Tim Roberts, Ski Utah's Video Producer, chimes in with another blog post about video production on skis.
I get asked a lot about the equipment I use when working on the slopes. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different things, but with the help of the experts at Pictureline, I've landed on good equipment that works for me. Here is a list of the things that I typically bring with me on the slopes when I’m shooting action inside the resort. When non photographers feel the weight of the backpack I’m carrying, they think I'm a little crazy. And they are right, I am. Crazy about bringing back good visuals to share with skiers who couldn’t be there that day. Here is a look inside my pack.
Sometimes I like to shoot wide angle. This lens, on a full frame sensor camera, like the 5D Mark III, goes REAL wide. When you want to fit a lot of scenery in the frame, this is a good lens to have in your bag. This lens is especially useful for shooting down mountain and getting the horizon in frame and with a steadycam, where any remaining camera shake is minimized by it's wideness (Click here to see an example on the stedicam).
Manfrotto 701 HDV Fluid Video Head
This video head is now discontinued, but, I’ve been using it for years and it has been reliable. It’s fairly light compared to some beefier heads, which is nice. With a DSLR you can get away with this lighter head, but, not reccommended for larger camcorders obviously. For video you need a fluid head that allows you to set the resistance at which you can pan and tilt the camera. With a DSLR you don’t need as burly of a head, and this one works great.
This is one of the greatest pieces of gear ever. Basically, it’s a magnifying glass with an eye cup that attaches to your LCD screen. This does two things. First, It allows you to see what you are shooting. Often when shooting outside it is very hard to see the screen because of the light bouncing off the snow in a million directions. With the Zacuto diopter, I can cut out the outside light and get a good look at what I’m shooting. Without the Zacuto on, I typically use the light meter in the camera to set my exposure and then just try to follow the black blob moving on the white snow. With the Zacuto on I can get a good look at what I’m shooting, how good my focus is, and how my exposure is set. Secondly, when handholding the camera, having the Zacuto up against your face gives you a 3rd point of contact with the camera that makes you much more stable.
This little toy is pretty cool. Basically you unfold it and it works as a shoulder stock that you can brace against your chest to steady the camera. And really, in videography, keeping the camera steady is a big part of the game. Also, it looks badass, which is always a good thing.
The Goodie Bag
I always keep a ziplock bag in my camera pack that has extra batteries, lens wipes, spare memory cards, random GoPro attachments, and a pocket screwdriver.
For an example of some video I've shot with this rig, check out my latest spring edit.
I hope this gives you an idea of the basic gear I’m using on a daily basis on the mountain. I’d like to thank our awesome sponsors for the support they give us. Pictureline is an awesome local camera store in Salt Lake City and provide us with great advice and rentals. And Dakine makes great photo bags that have reliably carried all my gear for years.