My Gear & How I make my films

Hi and thanks for stopping by.

My Youtube films are something I really enjoy making these days, that’s not always been the case though, the first 18 months to 2 years I really struggled with being comfortable in front of the camera. My gear and style has also evolved over the years too, so what you see now is a list of gear and a style that’s taken many, many hours of learning and working out what works best.

I started off using a used Mac mini and Final Cut Pro X, my main camera was a Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 and for 18 months this was my gear. After a while I started to film in 4K and the Mac mini was showing its age and testing my patience, and it was at this time I moved to Windows and a desktop pc in the form of a used DELL, being that was all I could afford. I switched to Adobe Premiere Pro for editing too, as FCPX doesn’t run on Windows computers. Things started to improve, I bought some studio lights and a Rode Video Mic Pro and then I started to get into the editing as much as the video making. By this time my camera started to show the limitations of a it being a bridge camera and my friend was selling his Sony a6300 with a couple of lenses, so I sold the FZ1000 on ebay and bought the used a6300. However, this didn’t go well and the a6300 soon got replaced with a a6500 for better stabilisation as I struggled with still shots and handheld video shots, I struggled on with the a6500 for 6 months. In the background I had also invested in a GoPro Hero 5, a GoPro Fusion 360 camera, a Sony RX100 MK5 and I use my iPhone too, all to get the best shots, whether they be stills or video. In June 2018 I had saved some money and took the plunge to invest in my YouTube gear, I had tried to advertise my media services but to -date I  still only had 3 paying jobs, but it was enough to put towards the gear list below.

My Gear List: (the links below are to Amazon, via my affiliate links – you get the best product price on Amazon and they pay me a small referral fee after your purchase)

Sony a6500 with Sony 16-55mm lens – UK > https://amzn.to/2SjqPyT USA >  https://amzn.to/2TRpLnl
I also use a 18-105 G lens – UK > https://amzn.to/2DPkAyM  USA > https://amzn.to/2TTmsfe
2 x GoPro Hero 7 Black –UK > https://amzn.to/2P6IhEO USA > https://amzn.to/2P4wnuY
GoPro fusion 360 Camera –UK > https://amzn.to/2vEEdVg USA > https://amzn.to/2PAxpjW
Rode Video Mic Pro+ –UK > https://amzn.to/2P23zEB USA > https://amzn.to/2P1BlZE
Big Tripod is Manfrotto 055 –UK > https://amzn.to/2Mk13ep USA > https://amzn.to/2PBJCos
Travel Tripod –UK > https://amzn.to/2P5RRbU USA > https://amzn.to/2oasEAR
Window/Car Bodywork Suction mount for small camera –UK > https://amzn.to/2B7I5U5 USA > https://amzn.to/2o8ZpP6
Drone is DJI Mavic Air –UK > https://amzn.to/2McXxTS USA > https://amzn.to/2PymfvT
Phone Gimbal is DJI Osmo Mobile 2 –UK > https://amzn.to/2MkEGW7 USA > https://amzn.to/2MPYAsu
Camera Slider is GripGear MM2 –UK > https://amzn.to/2RlEogT USA > https://amzn.to/2DOWfZN
My bag is an amazon Basics –UK > https://amzn.to/2w5JNiH USA > https://amzn.to/2MO3Tsp
Another Camera Bag I use –UK > https://amzn.to/2vGICHk USA > https://amzn.to/2MMYwty
My Travel Bag with Laptop compartment –UK> https://amzn.to/2PAxQKX USA > https://amzn.to/2MM9iA9
Motorised Follow Focus & Pan Slider –UK> https://amzn.to/2wngmc5 USA > https://amzn.to/2o7xwa1
Main Studio Lights –UK> https://amzn.to/2o8kJEp USA > https://amzn.to/2MA2XbW
Portable Ring Light –UK> https://amzn.to/2NfDrVB USA > https://amzn.to/2o7QA8j
Desk Voice-Over Mic –UK> https://amzn.to/2o4GC7k USA > https://amzn.to/2Lnl7YS
Static Studio Overhead Mic –UK> https://amzn.to/2NfbmxB USA > https://amzn.to/2P47pfK
Studio Overhead Mic Articulating Arm –UK> https://amzn.to/2wnEZ8B USA > https://amzn.to/2P4p0UJ
Extendable Monopod with feet –UK> https://amzn.to/2Nl48Ic USA > https://amzn.to/2PvJRRQ
360 or GoPro high Tripod –UK> https://amzn.to/2LsSCsU USA > https://amzn.to/2MKSVUw
Travel Data Backup Drive –UK> https://amzn.to/2wnFZcR USA > https://amzn.to/2wbTBsv
Travel 1TB SSD –UK> https://amzn.to/2PwLn6t USA > https://amzn.to/2BFJtgE
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD – UK> https://amzn.to/2Ln8Lju USA> https://amzn.to/2NdDctX

