As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently traveling around the world and shooting the experience with the 5D Mark 2. I have a travel blog located here, which has taken up the majority of my blogging efforts. I have been on the road for nearly five months traveling throughout Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia.
I was compelled to leave a lot of gear at home due to the long term nature of our trip. While not completely comprehensive, I have put together a list of gear that I feel is essential for such a trip.
- Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly Travler - Great tool to add some simulated dolly movement to your shots. A little bulky to carry around but it is completely worth it when I break it out. Kessler was great about getting this to me when I was in Australia. They just came out with version 2, which looks even better.
- Rode Video Mic - Great tool for getting high quality camera audio. The internal mic of the 5D Mark 2 isn't the best and this Rode Mic more than makes up for it. I also have the wind screen called the Dead Cat that comes in handy on windy days. I use this when I don't have time to mic someone up or am just looking for some good quality ambient sound.
- Zoom H4N - External recorder I use to capture all of my interview audio. I then sync it up to the video in post using Pluraleyes. Easy to use and the audio is of good quality.
- ND Filters - Essential for the 5D to achieve the shallow depth of field. I own a ND 400, which I believe is 10 stops and is wonderful for time lapses. I also have an 8x for all of my lenses which is three stops and they work great.
- Litepanel Micro Pro - This is an incredibly useful piece of gear that has come in handy on many occasions. It is pretty expensive but I have used it when just a little light makes all the difference in your shot.
- Cokin ND Adaptor Rings - I have a 52mm, 58mm, and 77mm adaptor ring to work with my Cokin grad system.
- Manfrotto Mini Fluid Head - Nice little simulated fluid head I can easily pack. It works well on the slider and on the Manfrotto tripod.
- Rocket Air Blaster - This has been very handy to clean out dust and dirt from my camera and sensor while traveling around in many countries.
- Slik Mini Tripod - Small and portable, I have used it when I didn't have my full size tripod available. It also doubles pretty well as a handheld rig when you fold the legs together.
- Canon 5D Mark 2 - I can't say enough good things about this camera. It has been one of the best purchases I have made in my life and Canon has really stepped up to provide firmware updates to make it more usable. I love this camera!
- Cokin ND filter holders - This is pretty essential for my time lapse exposures. It is a pretty cheap plastic but works for what I need. I have a Lee system at home and am now kicking myself for not bringing it.
- Homemade Support Rig - My dad built this based on the Zacuto design. It was at a much more attractive price point, free! This is essential when I go off the tripod to have usable footage. It is very portable and works great.
- Classic Nikon 24mm 2.8 lens - My go to lens for time lapse. I prefer to use primes because they are sharper. I would like to upgrade to the Canon 24mm 1.4 lens in the near future but I got a great deal on this used Nikon from KEH. The images are nice and I have been very happy with it. I have an adapter ring from Ebay to make it work with the 5D Mark 2.
- Canon 50mm 1.4 lens - It is always good to have a fast 50 and this has been a nice lens for video and photography. I debated between the 1.2 and the 1.4 for a while and decided on the 1.4 due to price and weight. This has a wonderful shallow depth of field and can be very handy in low light.
- Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens - My go to lens as I travel. I love the imagery and versatility and it is fairly fast at 2.8 so I can get that nice depth of field. The drawback is it is heavy and large and tends to draw a lot of eyes and that be cause for concern. I covet the 70-200 but it would be just too much to carry with me at all times.
- Cokin Grad ND filters - Good to have for time lapse and very handy during bright days. I do have to be careful of vingnetting and they suffer badly from IR pollution with highlights sometimes going magenta. Once again, I wish I had my Lee set instead but these work for the short term.
- Intervalometer - Essential for time lapse. I have a knock off from ebay that cost $40, much cheaper than Canon's version.
- Sandisk Memory Cards - I've got five cards of various sizes and that seems to do the trick. I usually rotate the majority of my footage between two 8gig cards. Try to go with extreme fours or above.
- Manfrotto Tripod - Decent tripod that is essential for my time lapse shots. It is a little heavy and if I could do it over again, I might think about investing in a carbon fiber to lighten the load.
It's a lot of stuff, I am the first one to admit. I feel it when I lug all the gear around in my backpack in the very humid Southeast Asian countries. Ultimately, the sweat will fade and I will be left with some pretty incredible footage from our amazing world travel adventure and it will all be worth it.