New Year, New Gear: Taking Your Production Gear Choices to the Next Level

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

Welcome to 2019! Now is the time to crank it up and get after that big project on the agenda. What are you waiting for? Maybe it’s time for you to go find that fresh perspective. Maybe it’s time to go get some of that gear that you have seen out there and that you have been looking and thinking about for a while. Yes, that gear, that will put you over the top. Let’s take a look at some production tools that are sure to help you take it to the next level.

RED Digital Cinema DSMC2 DRAGON-X



I had to start out with a camera. I know everyone and their brother wants to get their hands on the RED Hydrogen, but I am opting to stay in this space for now. RED Digital Cinema announced it's further simplifying its product portfolio with the availability of the DSMC2 DRAGON-X 5K S35 camera. RED announced the DSMC2 PRODUCTION MODULE and DSMC2 PRODUCTION KIT, which are reportedly coming soon.

The DSMC2 DRAGON-X camera uses the award-winning DRAGON sensor technology found in many of RED’s legacy cameras with an evolved sensor board to enable RED’s enhanced image processing pipeline (IPP2) in camera. In addition to IPP2, the DRAGON-X provides 16.5 stops of dynamic range, 5K resolution up to 96 fps in full format, and 120 fps at 5K 2.4:1. Consistent with the rest of RED’s DSMC2 line-up, DRAGON-X offers 300 MB/s data transfer speeds and simultaneous recording of REDCODE RAW and Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR.

The new DSMC2 DRAGON-X is priced at $14,950 and is also available as a fully-configured kit. The kit includes: 

  • Canon lens mount
  • RED DSMC2 Touch LCD 4.7” Monitor
  • RED DSMC2 Outrigger Handle
  • RED V-Lock I/O Expander
  • Two IDX DUO-C98 batteries with VL-2X charger
  • G-Technology ev Series RED MINI-MAG Reader
  • Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Lens
  • Nanuk heavy-duty camera case

The Switch 8 Portable Live Production Switcher from Production Bot

I will admit my guilt right away; I love LIVE production. As in all parts of it. Shooting, directing, punching a show. There is something to be said for the off the chart energy levels and the commitment from the whole crew to get the production right. With that in mind, we’ll start off with a few products that fit into the new way of thinking when it comes to high performance, yet budget-friendly live production.

Single camera might work in well for some live production situations, but sometimes you need to be able to punch a clean show with multiple cameras and sources. Problem is that nobody has the resources, time or money to lay out for a big truck rental. This is where Production Bot shines.

The Switch 8 Portable Live Production Switcher from Production Bot provides eight video inputs to control up to eight live HD-SDI video sources simultaneously with embedded audio. This video switcher can be used as a live production studio, mobile editing station and a DIT station. In other words, one purchase, many applications. The great part is that the whole unit is about the size of a small suitcase and packs quite the production wallop. Sounds good, doesn't it?

The Switch 8 has a built-in 17.3" screen with a removable cover and a resolution of up to 4096 x 2160p. It has an internal storage of 500GB, a 1TB SSD removable hot swap bay storage, and three additional drive bays.

This system comes pre-installed with vMix live streaming software and supports custom graphics including overlays, chroma key, and transition effects. You can stream your output live to many streaming platforms such as Facebook, Periscope and Twitch.

LiveU LU300 HEVC


The LU300 HEVC field unit combines high-quality video performance with bandwidth efficiency in a nice easy to manage size. The LU300 solution with HEVC is for customers requiring a smaller field unit for high-quality video-on-the-go.

Users can operate in real-time with extreme low latency with the highest quality, even at low bit rates. LiveU’s hardware solutions are encoding in HEVC all the time, providing longer battery time (the LU300 includes a three-hour internal battery)

Live & Store functionality enables users to upload high quality stored copies of the live video immediately after live sessions. The LU300 can also serve as a standalone video encoder or be used as a LiveU DataBridge mobile hotspot for general connectivity in the field. The LU300 offers an enlarged 2.2" display with improved resolution, much improvement under sunlight conditions and a new JOG controller for easier control of the unit.

If I was running a Division ll college athletic program and I have a ton of live streaming sports production to do, this bad boy is the ticket. Oh, and the service department is top drawer too!

G-Technology G DRIVE mobile SSD R


Have you ever lost all of your footage because you got too busy to back it up? Never make that mistake again. 

The 1TB G-DRIVE R-Series USB 3.1 Type-C mobile SSD from G-Technology features IP67 water and dust resistance, shock and vibration resistance, drop protection up to 9.8' / 3.0m on a carpeted concrete floor, and a crushproof rating of 1000 pounds.

When combined with its 1TB storage capacity and 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 Type-C interface, also known as USB 3.1 Gen 2, the drive provides data transfer speeds of up to 560 MB/s, allowing you to quickly edit, save, and archive large files, including videos and photos.

The 1TB G-DRIVE R-Series mobile SSD does come preformatted for macOS 10.10+, it can be easily reformatted for use Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. This SSD operates solely using USB bus power and includes a USB Type-C to Type-C cable and a USB Type-C to Type-A cable.

Canon COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm Lens


This lens does a lot for the price point. While I love primes, zooms sometimes are your best bet — depending on the shoot and the look you're trying to achieve, of course.  

The Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO Lens combines the functionality of Canon's EF lenses with the features and performance of their CN-E lineup. Designed for use with EF-mount cameras featuring Super 35 or APS-C sized sensors, the lens covers an 18 to 80mm focal range while maintaining a constant T-stop of T4.4 (f/4) throughout. Notably, the lens is Canon's first cine-style option to incorporate image stabilization and auto focus functionality when paired with Cinema EOS cameras.

Further enhancing the versatility of this lens, Canon has equipped it with a servo drive unit compatible with industry-standard lens controllers. Alternatively, you can outfit the lens with the optional ZSG-C10 Control Grip for ENG-style lens control and operation. Power is provided to the grip from compatible cameras via the EF mount.

  • Covers Super 35 / APS-C formats
  • 18 to 80mm focal range (4.4x zoom ratio)
  • Constant T4.4 (f/4) aperture
  • Parfocal design to maintain focus during zoom
  • Minimized focus breathing
  • Cine-standard 0.8 MOD focus gear ring
  • 0.5 MOD iris and zoom gear rings
  • Focus ring rotates 180°
  • Matching color characteristics to existing CN-E lenses
  • 9-blade iris
  • Iris closing
  • Compact and lightweight design

Closing Thoughts

This list is by no means done. There is so much to do and see I don’t see us slowing down much at all in 2019. If anything I think developments in audio, HDR and the VR space will continue to accelerate. A ton of new and interesting products are right around the corner. Better hang on because 2019 is going to go fast!

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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 most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a review? Email Mark at

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