Thursday, August 27, 2015

What do you need?

It was the night of June 15th and I sat on the floor of my room surrounded by my camera gear, with two of my three bags packed. In two days I would be traveling to Ghana for two months of volunteer work. While my work had nothing to do with film or photography I was determined to produce at least one documentary and shoot photographs until my shutter fell out of my camera. It's rare you get an opportunity like this as a filmmaker. This wouldn't be such a complicated idea if it wasn't for the circumstances of my trip. Everything I needed for the two months would have to be able to fit on my person and walked indeterminable distances. This included camping gear (sleeping bag, mosquito net, etc.), clothes, medication and anything I would want to donate to the school I would be working at. If you've ever been backpacking you know exactly how detrimental overpacking can be.
So back to my floor. The last thing left to pack is the moderately sized camera bag in front of me. Designed to carry two lenses and a medium sized camera, I tried a variety of different combinations. Trying to fit as much as I could into the bag. In the beginning I refused to leave my prime lenses behind. It makes perfect sense. If I wanted the best possible footage I would need my best lenses. I couldn't get them to fit.
 Then I changed the question. What do I need versus what did I want to bring. Within 5 minutes I was packed. My final bag consisted of
  • Canon t2i
  • 17-55
  • 70-300
  • Zoom H4n Recorder
  • Batteries
  • Benro Aero 4 Tripod
  • 4 SD cards (assorted sizes)
  • NexToDi
With this combination I was able to shoot ultra wide as well as get anything in the distance. It gave me the greatest range and versatility with the lightest camera package. I would lose some quality without the primes but less quality is always better than missing the shot all together. I was able to travel anywhere with this package. I never had an incident where I wished I had brought something else with me and every situation was more than covered.
So my message is think of the difference between between need and want. You can make an amazing film with much less than you think.

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