Lately, I have been asked to shoot a bunch of projects one-man-band style, so I have had to adapt my technique and setup as such.
In an industry where professionals spend decades mastering a singular craft, a one-man crew is responsible for all aspects of production. Though I would never call myself a DP (Director of Photography), sound engineer or lighting director, I am tasked with each of those duties when I shoot a solo project.
When operating alone, it’s always important not to over pack. Rather than bringing a bulky jib or slider, consider utilizing a panning shot or a monopod push to add subtle motion. Having less tools often forces you to be more creative with your film making strategies. Like a golf swing, everyone has a unique shooting style and technique, so it’s important that you figure out what kit works best for you and your project.
It’s always a good idea to have a shot list of “gets” (the shots you absolutely need in order to tell your story effectively) written down on a sheet of paper or index card. This is exponentially more important when shooting with a limited time window. I use my iPhone for everything, but I find it’s much faster to pull out a sheet of paper than to navigate to a digital list.
A few months ago, I traveled to Hawaii Island with Civil Beat (a local investigative news site) to shoot a few feature stories and this is the travel kit I brought:
1. Camera Bodies
a) Canon C-100 b) Canon 5DmkIII
a) Tokina 12-24 f4 b) Canon 24-105L IS f4 c) Canon 70-200 IS f4 d) Zeiss 50mm f2 Makro e) Tiffen Variable ND Filter
3. Tripods & Stands
a) Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 Monopod b) Gitzo G1227 MK2 CF legs c) Manfrotto 503 Head d) Manfrotto 438 Ball Level e) Lowell Uni-TO light stand
a) Sony UWP-V1 Wireless Lavalier kit b) Audio Technica AT-897 Shotgun Microphone c) Rode PG2 – Pistol Grip d) Rode WS6 Mic Windscreen e) Rode VideoMic Pro f) Misc Cables (XLR, Rode Headphone extension)
a) F&V Lighting R300 Ring light b) F&V Z96 LED Panel
a) Air blower b) LensPen NLP-1 c) Lens cloth
a) Porta Brace CS-DV4R b) Manfrotto MBAG90PN c) Pelican Media Card Case