At we PEG, we do video shoots. A lot. Like, sometimes 3-5 per week a lot. And often times, due to the nature of our clients, these shoots can be incredibly diverse. We’ve had weeks were we do a corporate interview shoot, a drone-based shoot and a run-and-gun sports shoot back-to-back-to-back. With this experience in mind, we know that it’s not always $5,000+ lenses that make a difference on a shoot, it’s the little things too. In this series, we explore the smaller items that make a big difference on shoots.
Shoot Position: Lenses
Dust Removal Tool
What we use: Giottos Rocket Blaster
This is an item that I, personally, didn’t think we needed for a long time. When we first started to pick up nice glass, we stuck to lens wipes and cleaning solution. And don’t get me wrong, those work, but here’s the hidden secret about lenses: The best way to not scratch a lens, is to not touch it. That the beauty of this tool. Especially if you primarily do indoor shoots, you can roll for quite a while with just using a blower to keep a lens clean instead of a cloth and solution.
What we use: Tiffen UV Proector Filters
You know those people that won’t touch their new phone until it has a screen protector on it? That’s what you should be doing with your lenses. So, what are these? Pretty simple, it’s a clear piece of glass that threads onto a lens and offers a nice cheap surface to scratch and replace, before something hits the actual expensive front part of your lens. A rock chips your filter? No problem, for $15 the problem is fixed. Compare that to shipping out your lens for repair, and it’s a no-brainer.
Worth mentioning: The disadvantage is that lenses take longer to clean. Yes, dust will slip around them. Yes, you will need to take them completely off every once in a while to maintenance them. But, again, $15 vs. $200+. Also, if your lens has no threads (I’m looking at you, Zeiss CP.2s) these will need added via matte box.
What we use: PortaBrace VV
For those reading every one of these, you may think, wait, wasn’t this in the Grip post? Yes, it was, but it’s just as important for lenses. One of the things we get tasked with quite often at PEG is run-and-gun shoots, meaning basically we start the shoot by dumping gear into a room, then loading up what we need into our vests, and then we leave it for 5+ hours and work with only the equipment we can carry on our shoulders. Now, with that in mind, think about the moment right before you run out onto a NBA court, looking at your grip, and asking them to switch you from a telephoto lens you were using for gameplay coverage to a medium lens to cover a promotion. The first thing they’re going to do it put a lens cap onto your existing lenses, then pull the lens off, and cap the other side. Then the new lens goes on, lens caps go into vest pockets, and away you go. Easy right? Yeah, until you and your grip don’t have extra pockets and you realize that lens cap is back with the gear bags, and now you’ve got a grip who’s either sprinting back to a room or holding a lens like a precious gem trying not to damage the glass elements. Take the easier way, get some more pockets.