I'm going to be on the road for the next few weeks, and the first stop is Mobile World Congress, which kicks off next week. Event coverage means moving fast, whether it's sprinting from one press conference to another to get a good seat, or editing and uploading hands-on videos quickly before the other sites. Having the tools that help me get things done quickly is important to my job. Read on to see what's in my gear bag.
The Camera: Sony A7S II
I recently upgraded to the Sony A7S II, which is a mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor. It's smaller than a traditional DSLR and gives you that creamy bokeh-licous backgrounds in photos and videos. I also don't have to worry about product launch events held in the dark (why do companies like to do this?) because this camera performs exceptionally well in low light.
Attached to the Sony A7S II is the Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 lens with an adapter. I've had this lens for a while, and it's my go-to zoom lens on full-frame cameras. Autofocus isn't reliable when used with the Sony camera, but I mostly use manual focus when shooting videos. It's a pain to shoot photos with, however, so I might sell this lens to get a native Sony lens with the same zoom range.
Events are usually very noisy, so it's important to get the microphone as close to the speaker as possible in videos. I rely on my Sennheiser EW100 G3 wireless microphone when there's one speaker in front of the camera. The lapel mic is clipped to their shirt to ensure our viewers hear the voice more than the background noise. For multiple speakers, I use the Rode VideoMic Pro shotgun microphone. Both solutions sound tremendously better than using any camera's built-in microphone.
To make sure subjects are in focus and properly exposed in videos, I use the SmallHD 501 monitor. It doesn't add a lot of weight to the camera, and it's a lot more reliable than using the camera's built-in display.
For better stability, I use the Sirui P-204S monopod with Benro S4 video head. The monopod has three sturdy fold-down support feet so that it can stand by itself. I can also disassemble it to fit in my carry-on bag during flights. The video head is essential for smooth panning and tilting camera movements.
The Laptop: Macbook Pro
I edit videos in Final Cut Pro X, and I use my 2013 Macbook Pro with Retina Display to keep up with my demanding workflow. Exporting videos just take a few minutes, which is very important when we need a quick turnaround.
It's showing some struggle when dealing with 4K videos, but it's not the best time to upgrade the Macbook Pro yet. I'm waiting for Apple to release the next-generation MacBook Pros that will likely incorporate Intel's Skylake processor.
I'm okay with using the Macbook Pro's trackpad, but I'm more comfortable when using the Logitech MX Master wireless mouse. This will go into the bag if I know I'll be editing a lot of videos that day. One of my favorite features for the MX Master is the ability to charge with a micro-USB cable.
The Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Audio is just as important when it comes to videos. I use the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X monitor headphones when recording to make sure there aren't any interference or unusual noise that might be unfixable in post-production. They're comfortable, reliable, and fold down, so it doesn't take up a lot of room in the bag.
The Phones: Nexus 6P & Lumia 950
I prefer Nexus devices when it comes to Android. I skipped the Nexus 6 because of its size, but I'm now enjoying the Nexus 6P. I'm a fan of the gold color, too! I'll be using this to communicate with the rest of the Mobile Nations team via Slack and Google Hangouts, and make sure I don't miss anything on my Trello list. Since the Nexus 6P is already unlocked, I just need to get a local SIM card in Barcelona when I land.
The Lumia 950 is the second phone I'm bringing. I love its camera and will be using it to upload photos to Instagram and Twitter. I also plan to use it for some some b-roll footage.
The Bag: Peak Design Everyday Messenger
I was looking for a new bag and both AC Editor-In-Chief Phil and Mobile Nations Managing Editor Derek recommended the Everyday Messenger Bag from Peak Design. Mobile World Congress will be the first event I'll be using with this bag to carry all my gear, so I can follow up with more thoughts later on.
The Everyday Messenger has won awards from National Geographic, Popular Photography, and Men's Journal. It's targeted for photographers, travelers, commuters and everyone in-between with interesting features like origami-inspired dividers, unique magnetic closure, and more. It can be slimmed down when you're not carrying a lot of things and is expandable when filled with gear.
And that's about it. These are the tools I need on the road to get my job done. It's always evolving to help me stay efficient, so let me know if you have any gear recommendations that might help even more.