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class="style5" Equipment Package

Published : 1st December 2004

>HI Fellow CML'ers.

>I am off to Haiti in the near future to shoot a doc on the rebuilding. I have been around the world shooting news and documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the last 6 years or so. I have gone from upwards of 17 cases of gear to packing enough in a backpack for a 4 week shoot. I am just putting this out there, and hoping for feedback: Other then some of the obvious gear (camera, sticks, power blah blah blah) What is the one piece of production gear you would not go out on a shoot with? I never go anywhere with out my matte box which usually has 1/8 ProMist warming and a polarizer in it. Any other suggestions?

>Thanks, very curious to see what others think.

>Sat Nandlall
Cameraman, Toronto Canada


>Hi,

>I never ever go on a shoot without a 12" x 12" chamois leather, you can use it as a lens wipe, change hot bulbs with it, mop brows of sweating subjects (and yours!!) the possibilities are endless. even use as an emergency towel, weighs next to nothing too. Wash it and use it again and again. Rubbing it in your hands profusely to soften it after washing.

>Dan Shaw.


>Sat Nandlall writes:

class="Paragraph">>I have gone from upwards of 17 cases of gear to packing enough in a >backpack for a 4 week shoot.

>Yikes! Can you tell us what you DO put in that backpack? How big is the pack? (Make and model?)

>And what cameras do you use on those 4-week shoots? Do they fit in the backpack?

>Do you use carbon-fibre sticks? What lightweight heads have you found to be the best for your purposes?

>Guess you must shoot available light -- do you carry collapsible reflectors, or what?

class="Paragraph">>What is the one piece of production gear you would not go out on a >shoot with?

>I assume you mean "without."

>With a PD-150-size camera I wouldn't go without a spare full-size battery, in case the camera should be left inside its case with its main power switch on.

>Given the huge running times of those batteries it's tempting to go without a spare. Don't!

>I've made up some extremely lightweight AC extensions -- which I use for interview situations and lighting smallish spaces, since I don't use lights over 250W.

>For bounce lighting I've found the super-efficient 250W Rifa light with its diffuser removed to be close to a typical 500w in terms of actual light output. (Yes, I check the bare bulb carefully for any signs of weakening or blistering.)

>For talking heads I usually clip two layers of grid cloth over the diffuser to cut down the intensity, tilt the head downward a bit, and let the cloth drape down at least a foot to enlarge the diffusion area.

>I use Bogen 7-foot ultra-light aluminium stands, which also have very comfortable, plastic wing nuts.

>Daniel Shaw writes:

class="Paragraph">>I never ever go on a shoot without a 12" x 12" chamois leather, you can >use it as a lens wipe,... mop brows of sweating subjects

>Better do it in that order and not the other way 'round!

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>I always have a camera battery fast charger that works off a car cigar lighters kit.

>Rickie Gauld
LC England
--
Rickie & Jennie Gauld-

>Rickie Gauld, Film/TV Lighting Cameraman
Jennie Gauld, Wardrobe/Costume dept.


>I had to do a 4 week shoot in India. Because of visa issues, I decided to shoot it on a PD-150. I had minimal audio and lighting. Ended up with amazing pixs and a pretty good story. I had to appear as a tourist in order to shoot this project. . .

>I have three reflector/diffusers that I never go anywhere without. As much as I like lighting, I love it when natural light can be used to its full effect. . .Dramatic, soft, etc. etc.

>I often wonder what a DOP like Nigel Meakin uses when he shoots something like those excellent Michael Palin series.

>Sat Nandlall
Cameraman, Toronto Canada


> Sat Nandlall writes:

class="Paragraph">>I decided to shoot it on a PD-150. I had minimal audio and lighting. >Ended up with amazing pic's and a pretty good story. I had to appear as >a tourist in order to shoot this project. . .

>I'm still at the edge of my seat, waiting to find out more about what you did and didn't take along. I'm about 80% of the way through a year-long PD-150 doc shoot that has required us to travel very light and pass for tourists, so I'm interested in comparing notes.

>Our basic kit for two people is:

>- PD150 & VX2000 with batteries, lav mics and accessories (in two shoulder bags -- one per person)

>- One carry-on rolling suitcase containing a complete interview lighting kit (4 lights, 4 stands, clamps, gels, etc.), 1 camera charger, and some basic audio gear. No mixer. (if we need to record more than 2 channels we run both cameras.)

>- Personal rolling suitcase for one of us, containing Bogen 3011 tripod with 501 head in addition to clothing & personal items.

>C'est tout!

>(The VX2000 is our backup and B camera. The color finder is sometimes essential, as is the Studio One audio interface box we use with this camera. The box (which has a ground-lift switch) provides a degree of electrical isolation from connected equipment that we don't enjoy with the PD150.)

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


class="style7">>I often wonder what a DOP like Nigel Meakin uses when he shoots >something like those excellent Michael Palin series."

