Packing a Gear-Bag for Speedy Production: A Nifty Bag Breakdown from Caleb Pike

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 1.54.47 PMEveryone knows that having the right gear is essential for any video production job. However, the organization of said gear (or lack thereof) is one of the many things that separates video production beginners from the pros. Not only can improper storage and transportation potentially damage the hefty investment that is video gear, but when gear is poorly organized it can slow you down as a shooter and prevent you from getting the shots you need. Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter has put together another fantastic video that details how he stores and organizes his camera gear so that he can access it as quickly as possible while still keeping it safe. Check it out below.

There are a couple of philosophies regarding gear storage, the most prevalent of which is that flight cases, like those from Pelican, are the only way to go. If you frequently fly with your gear, or if you're carrying wildly expensive cinema equipment (high-end cameras and lenses), then flight cases are absolutely your best bet. One of the issues that many shooters have with flight cases, however, is that they force you to break down your gear into the smallest possible pieces in order to transport it properly, which can be wildly prohibitive in terms of shooting with speed.

Pelican Case CInema

For run-and-gun, live event, and documentary shooters, there are a few decent storage/transportation options out there, but few are as reliable and rock-solid as Porta-Brace soft cases. These bags, which come in a multitude of sizes, can be customized with a variety of fitted inserts to accommodate your gear in a fully-built or partially-built state. Here's Caleb Pike, as he takes us on a tour of how he has his Porta-Brace bag set up for ultimate speed and easy transportation.

A setup like the one shown above, while not perfect for all shooting situations, can be instrumental in allowing you to thrive in run-and-gun situations. By customizing a soft-case to hold a nearly complete camera setup, like the 5D with Wooden Camera Cage and a lens, as Caleb has in his video, setup and breakdown times are minimized while keeping the gear protected. Not a bad way to go if you're on the run and need to move quickly.

What do you guys think of Caleb's gear bag breakdown? How do you organize and protect your gear, and how do you make it readily accessible when you need to shoot quickly? Let us know down in the comments!

Link: DSLR Video Camera Bag Setup -- DSLR Video Shooter

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Just like I wrote on the FB link I don't like reassembling my Red Epic every time I change locations. These modular cases aren't great, especially with days with lots of locations and really big fully built cinema systems. Abelcine keeps there Reds fully built in the case, and although there case is bigger, I think its worth it to save on build time. Its a lot easier to add a lens and rails, then a million little easily lost pieces

February 4, 2014 at 3:33PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

brian merlen

Totally agree although I own a Scarlet and not an Epic, same thing applies.

February 4, 2014 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Ditto -- albeit a cheaper camera system than RED – I try to pack my FS700 + monitor/recorder + lens + mic into one compartment so the breakdown / setup time for BTS or guerrilla style shoots is literally less than a minute from opening the lid of my Pelican 1514.

February 5, 2014 at 7:07AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

You voted '-1'.

Too much delicate for good videos...

February 4, 2014 at 8:06PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

Javier Mollo

I spent 5 days at dusty, 30-40 degree (86-104 in fahrenheit) festival doing interviews and raw footage, kept the c100 with zacuto z-finder and 18-135 EFS as one component, the wireless receiver and ntg-2 with deadcat assembled and attached to the audio handle as another piece, packed into a Pelican m2500 storm case. I had another flight case with a 70-200, extender and some smaller lights in it.

I'd take a miller carbon solo tripod and singular case with me everywhere, setup the tripod to full height, open the case, screw in the audio handle, put the camera onto the tripod, stand on the case and shoot at full height on the tripod over crowds.. setup took under 60 seconds.

Helped to have an assistant with reflector and carrying the second case where required, but could (and did) sling the tripod on my shoulder and carry both cases without an issue.

February 4, 2014 at 11:21PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Packing camera and production gear is more art than science. I traveled quite a bit in 2013 with my RED Epic and Canon 5Dmk3 for mostly run and gun style shooting. Having a camera built out as much as possible helps, but good luck getting carrying on those cases when you fly. I do all I can to keep from checking my gear and it going under the plane. You're screwed if you get to your paying gig and the airline lost your bag. It's tough to carry on a tripod/monopod, but you can still work without those if they don't end up at the same airport at the same time you do.

I kept my cameras and lenses in a ThinkTank International roller bag which fit in most airline overhead bins or under my feet on smaller regional planes. Here are a couple links to instagram pics of my travel setup during last year.

February 6, 2014 at 8:07AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


My way of packing gear is a work in progress. With my blackmagic pocket camera, I keep a zoom, digital recorder and hand grip connected with the camera in my camera backpack. The backpack is a Fancier which has separate cushioned velcro sections that can be altered for different shapes and sizes. In theory, I should only have to take the backpack off, unzip the backpack, pull out the camera and then it's ready to go. Although I have a fluid head tripod, I avoid using it if possible and do stabilizing in post with prodrenalin for short clips. In addition, the backpack has a separate compartment for storing my diabetic gear.

February 6, 2014 at 6:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM