What’s it take to film in a warzone? VICE photojournalists give a rundown of their Canon gear

by Liam McCabe

posted Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 10:25 AM EST


VICE documentaries are no joke (well, some of them are pretty absurd). The gonzo newsmagazine is currently in its second season on HBO, but VICE Media has released dozens more provocative docs on difficult subjects over the past decade. Production on the current show has taken the crew to active warzones in Egypt and Afghanistan, and the show’s most famous stunt so far was traveling to North Korea with Dennis Rodman for a basketball match with Kim Jong-un.

That's wild enough, but then think of the cameramen: They’re not only traveling to the ends of the earth, but also lugging broadcast-quality camera gear around on their shoulders all day, every day while they’re on location. That sounds pretty tiring—but it’s also a great way to figure out what works, what’s necessary, and which pieces of gear you can leave behind.


In this 8-minute clip posted by Canon, VICE director of photography Jake Burghart and segment director of photography Jerry Ricciotti offer up a rundown of their Canon rigs. Their main weapons of choice include the Canon EOS C300, XF105, XF305, and 5D Mark III—no big surprises there. The most interesting bits in here, though, are about the nitty-gritty details that, unless you’re a working videographer, you never stop to think about: Follow-focus dials, grips, rail systems, padding, audio rigs, quick release baseplates, and more. Burghart even taped over his viewfinder—he only ever uses the LCD.

Want to check out the rigs in action? HBO has posted the first episode of season two for free viewing. VICE correspondents investigate missing American money in Afghanistan, as well as the steps being taken to clean up Rio de Janeiro prior to the World Cup this summer and the summer Olympics in 2016. And that's one of the tamer episodes.

(Via ISO 1200)