The Essential Movie Equipment List for Getting Great Moving Shots on Your Next Project

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

A version of this post was first seen on Moving Picture Rental. By: David Wells 

Don’t wait until post-production to solve problems that should be addressed in pre-production. Hasty planning can often result in expensive reshoots. Making sure you have the right gear on-set can save you precious time and money. Of course, you’re going to put a lot of thought into the technical aspects of your production, like which camera, lighting kits, and sound equipment you’ll need. But when you’re planning your movie equipment rental, it’s essential to consider the accessories that will complement such gear. According to many crew and producers whom we’ve worked with over the years, renting the following items often resulted in the smoothest productions.

For starters, moving shots are a great way to invite your audience into your narrative. Whichever direction your subject is moving, be it an actor or a vehicle, this kind of shot allows the viewer to take the journey alongside them. Steadicams are one option. However, they’re costly and require specially trained operators who, owing to their specialized skill, don’t come cheap, either. Dollies are a much more economical way to create that same scenic flow.

Fisher 11 Dolly

 

Fisher Dollies are a popular choice amongst studio and independent filmmakers. The model 11 is their smallest option, but you shouldn’t worry that its compact design will translate to decreased performance. To the contrary, whether pushing or pulling it in slow or fast increments, the model 11 will operate smoothly, effortlessly and quietly on either a square or round track. It offers three-way steering and a solid lift beam to give operators a wide range of movement. If you want to give those operators or their assistants’ additional space around which to maneuver, you can include diving boards with your rental. And its smaller size and lightweight frame will work to your advantage if there’s a significant distance between where you’ll unload your equipment and where you’ll set it up.

Dana Dolly

 

If you want to pull off quality tracking shots for short distances without a lot of set-ups, you’ll want to make the Dana Dolly Portable Dolly System part of your movie equipment rental. Its simple design means it’s as easy to put together as it is to transport. The wheel trucks swivel. Use them with straight or curved tracks positioned right on the ground or supported by standard junior stands or apple boxes. Wherever you set it up, the movement is guaranteed to be a smooth glide owing to the Dana Dolly’s custom machined 16-track wheels specially created to reduce the “bounce” typical of similar equipment. And the Mitchell Mount can accommodate all types of camera heads and non-standard adapters.

As efficient as dollies are, they’re not designed to operate in small spaces. Especially if such spaces are part of an interior shot list. So if you’re shooting in an enclosed area that doesn’t provide enough room for dolly tracks, DJI’s handheld camera gimbals are your best option.

DJI Ronin-S

 

A single-grip stabilizer for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, DJI designed the Ronin-S for filmmakers who want

smooth and seamless tracking shots and video pans. It comes in three separate parts: the three-axis gimbal, a handle/battery, and a handle extension that unfolds to form a tripod. Assembly is elementary and only requires minor tweaks to achieve the ultimate balance across various axes. The Ronin-S uses an angled roll axis motor that is lowered down behind the camera, so the built-in display is unobstructed and always in your line of sight. Handle set-up via a smartphone app that allows you to test the balance of each axis and configure the motor’s behavior. Additionally, the SmoothTrack option offers users three different settings to determine how they want the gimbal to respond to their movement:

  • Deadband, which sets the threshold for how much user movement it should discount before interpreting that movement as an intentional input.
  • Speed, which dictates how quickly the motors move in response to that input.
  • Sensitivity, which controls how much additional acceleration should be applied if you make an extreme movement.

Even more impressive, if you’re planning to shoot sequential shots at different speeds, you can preset a different setting for each individual axis.

DJI Ronin 2

 

Offering versatility and durability in one, you can operate the Ronin 2 as a handheld stabilizer or mounted in a variety of different ways, including onto a drone or a Steadicam. DJI devised its system to be modular, as the gimbal integrates a detachable grip design to make it easier to switch from handheld to Steadicam or crane to car mount. With a payload capacity of 30 pounds, you can pair it with DSLRs and cinema cameras alike. Bigger and stronger torque motors ensure smooth, precise movement even against high winds and G-forces. From its built-in ultra-bright touch screen, you can change such gimbal settings as:

  • Panorama Mode will automatically create still image panoramas.
  • Timelapse Mode can program movements and view progress in real-time.
  • CamAnchor Mode allows you to record and revisit the gimbal’s orientation in any location.

And lastly, its dual batteries are hot-swappable, meaning you can switch one out while the other powers the gimbal to keep recording.

Tracking shots will make your audience feel like they’re active participants rather than static observers. The creative potential in these movie equipment tools is limitless. Use them to create all manner of complex effects. Moving Picture Rental can help put together a movie equipment rental package that will take your viewers on a ride they will not soon forget. To find out the how-tos give us a call today.

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About the Author

Moving Picture Rental
Moving Picture Rental
Moving Picture Rental is your South Florida One-Stop-Shop for all your film and video production rental needs, serving the greater Miami area since 1987. As your on-site production partner, we share our collective film-making experience – guiding your team to the right gear and crew for the job. We provide digital cinema camera rentals, lens rentals, film lighting packages, grip truck rentals, post-production rentals, walkie talkies and expendables at competitive prices.

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