Crazy title right? I know. Sounds so serious and so permanent. Don’t fear, this post isn’t serious, I just want to talk about making long term decisions related to a video production career. Especially related to equipment.
I was looking back at some of my original posts and gear reviews and could not help but laugh. My original blog was “On the Road to Being a DP.” Then, after operating a camera I thought I became a DP and completely changed my blog and advertised myself as a DP. Four year laters I am happy to say I am still on that original road. I have met without question the best, worst, craziest, serious, funniest, and passionate people I could ever imagine. I would have never guessed that a $1700 camera could have taken me to so many places and introduced me to so many people.
Got charged by an 800 elk in Colorado, hung out in Jimmy Eat World’s private studio in Phoenix, got on the ice with Alex Ovechkin (along with others), hung out with Adam Richman at a bar, interviewed countless congressmen/women and senators, shot a famous NY photographer, shot steadicam in the CIA, shot countless weddings, got on a clothing line, almost got beat up in an MMA shoot, helped the Salvation Army raise over $65,000, got hoisted in a sketchy lift for a construction video, got sick in Minnesota due to concrete polishing, and (what this post is all about) found a company I can trust for the best quality gear for the best price.
Before I get into this people may think I am getting paid to write this or I get something from it. The answer is no. I just want to give out advice that I wish I had when I first started. With that said, lets do this.
Ikan (didn’t want to you to keep guessing). I’ve gone through a lot of manufactures. Mostly, because money was such an issue. Post college, freelance jobs range from $0 – $500. Maybe more but non-the-less, when you already spent all your money on a DSLR and a lens, it is very hard to spend money on more gear. I went for the cheapest gear available and within a few months I regretted it. Once you break through a few random jobs and start shooting on monthly, weekly or even daily, you will want durable parts from a company that has great customer service.
I got into Ikan a few years back with their lights and accessories.I loved the prices and all the reviews were positive. Being the “confident” young man I was, I suggested that Ikan should offer custom light kits with more options and guess what? They listened! They sent me what I suggested and was able to test out in various situations. At a previous GVExpo I met two reps and fell in love with the baseplate. It was exactly what I was missing from my rig. From there I began to complete all my video rig needs with Ikan products and they have yet to fail me. Lights, mounts, monitors, rigs, teleprompters and anything else I need. I know it sounds like I am just selling this brand, but please know: I have put this gear, along with other brands, through more than I thought possible. Ikan has always lasted. Never broke nor failed on set and if I had any questions I got an immediate response. Their products are mostly geared towards lightweight cameras, especially DSLRs. I have used their large baseplate and teleprompter set up on the EX3 and worked great. The small baseplate was a perfect fit for the FS700 along with their handheld rig.
If you are new to the field, or a successful production company, Ikan is where you want to get the gear. Plain and simple, it gets you the shots, gets the job done and lasts. If you aren’t sure if certain things will work with your camera, call them. They know the gear and love talking about it. Check out all they have to offer and feel free to ask me about any product on their site. If I have any experience with that specific piece, I promise to give you my honest opinion.