Q&A with Brandon Setter

Brandon Setter, professional videographer

Personal site http://brandonsetter.com
Youtube http://youtube.com/mediasprout

What’s your favorite country to visit? Why?

I've had the opportunity to shoot video and travel to many countries, including England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Japan, Thailand, Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, Mexico, and, of course, the good ol' USA… but I'd have to say my favorite is a three-way toss-up between Thailand, England and Switzerland.

Thailand, because they have such an incredibly rich culture and experiencing new customs, food, and life is so fascinating to me. The people in Thailand are so kind, there are endless photo/video opportunities, and everything is cheap, cheap, cheap.

England, because my time in London was a blast — there are so many things to do there, and even more to shoot. Not to mention, in the UK the primary language is English, which just makes getting around much more simple.

Switzerland, because I hiked in the Swiss Alps near Zermatt not far from the Matterhorn. I've never experienced mountains that rugged in my life and boy, did they provide some rad photo ops. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Favorite travel photograph you’ve taken? Best video?

Attending the Thai Lantern Festival in Chaing Mai Thailand was the single most amazing thing I've ever seen with my own two eyes anywhere in the world. By no means is this my best video work, but this is some of the most memorable video I've shot: http://brandonsetter.com/12644183305/

As to my favorite photo, here's the blog post about my trek in the Swiss Alps and the first photo in the album may be my favorite travel photo (HDR).


What’s the best part of carrying your DSLR when on the road?

Because I primarily do video with my DSLR, I'm most excited about having an assortment of great lenses at my fingertips. I think back to the days when I had a dedicated video camera in my bad along with my SLR to shoot photos; not only was that a bulky gear bag to carry, but my video was never up to par with my SLR photos. Now everything has changed, thanks to DSLR — my photos and video are captured by one single glorious device and the lenses are, without question, my favorite part of the setup. Not to mention all of the cool peripherals, too.


Camera(s) you use:

Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Red Epic (I rent this occasionally)
All my gear: http://brandonsetter.com/mygear

Favorite lens(es):

Canon 50mm f/1.2 L (Favorite lens of all time for just about anything, but especially wonderful for shooting interviews.)
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L (Favorite all-around landscape/travel lens — you'll see this on my camera on most trips most of the time.)
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L (Always in my bag and great for interviews on the 7D, given the crop sensor, and so fun for wide portraits on the 5D Mark II.)
Canon 100m f/2.8 Macro L (So fun for event video, and macro stuff is a blast, too.)
Canon 135mm f/2.0 L (my favorite long lens ever, and amazing for portraits.)
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L (Always in my bag for anything distant — love using it in the wilderness. Sometimes, I just go with the 16-35 and the 70-200 for travel.)
I don't own a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L (You'd think I would... but for some reason, not even totally sure why, I don't really care for this lens — too heavy, I think.)

Five accessories you never travel without:

1. I always always, always bring a GoPro

2. "Triggertrap" intervalometer app/tool for iPhone. Perfect for making unreal time-lapses

3. Zoom H4n Recorder and Boom Mic — I never leave without some quality audio gear — you just never know if there will be an opportunity to do a little documentary filmmaking. Audio can make or break a film.

4. Pelican 1510 Case with Dividers and Lid Organizer — my favorite camera case.

5. A simple Spring A Clamp with a stick-on GoPro plate stuck on it. With this, I can clamp my GoPro to just about anything and it was only $10.

I'm sure there are more but these are some favorites!

Magazines/websites you visit for inspiration:

Vimeo Staff picks are a must for finding cool inspiring videos.

I frequent http://theawesomer.com/ and http://devour.com for everything, from the inspiring to the ridiculous videos.

I keep tabs on a few cool blogs for anything filmmaking related
and many more…

What is your current project all about, and what's your last place traveled?

I just got back from a completely random bucket-list trip to Alaska! We road-tripped 1,285 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back, driving through Denali National Park along the way. We hiked Mount Healy, climbed on the Alaska pipeline, chased moose, caribou, beaver and bear, and chilled out in some sweet hot springs. It was epic!

A favorite recent trip and project was to Thailand to tell the story of the Lanna Cafe, a nonprofit organization that brings aid to the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand. Lanna Cafe changes lives by teaching the Hill Tribes people to grow coffee instead of opium, and it goes beyond coffee in to teaching a new way of life. My job was to tell this story and follow the coffee bean from the mountains of Thailand back to the USA and into your cup. Every cup of coffee makes a difference. Watch the film here: https://vimeo.com/41425393

Top tips for photographers/videographers?

Never stop asking "Why?” I believe it's crucial to know the WHY behind everything I do, not only as a creative but in all aspects of my life. "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." — Simon Sinek

And never stop learning. The day you stop learning is your last day as a creative.

Travel sites you use?

Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, Airline Website, CheapOair