Thursday, 18 March 2010

My bag of tricks...

I've started this blog to share a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes each week producing videos for the likes of The Periodic Table of Videos, Sixty Symbols and Bibledex.

I hope to shed more light on how and why we make our films - and maybe share some funny stories about it all.

I thought I'd start with my kit bag... It's something a lot of people ask about on our YouTube channels.

I got some of it out to show you all (which seemed like a good idea until I had to pack it away afterwards!)


So what is it all?

First is my main camera, which is a Sony Z7 (labelled 1 in the pic)... It's great and not too intimidating for the poor scientists who find it stuck up their noses.

I've replaced the standard microphone with a Sennheiser gun mike (2). It's big fluffy covering (to reduce wind noise) is attractive to various exotic animals, including tapirs. I speak from experience!

I also have a Sennheiser radio mike and receiver (3), which I clip onto interviewees to get the best possible sound.

Then I have some extra cameras which come in handy for getting bonus shots...

First a little Sony HDR-XR105 which is basically what many people would have as their Handycam (4) - I use it for that "second angle" or if I'm too lazy to get out the the Z7.

It's also less conspicuous, which can be useful.

The whole Safari Sunday Series was filmed on this smaller camera, which gets some great HD footage for such a tiny bit of kit...



I also have two much smaller cameras for filming things in hard-to-reach places (insert joke).

First a virtually indestructible little Oregon Scientific (5) on permanent loan from my brother-in-law..... We strapped it to a rocket to get some of the cool shots in this video.



Then there's my miniscule MUVI camera (6) which can be put virtually anywhere (insert another joke)... Chemistry daredevil Pete Licence wore one on his lab coat during a lecture for this video...



The latest addition to the collection is a Casio EX-F1 camera (7) which can be used for filming in super slow motion, as we showed in this film.... Can't wait to use it more....



There are a few other things in the bag - a light (8), spare batteries (9), blank tapes, chargers, etc.

It's all lugged around in a Portabrace kit bag (10) with plenty of zippers and pockets... I never leave home without it!

I have a few tripods, but use them only occasionally if we're setting up some big experiment I want specially filmed from various angles, such as in this case...



Anyway, that's probably enough detail for all the camera geeks out there.

Better get back to work actually using all this stuff!

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