What’s in Your Kit?, Sundance Edition: Cinematographer John Behrens (Resilience)

For our series What’s in Your Kit, we ask a range of working cinematographers to share the gear they can’t live without.

John Behrens is one of 16 cinematographers who worked on Resilience, Jamie Redford’s documentary about toxic stress syndrome and its ravaging effects on children, as well as efforts in science and therapy to halt it.

Here, Behrens reveals what’s in his kit.

Cinematographer John Behrens

Cinematographer John Behrens

The Kit

1. Zeiss ZF 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar EF Mount Lens

When I’m using Canon EF glass, this is a good common focal length. It’s sharp and the macro comes in handy. I use it for medium shots in interviews.

2. Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 EF Mount Lens

Great for a close-up or portrait, and great in low light.

3. Leica Summicron 24mm f/2.8 EF Mount Lens

I just love this lens. I use it all the time on B-cam.

4. Sony α7S II

It’s a great little B-camera. Sometimes I use it on a Freefly MōVI gimbal. It’s wonderful in super low light, hard to beat with 3200 ASA, and shoots S-Log3, so it matched my A-cam (often an Alexa or Sony F5).

5. TVLogic VFM-056WP 5.6” LCD Monitor with Waveform

It’s good to operate off of a monitor so that the director can see, too. This one’s sharp enough to focus from and the waveform lets me see what I need for lighting and exposure.

6. Chrosziel Mini Follow Focus

This lightweight follow focus doesn’t fit the larger-barreled lenses, but I love to go compact when we’re moving fast and I’m pulling my own focus.

7. Single AA LED Flashlight

This needs to be small and bright, and capable of running on one AA that I get from the sound guy. I always have it with me, even when I’m not working.

8. Mini Cardellini Clamp with 3/8” Pin and Bogen Micro Ball Head

I’ve used these clamps on every film I’ve worked on for the last 15 years: rigging a time-lapse camera, a monitor, a GoPro.

9. Bag of PG Tips Tea Bags

One ritual I have is a nice cup or two of tea to get the morning started. Sometimes I’ll have tea after lunch, too. I carry this because often, all anyone has is Lipton.

10. Vocas Wooden Handgrip with Start/Stop Switch and Extensions

For hand-holding a bigger camera, this is a must. I don’t have to take my hand off the grip to roll and it’s comfy for long takes.

11. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Great utility lens for vérité on small cameras, director’s finders, scouting and time-lapse.

12. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

I have it on every shoot. I’ve even shot a few lower-budget films with a couple of these.

13. Philips 9W 5600K Daylight Balance LED Light Bulb

Sometimes the practical light in the shot is just too warm in a daylight scene. I might also use this for a bit of fill. For $9, you can’t go wrong. I often give them away to locations. MM

This article appears in MovieMaker‘s Winter 2016 issue. For more cinematographers sharing their annotated kits, click here.

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