#FilmSchoolFriday: Minding your surroundings.

There’s no denying that film crews bring a lot of baggage with them. Even if you’re a one-man operation, you’re virtually guaranteed to have 2-3 cases for gear, and at some point you have to leave them stashed somewhere while you go and do what you’re there for – to shoot!

It’s hard to imagine, when you’re in the creative space, that someone would lift your equipment or even an empty case while your eyes are looking through a viewfinder, but it happens all of the time. The more of a public space you’re in, the more it becomes a concern. Even an empty camera case can be worth hundreds of dollars, thousands if it happens to still contain some of your essential gear. So, what’s the best way to deal with this threat?

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The last thing you’re watching while filming is who’s lurking around your gear.

Downsizing your setup is one of the first approaches to take. If you’re heading out as a one-man band, getting your gear downsized to be able to fit into one bag, for example, can completely eliminate the problem of having to stash-and-dash to get a shot. If this is you, I highly recommend investing into a good camera backpack, like those from Cinebags or Portabrace. Once you unload your essentials, you put your pack back on and you’re ready to roll.

But, what if you don’t have that option? On this shoot, I denied myself a tripod so that all I had was my camera. I didn’t need a bag for it, and all of my lens accessories would fit into my cargo shorts pockets. However, that didn’t change the fact that Amber still had her camera bag, her flex-fills, and an apple box for posing. She can’t work effectively while wearing her camera backpack, which contains all of her lenses and other accessories, so it falls to me to keep a watchful eye on her gear.

The truth is, sometimes you just need manpower to keep a watchful eye on things. It adds cost and complexity to your setup, but it’s simply the name of the game when you’re lugging around thousands – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Downsize where you can, then make sure you have enough eyes to watch your surroundings. It only takes a second for something small and valuable to walk away from your set – and never be seen again!


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