Here Is What You MUST Take With You To Shoot Like a Professional
Over these last few weeks, I’ve shared what I consider essentials for successful video productions.
If I’m flying I have to cut it back to the essentials, but if I’m driving to a job I bring everything but the kitchen sink and I’ve never regretted it. Even so, it seems sometimes that the one thing you didn’t bring is the thing you need, so I cannot overemphasize pre-planning and making an equipment checklist. I try to visualize the day and think it through as to every conceivable need. Nothing will stress you out more than being on a shoot and seeing the blinking “replace battery” notice in your viewfinder when you don’t have another battery. Arrgh. Or running out of tape or seeing your flash card filling up, all without a backup. Don’t let that happen to you.
For our book Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos, I came up with a very long list of what I like to have on hand. This is for both indoor and outdoor shoots. I’d like to share that with you. (You can also get a downloadable PDF of this list here.)
Checklist Of Video Gear And Items For Your Shoot
- Baseball cap
- Bottled water
- Business cards
- Camera, plus a backup camera
- Camera batteries – more than one backup, preferably 3 or more
- Camera battery charger
- Cell phone
- Clips – metal clips and wooden clothes pins, useful for all kinds of things
- Digital audio recorder
- Dulling spray – takes the shine off of objects, found at art supply stores
- Extension Cords – industrial quality
- Gaffer’s tape – a special kind of tape that won’t peel paint off walls but holds well. Not duct tape. I get mine from Amazon.
- Gear bags
- Glasses (if needed)
- Hat (wide brimmed if shooting outdoors and not wearing headphones) You can’t go wrong with the Tilley Eco-Flo hat!
- Headphones – preferably a closed ear style, like the Sony MD-7506
- Ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.
- Insect repellant
- iPad – I have one now!
- Lens cleaning materials – a camel hair brush and lens cleaning cloth
- Light stands – make sure they fit your lights
- Lights – bring spare globes (bulbs or tubes)
- Makeup – at least basic foundation makeup
- Microphone batteries – lots of them
- Microphone boom pole
- Microphone cables (XLR & mini-pin adapter cable, also called a pigtail)
- Microphone shock mount
- Microphone stand
- Microphone wind muff – fits over mic to prevent wind noise
- Microphones – a lavalier, shotgun, handheld, wireless or wired – depending on the situation
- Monopod – always comes in handy
- Multi-tool – combines screwdrivers, knife, bottle opener, etc.
- Multiple power outlet – get one with a fuse so you don’t melt it
- On-camera light (used for eye-light)
- Paper towels – you never know why
- Rain gear (for you and your camera equipment) for inclement weather
- Recording tape or flash memory cards (bring plenty!)
- Reflector holder boom arm & stand
- Releases: Talent, Minor, Materials, Location
- Safety pins
- Sand bags or weights of some kind
- Slate (clapboard) and dry erase markers – You can also use an app such as the Movie Slate (Clapperboard & Shot Log) on your iPad or iPhone.
- Snacks (don’t forget to take care of your human needs)
- Still camera
- Tissues – for wiping off sweat
- Tripod – Make sure you have the camera plate! (spoken from cruel experience)
- Walkie Talkies
- White sheet of paper to do white balancing
- Zip lock bags
WOW! That’s a lot of stuff. No wonder it takes me so long to pack! I admit that won’t all fit into one gear bag, so I pack like with like, i.e. a bag for audio equipment, one for camera gear, etc. That makes it easier to find stuff. I like to use colored backpacks, so if I need audio gear I know to go for the red backpack, etc.
Also, think through the toilet situation. On many of my recent shoots we had a lot of cast and crew out in the middle of nowhere, so we rented portable toilets. Be considerate of yourself and your crew.
I’m sure I missed something. Help me out and let me know in the comments section what more needs to be added to this list. Thanks! Also, if you want to make copies of my video gear checklist, I put it in a PDF format which you can get by clicking here.
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