Gear prep for me is essentially anticipating everything you will need for your shoot so you may shoot effectively and efficiently. Depending on the project, there is always gear that is needed and is not needed. Here are three questions I ask myself when I’m prepping gear the day before my shoot.
1. What am I shooting?
This is the most important question as it dictates what gear you need to bring.
2. Is my camera ready to go?
This is a big one. I always make sure my camera(s) is ready to go and all I have to do is pull the camera out of the bag, attach the desired lens and start shooting. This means the batteries are all charged, the cards are all formatted and a card is in the camera and there is a tripod plate already on the camera. It also means I have thought through and packed the appropriate lenses for the shoot. The camera white balance is set and the ISO, shutter and fstop are roughly where I think they should be for my first shot of the day. The night before a shoot, I attempt to anticipate as much of the shooting conditions.
3. What support gear do I need?
I ask myself…. do I need a monopod? Do I need a tripod? Do I need multiple tripods? Do I need a slider? Should I bring the Ronin and/or Phantom? Do I need to bring a lighting kit? Again, this all comes down to the specific type of shoot. I do try to consolidate everything into the least amount of bags as possible as I normally find myself shooting on my own. I can’t be dragged down by moving a lot of gear around. Sometimes I do have an assistant. Usually though I use a bag that fits two tripods, monopod, slider and boom pole. This bag has been a great help in keeping me organized.
4. Are we recording audio?
This is a big one and should not be overlooked. Does the script call for audio and what are the best means of recording it. Is the best option a boom mic or lav? I also make sure I have plenty of spare batteries for them as well.
5. Any small tools required?
Lastly, I look through my back and see if there are any smaller tools that would make shooting and my day easier. This could be something simple as a roll of gaffer tape, extra AA batteries, a multitool and even a few granola bars. As the weather in BC can change quite a bit in even just one day, I also make sure I have appropriate clothing layers such as a waterproof jacket. These items aren’t essential, but they do assist in making the day go smoother. One cannot be over prepared.
There is enough going on during a shoot and I have learned it is best to organize and prep your gear. I trust these questions will help your shoot day be more efficient and effective.