Nic Bovee

Husband, Father, and Solver of Problems.

A professional cameraman's tips on choosing gear.

Fri Feb 03 2017

I happened to be in the right place at the right time to meet a cameraman working for a local new station. During this fortuitous encounter, I got to ask a few questions about his gear, and tips.

Camera choice: Panasonic GH5

While he was fairly adamant about Sony fs5 and fs7 being great for the professional, he was just as passionate about the GH5 as an option for professionals and enthusiasts.

Why? It's an affordable mirrorless camera that shoots 4k. He got into the technical details, but I'm not even going to try to discuss what advantages and disadvantages there are to the camera. I did learn a bit about the MFT (Micro Four-thirds) system, which is very intriguing and gave me some insight on the varying specs across the board.

Tip 1: Buy used on Lens Authority.

I had never heard of them before, but if you're looking for a way to buy a camera on the cheap and don't like eBay, this is a good place to go.

Tip 2: Use a white balance card and adjustable light panels to get the right temperature for your shots.

When I walked in the room, I felt like I was stepping onto a TV set, because I was. The bright LED panels made all of the difference and are one of the reasons television looks more professional. I always associated temperature with the weather, but in film-making, it means a whole lot more. Understanding temperature and making the appropriate lighting adjustments is crucial for getting a professional look. The white balance card lets you adjust the lighting to be conducive for the best shot by showing you a perfect white vs a reflective white that picks up other colors.

Tip 3: Check out Philip Bloom

He's a great resource for learning about what gear to use, and how to become a better filmmaker.

These may be extremely basic tips, but for me, they were all new and very helpful as an inexperienced filmmaker.