Your advice on equipment list - 3 mths trip from China to Germany at

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).

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Old April 8th, 2009, 11:02 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 3
Your advice on equipment list - 3 mths trip from China to Germany

Hello all,

Two of us will be traveling overland from Beijing, China to Berlin, Germany this summer to shot a road documentary. I would like all of your inputs and advice on the list of equipment to take on this trip. I'm not a professional videographer having only shot about 80 tapes so your advice is highly appreciated.

There are two of us but only one will be shooting at a time. We would like to travel as light as possible since it'll all go on our backs.

1x Canon XH A1
1x Canon or Sony HD Hard Disk Handheld
2x BP 970G battery for XH A1,
2x Battery for the Handheld
1x 0.8 wide angle - don't have it yet due to the price, how critical do you think it is to have?

1x Condenser Mic
1x Set of lavalieres

1x Acer or HP netbook with firewire adapter
2x 500GB 2.5inch portable harddrive
Can anyone tell me if they are capable of running video applications that will upload to portable hard drives? Premiere CS3 too much to ask? If not what other software then? I won't be editing but just digitizing and backing it up as we will probably send the tapes to Germany via Fedex on the road.

150x DV tapes (buy more on the road if needed)
1x Tripod
1x Raincover
1x Charger

Also, should I buy a Tenba Shootout backpack to put everything? I currently have a shoulder bag with dual zipper top opening.

Would love to hear your suggestions!
Kyle Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rossland, British Columbia
Posts: 1,022
Hi Kyle,
Wow, sounds like a pretty neat trip you are undertaking!
The camera gear sounds good that you're taking, maybe a shotgun would be a good idea also. Out of curiosity, why are you planning on using a HDD camera for your second camera? These will generally be in an AVCHD format, which is a bit of a pain to edit unless you have a pretty beefy computer & the right NLE. Also, if a hard disc fails, you have no backup of your material. Maybe a HV40 would be the go. They are still a miniDV tape based camera, & should cut in reasonably well with the XHA1. Of course you then have a tape backup of whatever you have shot.
On to the tapes. If you are planning on taking 150 tapes, with the idea of buying more along the way if needed, & you are planning on backing everything up on to the portable hard drives, then you would need atleast double the amount of HDD space to backup all those tapes.
As far as backing the tapes themselves up to the laptop. I would look at simply using HDVsplit. It is a free program that will do the job without any hassle at all. The files will be saved in their original M2T format, so dragging them in to the NLE down the track should be no problem at all. Might also be worth taking a spare firewire cable too just incase the one you have dies on you along the way.
You would also need a charger for each of the two cameras you take as they will have different batteries.
As far as wide angle adaptors go, it may be worth researching the Century adaptors, as they will be a lot lighter than the Canon WA.
I'm sure others here will have lots more info than what i can offer so stay tuned for that.
All the best with the trip,
There's never enough hours in the day!
Bryce Comer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
I agree--I'd stick with one format. If you want a small single chip camera, go with the HV30.
You might want to get Final Cut Pro, or Final Cut Express if you don't want to spend that much and offload your footage that way. You could even do some rough cutting while traveling.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 8th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Bothell Washington
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You will need various options for charging your batteries. A good 12 volt car adapter and a voltage converter for foreign travel.

Also you need more than 2 batteries for each camera, what do you do if you drop one?

Also I would include a car camera mount (this is where you need a wide angle lens).
Mark Boyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 11th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #5
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Location: Milton Keynes, UK
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If you're putting it on your back - get a backpack, not shoulder bag. Your spine will love you for it.
Nick Gordon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 11th, 2009, 07:55 AM   #6
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Posts: 48
2 x ND Filters.
1 Polarizing filter.
Lens cleaning kit.
Power point adaptor for your electric plugs (check the countries you will be going through and make sure it will fit their power sockets).
If anything uses AA or AAA size batteries look at getting rechargeable batteries and a charger (cheaper and less weight).
Small camera mounted light (with all those interesting places there are bound to be times when it will come in useful.

I consider this next one really important (you don't want to get somewhere and find you have left something at the previous stop) -

A COMPLETE equipment list.
Print a list of everything (and I do mean everything), including consumables, filters, batteries, cables, cleaning kit, etc. by item name and quantity. Have boxes next to each item which you can tick to show when you took it out of its bag AND when you put it back. (you can include a box for each consumable, which shows how many are left). Print three copies, laminate them, keep one (which mark each time you use equipment) and keep two in other bags in case the first one gets lost. Since there are 2 of you, it would be useful to have a box showing who took each item and who put it back (saves argument and helps remind who was using it.

Also get a couple of grease pencils so you can annotate the list. Might sound like a lot of trouble, but when it is 10 at night after a long hot dusty day and you have just finished a shoot, you will be eternally grateful that you have it as a way of checking everything is there and you didn't leave the only mike cable on the cafe table 200 miles back.
Colin Reid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2009, 12:34 AM   #7
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Location: Winnipeg Canada
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Originally Posted by Colin Reid View Post
didn't leave the only mike cable on the cafe table 200 miles back.
extra mic cable!!!!!! or a soldering kit...
also, duct tape, a multi-tool, and maybe a shoulder brace...
deadcat for mic...
headphones to check sound.
head cleaning tape.
cheap sleeping bag sac to store camera and keep it dust free.
Brian David Melnyk is offline   Reply

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