You do not need to have the newest and most expensive gear to take great footage. Being able to create great content is a mixture of a good story, creativity, understanding camera shooting settings, knowing when to use such settings, keeping a steady hand, and of course having some sort of eye for editing. All of these skills take hours of practice (especially having a steady hand, I have yet to master that) but practice does make perfect! Here is a list of gear and accessories that we use on a daily basis to create content for our vlogging series Tula’s Endless Summer.
About 90% of all our footage is filmed straight off one of our phones. This is great because we always have them handy, they are small, and they take great video and pictures. Billy has been using the iphone 6S and I have been using the 7. However, Billy just did a big upgrade to the 8 plus and the camera on that is amazing. Our phones are always in a shock resistant case paired with a screen protector to try to avoid any damage. The majority of time that we are filming the phone is attached to a Joby tripod. This tripod also has flexible arms that are good for attaching to many awkward surfaces. We recently added popsockets to the back of our phone case. This helps us have a better grip on the phone while avoiding blocking the microphone.
We have a variety of GoPro models. Our most used Gopro is the 4 but we also have a 3+ and a 3 white edition that we use if we are both filming or if we are trying to get a few different angles at the same time. The GoPros are great because they are waterproof and we love how you can take videos and pictures at the same time. They also make mounts for literally everything so placement is always easy. Some of our most used accessories include a hand-made (out of a carbon paddle shaft) extension stick, a dome for over under shots, surfboard mounts, chest mount, dog mount, flat and curved adhesive mounts, and the suction cup.
We use the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. We got it off Amazon with a case and a few extra accessories for under $600. We figured we had never flown a drone before and the majority of it’s flight time was going to be around and over the water. We would rather watch $600 sink than $1200 (the cost of a more high tech drone) if something went wrong. We have been more than happy with the phantom 3, literally one of the best purchases we have made. It is easy to control, takes great videos, super clear pictures, and is relatively durable (it is a great tree trimmer as well). If we were to ever upgrade we would consider the DJI Mavick pro. It can fit in a backpack, and all of the camera specs are higher rated but as of now the Phantom 3 surpasses our needs.
While our primary goal is videos for you guys I absolutely love to take pictures. There is just something about a still shot that can perfectly describe an adventure without all the distractions of different actions in a video. I use the Sony Alpha 6000, It is small enough to fit in a pocket but also has the option to change lenses. It can also take 11 frames per second which is awesome for taking pictures of action sports such as kiteboarding and surfing.
All of these different devices help us put together the movies you guys watch on a weekly basis. After all the footage is downloaded from the different devices to the computer we use IMovie to edit them all together into one video. The editing software is almost as important as the device. We have tried other software and have concluded IMovie is the best bang for your buck. Free (for newer macs, if your Mac is older it only cost $14.99), super simple, intuitive, and has an array of effects.