Roller or backpack for run and gun style at

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Old November 23rd, 2008, 03:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 388
Roller or backpack for run and gun style

As my kit expands, it's time to consider a new bag I shoot mostly on-the-road and have been living out of an old SLR camera bag but it's getting cramped. I've used photo backpacks in the past but have found they are easily overloaded to the point that it's unhealthy to carry that much weight.

I almost never fly and although I have a couple of Pelican cases for my SLR gear I rarely use them in the field as they are impractical to work out of and a bit of overkill for working out of your auto trunk.

Right now I'm carrying: HV 20 (soon, hopefully, to be an EX-1), power supplies, cables, mics, headphones, assorted gaffing stuff, 15 in laptop and external drive.

So I was wondering what others are using for run and gun type situations. What works for you and why?
Bob Kerner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 24th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Harare Zimbabwe
Posts: 162
What's "run and gun?"

You guys talk about "run and gun" a lot... what do you mean by this? I work in news - so 99% of the time I fly to the story (JVC 111 camera and MacBook Pro in a Portabrace, with the charger, radio mic set, hand held mic, and a spare battery so that at least I can work if the rest of my bags go to Bogota). The rest of my kit travels in a Pelican case, and the tripod (a Vinten 6) goes in it's bag, packed around with clothes. Total load 27 kgs in the hold, 12kgs on my shoulder. Borderline for most airlines, but negotiable.

Once I hit the ground, I carry a back pack with the following:

2 batteries
5 tapes
hand held mic with radio TX block
Sony ECm 77 lapel mic
survival kit (GPS/trauma dressing/tourniquet/toilet paper/first aid kit)
Book (whatever I'm reading - for those long stake outs)
iPod and headphones.
Petzl Zipka head torch
tool kit for camera repairs
baseball cap
toothbrush and toothpaste

In my camera-vest I have a cleaning kit, earbud style headphones, a little tube of suncream, smokes and lighter, 3 phones, chewing gum, Moleskin notebook and pens...

The camera goes over my shoulder. On a Petrol strap.

If I'm somewhere really dusty, or got a long journey, I'll take the Portabrace camera bag, and put the camera on the back seat of the vehicle in that.

I leave my MacBook, BGAN satellite phone, and all the other stuff back at the hotel, locked in the Pelicase. If I have to take it with me, it all goes in the Pelican in the trunk. Usually it stays put at the hotel where I'm operating from.

I reckon with this load, I can run up a mountain, and shoot 5 hours of material. That's good enough for me.

Is this what you mean by "run and gun"?
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Old November 24th, 2008, 10:40 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lielvārde, Latvia
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I don't know, what it means for others, but for me it's usually:
Kata BP-502 backpack with camera, bcam, audio recorder, two mics, 7 tapes, spare battery for each cam and audio recorder, headphones, head flashlight, rope, cables, rain cover, lens cleaning pen, and other small stuff, a Tiffen Steady Stick on the outside.

Possibly also a tripod in a separate shoulder bag, but I try to avoid it, if I'm going alone, too much weight.

Don't carry a laptop. Don't fly.

For lighter setup I use Kata CC- 193, it's good if you need only camera and maybe one other peripheral.

If I take just my HV20, I just put it in a small special bag or put it in a usual shoulder bag for less visibility. :)
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Old November 24th, 2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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Location: New York
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By run and gun, I mean being portable as opposed to setting up in a studio. Essentially carrying my kit with me, either on my shoulder or in my car. In most instances, I carry my laptop with me so I can start editing without waiting to arrive home, so in that respect carrying the laptop is a luxury not an outright necessity.

A typical day looks like this: throw gear in the car and drive off to where the subject is. Unpack gear and hump it in to shoot what I need. Some days I'm primarily indoors, others outside. I have a giant Pelican case that I keep chained to the cargo area of my car for security, but it's very impractical to move around with a hard case in a crowd and wheeling into a setting with it screams out "look at me!"

The size of kit isn't so much what I'm after, as much as peoples' experience using roller cases for field work. I can see their value wheeling though an airport but it's not like you can also throw it over your shoulder and go on walkabout in the city and still shoot with any level of spontaneity.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lielvārde, Latvia
Posts: 326
I have no experience with rollers, because, frankly, neither our city infrastructure is good enough to rely that you can roll everywhere, and I also mostly hike.

But you can attach a trolley to, for example, most Kata shoulder bags and backpacks, so you can use it either as a backpack or a roller, depending on the situation.
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