Mirrorless cameras may have revolutionised the lives of many independent filmmakers with their small sizes, large sensors and affordability, but this shrunken form factor means the screens are small and often difficult to see. They often also lack pro-style monitoring tools, such as waveforms, there are sometimes time limits as to how long you can record for and the footage is sometimes heavily compressed to squeeze it onto SD cards.
Professional filmmakers will know all about the advantages of solid state SSD drives over hard disc HDD drives, which roughly translate into greater speed and better resilience – the latter of which is crucial if you’re travelling on location and want the greatest possible safeguard against loss of data.
Anyone who has ever used a laptop fitted with an SSD drive instead of an old-school spinning, mechanical hard drive will no doubt have been impressed with its speed to not only boot up the machine in record time, but also read and write data. If you are trying to edit 4K on a laptop, it’s pretty much the only way that you can do it.
Sigma’s Art lenses not only set the stills photo world alight but have been a big hit with filmmakers using them on DSLR and mirrorless cameras. It was no surprise Sigma rehoused them in cinema-style metal bodies with geared manual focusing as real cine lenses, and they have been getting rave reviews. But the price is high.
If you are shooting multi-camera films, or recording audio separately to get away from the poor audio on your mirrorless or DSLR, making footage and sound sync together is vital. Years ago, independent filmmakers used software like PluralEyes, and now Apple’s Final Cut Pro X and Adobe’s Premiere Pro do a decent job.
If you want to fit the larger, professional filters to your DSLR or cinema camera, then nothing can beat the flexibility of a purpose-made matte box. And it’s the only way of fitting the 2mm-plus standard broadcast filters, which are too fat for most stills photo-style filter holders.
Loads of filmmakers use plug-in flash drives to transfer images or video data around, but they are often painfully slow. The new SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 is up to 15 times faster than with standard USB 2.0 drives, and is so tiny you can leave it plugged into your laptop at all times to use as an external, mini hard drive.
Files transfer at up to 130MB/s read speed and you can move around 1GB of data in about 20 seconds. It’s not as fast as a full-size SSD, which transferred the same data in around four seconds, but it’s lots quicker than a normal memory stick.
It comes with encryption software so you can password-protect your files, has RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software and is backward-compatible, so you can plug it into any USB 3.0 or 2.0 port.
Verdict: It’s tiny, fast, inexpensive and works well. Just don’t lose it as it’s so small!