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Your daily organization methods


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#1 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 06:10 PM

I was talking to a few people and got to thinking about how I organize everything during the course of a shooting day. One 2nd with me thought it was strange that I take a lot of things out of their cases and put them into my personal bag for the day's shooting. I'll do that with stuff like hard mattes, eyebrow and siders, filters I expect to use, whips and handcrank, perhaps an eyepiece extension if I expect to change during the day, etc. I guess that means that other people leave those in the AKS case?

Anyway, what do other people here do to organize their gear, the cart you work out of, etc?
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#2 James Daly

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 06:59 PM

I can attest from working for all sorts of AC's in NYC from Major features to indie features, from tiny budget music videos to huge commercials, that everyone takes poop out of the cases and puts it in their own poop. it's entirely impractical to lug around a big box when you have a light little bag that can hold all you need and have it all right next to Camera.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:21 PM

I can attest from working for all sorts of AC's in NYC from Major features to indie features, from tiny budget music videos to huge commercials, that everyone takes poop out of the cases and puts it in their own poop. it's entirely impractical to lug around a big box when you have a light little bag that can hold all you need and have it all right next to Camera.


It just makes sense to me. I thought it was strange that someone thought it strange enough to mention.
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#4 Rob Vogt

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:28 PM

If there was no lens wrap or bag I would leave it in its case... Just get the second to keep the cases close. The first thing I do before production would start would be to gather the entire camera depts stuff and count it. Say there are 11 things, I'd label them 1/11 2/11 3/11 ect. this way it would make wrapping production easier and less worry about forgetting stuff.
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:30 PM

If there was no lens wrap or bag I would leave it in its case... Just get the second to keep the cases close. The first thing I do before production would start would be to gather the entire camera depts stuff and count it. Say there are 11 things, I'd label them 1/11 2/11 3/11 ect. this way it would make wrapping production easier and less worry about forgetting stuff.


I think lenses go without saying. Those should live in their cases.
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#6 Rob Vogt

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:33 PM

I think lenses go without saying. Those should live in their cases.


Haha, whoops I misread you. I thought you put the lens in your bag. 0.o
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:37 PM

Haha, whoops I misread you. I thought you put the lens in your bag. 0.o


Nononono. I take a lot of AKS type things and stash them.
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#8 Tom Jensen

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:51 PM

I always said, "If there were an easier way, I'd be doing it." I traveled as light as possible but learned that the one thing you left on the truck was the one thing you needed. I had a magliner jr with a top shelf. I cut a piece of sheet metal for the bottom shelf and riveted it on. Over that I glued a rubber mat. On the tongue, I had two tripod hooks that I rested the mitchell base in and I bungeed the babies and tandard legs around. On the bottom shelf I kept mags, zoom and heads. On the top I kept the primes and the directors finder. Over the handles I had an LL Bean canvas bag with camera cover, hard mattes, eyebrow etc. I had hooks that I bolted to the frame where I hung coax. On the round tube part between the handles I attached a mafer where I would mount the monitor. I had a ditty bag grease pencils, tapes, and normal ac stuff. I wore a padded weight belt for back support and I had a pencil holder and a tape roll. I had a front box but I never used it. It's mostly for studio work and can get in the way at times. I would use it on crane shots. I think that's pretty much it. I tried to stay as compact as possible. Always have a place for something and always put it back when you are done with whatever it is.
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 10:43 PM

Tom, that sounds remarkably similar to the way I do things! I'd like to say great minds think alike but I still think of myself as a fairly novice AC after 2 years of it. The main difference is that I don't have a folding magliner because they're too expensive for me when I'm mostly on things lately that won't pay a kit fee. I have a rubbermaid cart that is converted to have big pneumatic wheels and a plywood tongue. I bolted a couple of 2-inch cores to the tongue and they hold the mitchell base in place while the sticks get bungeed at the top. Under the top shelf, I have 2 sets of bungees run taut so that hi and lo hats will slip in and be held inverted to the underside of the top shelf.
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#10 John Waterman

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:15 PM

What do other people here do to organize their gear, the cart you work out of, etc?


Chris, here is my system. My main cart is a Backstage custom converted magliner-style cart.

On the lower front-handle u-bar I have a bracket to store the high-hat and low-hat. I had Backstage make me a custom mount that goes over the U-bar, and has a dovetail mount on one side, and a mitchel mount on the other. I generally will keep the camera mounted to the dovetail, and the tripod head on the mitchel mount while repo-ing the cart around. I also have a baby pin on the front u-bar and will fly a golf umbrella in a grip head off of it in sunny or rainy conditions.

