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Tuesday
Jul202010

19 Gear Essentials for World Travel

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. Cokin ND Adaptor Rings - I have a 52mm, 58mm, and 77mm adaptor ring to work with my Cokin grad system.
  7. Manfrotto Mini Fluid Head - Nice little simulated fluid head I can easily pack. It works well on the slider and on the Manfrotto tripod. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. 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!
  11. 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. 
  12. 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. 
  13. 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. 
  14. 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. 
  15. 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. 
  16. 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.
  17. Intervalometer - Essential for time lapse. I have a knock off from ebay that cost $40, much cheaper than Canon's version.
  18. 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. 
  19. 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.

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    Jon Carr Productions - Blog - 19 Gear Essentials for World Travel

Reader Comments (5)

Interesting. Bringing a pocket dolly but no backup body seems pretty nuts to me for a professional job though - no?

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatthias B. Krause

Matthias,
I really struggled with not having a second body. I actually sold my 7D right before the trip mainly to save a little space and also because I just didn't like the image as much as the 5D. I figure if I need to I can always pick up a Rebel if I need something in the short term.

The slider probably isn't essential and it is a pain to lug around but I do like having the option outside of handheld or stationary tripod. It just adds a nice touch.

Thanks for the comment.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Great post Jon. It's incredible that you managed to fit all that in your backpack. Did you end up having any room for clothes?

Can I ask, what exactly are the filters used for? And did you have a portable hard drive to transfer on to?

Mark.

July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Welker

Hey Mark,
It has been a challenge with the gear. I do have a MacBook Pro with me and I have 3 500 gig hard drives that are nearly full.

I use the filters to even out the exposure mainly for landscape time lapses. They are grad soft ND filters that allow me to shave a few stops off the sky and balance it out with the darker ground areas. It helps keep the sky from blowing out. I have even used it during an interview the other day to tone down a bright wall. They come in very handy especially for the time lapse shots. Hope that helps and thanks for checking out the blog.

Jon

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJon

What backpack did you use for all your travels? I'm currently planning some trips and trying to decide what backpack to take all my gear in...

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

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