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2 Dream Gear Loadouts for Documentary Filmmaking

Johnathan Paul

You’re a documentary filmmaker and you’ve just been handed a blank check. What kind of gear loadout should you put together? Here are a couple of options.

Top image via Shoot on Dragon

Because of the rise of digital technology, documentary filmmakers have access to higher-end equipment like never before. We’ve already covered one-man-band documentary loadouts — but what about dream gear loadouts for hybrid and traditional documentaries? Let’s take a look at two options.


Dream Gear Loadout: Hybrid Documentaries

2 Dream Load Outs for Documentary Film - RED EPIC Loadout
Image via REDUser

This loadout is geared toward hybrid documentary productions like America: The Story of Us, Making a Murder, The Visit: An Alien Encounter, and The Imposter. We’ll start with the base camera and add accessories from there. Remember: We’re throwing budgetary concerns to the wind and looking for the best available options.

EPIC-M DRAGON MONOCHROME CANON PACKAGE: $35,950

EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO START FILMING:

  • REDMAG 1.8″ SSD (x4): $495 ea.
  • RED Station REDMAG: $250
  • 7” RED Touch LCD: $2,950
  • DSMC2 RED EVF w/ Mount: $4,150
  • VF Cables (x2): $220 ea.
  • RED Quick Release Platform: $600 
  • RED V-Lock Module: $595
  • IDX Endura Elite: $572
  • IDX VL-2Plus Charger: $299
  • Miller Compass 12 Solo Tripod: $2,332
  • Zacuto Cine EVF Recoil: $1,200
  • ARRI Matte Box: $2700
  • Zeiss CP.2 Prime Lens Kit: $10,775
  • Zeiss CZ.2 28-80 Zoom Lens: $19,900
  • Zeiss CZ.2 70-200 Zoom Lens: $19,900

TOTAL COST: $100,000+

Video via Lars Brask Frederiksen


Dream Gear Loadout: Traditional Documentaries

2 Dream Load Outs for Documentary Film - Canon C300 Mark II
Image via B&H

This traditional documentary dream gear loadout is going to be considerably less expensive than the hybrid version. We’re loosely basing this loadout on the gear used by cinematographer Nick Higgins to film the documentary mini-series, O.J.: Made in America. You can read more about the production in this interview with HD Video Pro.

Canon C300 Mark II (Body): $15,999 

EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO START FILMING:

  • SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Memory Card (x2): $369 ea.
  • SanDisk CFast Extreme Pro: $50
  • Zacuto Gratical Eye: $1950
  • SmallHD LED Kit: $1399
  • Redrock Micro Rig: $550
  • ARRI Matte Box: $2700
  • Miller Compass 12 Solo Tripod: $2,332
  • IDX Endura Elite: $572 ea.
  • IDX VL-2Plus Charger: $299
  • Canon CN-E 50mm T1.3: $4,650
  • Zeiss 35mm CP.2 Prime: $3,990
  • Zeiss 85mm CP.2 Prime: $3,990
  • Canon 28-300 F2.8: $2,450

TOTAL COST: $41,000

Video via John Marcus

You’ve read our suggestions. What kind of dream gear loadout would YOU put together? Let us know in the comments below.