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jordan wiyb 1020
jordan wiyb 1020

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What's in your bag, Jordan Oplinger?

What's in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. Show us your bag in this forum post. This week, we're featuring one of our esteemed video directors and editors, Jordan Oplinger.

In Jason Reitman’s 2009 critically-acclaimed-but-Oscar snubbed masterpiece, Up in the Air, George Clooney’s character challenges the audience to audit their lives by utilizing a backpack metaphor. Now, while I still believe we’ve missed a tremendous cross-promotional opportunity by foregoing the obvious parallels between this feature and the film (think of the synergy!) no one can deny George knows how to travel. With the sheer amount of traveling I’ve had to do as a member of the Verge video team, I’m constantly reevaluating what I throw in my backpack. Here’s a snapshot of my current field kit.

Basics

Basics

DAKINe Backpack

When flying, I refuse to check any camera gear, so this backpack becomes my life in an overhead compartment. Anything needed to complete the project goes in that bag, so if my checked luggage (exclusively clothing) gets lost, the trip isn’t in danger.

I tend to get stopped by the TSA and required to submit to a bag check, which is usually quick and easy due to the simple layout of the interior. To the TSA agent who, after my check, turned to his co-worker and said in a sarcastic tone "Yeah...that’s gonna fit into an overhead. Have fun with that buddy." It does fit. Every time.

The abundance of pockets and straps allow me to have batteries and Compact Flash cards at the ready. For day-to-day office travel, I can easily fit two MacBook Pros and a large 3.5-inch portable drive along with all the power cords.


15-inch MacBook Pro

At least it’s not an Air, right guys?


Canon 5D Mark III

I have never truly gotten over the capabilities of this camera, or the previous generation Mark II. The full frame sensor is addictive, the ISO performance is astounding (6400 being my upper ceiling on the Mk3, 1250 on the Mk2) and the addition of audio capabilities of the Mark III has really sealed the deal for me.


Canon 5D Mark II

I keep my trusty Mark II around as a backup, or if I need a second angle in a pinch.


iPad 2 (16GB)

If it makes you feel any better, I use it almost exclusively to watch romantic comedies in-flight.

Don’t judge me.

Jordan-bag-300Bag-6
The Lenses

The Lenses

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Canon 16-35mm 2.8 II

This lens lives on my primary camera about 60% of the time. I’m a big fan of wide, sweeping glidecam shots (I use a Glidecam 4000HD) to quickly and elegantly establish a space. While there’s definitely some edge softness and aberration, this glass renders environments beautifully at 16mm, as well as providing a decent interview option at 35mm.

Canon 50mm 1.4

In terms of cost:image quality, Canon’s 50mm 1.4 is hard to beat. It’s my default interview lens and provides a great option in low light. Canon’s 50mm 1.2 may outperform this lens many ways, but it comes at a $1,000 premium.

Canon 100mm 2.8 IS macro

Whether it’s a spot on a map, a single key on a keyboard, or a port flap on an Android Honeycomb tablet, this lens lets me get up close and capture the smallest details with fairly impressive sharpness.

Canon 135mm 2.0

While this lens doesn’t come out of the bag quite as often as the others, I constantly find the 135mm length to come in handy on the road. The telephoto length, fast aperture, and intensely sharp glass make this lens an essential for my bag.

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Leisure

Audio Gear

Zoom H4n

Until the recent audio upgrades made to the 5D Mark III, we’ve been forced to use a dual system setup, running all microphones into a Zoom H4n, and using the built-in microphones on the camera as a reference track to sync in post. While battery life and built quality leave something to be desired, it’s tough to beat these recorders when it comes to value and ease of use.


Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

These headphones have been through some crazy situations, always coming back unscathed, so no complaints here.


Sennheiser G3 Wireless Microphones

These small and rugged mic sets allow us to get clean audio at a reasonable distance. I typically travel with two lavaliers and a matching handheld mic, which covers 95% of audio situations we run into.

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Bag-5
Canon-long-300

Miscellaneous


Media/Drive Storage

Estimating how much storage to take on a trip is always tricky since there are an infinite number of variables at play during every shoot. I typically budget at least 1/3rd more memory that I think I’ll need, which usually works out to be around 200GB. Once we wrap for the day, the compact flash cards are downloaded to my laptop and backed up onto a firewire 800 hard drive. This allows me to have three copies of the footage, in three different places, before flying back home (I always pack at least one set of media in a separate bag for the trip home).

Canon LP-E6 Batteries

If I’m shooting solo, eight LP-E6 batteries generally get me through the day without issue, but if I always have a battery on a charger if the situation permits.

Mophie Powerstation Pro

This little brick packs 6000 mAH of power, with the ability to charge a USB device at 2.1 amps. It’s certainly saved my butt a few times, rescuing my iPhone and MiFi from certain death. I’ve since discovered (thanks to our commenters) a few higher capacity options that I’d like to try out.

Canon Intervalometer

Timelapse machine. Timer remote control. Intervalometer. This device goes by many names, but it completes one simple task: take a single still image after a specified duration and repeat until told to stop. The resulting still images are used to create timelapses, which can be a great way to establish a location or communicate the passage of time. I generally use an off-brand remote timer, which does the same task for a fraction of the cost of Canon’s.

Light Panel LED

I hate on-camera lighting, so I avoid putting this shoe mounted light on my camera at all costs, but sometimes you just need a little extra kick in extremely dark situations. Luckly, this light is small enough to be used in a variety of off camera makeshift solutions.

USB Card Reader

There’s nothing special about this brand or model, but since I can’t get my hands on a Thunderbolt Compact Flash card reader, this USB 2.0 reader is about as good as I can get.

Verizon LTE MiFi

I have no real complaints about this device, other than the battery life. The speeds are fast and I’m able to connect all my devices at once.

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