Inside My Camera Bag | Shannon Johnston

Hi, my name is Shannon and I’m an adventure and commercial filmmaker and photographer. I’m based in the beautiful Scenic Rim in the Gold Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia.

I have worked under the freelance business ‘Risen Film’ for nearly eight years. I work across several genres in video production, photography and drone content, such as outdoor adventure, lifestyle, product, industry and commerce.

However, the landscape category is what first inspired me to leave a corporate career and enter the camera world. It is what I enjoy capturing the most, and covers a large portion of my work, which is often location-focused in the outdoors.

While living in Canada, I ventured into content production and sold my mountain bike to fund my first drone and GoPro to record snowboarding and the mountains. Awe-struck by the natural beauty surrounding me in the Coastal Mountain Ranges of British Columbia, I discovered a more creative side of myself that could be expressed through outdoor exploration, video and photography.

If I’m outdoors, I’m happy. I tend to seek out challenges and discomfort in an attempt to learn and grow, meet new people and explore new places.

Producing content is not only a way for me to add value to the business objectives of commercial clients but also allows me to reflect on personally and document memories, moments that would otherwise be forgotten.

These days, I carry far more gear than when I started, but I approach my equipment from a travel and outdoor portability mindset.

I like to be able to carry what I need on my back for lightweight shoots and outdoor adventures or between a couple of bags for commercial projects, depending on requirements.

Originally starting with the Panasonic Lumix GH5, a GoPro and a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, here’s what I’m using now.

Panasonic LUMIX S1H – for motion, I rely on this camera. I have always enjoyed a few things in particular about the Panasonic/Lumix cameras: beautiful skin tones,  great stabilisation, simple menus, and reliability.

The LUMIX S1H is an FF mirrorless cinema camera with OLPF and an internal fan. Temperatures in Australia can be extreme, especially outdoors, and I’ve never had overheating problems with these cameras.

Panasonic LUMIX S5 is a brilliant hybrid camera for stills and motion, allowing me to use it as a lead still or as a second video camera. It has very strong video capabilities. It matches perfectly with the LUMIX S1H and shoots 10-bit VLOG, so there are no compromises on video.

The small form factor is nice if I only need to carry one camera outdoors with me.

Panasonic S Pro 24-70mm f/2.8 – a must-have range and absolute workhorse. Cinematic.

Panasonic S 70-200mm f/4 – a sharp and high quality lens with very reasonable size and weight.

Panasonic S 16-35mm f/4 – a versatile and light lens.  It is great for much-needed wide shots and cropping content for social media.

Panasonic S 18mm f/1.8 – is a great lens for wides in low light and is small and lightweight.

Panasonic S 85mm f/1.8 – is a nice, shallow portrait and interview lens.

Sigma Art 18-35mm f/1.8 APSC – this lens produces beautiful and creamy images, so it’s great for the APSC crop for lifestyle and product shoots. I should use it more than I do!

DJI Mavic 3 Pro – is my main drone and produces great images with three cameras at 24mm, 70mm and 166mm.

DJI FPV – this drone is fun, fast, and always great for adding unique shots for outdoor action shots.

DJI Mavic 3 Classic – is my backup, as it is always good to have redundancy on a shoot.

Manfrotto 190X Tripod – is my main tripod, which is small for a video unit but holds the LUMIX S1H with monitor and audio well. For lightweight, I also have the Manfrotto 290 Light which is great for hiking and adventure shoots. It also has a vertical mode.

Regarding a gimbal, I use a DJI Ronin RS2. It is of amazing quality and lightweight. The gimbal is essential for certain shots and always worth the effort of setting up. Very ergonomic and easy to use.

The Atomos Ninja V recorder/monitor is important for a better view of what you’re shooting, with an option to record 5.9K RAW from my cameras.

I have two Rode Mic Go II for audio – one for backup or when multiple interviewees are involved. They are very light and reliable.

To help with lighting, I have a Godox FV150 Hybrid Continuous LED (with a softbox), which I always use for interviews and indoor product shoots and a Godox SLB 60W Continuous LED (with a softbox) that is battery-powered, allowing off-grid use. The FV150 also has a flash function for stills.

F-Stop Tilopa 50L – a solid outdoor waterproof pack that fits more than just camera gear. I use the large ICU, and there’s always plenty of room for food, drinks and spare clothes.

Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader Air-50 – is a great roller bag for travel and when I want to take the weight off my back.

MacBook Pro 16” 64GB – time is money, and the new Apple Silicone breezes through 4K+ footage without proxies, batch photo edits without any delay, and handles multiple programs without a glitch.

Premiere Pro – a beast of a program with many functions and capabilities. It takes years to learn shortcuts and develop an efficient workflow, and Premiere is one of the best in the business.

Lightroom – I’ve always used Lightroom for photo editing and love that it continually becomes more powerful with each update.

My advice for others wanting to succeed in the industry is to stay true to who you are and what you want to create.

It’s easy just to follow the work and that can be required to some extent, but also lead you astray.

If you’re consistent for long enough, are enjoyable to work with and produce quality, you can create the content you are passionate about.

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