February 20, 2018 at 3:54PM

9

Equipment: Low-Budget Documentary Filmmaking in a Third-World Country

So in a few months I'm going to Kibera, (the largest urban 'slum' in Africa), with a few people who are helping start an alternative school there. I'll be trying to just film what I can and see what I can make of it. It's just a very low key one-person thing; I'm not getting paid or commissioned or anything. I want to bring the right equipment but there's a very high chance it will get stolen so I want to bring cheap equipment that I'm not investing a whole lot in right off.
Suggestions? I already have a camera but that's pretty much all.

5 Comments

I would recommend getting a mic, monopod, lite panel, and a variable ND. Here's some of the cheapest of the cheap.

Mic
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E58AA0I/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s...

Monopod
https://www.amazon.com/koolehaoda-62-5-inch-Monopod-Folding-Camcorder/dp...

Light Panel
https://www.amazon.com/VILTROX-L132T-Dimmable-Panasonic-Camcorders/dp/B0...

Then the variable ND is going to depend on your lens. You can still get those for pretty cheap regardless though.

February 21, 2018 at 5:36PM

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Alex Alva
959

Plenty of spare batteries.

February 21, 2018 at 7:27PM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1262

A budget lav mic or two will make things more flexible. The Boya BY-M1 is cheap but good. It works with smartphones and ordinary cameras. For more flexibility you could connect it to a phone in an interviewee's pocket and sync the audio later (a cheap alternative to wireless).

I'd also get a couple of five-in-one folding reflectors to diffuse sunlight or fill in shadows.

February 27, 2018 at 5:36AM

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Tom Barrance
Film educator
176

You probably know this, but… Please be very careful. I know a number of people who work in Africa (NGO workers and journalists) and the poor slums are no joke. Violence, theft and rape are common, and a couple I know who lived in Kenya were almost kidnapped. On a number of occasions.

Make sure you take no risks and have street-savvy local "minders" to help you (not idealistic First-World youngsters who've been there for a month or two) and who can read the on-the-ground situation. You will obviously stick out like a sore thumb there.

February 28, 2018 at 12:04PM, Edited February 28, 12:04PM

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I've shot through the Favelas of Brazil, and most recently through Cuba, using the Gh5 and a small portable lav mic, and variable ND filter. That was a perfect small discreet kit for that. I gotta say though, having a handler or fixer -- even a trusted local you can pay for a few days -- to walk with you for a bit, unveil some interesting angles to the culture, and just provide another body for added safety, really makes a big difference. If you could afford it, definitely consider it.

March 5, 2018 at 11:23AM

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Joey Fameli
Producer / Tested.com
88

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