So this is the bag I take with me everyday:
It's from a company called f-stop and this is one of their new Millar range. My philosophy with the gear I carry around daily is that I should be able to cover anything which comes up in whatever moment I come across, without having to carry a back-breaking amount of gear. I don't carry a DSRL with me because, to be brutally honest, my iPhone 6 Plus does a good enough job in capturing stills while I walk around, and I love the immediacy of being able to edit on the phone and post online on the go. Will this mean I will come across situations where I wish I had some decent glass on me to shoot stills? Sure. But my iPhone will cover most daily situations.
What it won't cover is video. The biggest reason for this, is that I only have the 16GB iPhone and I'm always running out of space, so video is not an option.
So back to the bag.
This is what's inside:
- The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera (with 64GB Sandisk Extreme Pro)
- Lumix 12-35mm f2.8
- Variable ND Filter (to control light and keep the aperture down)
- Extra batteries (EN-EL20's)
- Zacuto Z-Finder for BMPCC
- Manfrotto PIXI Tripod (which also doubles as a grip handle)
- Zoom H1 Audio Recorder (with pop filter)
- Rode Smart Lav (with Rode SC3 adapter)
- 1TB External Hard Drive
- Cold shoe adapter for mounting the Zoom off camera
- Soft cloth
- Business cards
With this little kit I can be very mobile whilst producing super high quality video if the need, or want, arises. I use the Zoom H1 to jack audio straight into the side of the Black Magic Pocket, because the onboard mic is only really good for reference audio. The table top tripod means that I can rest the camera on a surface for stable shots, or fold the legs together and use it like a grip. When you have the viewfinder against your face and you're holding the grip as shown here, you can actually achieve pretty stable run-and-gun shooting due to the two body contact points.
Of course it would be nice to have a series of fast primes but that defeats the object of keeping the kit small. I find that 12-35mm (36-105mm taking the crop factor into account) gives me all the range I want, and I can achieve f2.8 in any situation, even direct sunlight, thanks to the variable ND filter, and that is plenty. Speaking of direct sunlight; I have found the Zacuto to be essential with this camera for keeping with screen visible.
If I am recoding audio from someone speaking and really want to make sure I capture that well, then I pull out the Rode Smartlav.
By attaching the Smartlav to the Zoom H1 (you will need the SC3 adapter) and placing the Zoom in the pocket of whoever I happen to be interviewing, I can ensure that I won't miss a word. I have recorded audio like this in a loud club setting with people shouting and music blaring, and still been able to hear every word. I will need to sync audio in post, but this usually only takes a moment.
So for me this is a perfect little set up. The bag is small and light weight, even with all this kit; but if I found myself in a situation where I needed to film I am confident that I would be able to produce something of a very high quality. This would actually make the perfect roving reporter's bag in my opinion.
I'll leave you with a quick little video I shot with my wife in New York a couple of weeks ago, just on the spur of the moment because I had this set up with me: