backup camera. Our workhorse cameras are the Lumix GH4 (our favourite) or the Sony A7S. We favour the GH4, mainly because of the price difference!
It’s weatherproof, reliable, easy to use with gloves, the lenses are lightweight, and the body is tiny, & super lightweight. It films in 4K if you need, and the quality is exceptional. In our eyes the main advantage of the A7S over the GH4 is its capabilities in low light conditions.
The other item of kit worth investing in would be some kind of stabiliser. We use a Ronin M to reduce the Blair Witch effect, nothing worse than feeling sea sick watching a film of someone bouncing along a trail or heading up a mountain. For what is does the Ronin M is a bargain, much lighter than it’s big sister, the Ronin, and packs down into our bag and carries our GH4 with ease. It can be sensitive to weather, so can be high maintenance. The other option would be the Osmo - again, a great backup to be combined with footage from an A7S or GH4, comes with it’s own interchangeable camera that is still pretty good and can be upgraded to use DJI’s other cameras.
If you are wanting to get started, then I would recommend a basic kit of a GH4, gorillapod or superlight tripod & a DJI Osmo.
Last but not least, you often forget in the adrenaline and excitement to look after yourself… take something to eat and drink and be prepared for the weather."
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