I often get asked what our setup is for the event videos we produce. This year for our NAB 2013 Coverage, our goal was to travel as light as possible while still being able to get the best quality imaging and audio possible. NAB is a four day event with a lot of moving people, isle upon isle of vendors and a LOT of ground to cover on foot. We crank out dozens of videos in only a few short days so being able to be as efficient as possible is high on our priority list for this type of mission critical work. In the video below, I explain why we’re working with the best on a bare bones setup.
Every piece of gear that my shooter, Jake, used for our OliviaTech NAB 2013 coverage was contained and carried in the Kata Minibee 110 backpack- less the Manfrotto monopod. The Minibee is the perfect size to keep all of our gear locked into the GearBox we’re using and transported. The Minibee 110 also was holding the gear we were not shooting with ie: spare cards, batteries, LED light, etc.
Kata Minibee-110 PL Compact Backpack
The Panasonic GH3 not only gives us beautiful images, this camera also handles low light situations extremely well while the overall weight of the camera is much lighter when compared to full sized DSLRs. The OLED live view finder and the swiveling back LCD screen makes seeing what we’re shooting easy and accurate. Being able to connect our audio setup directly into the GH3 also makes for less equipment for us to carry.
This 12-35mm Panasonic Lumix lens produces the same look as a full frame 24-70mm lens. This is due to the 4/3 sized sensor on the GH3. As a standard go-to lens, the 12-35mm was the only lens we carried with us to NAB for all of our coverage. We can zoom in for close ups and we were still able to get a wide enough shot for stand-up interviews. A bonus is the size and weight of this lens- small and light is what we’re going for so this fits the bill perfectly.
The Manfrotto Monopod is a staple piece of gear for our event coverage. Manfrotto has recently released their latest version of their Manfrotto Pro Monopod with MVH500AH Fluid Head along side their new MVH500AH Fluid Head only and Manfrotto Pro Fluid Head 60mm Half Ball.
If you look at the tech specs on all 4 heads you will see that the basic operation of the MVH500AH and MVH500A are the same as the 502, 504 and 509. The heads are an affordable TRUE PROFESSIONAL fluid head. They have the same fluid cartridge and ball bearing technology as the more expensive heads, just without the variable pan and tilt drag. It is available in a flat base for sliders (MVH500AH) or a 60mm base for video tripods (MVH500A). The new sets are sold in 4 kits: one aluminum with a center column, one carbon fiber with a center column, a half ball aluminum and a half ball carbon fiber. Ultimately you get all the options of an affordable professional head or kit.
The newly adopted drop-in style has the quick release that the photographer moving into video are familiar with and is adjustable while in the sled. This new style QR plate still has a safety lock feature so it won’t slide out on accident. Above are all three QR plates beside an average business card to show scale.
If you’re currently using the Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head ($45 mail-in rebate available) or the Manfrotto 561BHDV1 Head ($65 mail-in rebate), the newer MVH500AH Fluid Head has a wider platform, supports a few extra pounds (roughly over 2) and has a spring loaded counter balance system. The tilt lock is on the left side on all heads except the MVH502A (on the right near the pan bar).
I’ve included a gallery to show you some side-by-side pictures of the MVH502A Fluid Head ($65 mail-in rebate), the new MVH500AH Fluid Head and the Manfrotto 561BHDV1 Head to give you an idea of size and position of pan and tilt locks. Note that the original 561BHVD1 does NOT pan. If you want that feature in a head this size your best bet is the Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head. The reason for this is that the monopod has a fluid cartridge in the base for smooth pans.
In order to ensure that we get clean gain and top quality audio for all of our NAB videos, we used the juicedLink RM333 low noise preamp. This is an extremely small unit that will mount perfectly onto our P&C GearBox. With XLR inputs and phantom and battery power capabilities, this preamp gives us exactly what we required for our audio setup.
The Sennheiser G3 wireless transmitter and receiver keeps me unteathered and wireless on the convention floor. There is nothing more pesky than having to deal with extra long wires while shooting in crowded spaces.
The RØDE Reporter Microphone was the only microphone I be used for all of the OliviaTech NAB coverage. In the past I’ve worn the RØDE PinMic Lav along with having a handheld microphone to ensure that we didn’t miss any sound bytes on the floor. It’s not uncommon for a reporter to be talking while the interviewee begins to answer before the microphone reaches their mouth. Some microphones do a poor job of being able to pickup that straying sound. We’ve tested the RØDE Reporter Mic in these situations and it has consistently performed very well. For this reason, I felt confident covering NAB with only this omni microphone. We also had a RØDE PinMic as a backup.
The P&C GearBox will act as the glue to our entire camera setup. With pistol grips and tons of 1/4-20″ and 3/8″ mounting points, this GearBox will be the perfect cage for my shooter, Jake to go handheld or mount on the monopod.
cage, camera, Fotodiox 98A, gear, juicedLink RM333, Kata Minibee 110, LED light, lens, Manfrotto 561 Monopod, NAB 2013, P&C Gearbox, Panasonic GH3, panasonic lumix 12-35mm, preamp, Rode, RODE reporter microphone, Sennheiser G3, wireless microphone and receiver
Although we didn’t need extra lighting much, there were certain situations where we found the introduction of an LED to be crucial for getting quality shoots. For this reason, wel had a Fotodiox 98A LED light in our Kata Minibee bag at all times. You never want to be without light in poorly lit areas. The picture suffers and it’s such an easily preventable measure to take. This light is so super small and draws very little power. It made more sense for us to have it than not.
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