A Practical Cinematographer's Guide to a motorbike-friendly bag of tools

On my 17th birthday I received a tool kit.  I thought it was the worst present ever.  I now spend a significant portion of my disposable income on tools.  It's fun.  I'm occasionally asked how much my kit cost:  About six years experience learning what to carry, what not to carry and what things under-resourced productions often need but don't have on hand.  

Early on, Rocky Rodriguez, a key grip, who taught me a good chunk of what I know about lighting, told me that one should never walk on to a set, in any department, without a flashlight, a utility knife and a retractable sharpie.  That's where it started.  As I've gone along, whenever a production I'm on needs something but doesn't have it, I'll try to go and pick one up before the next job if the item isn't too expensive.  

That discipline has helped me build a reputation for having what's needed. I've built a kit where 98% of the time when I get asked, I've got something in my bags of tricks that'll meet the need.  Moving to Vietnam necessitated culling my carload of toys into a couple boxes, so I was forced to focus on the essentials.  I miss my chainsaw on occasion, but these days I really have to be able to fit my stuff into a taxi, so I tend towards things that can't be easily purchased or rented far from Hollywood.  

This is what I carry on a daily basis, even when I leave the other boxes at home.  I live my life out suitcases and tool boxes, so my idea of interior design is trying to adhere to a color scheme of blue, orange, silver & black.  Since I'm a practical cinematographer, I make the occasional concession to white paper.

CineBags Cinematorgrapher’s Bag

    Setwear Belt
        Sekonic Dualmaster L-558 Light Meter & case
        SetWear 4-in1 pouch
            Leatherman Charge Ti
                Leatherman tool bits
            Innova 5-LED flashlight
            SuperKnife II
            Cardellini Green Laser Pointer
        SetWear Mini-Tool Pouch
            Retractable Sharpie Marker
            Retractable Sharpie Hi-Liter
            Pilot G2 Mini Pens
            Large Dry-Erase Marker w/ Eraser Cap
            iPhone 4 w/ essential apps
         2 – Black Diamond Neutrino Carabiners

    Blue Ring Gaffer’s glass
    SUUNTO MC-2G Global Navigator Compass/Clinometer
    Petzl Headlamp White/Red

    4-in-1 Mini Screwdriver
    Mega-Combo Wrench

    Rosco Lens Tissue
    Pancro Lens Cleaning Solution
    Ground Lifters
    Matte Photoblack Tape

    Skinny-Mini Cardellini Clamp
    Mini 5/8" Spud w/ 1/4-20 Male & Ring
    Matthews Mini-Gobo

    Goldfold Notebook
    Moleskine Notebook
    Business Cards

    Writing Instruments
        Pilot G2 Pens
        Pilot Mechanical Pencil
        Panavision Fine/Broad tip permanent marker
        Retractable Sharpie Hi-Liters
        Silver Sharpie
        Small Dry-Erase Marker w/ Eraser Cap

    17" MacBook Pro (2011)
    iPad 2 – 3g 64gb
    iPad Charger & Cable
    USB Thumb drive


   Not Pictured:

        Small Red Laser Pointer
        Chalk holder
        Fluke Volt Light LVD1 Line Tester
        Small key-chain LED flashlight
        Pelican VB3 2-LED flashlight
        Insert Slate


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