Exploring the Most Overrated (and Underrated) Film and Video Gear

Camera Gear
Credit: Gerald Undone
Overrated: using UV filters. Underrated: sound blankets. Who knew?

If you hang around film and video industry professionals for long enough, you’re bound to get an opinion or two. Everyone has a favorite camera, a lens, a favorite film, a favorite director, etc.

But what about actual gear? You know, the stuff you use day-to-day on productions and shoots? If you thought all that gear was standard issue and everyone should agree on what to use and when—you’d be wrong.

To perfectly illustrate this point, we have this great video from YouTuber Gerald Undone where he and his crew debate some of their most favorite (and least favorites) gear items like UV filters, sound blankets, parabolic softboxes, and V-mount batteries.

Let’s dive into some of their recommendations below to help explore if any of their selections might be right—or wrong—for you.

Overrated Gear Selections

We’ll start with the negatives (because that’s the kind of guy I am). As the guys might be a bit divided on some of these items, there is at least a bit of a consensus that many of these pieces of gear are at the very least overrated and perhaps overused.

Or, in a few examples, just simply used unnecessarily or in place of other pieces of gear which might be more practical or even cheaper at times.

I also have to throw in some quick selections of my own for overrated gear, including professional Steadicams (when often a gimbal or shoulder mount will do), dollies (quite cumbersome for something you can usually do DIY), and those ridiculously long boom poles (they might sound great, but good luck not exhausting out your boom op after two takes).

Here are the most overrated gear selections from the Gerald Undone team.

Credit: Gerald Undone

Lens Hoods

This is actually a pretty interesting debate amongst the hosts as to whether or not lens hoods are good additions to your camera setup and bag. While they do provide shade and prevent light and flares at times, it is also these very flares that can be a desirable look in many situations (and arguably all situations depending on whom you are asking).

UV Filters

Similarly, they also discuss UV filters and whether or not these lens filters are relevant for modern digital videography. This might be a hot topic for many as UV filters have traditionally been quite necessary and at times very sought after. However, the crux of the “overrated” argument comes down to the necessity of UV filtering with digital cameras as opposed to analog.

Parabolic Softboxes

This one is probably the toughest sell for an overrated piece of film gear as—the host admits—they are using parabolic softboxes in the very video that they’re shooting!

However, when you get into their argument, it doesn’t really come down to overrated-ness, but more about unnecessary-ness. And this can often be very true where something smaller like a 5-in-1 reflector might be the better, lighter, and cheaper option for many video setups.

Underrated Gear Selections

Moving on, we also have to check out and highlight some of the best “underrated” gear selections from the video as they do make some great cases for adapting many of these items and techniques for your own setups and needs.

It’s also interesting to watch the video all the way through, as they often flop between a piece of gear, like a lens hood for example, being either overrated or underrated simply depending on the circumstances.

Also, from my own experiences, I have to throw in some of my own underrated gear selections as well, including sliders (it never hurts to add slight, smooth movement to your tripod shots), vintage 50mm lenses (they’re cheap and tiny so you can bring them on any shoot), and Zoom H1 audio recorders (a cheap and easy way to mic or backup mic any subject with great auto settings).

Here are the most underrated gear selections from the Gerald Undone team.

Sound Blankets

I love that they start with sound blankets, as they truly are underrated pieces of gear for any film or video shoot. Even for those creating videos for YouTube or online audiences, sound is always a critical factor and having an “on-the-go vocal booth” can truly help out in just about any shooting situation. 

V-Mount Batteries

While certainly one of the most expensive “underrated” options on the list, V-mount batteries are a hot topic within the video community simply because of their cost and weight when compared against their power and battery life value. In the right situations, though, having that extra juice can be a huge boost and certainly justify the heavy toll they might take up in your bag and wallet.

DaVinci Resolve

And finally, wrapping up their video we get perhaps the hottest take of all (yet not altogether too controversial at this point) that DaVinci Resolve is the best option of the popular NLE platforms.

When compared to Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, it’s not too hard to argue the merits of DaVinci Resolve, which has made great strides over the years in functionality. And while many might still prefer their favorite legacy NLEs, it’s not unfair to call Resolve underrated at all.

Those are just some of the big names from the video, though. The real debate will continue on as videographers and film professionals will undoubtedly argue about their favorite and least favorite pieces of gear for their own projects and setups.

Where do you stand? Let us know in the comments what might be some of your most underrated or overrated film gear items!     

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2 Comments

Almost each month there is announced a new camera with better dynamic range. However, there are some inexpensive filters that may add 3 to 4 stops of exposure to any camera - but no one seems keen to mention them. There are the low contrast filters, like for instance the Tiffen Soft contrast and Tiffen Low contrast. Each apply only to the underxposed or overexposed part of the image - thus expanding the dynamic range that can be captured. I do think that this is the most under-rated photo and film equipment as these filters are around 100$ while the camera updates are always in the range of thousands.

September 14, 2021 at 3:59AM

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I'll put a $50- $75 UV filter on my $1500 lens as a sacrificial protection layer every time and on every lens. Often that was the primary purpose for a UV filter. The same can be said for a lens hood. Risk management is never overrated. Whats next "back up drives are a waste of perfectly good storage"...

September 17, 2021 at 10:49AM, Edited September 17, 10:50AM

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