Leading on from my last post about the portable backup solution, I thought i'd compile a list of random bits of camera gear that are a must in the studio/ on location!
Some of these you may already have but some you may not have considered or even know about. Hope there's something on here that will help you out!
So lets get started, in no particular order!
1. Protection for your cards.
This is an obvious one, you need something solid to protect your SD/CF cards. I've seen pros keep them in sandwich bags, which I must admit flustered me.. In the end of the day, if you are shooting outside of a studio environment then things can change on you at any given moment. You might have to rush off of a location and packup quickly or get caught out by the weather. The protection isn't just for the sake of organization but to keep your cards safe from impact and getting water damage. So if you have to packed up quickly and move to the next shot, you don't have to worry about your back being crammed shut or having things dumped on top of it.
There's two ways to go with this, off brand protection that works pretty well or top shelf it with Pelican so you have peace of mind that no matter what your cards will be safe.
Chances are you have batteries coming out of every pocket in your kit bag. If you're anything like me then you need AA/AAA/9V Batteries constantly, whether it be for microphones, lighting or flashguns you're forever doing the math on whether you have enough batteries.
You can have two departments in your bag, one for full and one for empty but it's easy for these to get mixed up. Having this cheap solution means you can quickly test your batteries on the spot to make sure you don't get caught short whilst shooting.
This should go without saying but if you haven't already taken the leap into investing in some decent rechargeable batteries in each category then you really should. I can remember the days where I realized on the morning of a shoot that some of the batteries I had lined up are either dead or have gone missing ( Damn kids toys and the endless need for batteries..) The amount of times I dashed into Tesco or a petrol station to buy more in the early hours. Well now for the most part I don't have to worry. Even though they are initially more expensive, even if you go for the top brand you only have to use the batteries twice to save money. As a photographer/ cinematographer you'll reap the benefits in no time!
Now you get this stuff in pretty much every box you buy these days so you can save yourself some money by having an old coffee tin near to where you generally open up your packages so you can chuck them in there and save them.
You already know these are to there to absorb any moisture so it's self explanatory as to why you may want to start using these.
I'll give you an example from a shoot I was just on. I was filming in an EXT. location during torrential rain. I had my Pelican Air case with my two camera bodies, batteries, lenses and backup mic in. The case means that my gear is completely protected from the elements, but whilst shooting it's inevitable that my lenses/ camera bodies got some water on them. Especially when shooting with a Mic, the wind protection is bound to absorb some of the moisture. So when I packed my gear away at the end of the shoot and chucked it in my car I have now locked in that moisture. My peli case is foam lined so that will now absorb and distribute the moisture. If left unattended that could then turn into mold that will A. ruin the lining and could start to smell but more importantly it could spread to your lenses and other gear.
Simple solution? Have a few packets of Silica Gel spread around your case to absorb that extra moisture. This isn't a complete solution as you should still take your gear out to clean/ dry when you get home but some moisture in the lining is a lot harder to sort!
So start saving those packets up or buy a load HERE.
5. Portable Power
These power banks have surged (No pun intended) over the last few years. The capacity, speed and additional features of these have grown exponentially. Some allow you to keep them charged via solar power whilst others let you hook up mains plugs or double up as a wireless router.
The most important thing for me is the power aspect. Now there's so many to choose from and variables to take into account for different applications. I'll write an article just about power banks to cover all of these topics at some point but for the purpose of this list lets just say that you can never have enough backup power and you want something trustworthy.
You can buy usb fed charging plates for all kinds of batteries these days. I have them for my Canon DSLRS, Sony Mirrorless and even my gopro/ drone batteries. So now if I'm stuck somewhere without access to a wall socket I can have my backup batteries charging whilst I work in my bag. Also I can relax on shoots where I'm using my phone to operate a drone or time-lapse software, knowing that I can keep it topped up whenever I need that extra power.
You can spend as little as £10 on these but I would suggest spending around £30 to get a solid, high capacity power bank with multiple USB outputs and high speed charging capabilities.
So these may well seem obvious but I know a lot of people who overlook these things and I will be doing a few more parts showing other gear that I find useful. If you have any suggestions of your own as always your emails are welcome!
Keep an eye out for more blog posts and an update to these series.
As always thanks for taking the time to visit my site!