The gear I use

This page is no longer up to date. I hope to get to it in a bit.


My main machine is a late 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pro with i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD. As of now I’m using OS X 10.9 Mavericks but I’m in the process of moving to t
he Yosemite Developer Preview. I also have an original first gen Mac Pro in storage in Germany. Haven’t touched it in more than a year.

My files are backupped on multiple LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt drives and with Backblaze in the cloud. There’s also quite a bit stored on S3, Dropbox and nowadays iCloud.

As a link to home I use a RaspberryPi with Raspian. It’s running headless and just needs to be plugged in. I used to use a free dynamic DNS service but ever since it wasn’t usable any longer I switch
ed to my own scripts. Now once the Pi boots it’ll make its public IP known to Amazon’s Route 53 which I use as the name server for one of m
y domains. One of these days I’ll post a short tutorial how I did that and publish the (very basic) PHP script for it on Github.

My main text editor is TextMate 2 which is where all my coding happens. It’s also the goto solution for quick notes, code snippets and commands. I’
m also a big fan of Alfred and Bartender to keep my menu bar clean. One of the things I don’t hide from there is
iStat menus.


My camera gear consists of a Nikon D700 with a couple of lenses, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.4. Also have a SB-900 and a number of light modifiers but it really doesn’t get much use theses days. There’s also the usual amount of grip and other accessories that are necessary for various jobs. Tripods, light stands, clamps, batteries, GPS logger, you name it.


I started building a drone in early 2014. My first iteration was DJI’s Flamewheel F450. After having a couple of discussions with Aaron, I decided on purpose not to go the Phantom route. I wanted to be able to easily customize my model and be able to swap parts in case I chose to move to another frame. I think it also helps to know what actually happens with these things instead of just taking something out of a box, pushing a battery in and going flying without having an idea what’s going on.

A few months after the inital F450 it was becoming too bulky for what I wanted. Also having the gimbal mounted under the drone in between its set of legs was making wide angle shots without them showing basically impossible. My current frame is a Team BlackSheep Discovery Pro which has the gimbal mounted at the front – out of the way of props or landing gear. I’m currently looking into a long-arm kit to make flight a little smoother and more efficient for video purposes.

Strapped to the gimbal is a GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition. The regular velcro strap to attache the GoPro inside the gimbal is a little bit of a pain, so I got myself a camera bracket from Waypoint3dDesign. It works great!

I sometimes use a simple ND filter on the GoPro. Tip: Get the protective lens covers and some ND, then cut the ND to fit into the lens cover. Does the job and makes it easy to change the necessary ND – and you have some lens covers for transport.

Speaking of transport: Thanks to my dear friend Liana, everything travels in style and safe in a nice Pelican 1650.

The video feed from either the FPV cam or the GoPro is fed live from the Discovery Pro to a small Lilliput 664/W monitor that has an integrated video receiver. No external devices necessary: just screw on the antenna and attach the battery. I chose the more expensive version of that monitor because it also has an HDMI input, many cheaper displays don’t have that option. If you’re thinking of buying a display with a built-in receiver, make sure the supported frequencies match those of your transmitter. The Lilliput I use is available in two versions.

I’ll get into deeper detail about UAVs/drones in a separate post.


Working primarily on live streams and Google Hangouts for the past 2+ years I’ve seen quite a few bits and pieces of audio and video hard- and software to get the jobs done. The most basic thing is of course just using your computer/notebook with its integrated webcam and a pair of headphones. But to get things started I like to use a SoundDevices USBPre 2 coupled with a Audio-Technica AT899 lav and a Logitech webcam C910/920/930.

If you want to improve your look, check out Blackmagic’s UltraStudio Mini Recorder or AJA’s IoXT to connect cameras or other video inputs. They both do a nice job, with the IoXT having the better software while you can’t beat the Mini Recorder’s form factor. Throw in an ATEM Television Studio, 1 M/E or 2 M/E Production Studio and you get a great deal of flexibility.


My main phone is an 64 GB iPhone 5s on T-Mobile. My german O2 SIM is mostly inactive these days but stored in a Nexus 4 running CyanogenMod nightlies. This way I keep up-to-date on the Android side of things as well.

I also have a Retina iPad mini with LTE using T-Mobile’s free 200 MB per month plan which is usually enough. If necessary I tether it to my phone or buy a few gigs of data.