What's In My Bag
Updated: Feb 25, 2020
I wanted to mix it up a bit and share what I am usually carrying around at gigs. Many people comment "wow that's so pro" or "whoa, that's a big lens" or even "that looks heavy" when they see the tools I'm using.
It's true, it is pro equipment, but it is how it's used that makes the difference. And yes, it is heavy - but like a musician who develops calluses, I'm a bit numb to the weight factor since it is just a necessary evil when it comes to properly doing my work. So here goes - my tour of my most used gear (and not necessarily every accessory) and some comments on each piece. I'll try to link everything so you can shop yourself.
Usually each gig requires different things. When it comes to video - the bag looks a lot different than a photo gig, and it often has a lot more moving parts to it.
My very first piece of gear I need to talk about is the tripod. It may not be the perfect tool for the job, but a good tripod goes a long way. Manfrotto makes generally good quality materials, and this tripod has not failed me once. If you've got a sharp eye, you'll notice I've wrapped some gaffer's tape around a leg of the tripod, incase I forgot the big roll. A neat trick that's saved me a couple times. If you're looking for more smooth footage while moving around, a good gimbal goes a long way - and the Zhiyun Crane 2 has delivered some silky smooth shots perfect for walkthroughs.
The next gear that always comes secondary to video is audio. I think it's as important as the video quality. I stay fairly active on forums where beginners always ask "what video camera should I buy" and list a bunch of specs - but what they aren't asking is "what audio equipment should I buy?".
If you follow me on Instagram (please do! My handle is @tsphotoyeg), you'll know I just bought a new shotgun microphone. This completes my audio gear for now. I have been a firm believer in Zoom field recorders and just upgraded to the H6 from the H4n. From a gear perspective, the H4n had a lot of quirks - so for the extra couple hundred bucks I leaned towards it's big brother, the H6. It connects via XLR cable to my new microphone, the Rode NTG-3. It came with stellar reviews from a number of YouTubers for flexible uses and its reputation preceded it. It has impressed me thus far! I mount the mic on a boom stand and have the option of attaching the wind destroying blimp and deadcat.
If my subject plans to be moving around a fair bit, I will often opt to "lav them up" or use my trusty Rode Smartlav+ and iPod Touch solution. The Smartlav+ is perfect for plugging into a device, and at $100, you cannot go wrong. I usually put an iPod touch into the subject's pocket and I'm off and running.
Then from the actual video gear side, my new workhorse is the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. The camera allows me to shoot in RAW - which allows me to adjust the exposure, temperature, and other things in post-production. Attached to it, among many other things, is a Canon 24-105 IS L which makes full use of image stabilizing technology to help me when I need it.
My Video B-Cam is now permanently my Canon 5d Mark IV which also performs amazingly as a stills camera. It captures 4k video - a huge upgrade from the 5d Mark II, which I owned years ago, and a sizeable upgrade from my grandfather stills camera, the 5D Mark III. All three cameras (with some help for the Blackmagic) accept EF Canon glass which I am a huge fan of. It's reliable, well-built, and predictable.
my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 which is hands-down my favorite lens for stills.
When it comes to video, the final important piece that gets overlooked is proper storage. While the Blackmagic P4K records to T5 SSDs (I have two, one 1 TB one 500GB), and can record up to 10 hours of footage without breaking a sweat, the 5D's require a bit more interesting solutions. I now use SD cards that can handle 4k footage in this case. But beyond actually capturing the footage, storing it permanently is a different story. I use a complex system of multiple external hard drives, of which the workhorses are the all-too-common LaCie Line. They are perfect for throwing into bags, travelling with, and working with. They're characterized by their bright orange bumper.
When it comes to stills, I am using the same glass as video (for now). Canon has a great reputation for producing a huge line of state-of-the-art lenses and I continue to trust them. As I mentioned before, I am having a hard time parting with my 5D mark III, which I, so far, have used the most for stills, but also held it's own in the video world until I upgraded to 4k for everything.
I am a man of simple pleasure when it comes to capturing stills, so I have a flash head, and my glass. These tools have served me well at events for years. I could upgrade more, but my business is leaning toward video - but my true love is in stills - that's what I started with, and will always be the backbone to my work.
Some good sturdy memory cards go a long way for stills, and they stay safe in a 4 card memory card case.
This is not an extensive list of everything I own. There is a mountain of batteries, accessories, and cables that runs everything smoothly, and there are specific parts to the P4K rig that aren't listed.
If you'd like to learn more about the tools I use, or need help shopping - please, feel free to drop me a line.