My Camera Gear 2017

I am asked frequently what equipment I use to capture and edit my DIY projects, tutorials, and videos. Here’s a comprehensive list of my current arsenal for 2017. I maintain the opinion that you can always take great photos and videos with whatever camera you have (so long as you’ve got good lighting), which has lead to some scrappy choices over the years. My goal has always been to keep my equipment within my own personal operating abilities to keep productions as lean as possible, but to be honest these days I don’t want for much. These are the carefully selected tools I’ve come to incorporate into my professional photography/videography practice. All of the practical tips in my 2014 MAKE article about making great build videos still apply, even if the equipment is different.

Panasonic GH4 – Love this camera, more than any camera I’ve ever owned! This mirrorless micro four thirds interchangeable lens camera was designed to be a video powerhouse, and has literally never let me down. The screen flips all the way around, the battery life is incredible, the programmable buttons let you customize the controls to the things you use most often, and because I still edit video in 1080 but shoot in 4K, I can crop in on my shots in the edit to improve composition and clarity. For streaming, which I do significantly less of than I used to, the GH4 outputs clean HDMI video with the option of no menu overlays (try and name another prosumer level camera that does this). The newer GH5 doesn’t crop the sensor in video mode, but for me that’s the only feature that would make a difference in my day-to-day (the improved OIS wouldn’t give much benefit to my tripod-tabletop shots). At some point I did think about getting the Sony A7Sii (performs much better in low light), but upon trying out a friend’s, it became evident that the lack of screen flexibility was a dealbreaker in my workflow, which routinely puts the camera facing straight down.

The lens I use most often is the kit 12-35mm (equivalent to a 24-70mm lens in 35mm lenses). I grab pics of super small stuff with a 60mm macro lens (120mm equivalent in 35mm).

Also pictured above: Luxpad LED panel, Joby gorillapod, Petzl headlamp

A post shared by Becky Stern (@bekathwia) on

To film above my workspace, I most often use a Manfrotto variable friction magic arm and super clamp. I built a foot pedal remote for my GH4 so I can take photos or videos of my hands in action.


Easy Brandied Cocktail Cherries

When cherries go on sale, I always whip up at least one batch of brandied cocktail cherries. Find the complete tutorial on Instructables. The recipe is super simple:

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
Pitted cherries
1 cup brandy
Whole spices like cinnamon, star anise (optional)

These cherries will keep in the fridge for several weeks, and only get better as they soak up the alcohol-sugar mixture, and besides cocktail garnishes, they make a great ice cream topping along with the liquid from the jar.