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How do you store your gear/rigs?
  • I've been looking for a place to put my rigs other then the dinning room chairs, lenses on bookshelves and curious what others have done.

  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • I can keep 4 lenses, a body, my H4N, all of my step rings, filters, follow focus rings, portable editing drive and 17" MacBook Pro in this godsend of a bag and not look like I'm carrying any of it.

    Probably going to be investing in a Pelican case for the rig. Right now I can carry most all my gear with my back and two hands (save for my Jib.)

  • I have a small bag and a big bag. All gears fit into the big bag. Normally I carry a small bag.

  • In the meanwhile I store everything in Tanos boxes. Camera, lenses, gear, follow focus, laptop etc. It's safe, you can combine them, pile them up, easily to load into your car. If I can go only with small equipment I pick it out and take a bag or a single case.

  • I hope it's OK to extend this to storage and transporting, because good cases will do both. It's great to be able to get at the kit you need at home, and when doing a big location job you are ready to grab it and go. I've been doing location broadcasts for years (where every portable bit of gear is cased) and I'm also a gigging musician, so I've done a lot of buying, lifting and shifting things, and in my experience most bad stuff will happen either when arriving and setting up at a venue, or when packing away / leaving. I learned this the hard way - I bought a case for my first harp after I had to have it repaired when it blew over in a car park. It was a windy day, I turned round for a second to open a car door, and that was an instant, expensive lesson about the value of protecting your stuff whenever it's not actually in use.

    Both at home and on location, you need to be able to find and protect your gear, and when lots of it gets taken out and used in many different combinations, proper cases will keep you organised. Things which should be together stay together, ready to use. Basically, you just keep everything permanently in its cases. That works for me, and I hope you find my suggestions useful for ideas / options you can adapt:

    Pelican cases (as @artiswar mentioned above) are brilliant for storage, and on location for keeping the gear accessible during a bigger shoot. I have one for each of my camera kits and I would buy more if I needed them. Expensive, but they keep gear like new. They are strong, waterproof, you can create compartments for everything so you instantly see what you need and that you have put it all back, and you can put paperwork behind the foam in the lid. And drop them in a river, or off the back of a car, or lob them into the back of a cupboard at home, and everything inside will stay perfect!

    Really Useful Boxes are great for storing and moving mains cables / data cables / audio multicores, electrical tape, releasable zip ties and other essential miscellaneous stuff. I use the 64L ones and they stay stacked and don't fall over when piled up in the back of a car. In one box, on top of the cables I keep a shallow clear plastic fishing tackle box with moveable dividers, for mic adaptors, mics, stand holders etc. It's brilliant for keeping all those little bits you need tidy and visible - and you can take this out separately when setting up multiple mics and you have everything to hand.

    Low-level 19" rack cases are great for protecting rack gear - I have a 3U one for 3 8-input soundcards and it keeps that gear pristine - and all the digital / optical interconnections can stay in place so you can just open the case front and back, plug the mains in and go.

    Big lighting filter gels go in a plastic tube but I'd like to find a better option if anyone has any ideas.

    For other stuff like tripods, generally manufacturer supplied bags are the best choice, because they are the right shape. And I'm glad I bought the manufacturer's case for my Dedolight kit. It wasn't cheap but it keeps everything VERY compact for a 4-head kit with dimmers and stands - because that is exactly what it was designed for.

    For collections of mic and speaker stands I currently use a long zipped sports bag that has a handle and wheels at one end. I think it originally held hockey sticks or suchlike. I bet sports shops would yield other inspiring ways of storing / moving stuff like that.

    There will always be things that don't have cases because they're too big: big speaker stands, tall lighting stands. While these can survive without cases, they have the potential to damage anything they fall onto, which is another reason to make sure that anything else that can go in a case, does. Protect any vulnerable end fittings on uncased items with foam pipe insulation - which stops damage being caused to (or by) sharp edges.

    A folding sack truck can be well worth having, particularly if you are on your own. Speed is important as you don't want to leave anything unattended for longer than you have to.