>Perhaps a dozen cases full of Arri SR parts and accessories.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


>Do you think? Going by one of the production stills, He shoots with an Aaton Super 16 XTR Prod.

>Sat Nandall


>Hi Dan,

>I had the PD-150 with a wide angle adapter, two tram lav mics, a Sennheiser shotgun, a cheap bogen tripod, 30 tapes, 4 batteries and my trusty reflectors. This all fit into my luggage and my backpack. I then transferred everything I needed into the backpack when I got on location and viola! I was a doc crew of one. . . Not the ideal way to work. I usually shoot Digi beta, and there where times I really wanted the latitude on that particular shoot. . . Is it an experience I want to relive? The jury is out on that one. I know I can do it and get pretty good results, I just don't let on to too many people.

>Sat Nandlall
Camera, Toronto Canada


>Sat Nandlall writes:

class="style7">>a cheap bogen tripod,

>Which one? Which head?

class="style7">>4 batteries

>And the charger?

class="style7">>I know I can do it and get pretty good results, I just don't let on to too >many people.

>Gotcha!

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


SILICA GEL....as much as you can get your hands on. We sent a camera down there recently and it crapped out a few times because of humidity...


Steve Halle
National Film Board of Canada


>One carry-on rolling suitcase containing a complete interview lighting kit >(4 lights, 4 stands, clamps, gels, etc.)

>Hello Dan,

>What kind of lights exactly? Is this kit also your usual kit or is just on this particular project? Any additional explanation as to why this type of lighting rather than any other type.

>Appreciate.

>Thanks

>Emmanuel, London

Camera Assistant - Focus Puller
Munich - London

www.suys.de


class="style7">>a cheap bogen tripod,

>Which one? Which head?

>I don't remember the exact model. It was aluminium and small enough to collapse into my luggage, but extended tall enough so I could work comfortably. The head was a lightweight fluid head, that was OK. The style I usually shoot means I was not worried about great big moves.

class="style7">>4 batteries

>And the charger? The charger was the AC-VQ800 battery charger. . . Worked great.

>What is the project you are working on Dan?

>Best,

>Sat Nandlall
Camera, Toronto Canada


>Emmanuel from London/Munich writes:

class="style7">>One carry-on rolling suitcase containing a complete interview lighting kit >(4 lights, 4 stands, clamps, gels, etc.)

>It's a kit I made up for this particular project, which is heavy on the talking heads.

>1 - 250-W Lowell RIFA light, w/ some grid cloth to cut down the intensity & spread the surface area.

>3 - Lowell L-lights with 50-watt/120V outdoor-type encapsulated-halogen PARs, barndoors, diffusion, etc.
Large sheets of Reflectix insulation, to use as reflectors and Rifa
barndoors, intensifiers, etc.

>I've replaced the heavy cords on these lights with very light-weight cords and in-line switches. So far, no problems.

>In 220V countries I've been running two 120V L-lights in series, which gives me more light than the equivalent wattage in 240V bulbs.

>I may replace one of the L-lights with a second RIFA. Not sure yet.

class="style7">>Any additional explanation as to why this type of lighting rather than any >other type.

>Mainly compactness, light weight and flexibility. And the outdoor-type encapsulated-halogen PARs project nice window shade and abstract patterns on the back wall (without a gobo!) when the barndoors are narrowed down to a slit.

>Overall I've been getting excellent performance out of this kit.

>You can see one example at  :
http://members.aol.com/ddrasin/nogobo.jpg

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Steve Halle writes:

class="style7">>We sent a camera down there recently and it crapped out a few times >because of humidity...

>What kind of camera? From all reports, the PD150 will run where others (DVX100, etc.) won't.

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Hi All,

>Late reply - just back from a shoot in the wilds of South Dakota where I was happy to have my trusty pocket inverter! This lets me charge batteries from the van while moving about. Radio shack sells a cigarette pack-sized 60 watt version that plugs directly into a lighter socket. Pack one of these, along with a cube tap and alligator clip adaptor and you will have reliable 110v power almost anywhere.

>In rural India last year, where the mains power was only on for a few hours per night, my larger 200w. inverter saved the shoot. Using the alligator clips, I was able to connect the inverter to a locally purchased car battery and charge my camera batteries without interruption (trickle charge the car battery during the day).

>An essential piece of kit for piece of mind1

>Best,
Alan Jacobsen
DP - NYC (and beyond)


>A few things to add to the list :

>Luggage tags

>If I'm to do any lighting whatsoever a roughly 4'x4' piece of duvateen and one of bleached muslin, and a few pony clips : indispensable to control natural light.

>Hooded sunscreen for flip LCD screen on small cameras Ibuprofen (and/or other drugs of choice)

>I do know some DP´s that carry powder for that nasty shine...

>best

>Byron Shah
DP LA


>Byron Shah writes :

class="style7">>I do know some DP's that carry powder for that nasty shine

>I carry several different shades of pressed (pan-cake style) makeup that come in mirrored compacts with enclosed puffs.

>They take up very little space.

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA