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

Cinematographer Nadia Hallgren’s filmography includes the Academy Award-nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning Trouble the Water, Trapped, War Don Don and CNN’s Girl Rising. She’s also been involved with such documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11, Searching for Sugarman, The Hunting Ground, Suited and Hamilton’s America.

Her latest outing as DP, the Sundance Film Festival-premiering Motherland (directed by Ramona S. Diaz), flexes her vérité chops, situating viewers in the thick of the action and emotion that permeates the world’s busiest maternity hospital, located in the Philippines. Balancing the locale’s cultivated sense of community with the individual plights of women who’ve revisited the building for each new period of childbirth, the film explores an array of issues surrounding women’s health, and reproductive rights in a country all-too deprived of them.

Here, Hallgren reveals what’s in her kit.

The Kit


1. Canon C300 $7,000

2. Sony Alphatron Monitor $800

3. Op/Tech USA strap $20

I can’t function if I don’t have a strap on my camera, it helps me leverage the weight and stay steady. Also useful when carrying gear, you can sling the camera on your shoulders and have a free hand for other things or rest your wrists if standing around.

4. Canon lenses 24-105 ($650), Canon 70-200 2.8 ($1,000), Canon 16-35 ($1,400), Sigma 50mm 1.4 art lens ($950)

My go-to lenses for doc vérité.

5. Polaroid of my bulldog when he was a little puppy

I’m always on the road, he’s definitely the thing I miss most.

6. Advil-Liqui Gels and Dramamine

These guys can solve a lot of problem in the field. Pain and nausea are always a high possibility when filming documentaries.

7. See Concept Glasses $50

These frames are cheap but still look cool and I’m constantly losing my glasses so I keep extra pairs in different bags.

8. Clif Bar, Sharpie, ear plugs, lip balm, a few quarters

Basic stuff you always find yourself needing. MM

Motherland is currently playing at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. For more cinematographers sharing their annotated kits, click here.