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Absolutely necessary:

1) HD Video Camera - In São Paulo, we used the Sony HVR-Z1u. Although its low-light capabilities and color warmth were disappointing, it's HD images were absolutely incredible. In May 2006, this was the only HD Camera available for rental in São Paulo.

2) Microphones

- Shotgun mounted on camera

- Wireless lavalier (lapel)

3) Tripod - Mainly for use when the subject is sleeping. (Can someone post here what some good brands/models are?)

4) Tapes - We recommend using actual HDV tapes even though it is possible to shoot on the much less expensive miniDV tapes. Drop frames are particularly annoying with HD because of the compression algorithms that the format uses at present; one dropped frame leads to the loss of a full half-second because of this. Sony claims that their HDV tapes have 90% less drop frames than miniDV, so even if this is an exaggeration, it's probably worth it.


Helpful

Support Vehicle - In São Paulo, we got a professional production van donated for the day, complete with shelves for all of our gear. This was very helpful, but may not be possible or necessary in some locations. In San Francisco, a convertible car was donated for the day so that we could shoot easily from the vehicle during times when the subject was driving his own car or operating the cable car.

Two-way Radios ("Walkie-Talkies") - These were also very useful on the São Paulo shoot. You must have the earpiece for them, preferably with a microphone on the cord and a lapel clip. This makes it easy for the people with the subject to communicate with the support crew (i.e., driver, security, people taking breaks).