A side effect of dropping into NAB for an hour last week was that I visited the Redrock Micro booth, since it was they who got me the comp pass to visit the show. As it turns out, they were also running a 10% off promotion during the show on everything they sell, so it seemed like a good time to get the matte box that I wanted.
A matte box does two things: Keep light off the lens and give you a place to put filters. It was hard to believe when I first started looking into adding one to my kit, that some cost thousands of dollars. Thousands! I'm used to pro gear not being cheap. I get it. Limited production and high quality result in high cost. But there was no way I'd pay that. Fortunately, Redrock has a whole line of stuff that is high quality, without being ridiculous. Last year I got my follow focus and a set of rods from them, and I was totally satisfied. They make nice stuff.
So some time before I finally shoot my short (I've got notes, there's a plot forming!), I still need a decent monitor, and probably a shock mount and fish pole for my shotgun mic. Most of the stuff I own now can be mixed and matched, so I'm not horribly locked in to any particular camera. The support rods, matte box and follow focus in particular are all pieces that I can use forever. I haven't figured out audio recording though if I continue on with the DSLR. Beachtek makes a little box that takes XLR inputs, has phantom power, and injects a high frequency noise into the camera to keep its auto gain from jumping around (my 7D has no meters or audio adjust), but it's $400 and if I move on to some other camera, I won't need it anymore.
If I really enjoy making the short, and decide to move on to something feature length, I'd really like to sell my HVX200 and get the AF100 (plus Birger engineering's lens mount, if it ever materializes as real). Then I can use all of my Canon lenses. Heck, it will even be practical to shoot casually in a normal form factor with that. But one step at a time... I need to demonstrate that the toys can help me tell stories first! I plan to do a lighting and color grading test with the current setup as soon as Diana will be my model.