Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:41 AM
Hi Amber, I saw your post after I already spoke with someone in Philly about selling my kit. But I'm still kicking around these forums if you ever need advice about where to get some of this stuff or who to talk to. When I first bought all my stuff, I spent about $150 on Filmtools to get the tool belt and everything I could think of to put in it. I didn't buy a lot of tape and things like that (expendables) because I knew that would generally be provided on the job, but I did get a few rolls just to have something.
Doug Hart's book has a really good (and really long!) list of things you might need. Basically, just think about the job you're doing, and the list takes care of itself. There are some items which are kinda "survival" things, like flashlights, work gloves, and so on. Then you want something to clean the lens. I got a couple of Lens Pens... I never use the end with the cleaning fluid in it, but the brushes are good because of the way they retract into the Lens Pen and stay clean. Those microfiber clothes are really good. I got these things at an outdoor supply store intended for ski/snowboard goggles that I think are "Snow Erasers" or something like that...it's like a sponge on one side and chamois on the other. Obviously, no good for a lens, but good for filters if you're in the rain.
As far as lens cleaning fluid, more importantly, get a decent-sized bottle for it with a good top, so that it doesn't come open in your set bag or pouch....that way you can buy the lens fluid in bulk and save some money.
For tape measures, I would say that you don't really NEED one of those electronic range-finder types unless you intend to be doing a lot of crane work or sports stuff...situations where longer distances come into play. Otherwise, one soft tape (they're on Ebay for cheaper than Filmtools prices) and a Stanley Fat Max 25-footer should be good.
The other thing I wanted to mention is canned air...I made the startling discovery recently that for me personally, it's easier to just get the disposable cans from Staples or wherever, and keep the plastic tops around, than to buy a nozzle which tends to either break or disappear after some time. I only use canned air for the insides of magazines anyway...you really shouldn't use it anywhere else and I cringe whenever people do! A blower brush picks up where canned air leaves off. And you can get that at any photo supply store...it doesn't have to be Filmtools.
And finally, I would venture to say that you should travel light when it comes to what you keep on you. I was working on a feature and started to have this weird pain in my hips... I couldn't figure it out until I realized I was carrying around 10 pounds of crap every day on my belt. So lighten it up when you can.
Uh, I think that's it...let me know if you have any other questions.