Monthly Archives: January 2012

Essential accessories for film and photo

There is a lot of gear out there for photographers and film-makers, which is either very expensive or totally useless. In this post I will list the equipment which I have found to be very useful and good value.

1. Variable ND filter

ND filters are pretty much essential for controlling the light levels, if you want to use a specific shutter speed and f-stop (this is especially true for digital video cameras, such as the Red Epic). So the choice is, do you buy several ND filters of different strengths or a single Variable ND filter?

If you know in advance what your requirements will be, then it may work out cheaper to buy 1 or 2 individual ND filters. However after much research, I decided to buy the Heliopan Vario ND filter. It is not exactly cheap (£180 was the cheapest I found it) but having used it a lot recently, I can vouch for how good it is optically, and just how easy it makes filming. (Amazon.co.uk link)

On the Red Epic, I will have a set shutter speed (typically 1/50 second), I will set my f-stop for the depth of field I want, then I just dial in the exact amount of ND for a perfect exposure. Simple.

2. Remote flash trigger

I highly recommend the Yongnuo RF-603c wireless flash trigger for the Canon (Amazon.co.uk link for Canon)  (they do a similar model for Nikons and other cameras – Amazon.co.uk link for Nikon).

The range of these is amazing. On a recent test, they were still triggering the flash, when I was several hundred metres away. They cost me £20 for 2 (you need 1 on the camera, and 1 for each flash you want to trigger).

3. Portable LED video light

Once again, I went for a product by Yongnuo. The YN-160 LED video light. It cost £40 and is one of the brightest units around. Great for fill light or interviews.

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