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Episode 4 | Miami

When Chris got the chance to speak at Gary Vee's Agent 2021 event in Miami, we wanted to make the most of the opportunity. We recorded our private session with Gary, a panel on video marketing, and our private mastermind with our Curaytor clients. Now we're sharing it with you.

By far, the biggest takeaway of the entire event was "You are a media company." It's never been easier to create video content, but a lot of people are still afraid to get in the game.

So we asked Jan, our videographer, to put together his list of equipment for creating video for Curaytor. 

It's not as hard as you think...

Without fail, whenever I film Chris and Curaytor events, people ask what gear I’m using. There’s a perception that gear maketh the videographer. This is a fashion-oriented way of looking at things. Is that suit bespoke or Brooks Brothers? Is that shirt tailored or off-the-rack? There’s a feeling that because you don’t have The Gear That Curaytor Uses, you can’t make your own videos.

This is an excuse.

Listen, I love Christopher Nolan’s movies. I’m constantly inspired by his work. Christopher Nolan likes to shoot on IMAX cameras, of which there are only 26 in the world. They cost $12,000-$16,000 a week to rent. That will never fit my budget.

You probably have better gear in your pocket than Christopher Nolan had when he made his first movie. So chances are, you already have the minimum of what you need to get started. You can use your phone as a camera, or as an audio recorder, or both. I’ve met people who use GoPros for everything because they’re tiny and easy to use. Whatever works.

So if you’re ready to start creating video content, here are the fundamentals of what I’m using now:

What's in your pocket?

The Pixel 2. Half of Curaytor’s marketing team uses this phone. It takes incredible pictures and has fantastic stabilization for video. Google allows you to backup all your photos and videos at full resolution online for free using Google Photos.

Google Photos: When we were at Agent 2021, Annette (Curaytor's resident social media rock star) and I created a shared Google Photos album so we could both have access to all the great (and not great!) pics we were taking. 

Pro Tip: You don't have to have a Google phone to use Google Photos. Highly recommend using it with your iPhone, Samsung, or whatever other phone you use.

What's your camera setup?

The Sony a6300. This camera shoots 4K for under $1000. It’s a mirrorless camera, which translates to a much lower weight and size compared to DSLRs. It shoots well in low light and has great autofocus. 

If your budget allows, get its newer brother, the a6500. It works with the same lenses but has better stabilization and a touchscreen.

For lenses, I always carry a Sony 35mm f/1.8 and 55mm-210mm f4.5-6.3. The 35mm makes closeups and B-roll look suuuper nice and, for this camera, most closely replicates the human eye in terms of perspective. The 55mm-210mm is on my camera 80% of the time. It allows me to zoom in when Chris is far away and/or talking to people. Neither of these are the best lenses in the universe. Nobody cares.

Other lenses I use situationally:

  • Sony 10-18mm for wide angle shots (good to show large scale things like stadiums or houses)
  • Sony 50mm f1.8 for an even more intimate portrait/closeup look than the 35mm

I also have a ton of 64gb SDXC (90mb/s for 4k) cards and 4+ spare batteries

Pro Tip: Label/number your SD cards and batteries. I do this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (etc). I start with 1. Once that SD card is full/battery is empty, I go on to 2. This seems obvious, but it saves me a lot of brainpower while I’m on the run trying to record whatever nuggets Chris is sharing.

This Ranger tripod is lightweight, easy to carry and quick to set up. Plus, it can be converted into a monopod, which is very useful if you don’t have a lot of time to setup your shots.

What about audio?

The Zoom H1 plus a Sony Lapel Mic with a 16gb microSD card is small, lightweight, and easy to use. Chris has one of his own and knows how to set it up himself. They’re not fancy or flashy, but they’re time-tested (have been out since 2010) and work about a bajillion times better than camera or phone mics. This will up the production value of your work more than you believe. 

Here’s a 3-minute tutorial video on how to make it easy to sync your video and audio.

I also rock the Rode Pro on top of my camera to catch whoever isn’t mic’d or if other mics fail.

How about editing?

We use the Adobe Creative Cloud at Curaytor. It works on both Apple and PC devices, which improves collaboration and compatibility. Final Cut Pro X is also a good option if you’re on Apple devices, as it’s very well-optimized and works like a beefed-up version of iMovie. It really doesn't matter what you use as long as it works for you.

I’ve got a laptop for editing on-the-go and a more powerful PC at home for editing. I could do it all on my laptop if I wanted.

Finally, don’t be afraid of buying used or "open box”/Amazon Warehouse items. It’s an easy way to save big chunks of change and possibly get better gear than you’re budgeted for. Nobody will know somebody owned your lens before you used it.

Even though Curayted: Miami is my favorite episode of the series yet, I still wish I had done some things differently, gotten more shots, had a better camera, etc. But that didn't stop us from making the episode and sharing it with you. If you wait for every single variable to go right, you'll never get anything done. As Lindsay Blum says in the episode, “perfection is poison.”

Show us what you’ve got.

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