Travel: Small footprint filmmaking / by Glenn Dixon

This is my light footprint, take over the world solo and shoot everything filmmaking solution. There are no lights, jib arms or flashy camera support systems here. It's lean, reliable and versatile. On a recent assignment to regional Queensland, airline luggage restrictions of 15kg checked and 4kg cary on forced me to be ruthless and creative in what I packed. All this fits in a small checked suitcase and my carry-on Kata camera capsule. There is just enough allowance for a change of clothes and toiletries.

My barebones kit:

Sony PMW-200 XDCAM (assorted SxS cards, batteries, charging block) 2x Sennheiser G3 Evolution radio mic kits Sennheiser 416 condenser shotgun mic + short XLR Zoom H4n audio recorder Bose Quiet Comfort 15 headphones (keep out those airplane engines) MacbookAir 13" + charging block 3x 500GB G-Tech slim HD's Sony SxS card reader + Pelican hard case Canon 60D, 50mm, 18-200mm (behind the scenes stills + backup) Gitzo GT1541T tripod, Manfrotto monopod + video head Assorted cables and cleaning gear

Displaced from my artificial light sources, I was forced to problem solve with the available natural light and use it in creative ways. It is amazing what you can do with less. Rather than using 1x1 LED panels to light my interview subjects, I would turn off the horrible fluorescent overhead lighting and move my subject as close to a window as possible. Due to the light falloff this would generally create a nice contrast between the subjects face and background. Things that you need to be weary of 1. Change in intensity of light effects exposure (i.e. shifting clouds) and 2. Subsequent change in colour temperature (transition from clear sky to overcast).

With this setup I can be self sufficient for at least a week of constant shooting. All footage is backed up across three drives leaving me with three copies of everything. One copy lives inside my headphone case, another in my carry on and the third inside a pelican hard case inside my suitcase. You can never be to careful when it comes to irreplaceable data.

Final Cut Pro 7 cannot read the UDF format utilised by the Sony PMW200 to record its 50mb 422 footage. To get around this issue, I use 'Content Browser' (available for purchase here) to 'wrap' the footage to .mov. When this process is complete the footage can be imported directly into FCP 7 and edited natively. I always keep a backup of the entire SxS folder structure incase I ever need to refer back to the master (This BPAV folder is like your master archive - Copy it somewhere safe).

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