On the rear of the cart I have the Backstage tripod hooks for the standard and baby legs. I usuall tie rope onto the spreaders and hang them from the same tripod hooks (if the spreaders are not the kind that fold up into the sticks) On the back of the cart I also carry a 2-riser beefy baby stand for the monitor. The tripod hook mount has a babypin on top, and I mount a baby triple-header to that. The triple head lets me mount the monitor offset from the cart for better viewing, and I can mount a second golf umbrella on the center baby pin, to fully protect the cart. The triple-header also makes great hooks, and I can hang battery belts, hats, and even backpacks from them. I hang a stuff sack that stores all of my foul weather stuff - camera cover, visqeen, plastic wrap, tarp for the cart, towels, the cam dept rain jackets. I also have a set of canvas tote-bags that I can hang to carry the 6x6 mattebox and hardmattes.

I have the Backstage 4' storage trough, and I usually keep my french flag, hardmattes, extra batteries, and water bottles in there. I also have two large hooks that hang two tape chains, one for paper, one for cloth, BNC cables, and a rope with grip clips (#2, #1, #.5) I also hang large carabeeners that hold my Hardmarks, T-bag marks, and sausage marks.

I have the ubiquitous cine-bag on the top deck, and I generally move all of the camera AKS into this bag, depending on the package, I also like to have the primes case on the top deck.

The bottom deck depends on the package. I generally always include my husky bag, which stores misc tools. Block battery for the monitor. Maybe the zoom lens. Sometimes I carry two full apple boxes with me (especially if the crew is very small, like second unit). Sometimes an extra mag.

I have a second cart, a homebrewed rubbermaid, which I use as a lens/mag cart for larger packages.
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:19 PM

That's crazy nice, John, but way too much money to spend when I'm generally not getting kit rental. As I do more and more union work and can get fair kit rentals, I'll tread into that territory.
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#12 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:20 AM

One thing I like to do at prep and wrap is to make a large 3-sided box with all the cases facing inward and opened. Camera on sticks in the middle. Keeps out the riff raff and makes it easy to find everything.

I too keep AKS in the run bag near camera. I'm using a large gator mouth bag, but need to find something better with dividers. I also need to make a locking pin for my magliner top shelf, otherwise I'd keep the primes case on top. Tripod hooks and baby pin work great, will usually mount a monitor on the pin. Wish I had a dovetail/Mitchell mount, I'm impressed with your ingenuity Chris!

Cinebag on the top shelf - it's too heavy to lug around. In the zippered mesh pockets, I keep assorted BNC connectors in an Altoids tin, bongo ties, chamois, foam swabs, snot tape. In the side pockets, AA, AAA, CR123 batteries and extra pens pouch. In the front pockets, bottle of rubbing alcohol, box of slate pens and orangewood sticks, cube tap, ground lift adapter. Inside pouch holds laser pointer, mini Cardellini, neck strap with ring for Preston, black net for lens diff. Space blanket in the other side. Kodak grey card plus, macbeth chart, and seimens star chart all inside the orange Kodak jacket. 25' BNC, binder with reports.

I pretty much just take out what I need and put it into the run bag day-to-day. I keep three #2 grip clips and two #1 clips on the run bag. I sometimes clip them to the cart's top shelf and hang cables from them. I have a front box but it pretty much lives off the side of the cart. In it, I keep a box of Kimwipes, jeweler's screwdrivers, DoF calculator, insert slate, allen keys, 2" velcro, slate, and filter tags on the side. On a video/data shoot, I keep a UPS power strip and the battery charger on the bottom shelf.

I also end up carrying a lot of gack on my belt - AC pouch with pens, flashlight, stubby screwdriver, 1oz. lens fluid, 5" fiskars, 50' tape (stuff gets lost in there!); leatherman; canned air; 16' fat max; tape lanyard with 2" matte black and 1" fluoro paper; walkie. I keep the Disto in my pocket when I wear cargo pants. I'm super envious of those big time AC's I see in American Cinematographer who only seem to have a fat max and Disto on their belt, what gives?
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#13 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 04:53 AM

I'm super envious of those big time AC's I see in American Cinematographer who only seem to have a fat max and Disto on their belt, what gives?


If a 1st has a good 2nd, he hardly has to wear anything on his belt. It's usually the case when I 2nd for somebody. But whenever I get a 2nd I find I still have to wear a large amount of gack...largely because my 2nd is a student and not as quick as I am (wink wink), ha ha

I asked a very experienced 1st who I work with from time to time if he ever wears a belt like mine when he flied solo, he said certainly, so I guess it just depends on what sort of support you have in the camera dept.
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#14 David Bradley

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 07:50 AM

Disto, leatherman, chinagraph and lens tissues are all I carry on me. I'll put anything else I need in a ditty bag fitted to whatever grip we're using. A pouch is almost always a practical thing to wear when using a dolly or steadicam, nothing worse than having to sprint to your bag to get something as trivial as a whip.

Does anyone here carry less? My tutor at college was an AC for in excess of twenty years and all he carried was a Kelly calc and a pen!!
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