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About Me

Lucent Productions is an freelance video production company focused in action sports but with additional experience in a wide range of video production from commercial to wedding videography.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Everything but the kitchen sink

I hate packing. Hate it. Mostly because I am paranoid EVERY time that I pack that I am forgetting something crucial to my trip, regardless if it's vacation, an overnight stay, or leaving for a shoot.

This week I'll be spending 7 days at Highland Mountain Bike Park for the Claymore Challenge working on my farmer's tan, enjoying countless breakfast burritos and smoothies, and not to mention seeing some friends from all over the globe. I brought my full face helmet so if I'm lucky I'll actually get some riding in too!

I recently picked up two Fstop bags in the past month, the first up is my Tilopa BC bag which is now my regular camera bag (and it ROCKS), and the newly release Guru which I'm really pumped on purchasing. I love that I now have a bag where I can just toss in my camera and a few lenses and still have room for some clothes/other gear. This isn't a review on either of these (that will come later), just want to show how much gear I would typically bring to a shoot like Claymore, and how much of it I can fit in two bags!

So first up, here's all my camera/computer related gear I'm bringing (click for larger image):

A big list of items (From top to bottom):
8' Camera crane
40" Slider Dolly
Manfrotto Tripod
Timbuk2 hip bag (it's NOT a fanny pack folks!)
Flycam Nano
18-135mm lens
50mm lens
11-16mm lens (not pictured)
Canon 7D (not pictured)
Batteries & Charger
15" Macbook Pro
4 Hard drives/cords/chargers
Bag of AA and 9V batteries
Eyecup Viewfinder
64Gb of Compact flash cards
CF card reader
Bug Net/Suntan Lotion
2 Shotgun mics & cords
Wireless Microphones
Air Blower
Gorilla Pod
Mini USB Mouse

And here's what it looks like all loaded up into two bags! I have the Medium ICU in the Tilopa BC and the Small ICU in the Guru. Fstop makes a large ICU as well which fits inside the Tilopa BC (not Guru though).

Breakdown of gear in each: The only items in the Guru are my hard drives, Macbook, and macbook related accessories. I still have the top half of the bag to fill with food/snacks/etc. EVERYTHING else (minus the camera crane)fits in the Tilopa BC. Lenses, camera, batteries, chargers....EVERYTHING. I can technically strap the tripod, slider, and steadicam to the Tilopa BC if I was using them all in the field.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


In the world of video production, there are countless numbers of crazy/expensive tools and equipment that can give the viewer a different perspective to view the subject. In the sports industry, there has been a huge increase in the past 5 or 6 years with the number of videographers taking advantage of Dollies, cranes, and more recently with the advent of the DSLR, portable camera sliders. These are all great tools that really increase the production value of a video if used properly. I have used (and still use) ALL of the aforementioned tools, but have recently been itching to have something different to give my videos that added variety and unique perspective.

I have been researching Steadicams, stabilizers, flycams...whatever you want to call them. With many of the larger HD cameras, you would need a steadicam with a large bottom arm, hefty weights, and some arms the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger...unless you had a vest which is big $$

Now that I shoot mostly on a Canon 7D, I could now fall into the range of the smaller steadicams that could be properly balanced and operated hand-held without a vest. I usually have to do a lot of hiking to shoot, so the less weight I have to carry around, the better! I stumbled upon the Flycam Nano via the website www.cheesycam.com <---- if you are a DSLR shooter, BOOKMARK THAT SITE!

I purchased the steadicam off eBay and within a few weeks the badboy showed up! The only seller is in India as far as I know, but they will ship international. I think I paid $150 total after shipping to the US....way cheaper than a Merlin Steadicam that sells for over $600.

Here are the pros and cons of the Flycam Nano:
- Small in size and can be taken apart for travel.
- Cheap
- Build seems to be of pretty good quality. Mostly anodized parts, and they include extra weights and random screws (always key cause I lose stuff ALL the time)

- Weight limitation - With the 7D w/no micrphone and no batter grip, the steadicam is pretty maxed out with an 18-135mm lens. I borrowed a 14mm Canon lens and it was much better. Keep this in mind when purchasing a small steadicam. Cameras like the T2i & 60D would fly much easier since they have less weight to balance.
- Calibration/Adjustment - There are knobs to slide the top carriage back and forth and side-to-side, but the balance really has to be perfect to get it fly smoothly. In my video I didnt have time to perfectly balance the rig and it tells. The first hr and a half you buy one, you will spend balancing it, unless you buy a more expensive steadicam that has micro adjustments on it.

Overall, for the price and size, I think the Flycam Nano is a great tool to add some different shots to your videos. Just be prepared to pull your hair out balancing it (and re-balancing it OFTEN)

Check out the video from my first attempt at using the Flycam Nano at Highland Mountain Bike Park!