The video gear you use is just as important as the talent behind it

    While it’s important to have a great, talented crew behind the camera, you also need to have the right tools for the job.

    Tyler Stableford is a director and photographer based in Colorado where he shoots for a variety of clients and projects. He got started in the video profession after working as a photojournalist. While he started out writing and taking photos for rock climbing magazines, he now shoots everything from short films to documentaries to commercials to print campaigns. He didn’t start in video, but he has developed a passion for it. 

    How did Tyler Stableford break into the video profession?

    Even while working as a photojournalist, Stableford was drawn to filmmaking and cinematography. He sees capturing video as a way of using light to evoke an emotion and create a storytelling moment. 

    “What I think I love most about capturing light for a living is really the emotions we can sculpt from it,” says Stableford, “And for me the light and shadow that comes through the lens are just a way of connecting closer to the human heart, closer to the human experience.”

    What drives Stableford forward and keeps his passion for video burning is the human experience he captures with his lens. “Every single person that’s in front of my camera has a powerful story,” he says. 

    For Stableford, the work he does is both challenging and fluid. For every job — every shoot — he has to find the best way to direct all of the emotion of the scene through his lens and through his camera’s sensor to be saved to his media card.

    What gear does Stableford shoot with?

    Recently, Stableford started working with a Canon C500 Mark II and the 1DX Mark III. Right now, both cameras have a home in his kit. One of the major blessings Stableford has found with both Canon cameras is their compatibility with SanDisk CFexpress cards.

    “What’s huge about this is that for the first time ever, we can record [Canon] RAW Light files, 12-bit, directly onto the camera onto the CFexpress cards and we’re shooting with over 15 stops of latitude,” says Stableford.

    Using the right tools really does matter

    Stableford and those like him have to be very spry in their line of work. The tools they use have to keep up with them, no matter the challenge. While it’s true that it is important to develop your skills as a cinematographer, it is essential you use the right tools for the work you are doing. For Stableford, that means using fast cameras, fast media, fast drives and fast computers.

    There are a lot of choices out there. Stableford, however, knows what he likes and what gear he can rely on to complete his work. For the time he’s been using the Canon C500 Mark II and the 1DX Mark III, he’s found that he’s been able to focus less on his gear and more on creating. One of the driving factors for Stableford is his recording media: Sandisk CFexpress cards.

    “I have a choice [with] the media I use. I’ve been using SanDisk exclusively for about 10 years now. It’s cutting edge in terms of its technology, in terms of the read and the write speeds,” Stableford says. “And, equally importantly, in its reliability and its dependability.”

    Yes, it’s important to have the skill to capture the emotion and storytelling moments. However, the gear you use needs to be both nimble enough and powerful enough to keep up with what filmmakers, directors, and photographers are asking them to do. 

    The epitome of a great piece of equipment is one that you can both rely on and forget about while in the middle of a shoot. You want to be focused on capturing the light and emotion of the moment, not on your gear’s performance.

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