I think the best part of location work is the constant stream of challenges that comes our way, no two shoots are the same and everything and anything can throw up issues; from changing light to uneven ground, right through to sporadic rain and gunfire (I’ll get to that).
All the above means that our location kit needs to be as varied as Bear Grylls rucksack or a Swiss Army knife. I’ve written a little about the bits of kit I can’t seem to live without whilst on location.
First off is my location case, this is a pelican 1510 filled with G-technology, Trekpak and Tether Tools kit – that means I can rock up to any shoot, open the lid and start shooting tethered (straight from computer to laptop) the kit is currently in its rebuild and I’m going to up the ante by including a wireless router and some extra power solutions, but for the moment it looks like this…
- 2 x G-Technology 512gb SSD eV drives
- USB 3.0 hub
- Hyperjuice external battery
- 4 x tether tools cables & tether boost
- 3 x external battery packs for charging phones etc
- Screen shade
- Medicines, torch, ear plugs, etc etc.
My second bit of location kit I couldn’t do without is my Profoto B1 lights, they have no cables and are fully controllable from the air remote (trigger on camera) this means that these can be put in awkward areas and dragged to places where I couldn’t get other things to before, they are lighter and the batteries last well. I am in touch with Profoto every week about making a more powerful version, I would probably kill for a 1000w version. These lights also has some advanced features such as HSS and Freeze mode which cuts the flash duration right down (at the sake of colour consistency)
Location work requires a varied tool bag of various things and this is mine, it includes things over the years that have rescued shoots and have got me out of technical scraps when gear fails.
- Screw drivers
- Adjustable wrench
- Allen keys / torx
- Gaffa tape (Pro Gaff) j
- Head torch
- Bungee cords
- Zip ties
- Manfrotto Magic arm
My bit of kit I’ve probably found the most useful over the years has been my leatherman surge, personally I think that everyone should have a leatherman, they’re strong and the tools are incredibly useful, they also back it up with a proper lifetime guarantee – when you break it they will replace it for as long as you have it. I’ve bent a blade before and had the knife replaced within a week.
The last two bits of kit I’m going to talk about are fairly obvious as to why they are useful, my military Walkie talkies which go to my assistant and myself so we can keep in contact quietly and secondly my Zacuto Z-finder which I’ve had for years and is still going strong – it’s a loupe to block extraneous light from hitting the viewfinder so you can actually see the rear screen in bright conditions – it also magnifies the image.
So those are my main bits of location kit I can’t seem to live without, what you have in your kit bag is a really personal mix and everyone’s is different – I’m always open to suggestions so leave a comment and let me know what your top location gear is!