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Apr 7, 2017 // 8:25 AM

Foster Visuals: How They Chose Video Gear To Film Nalongo

Written by Meg Rodney

When Foster Visuals reached out to us about traveling to a rural area in Uganda to film their latest Legacy Project, we were so excited for them. Their previous Legacy Projects have opened our eyes to so many incredible individuals. We had many questions for them regarding the gear they were going to use and how they were going to get it there, though! We thought for sure they'd pack small to make traveling to the remote village easier but that wasn't the case! When it came to telling the story of Nalongo, they wanted to make sure they were using the RIGHT gear for the shoot, not what necessarily packed the easiest or lightest. 

In our previous interview blog post with them, we learned that their crew consisted of 3 people and they budgeted 4 days to film. Below we hear how they decided what gear to bring, what they ended up using and what they couldn't live without.

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IN PLANNING A SHOOT THAT IS OVERSEAS, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT GEAR YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE?

We try to take the best gear to tell the story and will sacrifice space for anything personal to make that happen! That said, if there are opportunities to lighten the load, we do so when possible. We try to strip kits down and make smaller breakout kits using Tenba Tool Box bags with all the essential tools needed. For example, we will take a gimbal out of its original case and bubble wrap it, pack the tools in the middle and put it into a more compact case to make traveling with the essentials for the story possible. 

did you pre-plan the story and shots before traveling to uganda? 

We put together a storyboard and shot list based on the images we received from our fixers and the research we were able to do online. We chose our gear based on those shots and the story we were setting out to tell. 

The game plan was in place, but we also knew when we arrived on the ground there would be surprises and changes to the production, so we selected gear that would allow us to stay versatile for the unexpected that would inevitably be in store. 

WHAT GEAR DID YOU BRING TO UGANDA?

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO USE A CINE LENS OVER STANDARD EF LENSES, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT WEIGHS MORE AND TAKES UP MORE ROOM?

We filmed the entire piece in 4K on the FS7 knowing that we were going to finish the video in 1080p. We also knew we wanted to step up our game on this trip and pull focus on a lot of shots. Having a cine lens made pulling focus so much easier than a standard EF lens since it gave us a much longer throw. The Canon 24 also allowed us the sharpness we needed to be able to snap in on shots on a 1080 timeline where we desired for the final video. We actually filmed this entire video at 24mm.

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WHAT PIECE OF GEAR WOULD YOU HAVE SACRIFICED YOUR PERSONAL SUITCASE FOR TO ENSURE YOU COULD TAKE IT?

Without a doubt, having a drone on this trip was critical for the opening and closing shots in the film. It would have been worth buying some fresh undies upon landing to bring this tool along.  We brought two drones with us and used them both a fair amount during the filming. They were a huge pain to get into the country with—and were seized by customs for a day—but totally worth it in the end.

WAS THERE ANY GEAR YOU ENDED UP NOT USING?

Every single piece of gear we brought was used throughout the production. Lenses not being used for the main film were used for BTS stills and video. Everything had a purpose. That doesn’t always happen, but this time around it did!

DO YOU OWN ALL OF THE GEAR THAT YOU TOOK?

We like to pick the right gear for the right story, so although we do own a solid kit of gear we’re always adding additional tools to our kit for specific stories. From lighting to lenses, to underwater housings, we’re usually using a mix of the gear we own, and rental gear to tell the story the way we intended it to be told. 

Foster_Visuals-Nalongo-3.jpg

What does your go-to travel audio kit look like?

  • Countryman B6 Mic 
  • Sennheiser Lavs 
  • Zoom H6
  • RODE NTG-2

What gear would you suggest to someone who is looking to add movement to their film?

  • Movi Pro
  • DJI Phantom 4
  • DJI Inspire 
  • DJI Osmo Pro

What gear would you suggest to someone who can only take 2 backpacks worth of gear on a trip who wanted to film a story like you did?

We would try to strip down to the basics if only taking two packs. Of course, there would be some compromises compared to what we took, but we feel you could tell a great story with:

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  • Sony FS5
  • Sony A7SII
  • Metabones Adapter
  • Canon 24 1.4
  • Canon 24-105 
  • Canon 50 1.2
  • Canon 70-200 2.8
  • DJI Phantom or Mavic Pro 
  • Benro Tripod 
  • Zoom H6 
  • RODE NTG-2 
  • Small HD 502 
  • DJI Osmo Pro 
  • Aladdin or Wescott Light 
  • Tenba Bags
  • Sennheiser Lavs 
  • Countryman B6 Mic 
  • Kessler Kwik Release Plates  

Conclusion: 

In speaking to Brent and Tammy of Foster Visuals it's clear there isn't one perfect kit of gear to film every job. In pre-planning the shoot, they are able to look at the gear they own and fill in where they are lacking with rental gear. In this case of filming Nalongo, they knew having a cine lens was important. For this film, the 24mm was all they needed! 

Have you traveled overseas to shoot before? What gear did you take with you? Let us know in the comments below! 

Topics: Cine Lens Filmmaking Tips


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Foster Visuals travel Camera and lens kit
Foster Visuals travel motion and audio kit
Foster Visuals travel motion and audio kit
Sony FS7M2 Mark II
MoVI Pro
Canon 24 CN-E Cine Prime
SmallHD 1303 Production Monitor
SmallHD 502 Field Monitor