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Shane’s Gear Bag

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

Shane Hurlbut, ASC Gear Bag

I have been asked by many of our readers to share details regarding my personal Gear Bag. I use a vast array of tools to be able to tell all types of stories and wanted to break it down with detail. If I roll out with a Canon 5D MK III, then this is what I would use with it. If I am shooting with a C300, C500 or a 1DC, this is how I would accessorize it.

Pulling from years of experience and extensive lens, camera and rig testing, this should help you to avoid the land mines and make educated choices in building your personal kit. You will see price points that are vast, Mercedes vs. Ford style, but I wanted you to see that I have used both and these are the ones that I would recommend for a variety of budgets. I am also including pearls of wisdom with the plethora of lenses and cameras. I have learned so much on this journey. Here we GO!

Shane Hurlbut, ASC


Navigate my choice of cameras along with lens systems that can be paired with them.  Look to the blog for in depth tests and research that we have done over the years.

DSLR lenses


Still Glass
These lenses have been vetted and tested on my feature films and spot work. All the still lenses will again have internal links to the blog to educate you on in depth tests and research that we have done over the years.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC



35mm Sensor Size Pro Cameras
A professional 35mm sensor camera section highlights each of my cameras of choice and the projects for which I would use them. Pearls of wisdom along with camera, lens and gear specs are included to help make your choice easier on your custom kit.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC



These lenses are what lensed Need for Speed. All of these are new to the glass world and have been battle tested in extreme conditions on this DreamWorks feature film.

Monitors and EVFs

Shane Hurlbut, ASC


Once these became readily available, it changed the whole ergonomics of the Canon platform, making it look and feel like a 35mm motion picture camera.

SmallHD On-Board MonitorSmallHD On-Board Monitor



These are the monitors that I roll out with. I love the unique characteristics of each one and try to put them in that right place for success.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC


The lighting monitor section is set up to give you a price range to work with. All of these have worked on the feature films I have shot as well as my commercial and music video work.


Camera Support


This is probably one of the most essential pieces of rigging that you can buy to be able to build out and accessorize your camera. Viewfactor was the one who started this whole idea of surrounding the Canon 5D with the necessary aluminum frame that could support rigging and a base plate technology. After they paved the route, many others followed with their own version of the same idea. Here are my selects.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC


The rig systems in my gear bag have been battle tested on Act of Valor, Need for Speed and many commercials and music videos. They each have their unique abilities to assist you in your creative capture.


Manual Follow Focus
As essential as a cage is to your rigging support, the quality and smoothness of a good follow focus is paramount. We all know that focus is very challenging with this new digital sensor technology. The way a film camera would fall off is much different than how the 35mm sensor size chips fall off. Here are a group that I stand behind.

Remote Follow Focus Systems
Finding the right remote follow focus system can be daunting. I have selected a group that fits all price points. With the new form factor of these small, lightweight cameras, remote follow focus gives you that unique ability to move a camera in ways never imagined with 35mm film cameras. Without having an extra camera operator’s hand wrapped around the focus knob while you are framing your creation, it allows agility in movement.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC


Neutral Density
Filters intensify the cinematic quality of your HD image. Using Neutral Density filtration is the secret to a shallower depth of field and will give you that filmic look. I have found that Tiffen really has knocked these out of the park. They created really clean glass called Water White, which keeps your color space pure.

Diffusion Filtration
The other filtration methods that I use frequently are diffusion filters. These are very good for taking the HD edge off your footage. I love using different types for specific applications.

Polarizing Filtration
I find that I use these filters more and more with car commercials and on feature films where it is not so much about getting a bold blue polarized sky, but to cut through the reflections in windows so that you can see the actor in the car and vice versa. This is particularly useful when you have a stuntman in the car and you do not want to see him. You can use the polarizer to make the reflection more intense. I also use them to darken roads, intensify colors, especially greens. It dials the sky reflection out of the leaves and saturates them.



I wanted to add my go to motion makers that do not break the bank to my gear bag. With simple moves, can take your story that much higher. I have assembled a group of sliders, dollies, cranes, etc.

Gyro Stabilized Hand Held Systems
A whole new world of movement devices are upon us. The way that they move and feel will establish a whole new film language. They save time and increase set ups, help make impossible shots possible and expand your creativity with a device that breaks all film motion rules. Exciting times!

Great for moves that don’t require any operation. Lock the little head and crank the handle and BAM! You have cinematic motion added to your creation. I also use these for Over Keepers, which gives operators the ability to adjust without a dolly grip moving you when you are shooting a scene with over the shoulders.

