Two CHEAP Tools That Every Cinematographer Should Have

Rarely do I impulse buy new toys for myself but I just couldn't resist with these two. Because they are both incredibly cheap AND looked to be very fun to play with. The Røde smartLav ($59.99, depending where you shop) and the KICK light from Rift Labs ($179) are two amazing tools that every shooter should have in their arsenal.

As videographers we all have to shoot talking heads every once in a while (interviews, not the band) and the ideal way to capture crisp audio for them is with a wireless lav. Decent mics can be mighty expensive to buy and renting all the time can be a hassle. Røde has created an inexpensive solution: a wireless lav that you plug into your iPhone or iPad that records quality audio.

You can use whatever audio recording program you like, but there are two Røde apps in the iTunes store (a free version and a Pro version for $5.99) that they recommend you use. Having just installed it I'm still getting familiar with it and have yet to try it out in the wild. When I do, I'll share the results. One downside that I see to this device is that you cannot monitor the audio as you're recording. So if you're ever using it for a VERY important interview you might be sweating bullets praying to god that it is capturing clean audio.

By far the coolest gadget here is the KICK light which is a deceptively small-yet-powerful LED light from Rift Labs. It is controlled through your iPhone via a free app that allows you to adjust the intensity, colour and behavior of the light remotely. This little sucker is powerful and versatile. It can be used even as a fill light for a fairly large scene. I used it the other day on set and will be asking for footage so that I can share the results.