by Rodrigo DeMedeiros
When I tell people that I am leaving for a full year with my family on this adventure and that I plan to shoot a documentary of the experience, after the initial "wow" reaction in regards to the "RTW/one-year off" itself, the next question I frequently get is "what kind of equipment do you need to do that on the road?"
I am primarily a content producer, but it became clear that I needed to wear many hats to make this documentary work. Ideally I would have a small crew to help, particularly with audio - in my opinion, the most beastly of all tasks - but I certainly don't have that luxury. I decided to focus on the content, let the images and situations unravel naturally, instead of trying to do everything perfectly. I feel that the storytelling is the most important aspect here, and what will make people want to follow us. Once I came to terms with that, everything just became a bit easier.
My packing list for equipment seems extensive, but if one thinks about the task at hand, it really is pretty condensed. See below if you're curious.
IN THE CAMERA BAG
I didn't pay full price for any of my equipment, but that doesn't mean I went cheap.
3 DSLR camera bodies (5d Mark I/7d/6d)
Why three? The 5d is a full frame sensor, and I use it for photography only; the 7d is my film camera A, my primary workhorse. And the 6d - also a full frame sensor - performs amazingly well in low light - I plan to use it at night and under difficult lighting circumstances, as my secondary camera. Add to these their chargers and batteries.
1 GoPro Hero2
My friend Robin Murdoch was kind enough to give me a full Hero2 outfit, with straps, mounts, backs, cases, etc. This is my camera C, and we use it for quick shooting, mounted on bikes, underwater, and for inconspicuous footage. You can sneak it in pretty much anywhere. I also have a double battery charger and several cables.
I bought 4 old school Nikor lenses to use exclusively for film - amazing construction, and really fast. These lenses take care of most of my needs, since I can use them in all three camera bodies:
1 RODE microphone
I m0unt this powerful little mic atop any of the bodies for great audio performance. I can use it for interviews, and I can use it unmounted as well.
1 Manfroto professional tripod with video head
A beast. About 7 lbs when mounted. Great for long exposures or time lapses. A pain to carry around - I can strap it to the outside of the camera bag, and carry it with me on the plane cabin, but if the aircraft is smaller than a 737, sometimes they will force you to check it in. So now it travels checked in, inside my large duffel.
8 compact flash cards of various capacities - from 4 GB to 32 GB
4 SD cards - 8GB, 16 GB and two 32 GB
3 2TB + 1 1TB portable drives
6 thumdrives of various capacities - from 4GB to 16GB
1 mac book pro - 15" screen laptop
I customized this guy for video and photo editing. It's amazing. I also have a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription so I can use the latest software versions available. I use primarily Premiere and Photoshop. Slowly venturing into After Effects, but haven't really needed it yet.
USB splitters, USB cables, chargers, card readers, earbuds. I have a variety of these. Never too many. I also have a set of three micro filters (1x/2x/4x) that I can screw onto my Nikon lenses to get some pretty good micro shots.
Every continent seems to have different rules for outlets and voltage. Most electronics nowadays come with 110-240 voltage covertors built in their chargers and cords. But the actual plug needs adaptors to fit the wall outlets depending on where you're traveling to. We have 4 full sets of those plugs, for anywhere in the world.
Once the camera bag is loaded, it weighs about 50 lbs. It's basically like hauling a 6 year-old on your back. Painful. Luckily, the camera bag has a great waist support system that minimizes the damage.
The rest, as it's said, is history. Or that's what I tell myself, that I am making history with my family. Worth every ounce.