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Old March 31st, 2013, 01:26 PM   #1
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Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Urban Taxi/Subway Kit. The ultimate SPC challenge.

Imagine being a shooter in which the only viable option is what you can hand carry into a taxi cab or up/down subway steps.

What would your kit include?

Currently I have:
Sony EX1 with shotgun
Sachtler Carbon Fiber tripod with FSB6 head
Sennheiser G3 100 wireless lav or handheld (base and mic).

This alone weighs me down before I even consider a small light kit.
Although I have Litepanels Sola ENG and two Digital Juice Miniburst 128 and stands.

I have plenty of other gear but that goes beyond SPC limits.

Currently I can replace the Sony EX with Canon 60D which would mean taking a couple of lenses and a sound recording device. Ideally I'd prefer a real large sensor video camera such as a Canon C100 but I may want to avoid the expense.

Some restrictions to keep in mind (for me at least):
Many taxis in my area balk at picking you up if it looks like you can carry your gear into the back seat.
Subway steps can be a real killer in some areas.
Most of these are just interviews.

So what kind of kit or changes would you recommend.
Both weight and bulk matter.
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Old March 31st, 2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Couple of lights and a couple of stands. You can fit them in a bat bag. (http://www.amazon.com/Easton-Tote-Bag-Royal/dp/B000X1ZKBA/)

Outside of that... nothing, really.
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Old March 31st, 2013, 11:29 PM   #3
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

I use a Manfrotto 501HDV with 190XB legs (not the best, but lightweight) with my EX1R and I pack everything minus lighting equipment (since I don't own any) into a Cinebag backpack. (When I rent these out,) Wireless and shotgun mic (disassembled) even fits.

And because it's a backpack, it's less "heavy briefcase carrying" and more like a "camping trip" workout.
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Old March 31st, 2013, 11:42 PM   #4
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Interview? Manfrotto CF Tripod, 5diii, Wireless kit, have lens(s) picked ahead of time, manfrotto nano stand, and a couple little battery LED panels. You can fit all that in (tripod strapped to) a backpack.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Might need some help with the exact stipulations here... not fully understanding the whole thing about taxis balking at picking up people with baggage... does that mean they prefer you to have enough baggage that you'd probably want to load it in a trunk?

With steps, I assume that means that even a rolling case enough be light enough to lift easily.

For interviews, I like to have a minimum of two lights. YMMV.

I have a number of easily portable kit variants for interviews - I don't use public transportation often, but regularly have jobs in cities, universities, and hospitals with far-flung parking.

Kit#1: Pelican 1610 w/ padded dividers + tripod bag
P1610 fits: AF100, 3-6 lenses (m43 lenses are a godsend for portability), DP6, 2x Lowel Pro-Lights, shotgun mic, XLR cable, ECM44B, 2x Sennheiser wireless lavs, 3x Lowel light stands, inline dimmer, batteries, AC converter, spring clamps & other small grip gear, diffusion & CTB gels, small hand tools, lens cloths, other small bits

tripod bag fits: Tripod, RIFA 55, 2x 5-in-1 collapsible reflectors


Kit#2: Tamrac camera backpack (carry-on size), tripod bag
Tamrac pack fits: 2x Lowel Pro-Lights, HVX or 3 lenses + AF100 or GH2+Marantz 660 (each package roughly size-equivalent), wireless lav set, shotgun, collapsible reflectors, grip clamps, cards, batteries, and other small bits

tripod bag fits: smaller tripod, RIFA 55, dimmer, Lowell light stands, light umbrella

Kit#3: Messenger bag and a small tripod bag
messenger bag fits: GH2, 3 lenses, wireless lav kit, batteries, a few grip clamps, cards

small tripod bag fits: Tripod, RIFA 55 with stand, collapsible reflector
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Old April 1st, 2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

I do five camera concert shoots with equipment that I carry in a backpack. And I get to my venues via the "L" and bus.

As I get everything together for this weekend's shoots, I'll take some photos of my rig.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 10:48 PM   #7
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Kevin, I've found that if it looks like I have stuff that needs to go into a trunk, the taxis will pass me by. It's illegal but it's a common problem since they feel it slows them done (seriously like the extra minute is going to make a difference!).

BTW I heard of the "taxi kit" at a recent local meeting where a DP with significant major broadcast credits mentioned he has a "taxi kit" and said hand carry into a taxi.

I should state these are Yellow Cabs as car services don't care if you pack the trunk. They also cost significantly more. At the point I'd use a car service it would pay for me to hire an assistant (I have a regular for those circumstances).

Chris, 5 cameras in a backback? It must be a lot smaller than a Sony EX1 (and why I'm thinking of using DSLR) but even 5 of those would be a challenge. I suspect you're not bringing lights. Back in the day, I had no problem doing 3 or 4 cameras concert shoots with backpacks but each person carried their own gear. Again this is SPC. Just me going to a shoot and back. I'd certainly be curious how you manage 5 cameras, not that I'd use that solo.

