Disclaimer: this excludes parts, replacements, and other necessary components in order to fulfill work.
We have a running joke with production crews about how much we can ring up a bill for each other just by showing off and talking about our newest gadgets. This bill often gets pretty high. Our highest to date is over $6000. That particular case took us a week of showing off random rigs, monitors, and cameras. It is pretty fun.
This does bring up a point within the production world that is heavily bombarded by new gear coming out on a monthly basis. New cameras, drones, rigs, etc. It is a never ending barrage of higher frame rates, resolution and compact solutions. There has to be a point where the tools become more useful than the skills themselves. Right?
Recently I did a shoot almost fully with the Osmo Pro. This long discontinued unit topped with the X5 camera is pretty great but often looked over as a valuable tool for a compact, professional gimbal solution.
I use a set of Olympus primes, Polar Pro Filters, the Focus1 accessory, and a DJI Crystalsky Monitor. The unit is handheld, rugged, and creates a great image. Sure, the audio sucks, but being a little creative you can sort that out when you need to. I will get to the audio later.
This unit does have it limitations but I do find I can make it work really well in the field especially when I have to be very mobile, I am travelling, and need to work without a tripod or bigger gimbal.
Why do I bring this up?
My point is: since this unit has been discontinued there have been lots of great things that have been released and many reasons to buy new products. However, more and more I am finding my way with this little (old) unit and the footage quality is still very relevant for what is needed in all of my deliveries. Therefore, why the urge to replace it? I also continually refine my technique with this little fella and improve my shooting along the way.
Often video professionals are thinking about what piece of gear is going to make them better. Instead I suggest, education and work itself is what makes you better. I have always tried to work by the idea that gear makes you more efficient and if you are more efficient in the field you will shoot better. Efficiency is a the model of what allows you to take the time to plan shots and execute.
This idea took me a while to figure out and of course, it did cost me some money and some shoots. I have a few pieces of gear that I have barely used and sits on a shelf and I can recall many times showing up to an easy shoot with way too much gear and ultimately using a fraction of it. However, now with a little research and trial and error I find I sit in a place where I find my gear set up works pretty well. This allows me to keep developing skills with the existing gear that I own and love vs always learning new things about new gear.
Now, some might say I have a lot of gear. But I would argue that in accordance to my business, there is very little that actually sits on the shelf too long these days.
A little more on the Osmo Pro:
It was clear that DJI really took time in putting this unit together. The problem is I think they were working towards too small of a market and therefore it was discontinued. Even parts and cables are next to impossible to get. This is a shame because anyone who uses it agrees that it is a powerful little unit. Especially if you kit it out with some nice lenses, accessories, and a little creativity.
But the audio……why such an oversight. I feel that a simple option would be just to have added one more mount. That would have solved this whole issue. If you could add one more mount you would be able to mount a third party mic and bypass the whole issue. This is what I did. And while it made the unit a little more robust, it is now a pretty effective machine.
The Osmo represents a decision I came to last October. I have decided to see how long I can go working with the present kit I have. In that time we have done a lot of shooting. It has been great. I have done a lot of shooting on the first generation A7S, early versions of the Ronin, and the trusty Osmo Pro. All these pieces of gear are still great despite the numerous new versions that have been released and the looks of surprise I get when I say I still use it.
The truth is: I am always getting better as a shooter and always have room for improvement. This isn’t solved by opening a new box of gear. It is solved by knowing my gear and getting out there and using it.
I also make more money and keep more money that allows us to develop new projects and take some chances with others. I am not constantly scouring B&H for the new set up. I actually feel like I am there for the time being. Let’s see how long I can make this last.
For now, it feels nice not to be chasing the carrot.