What's in My Bag

What’s in my bag? — Dennis Nishi

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The things I take with me on multimedia reporting jobs that I've done with the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the BBC World Service and various commercial jobs.

Dennis Nishi is a multimedia journalist and producer.

The first is actually my lighter bag for multimedia. I can stuff most of what’s laid out in the photo [above] into a single Kata CC-193, which is a soft bag with an aluminum wire frame and sturdy handles on three sides. I like the Kata because it’s low and long which allows it to be stowed under seats and pushed out small windows like a military go-bag.

Camera-wise, I started out with a 5D MkI and then a Canon 60D which I still use for time lapse. I later bought a Canon 5D MkII, but didn’t care for it so I sold it and purchased a Canon C100 and a Sony RX10. Some would think that the RX10 is a downgrade because it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses. But the RX10 has a terrific built-in Zeiss lens that’s the 35mm equivalent of 24 – 200 at a fixed 2.8 aperture. It’s also weather sealed, has a headphone jack for monitoring sound and is quite compact. And it was recently upgraded with the option to record the Sony XAVC-S 50mb/s codec which makes the video footage broadcast capable. I carry a GoPro 3 on a Manfrotto Nano clamp for more risky shots.

Depending on the job, I can use the Roland R-26 PCM recorder to capture dual system sound for sync later or I can use the Sound Devices MixPre-D two channel digital mixer to run two channels right into the camera. I can also run wireless mic feeds with a Sennheiser G3 transmitter via two OST801 lavalier mics (stored in camera filter boxes) or the Sennheiser MD46 handheld mic with the plug in wireless transmitter. The Rode NTG3 supercardioid mic is for everything else. The Sennheiser HD25 headphones are for monitoring and I always keep tons of different types of XLR cables for the mics.

For lighting, I have two Switronix Torch LED lights which can be set to tungsten or daylight. Both are very bright for their size so I use them with a 20″ Lastolite umbrella to soften the light. I use the lights with Impact umbrella stand adapters that make them easy to mount and take down. Good for waist up interviews or fill outside. I also carry two Manfrotto Nano clamps that allow me to mount them onto any vertical surface to save time. For light stands, I use two Horrusbenu self-standing monopods that fold down very small. I wouldn’t trust them with anything heavier than a flash, but they work fine with the Switronix lights.

My miscellany of accessories include a Think Tank AA battery holder, a roll of gaff tape, a Think Tank Pixel Rocket card case, Zeiss lens wipes, Ampad reporter pads, Hoya variable ND and polarizing filters, a Rotring Rapid Pro ball point technical drawing pen, moleskin for the lavalier mic, Carmex to prevent chapped lips, reusable ear plugs, a very bright Fenix LD25 flashlight, Neutrogena blotting wipes to reduce facial shine and a fan brush and rice powder to reduce more facial shine. The maxed out HP netbook is for basic photo/video editing and upload. The Benro Travel Flat tripod is compact enough to fit into the bag without the Manfrotto head. It’s mostly for locked off interviews. Optionally, I’ll use a Manfrotto 562 monopod with a Benro S6 fluid tripod head that I can sling onto my back.

Tenba bag

I actually have four other bags and some Pelican hard cases that I use for different situations. I included a quick photo of my Tenba Roadie bag that carries my C100 with Zacuto loupe, lenses (Canon 70-200 f4IS, 24-105 f4IS, Tokina 11-16 f2.8, 16-35 f2.8), two Audix SCX1 hypercardioid mics for indoor use and an Asus 17″ quad I7 laptop for video editing in the laptop sleeve. Instead of the Horusbennu monopods, I use Matthews reverse stands which are strong enough to support Kino Diva 400s and Lowel Caselites (not shown) without a problem. For support, I use a Miller tripod with a Sachtler FSB6 that’s slung onto my back. I can portage either of these setups by myself, though, I sometimes split the load with an assistant who can help with setup or second camera operation.

-- Dennis Nishi 03/23/16

([Cool Tools Readers! We will pay you $100 if we run your "What's in My Bag" story. Send photos of the things in your bag (and of the bag itself, if you love it), along with a description of the items and why they are useful. Make sure the photos are large (1200 pixels wide, at least) and clear. Use a free file sharing service to upload the photos, and email the text to editor@cool-tools.org. — Mark Frauenfelder] — editors)