For our series What’s in Your Kit, we ask a range of working cinematographers to share the gear they can’t live without.
Director-cinematographer Nathan Golon has focused his attention primarily on documentaries, including the ESPN 30 for 30 doc I Am Yup’ik (which he co-directed with Daniele Anastasion). He has also shot projects like Misconception and TV’s Borderland. Golon reveals his kit essentials and fills us in on what gear he’d love to have.
1. Under Armour sneakers and shorts, $150
It’s not always possible to exercise on the road, but I always feel much better when I do. While filming in rural Alaska for I Am Yup’ik, I passed a few evenings playing pick-up basketball with the film’s subjects and was glad I had packed some sneakers along with my snow gear.
2. Canon CN-E 35mm Cine Prime Lens, $4,000
I shoot a lot of run-and-gun documentary content with Canon IS zoom lenses, but the cine primes are my go-to for beauty shots.
3. Canon C300 Mark II, $16,000
Perfect for doc shooting. Small, lightweight, easy to operate and dependable. The sensor is capable of producing beautiful images.
4. SmallHD EVF-502 with Monitor, $1,500
Oftentimes I’ll remove the XLR component on the C300 and replace it with a ball head mount and this EVF which provides steadiness from a third point of contact (my eye), and makes focusing much easier.
5. Manfrotto 492 Ball Head, $60
Strong, durable ball heads can be hard to find, but this one does the trick.
6. Pearstone SDI Video Cable, $7
HDMI cables constantly come loose or lose signal so I prefer to travel with a few of these.
7. Canon EF-S 17-55mm lens, $880
This lens doesn’t get as much love as some of Canon’s other zoom lenses, but it’s a great wide zoom for documentary. The 2.8 aperture, image stabilization and ability to zoom out to 17mm makes a big difference.
8. Gaffer tape, $6
Essential. So many reasons to have this stuff around at all times.
9. Notebook, $4
Aside from recording info that I’ll need for a shoot, I like to have one of these around to make notes about other potential stories that may cross my path while traveling.
10.Canon 70-200 mm IS lens, $1,950
Along with the 17-55, this lens goes on every shoot.
11. Canon AE-1 35mm SLR, $120
It’s a bit of an indulgence, but definitely beats taking stills on my iPhone. Great way to remember shoots.
12. Cartier-Bresson paperback book, $15
I’m a photo book junkie and ones like this are small enough to tuck in my bag for travel.
13. Emergen-C, $6
Keeps the sniffles away, I think.
14. Fragile Stickers, $1
I put these all over my gear when I travel. Not convinced the baggage handlers care, but at least I know I tried!
15. International adapter, $12
It should be easy to find adapters when you travel, but it isn’t always that way.
16. Klipsch Headphones, $170
Good headphones are a must for long trips.
17. Seagate 1TB Portable Drive, $60
I load up a portable drive with movies before every big trip.
18. Leatherman multitool, $40
Same story as the gaff tape: essential.
19. Hot Hands hand warmers, $4
Shooting in Alaska would have been very unpleasant without these.
20. Energizer Folding Lantern, $24
So helpful. I have even used it to help add a little light to a scene.
Gear I’d love to have:
Canon 17-120 Cine Zoom.