The High-Tech Equipment of Fall River Productions (scroll down for the latest)
The most important piece of equipment we own is our brains, containing all of the experience and know how that makes for great productions. However, experience can only go so far without the right hardware. Fall River Productions has recently purchased all new equipment for both our video and multimedia productions.
We shoot all of our videos in full 1080p resolution and utilize a four camera system for most of our productions. Having four cameras rolling makes for a much more polished final product and allows for multiple angles to capture every moment. Our main video camera is the Nikon D-800 camera, which also does double-duty as one of the highest quality still cameras available.
For video productions, we also utilize two Canon XA10 HD video cameras. These relatively compact cameras capture beautiful video in full HD and edit together beautifully with our Nikon cameras. These cameras allow for redundant recording on two separate memory cards simultaneously, giving us an instant backup of all footage captured. These cameras also have professional XLR Audio inputs for the highest quality audio.
Whether it's a video production or a still photography shoot, a quality tripod is crucial. For video, a fluid-head is a must and we have several, including the highly regarded Sachtler Ace. We also have a fine collection of tripods from Gitzo and Manfrotto in a variety of sizes.
To add a cinematic flair to our video productions, we invested in a "Video Crane", which allows us to film dramatic views from both high and low angles, and a sweeping motion that only a crane can provide. Our crane can be configured for both 8' and 12' feet and is also fitted with a remotely controlled motorized pan/tilt head for even more effects.
The crane also comes in very handy for our still photography jobs as it allows for high angle shots unobtainable with a conventional tripod.
To add an additional cinematic experience to our video productions, we can create a "tracking" look by using a "Steady Cam" type device that keeps the camera steady and the movement fluid. We use the BirdyCam II, which utilizes a computer controlled, 3-axis motorized gimbals for amazing stabilized footage. We can't tell you how pleased we are with this device and the incredible footage we are able to obtain. We use it for many different situations, including wedding receptions, real estate "fly-throughs", and any other time we need rock-solid moving footage.
Audio capture for our video productions is extremely important to us. In one of our other articles on this site, Audio, the Unsung Hero goes into more detail about how we deal with audio, but it suffices to say that we take audio very seriously and have invested in some wonderful new recording technologies.
As photography is literally translated as the study of light, we understand that lighting is important for any photo or video job. We have several lighting options, including high quality on-camera flashes and LED video lights. For stills, we incorporate a Gary Fong light modification device that gives very even lighting and helps prevent harsh shadows. For larger groups, we have two professional studio lighting kits, one of which is powered by portable batteries. This allows us to get studio lighting effects for up to 40 people in places with no power, such as the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park. Our higher power studio lights are ideal for larger groups numbering into the hundreds.
New Equipment Purchases
We recently purchased another camera! We purchased the new Nikon D600, but quickly realized it didn't meet our needs. We were able to return it for another D800, so now we have three of these amazing cameras! We can't stress enough how happy we are with the D800 for both stills and video.
Along with the additional D800, we also purchased a specialized viewfinder that converts the Nikon's stock LCD screen to work as a video viewfinder. Additionally, we added another microphone to our stable of quality mic's. This one is a Nikon stereo mic that will help add rich ambient audio to our productions.
In December, 2016 we purchased another stereo microphone. This one is from the legendary Sennheiser with its MKE-440 Stereo Shotgun. This is a much more "directional" mic than the Nikon stereo mic we already had and will be a great addition to all of our video productions. It's a funky looking mic, especially with the fur windscreen attached.
Additionally, we just picked up a wireless hand-held microphone and receiver. This new mic is the classic Shure SM58, known as one the best wireless microphones out there. This comes in very handy for speeches when there is no in-house sound system and allows us to get much cleaner audio compared to using shotgun microphones from afar.
We have also recently purchased a new video light kit. Flora®, a remote controllable light bank with a revolutionary design, delivers powerful illumination. The remote controllable light bank is suitable for still photography or film making. Comparing to other high wattage light banks, Flora® remote controllable light bank has several distinguished advantages, including smaller in size, improved rigidity, easy installation, and convenient in moving from place to place. Comparing to other light banks with similar size, the Flora® remote controllable light bank can install high-wattage fluorescent bulbs. With remote controllable features; Turning on and off the lights just getting lot easier, no more hassle of lowering the stands to turn on and off and re-adjust the stands.
We just added a new "mega-zoom" lens to our stable of fine lenses, the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM SLD Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens for our Nikon cameras.
We want to be able to push in even further during our productions, and this lens allows for getting very close shots.
Sigma’s APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM is an advanced optical design of this 10x power high-performance zoom lens that covers the standard-to-super-telephoto range, now with the added advantage of Sigma’s own Optical Stabilization which offers the use of shutter speeds approximately 4 stops slower than would otherwise be possible.
To obtain super-wide shots without the "fish-eye" look, we purchased the legendary Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 ED lens and are super happy with the resulting images. This is considered one of the finest lenses in Nikon's lineup.
We're at it again! We have made some additional purchases to round out our equipment needs (and desires... we're gear hounds!).
The new Varavon Motorized Slider, which allows us to get some very cool moving shots from low angles. When the motor is controlled by an external controller, such as the Dynamic Perceptions MX2 Controller (yes, we got that, too), we have the ability to do time-lapse videos with motion. This is typically known as "Shoot-Move-Shoot", where the camera takes a picture, the slider moves slightly, the camera takes another picture, and so on, resulting in a time-lapse video with a smooth moving camera. We've been so busy with current clients, we haven't had a chance to fully experiment with this setup, but will do so very soon. We'll share our results!
We also discovered the need for a quality video monopod for those times where a full-size tripod isn't practical, but rock solid camera support is still required. We popped for the super nice Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 Fluid Video Monopod and Head. This is a true fluid head and has 3 small "feet" to help keep it steady. We've already used this in a couple of productions and couldn't be happier with it. In fact, we may get a second one!
On the audio side, we have already made investments in wind mitigation for our shotgun microphone, but have decided our solutions were lacking. After all, Estes Park can be extremely windy and we just can't have the wind noise in our productions, so we decided to go for the gold and get the big boy of wind screens from Rode. We purchased the Rode Blimp, a "Complete Windshield and Suspension System" that is massive. Wind just wont stand a chance with this 20" long monster that resembles a "dead wombat" when it's wearing the fur cover.
It was also time to purchase a new Boom Pole, and we found just what we needed in a Gitzo Carbon Fiber Pole, which has been perfect.
And another big recent purchase we made was another fluid head for an extra set of Sachtler tripod legs we had. This one is also from Manfrotto and is the Manfrotto 502HD Pro Video Head with 75mm Half-Ball that is perfect for our needs. We now have 4 fluid head tripods, as well as several non-fluid tripods for still photography. Is there such a thing as a tripod fetish?
And for the computer geeks out there, we're building a new editing computer which will be a real beast. If you're a geek like Brian, the Alpine Geek, and want to see what we're building, click here to see the component list.
Fall River Productions Takes to the Skies!
We're really taking off... with our new aerial photo/video platform! We just purchased a helicopter, well a small remote controlled quadcopter, to be exact. This will allow us to get amazing shots from above. We think of it as a "tripod in the sky" and are very excited to incorporate this fantastic new tool into our productions.
Additionally, we purchased the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition camera to go with the Phantom, which can also be used as an amazing little stand-alone camera and we've already used it in several productions. Brian took this camera to St. Thomas for a family vacation and captured some amazing underwater footage. What a fantastic little camera!