essential field gear for remote intl locations? : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

hello, as a novice, i am looking for recommends on what long-time XL-1 users would consider essential gear for doing a multi-country documentary in remote locations, in a variety of in-and-outdoor light conditions. - light kit or no? if so, what? obviously needs to be very portable. - specific travel tripod (want very light, durable)? - filters? - any REAL long field batteries (i've heard rumors of 7hr batteries) - ma-100 and what mics? audio is crucial. or would you recommend also a portable DAT recorder to supplement. - etc, etc, any other essential gear?

at this time i have only the XL-1, 3 basic filters, and the portabrace traveller case. i just returned with my xl-1 from remote locales in nepal and india and am mostly stunned by the quality of footage i've brought back with minimal gear. however i was clearly in over my head in certain lighting situations, and i figure some of you must have some great recommends on how to make my future travel shooting even better.

my upcoming plan is to create 2 teams of 2 people, each with an XL-1... 1 team spends 6 months in south amer and the other spends 6 months in africa, we then split Asia and each does 3 months. the goal is to shoot and record video and audio of tribal forms of worship and art by villages & communities that have been somehow impacted by christianity... ie, easter fire dances in mexico, sacred rites in bolivia, festivals in ethiopia, hindi worship songs, etc... we will then spin-off the content into a documentary, an immersive multi-media theater experience, and an album series. all proceeds will be directly reinvested back into humanitarian development projects in the various communities we've visited.

as sort of a test experience, i took the XL-1 to remote locales in nepal and india - primarily in the remote NE indian village raxaul. visited and shot a rural clinic, a leper hospital, an orphanage, singing village children, general village life, an outdoor cremation, the requisite buffalos, various temples, monkeys, khatmandu, etc... etc... and i cannot believe the footage i have brought back. just stunning.

i received the camera one day before flying out, and as i am a first time cam operator, learned to use it on the 20 hr trip over. quickly realized to shoot everything in manual. simple strategy was to use three basic filters (nd, uv, pol), use the apeture/fstop guide in the viewfinder extensively, and then manaul focus while using the auto-focus button to focus on a distance farther than my main subject, then zoom accordingly. realized later that this is fairly standard procedure. i can conceptually understand the XL-1 focus drawbacks, but as a novice i've never operated a beta camera with standard pro focus... i judt didnt know any better, and am, again, stunned by this footage! i do not yet have an editing solution (looking at the canopus megarex bundle with after effects and cinelook), but cannot wait to begin editing. i mean, the stills alone (i shot primarily in frame mode) are enough to make me weep.

anyway, enough rambling. what would you recommend for EXTENSIVE field travel? lights? specific travel tripod? field batteries??

any thought appreciated. thanks.

sean dimond racer.x productions

-- sean dimond (, March 22, 2000


For a tripod I'm using the Bogen 3401 with short center column and the 501 fluid head. My only complaint is with leveling the whole rig. Its got a bubble level on the head but you have to monkey with the legs to get it level. I think Bogen makes a head or adapter that makes leveling much easier. I'm mounting a GL1 on it. I don't think there will be much of a problem with the XL1.


-- Paul Disney (, March 23, 2000.

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