Evan, when you say LED Panel do you mean a 1x1 or something smaller? 1x1 seems bulky (although not heavy).

Jack what you're doing isn't dissimilar to what I'm doing now. What it comes down to is the need for lights becomes the straw that can break this camel's back as it were. Once I consider lights everything has to come down a notch it weight and bulk.
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Old April 1st, 2013, 11:05 PM   #8
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Chris, 5 cameras in a backback? It must be a lot smaller than a Sony EX1 (and why I'm thinking of using DSLR) but even 5 of those would be a challenge. I suspect you're not bringing lights. Back in the day, I had no problem doing 3 or 4 cameras concert shoots with backpacks but each person carried their own gear. Again this is SPC. Just me going to a shoot and back. I'd certainly be curious how you manage 5 cameras, not that I'd use that solo.
1 Canon XH-A1, 3 Canon HF-S100s, 1 Canon HF-200 (and 2 GoPro HD Hero 2s). I'm running two manually, two on remote pan-tilt heads and one fixes wide. The Heros go on the drums. I monitor all except the wide via a quad split. The backpack includes cables, tripods, mini-clamps, mic stand, audio mixer, quad-split. mics, etc. The only things not in the backpack are my laptop and monitor, that I have in a laptop bag.

It's a very big backpack, but I can take it on the bus and train. It weighs a lot, but it's much less hassle than a cart.

Here's one of my five camera solo shoots. But it was from before I added the GoPros:

http://youtu.be/4fV-sVbb2_k
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 06:19 AM   #9
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Hey Chris, I was going to say it had to be a pretty big backpack! ;-)

Durty Nellies is less than 10 minutes from my house. I used to be over that way a lot. Next time you're around let me know, if I'm available I'll swing by. Like to see your set up!
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

I don't have the whole schedule nailed down yet, but I'm shooting and editing approximately 23 concerts over the next three months. I loved shooting at Durty Nellie's, but I might be shooting this season's shows at a different venue. I'll let you know.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 01:35 PM   #11
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

sounds good. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 08:59 PM   #12
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Here's my kit.

There are two flaps covering the tripod compartment. The outer one is filled with quilted compartments that hold a dozen vibration absorber pads to decouple the tripod feet from the floor. The inner flap has pockets for bags that hold mic cables, power cords and video cables. The three inner compartments of the body hold tripods, the mic stand, clamps, two pan-tilt heads and other things.

The upper compartment holds three bags - one for four cameras and power supplies, the other for a tiny Rolls mixer, a quad split, my GoPros, clamps and power supplies. The last bag holds my XH-A1 (the microphone broke before the bag was built.)

The whole rig weighs 65 lbs.
Attached Thumbnails
Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-backpack_closed.bmp   Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-backpack_partially_open.jpg  

Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-backpack_fully_open.jpg   Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-backpack_top_compartment.jpg  

Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-backpack_cameras_and_extras.jpg   Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-p1010113.jpg  

Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-p1010126.jpg   Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge-p1010119.jpg  

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Old April 3rd, 2013, 05:54 AM   #13
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Chris, you certainly are a master at packing gear. I've done shoots not too dissimilar to yours in the past.... with three people though.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 11:42 AM   #14
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Chris, you certainly are a master at packing gear.
Thanks, although the design and construction of the backpack and the bags was done by a friend of mine. It's built on an external frame backpack that I've had for years.

The advantage of this format is that I can walk the equipment for a five camera shoot (seven if you count the GoPros) through a CTA turnstile.

Quote:
I've done shoots not too dissimilar to yours in the past.... with three people though.
Labor is the biggest cost of a shoot. The only way I can service my market and make a profit is to do as much of the work as possible by myself. And, like a lot of people here, finding someone who frames well, adjusts exposure properly and keeps things in focus is difficult...and it's easier to just go ahead and do it myself.

My joke is that I've managed to find a business model for ADHD.

Last edited by Chris DeVoe; April 3rd, 2013 at 12:48 PM.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 02:18 PM   #15
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Re: Urban Taxi/Subway Kit Challenge

I have been shooting interviews in NYC on my own as well, car service from Brooklyn to Manhattan and hail a cab back, no problems. My set up is:

- Pelican case with wheels, containing two dslr's, 4 lenses, extra batteries, sd cards, lens cleaning kit, GoPro, and small tools.
In a duffle bag I carry:
- small 'laptop' size hard case with two sets of Lav mics, Tascam portable recorder, zoom H1 and audio cables
- two 'on-camera lights' and batteries
- slate
- chewing gum
And a third bag with two and half tripods, a Manfrotto, Sachtler Ace, and a Gorilla pod for the GoPro

All together is heavy indeed. going up and down the steps and loading in the trunk of a cab in the middle of a busy rush hour Manhattan Ave. in the rain ... pricelss! But I get it done, I charge cab fares to the client and the interviews come out quite good.
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