For our series What’s in Your Kit, we ask a range of working cinematographers to share the gear they can’t live without.
Bob Richman has two feature documentaries playing at Sundance 2016: He 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. He also shot Jason Benjamin’s Suited, about the Brooklyn-based tailoring company Bindle & Keep, which caters to a diverse clientele across the LGBT spectrum.
Here, Richman reveals what’s in his kit.
In the past few years, I’ve shot a Cadillac campaign, the documentary TV crime series The System, the documentary feature films Whitey: United States V. James J. Bulger and My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes, and more recently, Suited and Resilience, both of which will be premiering this year at the Sundance Film Festival.
Few people, besides camera operators, understand how the design of a camera affects shooting style and how that style affects the actual structure of a film. This is especially true of vérité documentaries, where the shooting is predominately handheld, single-camera and shot in real time. The scenes have to be cut to stand on their own without narration or voiceover to explain what’s happening.
1. Canon EOS Cinema C300
When the Canon EOS 5DS came out, they became very popular because of the shallow depth of field and beautiful image that its sensor provided. I resisted them because they didn’t work well for my style of shooting. But I did love the image. So when Canon released the C300, I decided to try it.
The C300 still had ergonomical problems for vérité shooting: It was not designed to sit on the shoulder, and had misplaced buttons and lens choices. But third-party manufacturers, like Zacuto, started coming out with products to help adapt the C300 for handheld shooting.
2. Zacuto Zgrip Relocator for Canon Cinema EOS C300
The most important item for me and the one I cannot do without. This allows you to mount the C300 trigger handle on 15mm rods. I remember showing up on the concert film Made in America with it, and was the envy of the dozen other cameramen who were shooting with the C300. It’s now pretty much standard equipment.
3. Zacuto VCT Universal Baseplate
4. Zacuto Z-Rail Slide Mount
5. Anton/Bauer QRC-CA940 Gold Mount Battery Plate
6. Anton/Bauer MATRIX Cheese Plate
The combination of the Zacuto VCT universal baseplate, the Zacuto Z-rail and Z-rail slide mount and the cheese plate with the gold mount allows me to position the camera and LCD monitor so that they balance well on my shoulder without being front- or back-heavy. The Anton/Bauer gold mount and cheese plate also allow me to add an Anton/Bauer battery for extra weight, and they are also great places to mount a wireless receiver.
7. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens
8. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
9. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
10. Zacuto C300/C500 Helmet and Tap Handle
11. Zacuto 5″ Z-Rail
Gear I’d Love to Have:
My next purchase is one I’ve actually recently made: a Canon CN7x17 KAS S Cine Servo 17-120mm T2.95 lens, which is a true cine lens, holds focus through the zoom and gives me a much better range then the lenses in my kit that are really designed for still cameras. MM
For more cinematographers sharing their annotated kits, click here.