Lightweight Cranes
When you are in a jam, this tool is critical. I take them on all of my feature films. When the director turns to me and makes a last minute request for a crane on a rooftop to be swung over the edge, this tool goes into action. The lightweight crane is carried up the stairs to the roof and can be built in 30 minutes.

Remote Heads
To give your crane and time-lapse shots movement that is cinematic, I love these remote heads.


Why has it taken me so long to do something like this? I have been very busy with both features and commercials. This is the first week that I have had the time to create this section with thoughtfulness. I didn’t want it to be rushed.

Thank you for all of your support and kind words. We have a variety of new and exciting ideas to roll out. This is just the beginning. Please give your feedback and any additional suggestions because we want to hear from you.

Click the link in the categories on this page and you are ready to go for a RIDE!!!!

Click here for: SHANE’S GEAR BAG

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Daniel February 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM

This is great! Ive been reading your tips since I first purchased my dslr years back. Also I read “They created really clean glass called Water White” as “Walter White”. Wrong type of glass, made me laugh lol.

Shane February 15, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Daniel, ha ha, I like that Glass, LOL

Laurence Zankowski February 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Wow! What a gift…

And I still keep going back to your Herb Ritts piece .

Thank you

Be well

Laurence Z.

Shane February 15, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Laurence Zankowski, You are very welcome, we thought it was a nice V-Day gift to all of you. Thank you for your support.

Name *Terry Valencia February 14, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Gracias! Shane, son de gran utilidad tus consejos.
Saludos desde COLOMBIA!

Shane February 15, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Name *Terry Valencia, you are very welcome. Greetings my friend

Kamil February 14, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Hello Shane! First of all many thanks for all the stuff that you give to the community. It really gives great insights into best of best in film.
I know you get those type of questions all the time, but maybe you find a bit of time (and patience 🙂 to answer it.
I have a great dilemma what to buy for initial budget of roughly 9k usd. How to split it to certain gear. At this moment my idea is this:
Camera: C100, 3 Samyang Cine prime lenses, F&V Led lighting, glidecam 4000 and other (smaller – cheaper) elements of equipment (like reflectors, bag for camera and lenses, sandbags etc.).
Is it a right equipment, or you would distribute it differently? (more on lenses, cheaper camera). Any sort of advice from you will be greatly appreciated 🙂 Many thanks!

Shane February 15, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Kamil, you are very welcome, yes I get this question a ton. I love the C100, I think it is better than the DSLR’s but you have to be careful with this camera, it is very video looking. You get the benefits of a camera that doesn’t have the quirks of a DSLR but an image that needs much care. I would buy old glass, like what is in the Gear Bag, Nikon AI or AI-S or Leica’s if you can find them cheap. All the other purchases look good.

Rudy Diaz February 14, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Thank you for this Valentine day gift …

Shane February 15, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Rudy Diaz, You are very welcome, it is our pleasure. This baby took my web team a good amount of time to design so that the navigation was quick and simple to use. I think they knocked it out of the park.

Zack Zook February 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Killer post. Sharing your findings and experiences have made the familiarization of the DSLR filmmaking platform a lot of fun for me, and have also infused me and therefor my upcoming first-ever feature cinema project with way more confidence and ambition than I thought possible. As an impassioned still photographer since childhood, filmmaking was always daunting to me until the DSLR cinema platform came along. I know a lot of people share that sentiment. A tremendous thank, Shane, for helping to usher in quality opportunities for photographers and filmmakers alike through your insight and wisdom based on valuable years of creative experience. It warms my heart to watch this community of artists grow and to have such inspiring professionals like yourself leading the way. Keep up the great work! I have encountered few artists as inspiring as you!

Shane February 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Zack Zook,You are very welcome. WOW!!! These are the comments that keep me inspired to deliver what all of you want and what is necessary to grow as artists. Thank you for the kind words and all of your support.

Amon John February 19, 2014 at 2:19 AM

Thanks Shane for the Post, I’m just entering in the DSLR World and this information is of much help to me Thanks again.

Shane February 19, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Amon John, you bet, it is my pleasure

Jan February 19, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Shane, thank you so much for posting all this valuable info!… I’ve been learning a lot through you and your blog!
One question: why do you prefer Nikkor AIS over the AI lenses? The AI lenses have a longer focus throw and my understanding was that they have essentially the same optics as the AIS lenses. What are the other advantages of AIS for you?

Shane February 20, 2014 at 6:46 AM

I do not prefer them over the AI, I love the AI, it is just that the AI doesn’t have all the focal lengths so you have to do a mix bag

Jan February 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM


Ryan Bradshaw February 21, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Hi Shane,

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. It is a priceless gift. I have two L lenses and a 50 1.4. Would you recommend investing in high end glass(Zeiss ZF.2) instead of buying a shoulder rig or should I work with the lenses I have and invest in the shoulder rig?