    A word about what order to load, move and rig your stuff: I load the gear into the car in the order I've listed it above. In other words, Pelicases and other valuable, cased items in the car first, then rectangular boxes, then everything else as they can fit round the gaps. When you get to the other end, you unload the most valuable / fragile things last, so they stay longer in the locked car and you stay with them on your last trip into the venue. When rigging the equipment I leave the fragile stuff like cameras in their cases until everything else is in place. At the end, the stuff gets de-rigged starting with the cameras / valuable stuff, and loaded in the same order as on the outward journey, cameras first.

    Finally a labelling machine like the Dymo can be great for labelling anything - particularly if you have several similar-looking cases / chargers / cables (eg distinguishing between low voltage lighting XLRs and audio cables).

    Whether you're taking it on the road or not, I think there are two essential principles to storing things well:

    1. choose the best case you can to protect your gear so it stays useable and
    2. keep similar things together so you can take just what you need (say, just your lighting, or just one of your cameras). With this "modular" approach, it's easy to test everything before leaving the house, you won't need to hunt for odd vital parts, and you will instantly know if anything is missing before - or after - a gig
  • Thanks for the replies, going to have to pick up a tackle box this week for sure

  • I keep my lenses in an air-tight box with reusable silica gel desiccant canisters, so that fungus won't grow. 3.9-L capacity. I found it at the local Korean grocery store. 40 grams

    Though as I understand more about the way silica gel desiccant works, it seems best suited for a situation where the average year-round humidity is acceptable and you just want to buffer out the dry and humid seasons, and you have an air-tight box that won't be opened too frequently. In any case you need a hygrometer to know what's going on in the box.

  • I wonder how many movie photographers love the look of the gear so much they want to keep it visible?

    I need a glass display case for my oldest 16mm Pathe, Bolexes and Eyemos, gold anamorphics, movie winders and even a drive-in theatre speaker. At present, I take them out a few at a time, dust them and put them back. One day I'll probably even want to display my beat-up Betacam.

    In studio, I need to try quick lens and filter changes. I have an attractive new wooden case with multiple drawers for lenses, filters and adapters. The drawers are lined with fine felt.

    I keep a wooden-leg tripod in my main room, with some sort of rig on it - old or new. (My new matte box is too beautiful to put away). Having it there helps inspire me in quite practical ways as I find myself contemplating adjustments, shots and modifications.

  • My gear is stored in suitcases .. Travel ready, ( I hate packing/unpacking )

  • Trunks, bags, boxes, shelves, car trunk....among other places

  • I have a small apartment but shit loads of gear. IKEA to the rescue!

    2592 x 1936 - 1M
  • A Lowepro Pro Runner 300 AW holds the GH2 with 14mm pancake, Kowa 16H, Canon FD 35mm F/2, Canon FD 50mm F/1.4, Tamron SP 90mm 2.5, Tamron 2x teleconverter, Zacuto EVF, Zoom H1, cheap headset, many batteries, cards, cleaning items, a neck strap, Pixel intervalometer, a Tamrac 8 filter pouch with a Heliopan Vario ND, Tokina +0.5, B+W +1, B+W +2, B+W red filter and Heliopan step rings. Plus there are two water bottle sleeves on the outside. I put a GorillaPod for the H1 in one sleeve and a GorillaTorch in the other. The built in tripod holster works with a monopod or maybe an extremely compact tripod.

    The 300 AW is the perfect depth for the GH2 and holds as much gear as I would want on my back. I had a very large backpack when I shot with a Canon and hated it. I also have a Lowepro Edit 110 for travel. It holds the GH2 with pancake, the Heliopan Vario ND, batteries and cards.

    My tripod, monopod and other support stuff just lean against the wall near my bag.

    A home studio lighting and seamless paper backdrop kit lives under my bed because I have no space to leave it up.

    Then there is the cabinet of miscellaneous stuff I probably don't need.

    When I realize I don't need something of any value I sell it on eBay. It's a bit of a hassle and the fees suck, but it cuts down on the clutter and puts some money back in my pocket.