I also use my iPhone Xs MAX and Galaxy Note 5 for some images. I edit on a 2017 iMac 27″ with FCPX and also on my 2017 Macbook Pro. That’s the gear mostly covered, I do have some extra gear like sliders, motion heads, basic tripods, tripod heads etc. but they’re very generic items.

Now for the magic to be made, the Filmmaking side of things. The move to the GH5 now allows me to get 4K 60FPS shots, enabling me to either get silky smooth 4k Slo-Mo or capture perfectly crisp still images from any of the video footage. The stabilisation of this camera and lenses is also astonishing, meaning I now get fantastic handheld shots and with my 3 lenses I have the options to get any shot, in any light of anything and have it look amazing. Of course, I’m still learning how to make it all come together, not only because I kept changing cameras and don’t know the GH5 as well as I could do with right now, but I’m also learning how to get the shot, make it look amazing out of the camera and also to tell a story through what I’m shooting. If this was easy then everyone would be doing it, oh wait – they are, which is why I keep pushing myself on the editing side.  The editing side is another area where I’ve just made a huge leap and a massive investment, I moved back to Macs for editing and to FCPX. I got a 2017 iMac 27″, i7, 24GB ram and 1TB SSD drive as my main desktop and a 2017 Macbook Pro (touchbar) i7, 16GB and 512GB SSD for editing on the go. I feel more at ease with FCPX and feel my films are looking better already, at the time of writing this in Aug 2018 I’ve made 3 films on the new setup, and feedback from the viewers is also showing they appreciate the changes.

So where is Gadget John going and also, more to the point, why am I seemingly now producing as many films about travel as I do about gadgets and tech? That’s a good question, and it’s down to you, the viewer, because I made a couple of films about the campervan I bought and the response was amazing, so I made a few more about camping and our travels in the campervan, and you loved them, so much so that my subscriber numbers started to rise more than double. As they say in life “Do what you love” and so I did, I made films about travelling and also made reviews about tech and gadgets too, which I also still love to do.  I now commit myself to producing 2 videos a week, one for each genre in order to keep all my viewers happy and to still keep producing tech reviews but also to entertain the viewers who like our travel vlogs.

Unlike other channels I don’t ask for money, either by donations or from services like Patreon, I think it’s great when people do send me a few £s as a thank you, but I produce the films to educate, inform and entertain people out of the pleasure it brings me in doing so.  As yet, I have never been paid for advertising brands in my videos, though companies have sent me products for free to review and I always clearly state so in my videos, but Gadget John is not, nor can I see it being so in the near future, a “considerable” income source for me. So this means the content is real, it’s not influenced and every view, like, comment and subscriber is very much appreciated and even though some viewers have commented they “hope the notoriety doesn’t go to my head”, I am really looking forward to the day a total stranger wants to say hi out in the streets, that’ll be a very special day, but I’m certain I’ll always be grounded as I’m a Northerner, a Manc at that, and we really do know how to keep things grounded 🙂

Take care, John (and Mandy & Cooper)