Jump to content


Photo

What is DPs personal equipment?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Ronaldas Buozis

Ronaldas Buozis

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 11 January 2009 - 07:46 AM

Hi there,
What's your opinion, what equipment should any cinematographer have of his own and which part has to come from rental houses? Such things like lightmeters, colourmeters, etc

Thanks for sharing
  • 0

#2 Serge Teulon

Serge Teulon
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London UK

Posted 11 January 2009 - 08:09 AM

As I do Tv work as well as Film work my equipment varies between those types of jobs.

For film work I always have my meters (light & colour), compass and nd eyepiece with me on set. I also have my laptop with me.

With Tv work I tend to have my memory stick, lights and gels on set. The rest comes from the rental house.

In both cases the invention of the software for cinematography on the iphone has really made it an essential item to have as well.
  • 0

#3 James Martin

James Martin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 11 January 2009 - 09:21 AM

This might sound like an extract from Hitchiker's Guide, but a good recommendation I got from a pro DP was a torch and a towel. Not that you might mean those sorts of things, but it's easy to forget. I also like my own pair of grip's gloves - if you don't have any decent grip shops near you try a pair of cheap (bargain bin) motorcycle gloves. They do a remarkably good job and are also great for keeping movement (not winter gloves though!).

Also, I saw a video recently in which a very well known DP (can't remember which but I can find out if you like) lamented colorimeters - saying he once shot a film using them and when he got the dailies back realised he'd only succeeded in making everything lifeless. But, of course, your preference!
  • 0

#4 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 11 January 2009 - 01:56 PM

Also, I saw a video recently in which a very well known DP (can't remember which but I can find out if you like) lamented colorimeters - saying he once shot a film using them and when he got the dailies back realised he'd only succeeded in making everything lifeless. But, of course, your preference!


One DP I know says he shoots video using the pre-set because it looks more interesting when the scene is off the "correct white balance".
  • 0

#5 Steve McBride

Steve McBride
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 239 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • New York, NY

Posted 11 January 2009 - 11:24 PM

I've you're going to be doing smaller projects (low budget shorts, commercials), I'd assume a basic lighting kit, grip equipment and a good fluid head tripod. I wouldn't bother buying a camera because for the quality you'd need the equipment is just too expensive so it's better to just rent.

If you're going to be doing more budgeted projects and features you don't really need anything but just about all DP's like to have a good light meter and maybe even a "directors viewfinder" if they aren't operating as well.

Start small and as you go through productions and meet people they will recommend things to get that are helpful.
  • 0

#6 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 11 January 2009 - 11:55 PM

One DP I know says he shoots video using the pre-set because it looks more interesting when the scene is off the "correct white balance".


I actually like to do that myself if I can get away with it. But it really depends what is being shot and the mood of the piece.
  • 0

#7 John Brawley

John Brawley
  • Sustaining Members
  • 834 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Atlanta Georgia

Posted 12 January 2009 - 02:37 AM

I actually like to do that myself if I can get away with it. But it really depends what is being shot and the mood of the piece.


I rarely white balance. If i do, it through lighting gel for effect. Now it's easy to warm or cool an image down in camera with the menu's.

I prefer preset because i figure most of the time it's better to be constant and then correct my lighting *if* required.

Now, i carry 2 Spectra meters (one for backup) a spot meter, a colour temp meter, a Digi SLR plus lenses and a compact digi camera. I also have a director's viewfinder, a small contrast viewer. I usually bring my mac laptop, and a small kodak dye-sub image printer (wireless and bluetooth). I use adobe lightroom for cropping and simple previews to print. I use Frameforge 3D for storyboards and Omnigraffle for lighting plots (usually done by an intern)

I have a few filters that aren't always stocked in rental houses.

I also subscribe to american cinematographer, Backpackit (for organising productions) IMDB PRO, CML and of course c.com

jb
  • 0

#8 Saul Rodgar

Saul Rodgar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1682 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 12 January 2009 - 01:25 PM

For film shoots I carry my Spectra meter, a Sekonic back-up, my Soligor spot meter and my DSLR with a couple of lenses. Also, I carry my ditty bag packed with essentials (filters, color chart, orange sticks, canned air, film loading bag, screwdrivers, batt's, cores, etc, etc.). Can't afford to buy a color meter though :( .

For video jobs, I usually just take my personal on-board monitor. Sometimes, if it is a low paying gig where I can take my ACL to shoot some set ups on film I will do that. At least I can use the footage for my demo reel if the gig is not paying much. But that means I have to take all of the above . . .