Shane February 21, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Ryan Bradshaw, I would go for the Shoulder Rig, those lenses are great.

Chandler Goodrich February 22, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Did all of production involve using the cameras you mentioned? Also, I would like to hear your thoughts I the magic lantern firmware for canon dslrs.

Shane February 25, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Chandler Goodrich, I use all of these in many productions that I have done. I like the Magic Lantern on the 5D MK II , the MKIII hack is very unstable

Anthony February 27, 2014 at 9:03 PM


What are some of the best, affordable matte-boxes for a dslr rig? For a Red Scarlet? Is there a single matte box that can be used for both of these types of cameras? Awesome web site!

Shane March 3, 2014 at 12:38 AM

Anthony, I would check out the Letus MB-1

Saurabh Bharti March 13, 2014 at 10:54 PM

Hello Shane Sir,
I really love your work, tutorials & specially your short film- “The Ticket”.
Learning a lot. Thank you so much.

Shane March 17, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Saurabh Bharti, you are very welcome, and thank you for your support.

Shane April 25, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Saurabh Bharti, thank you so much. I will tell the director Po Chan that you loved her work. Thank you for the support

Toby (from Germany) March 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Thx very much Shane for all the wisdom you share with us!
Hope my questions are not to “beginners like”/stupid:
I want to get a decent “movie cam” and i am wondering to get a C500. As I already have some EF L lenses (after reading your thoughts about 4K looking “too sharp”) I want to ask: would the combonation of C500 4K and maybe a Canon L24-70 be “somehow OK” for the Big Screen? And in 2K?
Stupid question?
Would Really appreciate your answers! Kindest regards and Greetings from Germany!!! TobY

Shane March 22, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Toby (from Germany), You are very welcome, none of these questions are stupid at all, with technology changing so fast I think the C500 is the most underrated camera in the movie business, and I love that not many cinematographers have the balls to shoot untested cameras. Cinematography is art and science, which means you have to know both and challenge yourself, expand. I think the C500 at 2K with cinema lenses will deliver amazing imagery, not with a L series zoom.

edi web April 7, 2014 at 11:08 PM

Shane- I just happened to be standing off stage today after your amazing presentation at NAB 2014. i just wanted to thank you for energy, inspiration and taking the time to talk to me. I am building my 5D kit (although i prefer the Mark ii to the mark iii)- and after your presentation I realize I have the tools needed to tell or show the stories from my Native Community. I heard you saying you will be offering some hands HDSLR workshops. WHEN? HOW can I sign up for the workshops?

again thank you for taking the time to speak to us- edi

Shane April 8, 2014 at 11:48 AM

edi web, it was great to talk with you and meet you as well. I love what I do and I think my passion and commitment to education is pretty strong. Me and my team are there for you. Yes many plans for lighting workshops coming up, no dates yet because of un sure of schedule, will update you

Shane Fredrick Kinsman May 8, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Hey Shane, love your work man, been a fan of your style for many years, I felt I would take a minute to thank you for all the knowledge and guidance you’ve shared with us over the years. Your a huge inspiration, Keep up the amazing work man!!!

Shane May 25, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Shane Fredrick Kinsman, you have a great name, HA HA!!!! You are very welcome and thank you for these very kind words and support

Shane Fredrick Kinsman June 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

HAHA, We both have a great name: -), I just recently read you lived in Boston for long time. I’m on CapeCod, thought I would send you a link to some filming I did on the cape a little bit ago. Hopefully it brings back some good memories of your time in new England. If your ever back on the east coast, Cape cod, Beantown area, hit me up, would be a blast to go and do some shooting with you man.

shane June 8, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Forgot to add the link, lol

Ulrich A. Sterling May 18, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Thanks again for amazing insights. inspiring more and more … wish I could have made the NYC meet up, just got relocated to Dallas. Took your “starve the sensor for light” to heart on last short I shot with Mark III, and totally dialed in the Raw workflow with Magic Lantern now to: http://vimeo.com/95524463

Shane May 25, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Ulrich A. Sterling, you are so welcome and thank you for your kind words. Thank you for sharing to all, I will check this out.

Bryce Marraro July 27, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Hey Mr. Hurlbut,

I would like to first start off by saying thank you so much for all the insight and tips and tricks and daily involvement with the community through your blog. I love your commitment on spreading the knowledge through upcoming cinematographers and your movies KICK ASS;I am relatively new to the cinematography world and was wondering what you think about the Rokinon 24mm, 35mm, 85mm prime lenses for a Cannon T3i as my first real glass upgrade? What would you recommend on the midrange level for primes?


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