New Year, New Gear!

Improve Your Kit for 2020

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

Pictured: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

One of the fun things about starting off the New Year is thinking about all of the great projects just waiting for you. But what fun is it to embark on a bunch of new projects if you are still using all of that same stuff from last year? Wait! I’m not saying that you are going to throw it all out. Heaven forbid. But what I am advocating is that you can upgrade your production values without breaking the bank. Let’s take a look at some of the exciting new gear for you out there right now.

DJI Mavic Mini


All of my clients want a drone shot in their productions even if they really don’t need a drone shot. I know you have been there. So what am I supposed to do? I believe I found my solution. The Mavic Mini from DJI and Mavic Mini 2 are  compact drones that offers solid results with no restrictions. Now, it won’t replace the higher end units, but the Mavic Mini can fly where larger drones are legally not permitted or where a drone license is required. 

The stabilized 3-axis gimbal and flight modes can achieve up to 12MP images, and produce 2.7K Quad HD videos. Like I said, my clients want drones and not all day long drone shots but maybe just one or two to spice things up. 

The Mavic Mini's size means that it can stay in the air longer than larger drones. The Mavic Mini drone features up to 30 minutes of flight time on a full battery charge. The (included) controller is designed to work with Android and iOS smartphones, letting you fly the drone up to 2.5 miles away. While in the air, the Mavic Mini's 360° propeller guards help increase safety for objects and bystanders. That might just be a good thing until I can get my license and not be a menace to the public. 

RODECaster Pro


Boy, did I just get a wake up call for 2020. Why did I ever think that RODE just made mics or preamps? It seems like everyone and their cousin has hit on the idea that they can get their hopes, ideas and dreams out there in the podcasting universe for pretty short money. But, you do know that you still have to have compelling content AND sound good too! That’s where the RODECaster comes in.

A fully integrated podcast production studio, RODE's RODECaster Pro delivers excellent audio quality while simplifying the process of podcast production. RODECaster Pro supports up to four presenters and offers connections to phone, USB, and Bluetooth sources. And for instant playback of sound effects and jingles, it features eight programmable pads. You can record your Podcasts can be recorded directly to microSD card or to a computer via USB. With a full-color touchscreen and control set, RODECaster Pro is pretty fast to set up and easy to use. Lastly, some random food for thought: Joe Rogan is said to make about $30,000 a podcast. Wow!

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K


Did you just finish figuring out that 4K workflow? If you are ok staying in 4K by all means you should. I think it all has a lot to do with what workflow and lens you are comfortable with. I am saying that because the Blackmagic Design 6K ergonomically feels like it’s 4K brethren. But then we can jump into the 6K portion of the program.

Featuring a larger 6144 x 3456 Super 35 sensor and EF lens mount, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K lets you use larger EF photographic lenses to create more cinematic images with shallower depth of field, allowing for defocussed backgrounds and bokeh effects. Extra resolution also gives you more room for reframing in editing and color correction. This means that you can shoot in 6K and then in post production zoom and re-frame to allow wide shots and close ups to be created.

Sony WH-1000xM3 Wireless Headsets


Sony’s WH-1000xM3 are the third generation of Sony’s flagship wireless headphones that offer noise canceling, wireless audio, and are in my opinion, super comfortable. But you might wonder how these guys made the list. Pretty simple answer actually. When I am monitoring audio, I need to trust what I hear. Clean and crisp audio is so important to me. So whatever the case may be I need to be sure my audio (good or bad) is real. I can leave my Sony’s on most of the day and after a while I’ll forget I have them on. 

The 1000xM3 can even “upscale” wireless signals from high-resolution audio devices using a special chip, helping to make vocals clearer and music sound cleaner. The Sony WH-1000xM3 has up to 30 hours of battery life, along with a quick charge feature that will get you a five hour charge in about 15 minutes. The WH-1000xM3’s control systems allow you to let in various levels of ambient sound, with features like voice-only mode, which helps filter through vocal frequencies so you can hear your audio and the voices around you while blocking out other sounds. Most likely my most favorite item on the list for both personal and professional use.

Pelican Air 1535 Case with Foam


I think a little back story might be in order here. Just for the record I grew up so to speak doing rock shows and gigs with big beautiful Anvil cases. I only saw one fail and that was falling off an airplane. I am just going to do my equipment geek nerd thing right now and say that I love great road cases. Sure, I know lots of pros that swear by their backpacks and that’s cool. But to me there is almost something comforting about a hard case.  Based on the popular Pelican 1510 Case and molded from the next generation of Pelican’s lHPXTM resin that is up to 40% lighter than other polymer cases. 

Check out these “A” list features. Exciting stuff for road warriors old and new alike. Crushproof, dustproof, with a watertight O-ring gasket and an automatic purge valve that balances air pressure inside the case. Rolling stainless steel bearing wheels, extending trolley handle, double-throw latches, stainless steel hasps, rubber overmolded handles, and a card holder for front or side placement. In other words, that new camera you just sold your soul for should have a better plane ride than you! Exterior dimension is designed to maximum allowable airline carry-on size; Includes Pelican Pick N’ Pluck shock absorbent foam. Plus with Pelican's Lifetime Warranty, how can you go wrong?

 So, there it is —just a little taste test of some interesting products to start out 2020. It should be some pretty exciting developments as the year unfolds.

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About the Author

Mark Foley
Mark Foley
Mark J. Foley, MBA BA is an award-winning producer and director and the Technology Editor for He is on a mission to provide the best in new equipment reviews, along with exclusive analysis and interviews with the best, the brightest, and the most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a review? Email Mark at

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