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Here at Artlist, we use an assortment of gear to bring our videos to life. Today, we’re going to talk about our favorite filmmaking gear to create our cinematic videos. Whether cameras, lenses, lights or gimbals, we’re grateful that these tools are at our disposal to make our vision possible. We hope you get a good sense of what works for us and maybe even use some of them in your next project.
Blackmagic Pocket 6K
The Blackmagic Pocket 6K is, in our opinion, the best camera out there value-wise for a wide array of projects. So many people use it, and for good reason. The image quality is superb, it’s easy to use, and it offers so many features that it surprises its users. The Blackmagic RAW files are super light and work really well in whichever editing software you use. This is because frame decoding and image processing are sped up and saved onto a single file rather than a sequence. This will make your workflow that much faster and more efficient compared to other cameras. The small file size also makes it easier if you need to make changes in post (such as color grading), but it never results in an inferior image. We shoot all our YouTube videos as well as some of our commercials with the Pocket 6k. So you really can’t go wrong by choosing it.
Black Magic Ursa Mini 4K
The next camera is another treat by the same manufacturer, the Black Magic Ursa Mini 4K. It’s a tad older than the other model and is primarily used more for studio production. It is certainly bigger than the 6K, so the handling during a shoot is more limited. The picture quality is not as great as the other camera, but its size gives it the feel of a real cinema camera. It has excellent inputs and outputs and other cinema-like features that make it more hospitable for larger productions. With all its features and cinematic feel, this is another superb option for your filming needs.
While not owned by Artlist (yet!), the Arri Alexa is a camera that needs no introduction. We use the Mini LF in most Artlist productions, and it’s the crown jewel for filmmakers in TV, movies and commercials. Its tonal range, color space and latitude exceed the capabilities of celluloid in some ways. The Alexa Mini shot notable films like Joker, Blade Runner 2049 and 1917. This is hands down one of the best cameras out there.
For simple things like tutorial videos and BTS, we use Sigma Art lenses, either the 24-70mm or the 18-35. This is a still lens that is clear and has great quality. They have terrific sharpness, are easy to use and are affordable for creators starting out. While they work for most projects, they have their own limitations by their lack of character. If there is something big that you’re trying to go for, you will want to scale up in quality. Also, these are not cine-lenses, so it may be a bit harder to use for those types of projects. However, their affordability and ease make them attractive for budding creators.
Moving onto lighting, the Arri SkyPanel is essential in any production. It has a lot of power grid outputs, great qualities, RGB controls for light and special effects. It puts out a tremendous amount of light in a soft, yet uniform, beam field. At the same time, it is also able to perform really well at lower light levels. The versatility and range of illumination will give you a lot of control. It’s a great piece of gear that you’ll see on almost any production set in the industry.
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Related to the SkyPanel, the Nanlite Mixpanel is a great option for those under budgetary constraints. This light has similar capabilities but is a little less powerful in terms of luminance and output. It uniquely combines 3 LED light sources, bouncing between hard light, soft light and colored light at the touch of a button. The color accuracy is great as well, saving you headaches you might otherwise encounter in post-production. The good quality of light and RGB controls make this light a great option for lighting YouTube videos and running productions on a tight budget.
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At Artlist, we utilize a lot of Nanlite RGB PavoTubes that come in small, medium and large sizes. We can’t recommend them enough due to their versatility and price. They are so practical and can be used as backlighting or even a headlight for your YouTube setup. They have full RGB controls, special effects and can be dimmed down for any situation.
The Aputure MC is a terrific option for putting lights in places that are difficult to reach. The smaller models have a magnetic back, making them easily able to stick and leave. They are light, small, fun and easy to handle.
The Nanlite Forza 500 is a very strong and great quality light. We at Artlist mostly use this equipment as a key light in many situations. You can shine directly or go for a softer approach by shooting through a diffusion. This is a great light to own as a base that you will use primarily as a key light.
Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL-2 Gimbal
Another piece of gear worth mentioning is the Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL-2 Gimbal. It’s a terrific gimbal to be used in situations where you might be a one-man band while also creating overall great content. In situations where you cannot use a Dolly or Steadicam, this is a fantastic option to allow you room to move around. Its 3-axis camera stabilizer and sleek design give you as the filmmaker tremendous control and ease during production.
Insta 360 Go 2
The Insta 360 Go 2 and X2 have been utilized by Artlist to great effect in creating BTS footage and other creative projects. The hands-free nature of shooting opens up new possibilities in shooting other projects, such as getting a shot off in a commercial or action-oriented technical shot. The ability to mount anywhere, control remotely, as well as its hyperlapse feature, make this an excellent choice to use in your shooting toolkit.
Whether you’re shooting or lighting, having the right gear for the right situation is essential. While products like the Alexa and SkyPanel afford great results, there are plenty of affordable options that still deliver great quality. No matter your shoot, having a range of options will serve you well in your quest to create the next best piece of content. So until next time, stay creative!