When I was creating the treatment for Origins in late summer of 2019 I had a distinct vision for how the show would look. I wanted to make sure we had beautiful cinematography to show the audience that this was more than just a regular YouTube video but at the same time it had to still feel like it was a video that belonged on the platform. Origins is also distributed on Red Bull TV and Facebook but is first and foremost a YouTube explainer series, with candid and real moments from our characters. The way I host the show is taken directly from how I present my own YouTube videos. Very chilled "vlog style" talking directly to the camera with a wide-angle lens, not worrying too much about my surroundings but focusing more on the story I'm telling which I feel gives the sense of closeness like, I'm just having a conversation with a friend.
I always believe the story is more important than the gear you use. So many people ask me "what camera do I need to start making videos?" I always say "just use the one that is available to you, that is good enough, don't let expensive gear hold you back from telling that story." For most people, the one available is the one we have in our pocket. If all you have on you is your phone to capture the celebrational moment a freeskier lands the best trick of his carrier then that's good enough. The majority of the most viral videos of our time were not captured on big cinema cameras. Phones and smaller handheld cameras feel less intrusive and help capture those real moments.
So with all this being said, that meant we had to have equipment that could produce 4K professional quality results but to remember we were not making a feature film. I don't want to be carrying RED camera's up to the arctic circle and spending precious time setting up the camera and lighting for it to look like a standard run of the mill TV doc and miss capturing that landscape, trick or piece of dialogue that inspired you to turn on the camera. Because in this format those moments can vanish as quickly as they appear.
There is two of us that shoot Origins Fraser James our DOP and myself I want us to be able to travel lightly, everything must fit into our rucksacks and we must be ready to just start recording at a moments notice. So I have made this page to share with you the equipment we are currently using to shoot Origins. It's a mixture of professional and prosumer products with affiliate links attached to most of the products if you are interested in adding any of these items to your filmmaking arsenal. I'm also always happy to discuss my experience with each item in more depth on Instagram or Twitter.
I'm a huge fan of the Sony Alpha Mirrorless line, these cameras produce incredibly 4K footage and are extremely light to carry. My main set up when we film is the Sony A7SIII with the 24-70 f2.8 G Master on a Joby 3K Pro Gorillapod and a Rode Video Mic Pro Plus shotgun mic. Fraser uses a similar setup but with the DJI Ronin-S.
In some situations, we do have the luxury of time to set up scenes for Interviews and in those cases, we loved using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras. The Canon 1DX Mark II is our go-to for photos and underwater action sequences. I also personally capturing additional B-Roll for Fraser using the DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone and the handy little DJI OSMO Pocket. I can shoot the great hyper-lapses with this little camera. I think it's highly underrated.
Here is the full list of equipment we use whilst shooting Origins:
(I will try to update this as frequently as possible as the show developed and we update our kit).