Or any trip for that matter.
Before getting into it, I want to put out there that my workflow is always being refined and changing. So as of Wednesday, July 22, 2015, this is how I manage my cameras and files on a road trip, or on any project for that matter. If anyone has any improvements or suggestions, I'm down to hear them! That being said:
Batteries & Cards
These are the two things that need to be regularly maintained on a camera. Aside from lens cleaning and actual camera maintenance, poorly maintained batteries and cards are my #1 cause for stressful shoots. So I did something about it.
Every time I pick up the camera, the pouch goes with me. It (should) always have at least 2 charged batteries and 2 fresh cards, ready to go. With this pouch, I can spontaneously film for an additional 3 hours without having to go back to the van and break the momentum of the shoot.
These little pouch things are awesome.
I currently use a GH4 and a LX100 as my run and gun cameras, and their batteries both conveniently fit in this main pouch. 6 LX batterires, and 3 GH4 batteries fills up this side, which gets me by in most single shooting, full day environments.
Fresh cards get stacked in that little blue kangaroo pouch within the pouch. Used cards go in that bigger open area, on their way to the Hard Drives.
I use carabiners for way more than climbing, so it's good to have one on the pouch. If I know I'll be shooting a lot, it'll go on my belt loop, if I'm in and out of water and climbing, I'll clip it to my bag or anything close, so it's always there.
THE CHARGE BOX
Lets face it, using multiple types of batteries and wires and chargers can get messy. This is a cardboard prototype that I'll soon upgrade to something a bit stronger, but it functions pretty well. I'm going to update it and blog about the new version in the near future, but until then, here's version 1.
Each battery has a compartment with its charger and though it's rather messy when opening it, it closes up and all the wires are contained. That is the key to this thing: containment.
Each battery has a charger and each charger plugs in to a splitter for one cord to rule them all. That, accompanied with a laptop charger on the other side makes for a rock solid setup.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE FILES
- Each day you create content, start with YYMMDD (or YYYYMMDD if you plan to live that long) and a word or two about the day
- Within each day, create a new folder for each device that created audio and/or video content. It just so happens that every camera is different, but if you have multiple cameras of the same model, assign a number to each camera. So example folders would be GH4_1 GH4_2.
- Within each devices folder, organize the format of media (raw stills, jpeg stills, video, audio, time lapses, etc) If your camera records a bunch of different file types in one huge folder, use this automator droplet thingie I made to quickly separate JPEG RAW and VIDEO files into respective folders. Just drag the whole folder onto the droplet icon and it will make folders for you.
- RENAME YOUR VIDEO FILES! YYMMDD_CAMERA_### It's a HUGE help while editing video to see right on the clip all the info you need. If a clip goes offline, the file name will show exactly where the footage lives and a few extra minutes while capturing media can save HOURS of editing time if the project gets hairy. A Better Finder Rename is a great tool that I use that makes renaming bazillions of files super easy.
Well that was pretty nerdy
Yeah, but in the near future I do plan to make a detailed guide for file management for Spielberg, grandma and everyone in between. Pictures and video are as close to a time machine that there is, so I take it very seriously. Until then, keep building your time machine and keep it organized!