The last five years has seen huge advances in the consumer videography market, and it’s all getting smaller. It's so much so that one can now carry a versatile, fully equipped, professional videography setup inside baggage small enough to carry onto a flight. Here’s how.
As a pro videographer, traveling is a regular requirement of my job. Whether this is on trains or planes, the size and weight of my kit has to be a serious consideration when packing. With a few recent additions to my video kit, I am now comfortable to approach 90 percent of the work I shoot in sports, fashion, commercial, music, and corporate video work with a kit that fits inside carry-on-sized baggage. This is what’s inside my bag.
- Manfrotto Pro Roller Bag 70: With plenty of protection and flexibility inside this roller case, it's small enough to take as carry-on luggage. It’s well made, has a sleeve for a 17-inch laptop, and hasn’t let me down.
- Apple MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015): The 2 GHz Intel Core i7 processor in this 2015 edition is enough portable power to edit 4K 60p on the road. An external portable hard drive is necessary for those big files.
- Apple iPhone X (256 GB): Featuring the best camera put in an iPhone, improved battery life, beautiful screen, and extra internal storage, the iPhone X is a welcome upgrade.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones: Important for editing on the road and judging sound levels when shooting, the Bose QC35’s noise canceling functionality is some of the best on the market.
- SD Card Case: Look after your SD memory cards and bring plenty!
- Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Condenser Microphone for Smartphones: I have the smartphone version that pairs up with the Rode app to record straight onto a smartphone and nullifies the need to carry a wireless transmitter and receiver. I also have the adapters and an extension cable to plug directly into a camera for interview work.
- 2x Rotolight NEO 2 LED Lights: Rotolight make incredibly accurate and powerful LED lights, and the NEO 2 is one of my favorite pieces of kit. They also double up as external flashes with an Elinchrom transmitter for any photography work. I carry a set of gels and often utilize the SFX menus, expanding creative possibilities. I carry two of them with a handle, fixtures for attaching on camera, and a portable light stand, not to forget plenty of AA batteries (six required per light).
- Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Lens: This lens is extremely well built and provides plenty of reach for more demanding scenarios. This is the longest lens in my bag, but still extremely compact for a lens providing 300mm full-frame equivalent reach.
- Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon with Metabones T Speed Booster Ultra: This is my go-to lens and the one that spends most of the time on my Panasonic GH5 when shooting video. I’ve never been let down by its sharpness and that extra stop of light really helps when shooting on a micro four-thirds sensor.
- Rokinon 85mm T1.5 Cine DS Lens: One of the huge benefits of shooting on a micro four-thirds sensor is the compact size of the lens system. Carrying the Rokinon 85mm video lens is a bit of a luxury, but the system enables me to carry seven lenses comfortably. The lens itself provides some of the most beautiful bokeh I can achieve using this kit.
- Rokinon 50mm f/1.2 Lens: Used for most of my close-up work and the first of four lenses that balances nicely when on the Zhiyun Crane v2.
- Manfrotto PIXI Mini Table Top Tripod: Useful for lights, a microphone, or camera, this has definitely got me out of some holes.
- Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2: This is an excellent and uber-portable one-handed, three-axis gimbal. While its max payload is enough to cater to half of my lens line-up with a GH5, I’ll be looking to upgrade to the Crane Plus for the extra weight allowance.
- Nissin i40 Compact Flash: I carry this super compact on-camera flash that runs off four AA batteries just in case.
- Edelkrone SliderONE PRO with StandONE: The best portable, mechanical slider money can buy. Check out my full review of this piece of kit here. Useful for accurate slider work.
- Rotolight Elinchrom EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus HS for Olympus/Panasonic: Works superbly with the Rotolight Neo 2s for any creative photography work, as well as enabling SFX functionality remotely.
- Panasonic 25mm f/1.4: A workhorse of a lens. Pin sharp and extremely compact, perfect for work on the gimbal and works with the GH5 auto-focus.
- Rode VideoMic Pro: A well-trusted external directional mic to mount on camera.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Panasonic 7-14mm f/4: What can I add that hasn't already been said about this wonderful camera? The video functionality is only topped by the new GH5S, but this includes an excellent IBIS system to keep handheld shooting shake free. It is also fairly decent at taking stills, which makes it the most versatile and travel friendly camera for my shooting demands. The 7-14mm lens is a super lightweight ultra-wide option.
- DJI Mavic Air: The newest addition to my bag and probably the coolest. Some incredible engineering from DJI has created a drone that shoots crystal clear 4K 30p footage at 100 Mbps in the form factor the size of a bag of coffee beans. It’s rock solid in the air, and the remote control is just as sleek as the main event.
- Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 Lens: Works with the autofocus system of the GH5. This is the ideal for close-up gimbal work.
- Spare GH5 batteries: A necessity for those long days in the field.
- Rotolight Compact Light Stand: This particular stand folds in on itself for ultimate portability.
Unlisted here are the numerous chargers and batteries that are required, as well as a videographer's kit of tools, tape, and fixtures. The biggest omissions are a video tripod which I would either carry separately or make do without and an external monitor. But with the Panasonic GH5 recording 10-bit ALL-I 400 Mbps 4K 30p, it’s just the shooting with the small screen that has to be overcome.
With this compact and well-packed video kit, I am ready to tackle almost any commission with an extraordinary amount of creative possibilities. What’s in your bag? Please share yours below.
Very helpful article as I’m working to build a similar kit. Thanks for sharing!
"Pro", without a back up body?
I see no issues with that. Though it's advisable to always have a back up camera.
I'd say, not only advisable but essential. Any professional shoot that has a possible single point of failure points to a shooter who is not a pro.
I totally agree, but I guess if it was make or break you can use the iPhone and drone. /s
why so dark pictures?
Wow, dream bag right there! Sorry for the late question, but is there any budget portable LED lighting you would recommend? I'd love to have those Rotolights but I'm on a broke college budget. Super jealous of everything in there, especially the new Mavic Air! Thanks!