For all shoots I take my gels and a couple of personal lights (just in case), extra stingers, black wrap, power strips, etc.
  • 0

#9 Dan Salzmann

Dan Salzmann
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1143 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Paris, France

Posted 13 January 2009 - 06:54 PM

I find myself bringing less and less gear to sets while my 1st AC seems to bring more and more.
Usually my Sekonic cine meter and a Pentax digital spotmeter as backup, my Minolta III colour meter which I don't use very often, a small digital camera, laser pointer, Scorpion, chalk in a chalk holder to make marks quickly where I want things set up (this way I can stop trying to steal the 1st AC's and improve set morale), a pair of leather WWII tank drivers gloves that are thin yet quite heat resistant, small pocket mirror and a 9mm Luger in case focus is out (just kidding!)
I have some filters that are slightly out of the ordinary and sometimes those come along.
The rest is usually just comfort items-sunglasses, rain gear, etc.
Of course, things change if I'm using my camera gear.
A certain DP I know maintains that the less you show up with the more top level you are and he just shows up with a light meter and the Wall Street Journal in the thinnest Haliburton atttache case I've ever seen.
  • 0

#10 Sing Howe Yam

Sing Howe Yam
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 75 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 15 January 2009 - 01:11 AM

I've notice that I bring less and less to set (not saying I'm top notch) because my crew usually brings everything they need. I still bring my ditty bag and now a rolling setwear bag (which is awesome by the way, isn't too big and holds a lot) just in case if there is an emergency and we don't have some kind of tool, etc, etc. Usually stays in the car though. What I do bring to set is a Spectra Meter (finally got another lightmeter, last one was stolen :angry: ), working on replacing a spotmeter, DSLR, 35mm SLR (personal set photos), contrast glass, viewfinder, thumb drive, multi card reader, grey card, color charts, my own lens solution (it's annoying to ask your AC's for this, just easier to have your own). Thinking about getting a colormeter but not sure if I would use it enough to yield the price of one. I also bring fingerless ironclad gloves for operating handheld, if you can invest in a pair they're great. Extremely grippy and have gel padding in them and is articulated so it isn't bulky, big help if you do any long takes handheld.

MacBook Pro w/ FC studio, CS3, RED (all their little programs), Microsoft office. All these thing are pretty obvious, but it is a pain when you don't have all of these things, a lot of the DP's job is organizing, big time in pre-pro. So anything that helps organize and make your life a little less stressful in the DP world I would say is good to have. I'm going to start bringing my printer with me and possibly get a AT&T internet card, the last shoot I was on become a little problematic without the last two items I just listed.
  • 0

#11 James Martin

James Martin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:33 PM

As this is a very interesting and relevant thread, especially considering the theme of this bit of the forum.

I have just put together my first proper "DP's" kit, now that I have stopped being a camera owner/operator (had a Z1, now rent).

My personal kit consists of:

1x Cinebags Cinematographer's bag containing:
1x Sekonic Lightmeter (and manual/quick manual)
1x Grey Card/White Card (Durable)
1x Back Focus Chart courtesy of Paul Wheeler BSC - comes with instructions on use (also in the bag!)
1x Lighting Gloves
1x Maglite Torch
1x Small Towel
1x Manfroto Magic Arm with various attachments
Spare Batteries (AA and AAA)
Spare tape stock (HDV - small and large, Digibeta and HDCAM
Gaffer tape and electrical tape
Lens cleaning wipes and solution

If the shoot requires it, I also have my laptop w/ REDCINE and AVID etc etc...

Lighting-wise

3x 800w Redheads in a hard case
Set of daylight-balanced tungsten soft-lights from eBay, various descriptions and colours
Several lighting stands
Lastolite Reflector and Portable Backgrounds (they also work as weak, soft reflectors or flags in a pinch)
CineBags Gel Roll containing a selection of 20 different Lee Gels (CTO, CTB, ND, Diffs and FX filters)
Extension cables and SPARE BULBS!
My own gel clamps and also some cheap pound-shop plastic pegs (for fixing gels that aren't mine :) )

Misc

I also have a smoke machine (1100 watt - paid £50 on eBay, it's fantastic - will fill a medium sized room in seconds), with plenty of juice to go with it.
14" Sony CRT Monitor (Broadcast Monitor, SD but good to give to Directors if I can get a better one for myself)

I think there is more, but I can't remember right now. I hope this helps other people out there, if anyone wants specifics on the kit, I am happy to give details. There's more I hope to get in the future, but for now this serves me very well.
  • 0

#12 James Martin

James Martin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:56 PM

Knew I would forget a couple of things:

I also have a leatherman "wave" swiss-army-knife type tool
Some basic screwdrivers etc etc...
Superglue
Compressed Air

and some interesting books - I usually take the ASC manual (haven't used it yet but know I will one day) and if I have been requested to emulate a look from a particular film I'll usually try and take the relevant AC mag. On occasion, I will take a lighting book which shows the differences between different types of lighting, if the Director is not particularly well versed in the differences (I haven't yet had to use this on set, thankfully).
  • 0

#13 Jim Hyslop

Jim Hyslop
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 213 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Toronto, ON, Canada

Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:11 PM

I usually take the ASC manual (haven't used it yet but know I will one day)


Murphy's Law dictates that you will forget it on the day you absolutely need it :-)
  • 0


Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

The Slider

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

CineLab

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Visual Products

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio