Approaching travel, may it be for work or leisure, is always a stressful moment for filmmakers. What should I bring? And if I need this adapter? Or that accessory? It’s always tough, more if you are headed to a secluded location, maybe a park or a mountain hike, or in any place where you can’t just walk down the block and look for a store or put an address for 1-day shipping.
You need to plan ahead, gather info on the places, what kind of current, the wheater, the path you’ll follow and so on. Spoiler alert, usually I end up always bringing too much stuff. Filmmaker Sidney Diongzon shares his toughs on the matter, showing us how he proceeds to pack his bag.
So, first things first, we should start with a backpack we can use to fit everything inside. There are many models and makers, that makes difficult to pinpoint a specific one, but we can highlight a few examples, like the ThinkTank Airport Essentials or the Brevite Roamer backpack.
Whatever you choose, however, you should check for space and paddings inside so to not risk breaking your gear. If you travel in a plane size is a concern too. It may seem superfluous to say, but a bit of good advice would be to not check in the lenses or any of the fragile gear you carry with you.
A backpack that can accommodate also a few clothes becomes quite necessary in this case, and if you can afford a second bag in the cabin go for it, something like the Hamilton Perkins Earth Bag could do the trick, it’s nice and spacious, made of recycled bottles, and has a laptop compartment on the bottom. Having bags in the cabin will avoid the risk of losing the checked baggage or the wait upon arrival.
But what should we carry in our bag? Well, the essential can be broken down to a small list:
There are some goodies beyond that, but we’ll see them later. Sidney’s choice is a nice full-frame mirrorless, the ubiquitous SonyA7III. It’s compact, lightweight and when paired with a Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens, it becomes a nice all-rounder. In case you need throw inside a couple of primes and you’re good to go.
To get your shots nice and steady a tripod is required, the MeFOTO Globetrotter Tripod is nice and lightweight being made in carbon, and has a fancy inverted closing system that makes it very compact when closed. For your audio, you can go with a Rode VideoMic Pro, a basic and effective mic with no frills providing the mandatory windscreen in case you shoot outdoors. Finally, a small light, just in case you need that little punch, and that’s what the Aputure MW LED Light was made for.
A couple of things that are not in the essential list, but should not go in the goodies list either, are a computer and a hard drive. Having your laptop allows you to offload the cards, organize your media and back it up once you get to your hotel, so to be safe from failures or data loss.
It’ not so important the brand or the OS, you should go with your preferred one, but a lightweight laptop paired with a rugged hard drive like the MacBook Pro and the Lacie Rugged you see here would be excellent choices.
Did you say goodies? Here we go. How many times did you check in the hotel room only to find you had two outlets and one of those was for the TV? Not few, right? So the first not essential but very useful item would be a power strip. With it, you can charge phone, laptop, camera, and lights all in one while using just a single travel adapter.
The NTONPOWER 3-Port USB Power Strip has the nice add-on of the USB ports to charge directly your phone and has the cord wrapping around thus avoiding the leftover cable to dongle around. The DockCase MacBook Pro Power Adapter instead works only for Apple users, but it’s worth noting it. Adding on top of the Macbook charger, it gives you a couple of USB-A charging ports and most important a quick charge one.
If you plan to move around a lot, a power bank is absolutely necessary. The Anker PowerLITE is a beast with its 20000mh charge and can revive your phone up to 7 times more or less, but anyone will do.
Last but not least, a pair of headphones is also a must. Whatever kind you use, bring them with you (well, unless they are the lighting kind. In that case bring a spare 3.5mm adapter). Having the ability to listen to a podcast or watch a movie while traveling will be great, and if needed you’ll be able to check the camera output.
So, there you go with the essential list, pack it up and go shoot!