A Motorbike Friendly Bag of Cinematography Tools - Take 3

My bag of personal tools for cinematography:

Here's a list of the contents:

CineBags Revolution Backpack
    2 - Black Diamond Neutrino Carabiners
    Luggage Tag
    3D Printed Business Card
    Photon Micro-Light II LED Keychain Light
    CineBags Belt Loop Tool Pouch
        Pilot G2 Retractable Pens
        Retractable Sharpie
        Retractable Sharpie Hi-Liters 
        Small Dry-Erase Marker w/ Eraser Cap
        Moleskine Notebook
        4-in-1 Mini Screwdriver
    Cinebags Bottle Pouch
    Camera Compartment
        Setwear Belt
            Blue Ring Gaffer's Glass & Case
            Sekonic Dualmaster L-558 Light Meter & case
            Setwear 2-Pocket Light pouch
                Leatherman Charge Ti
                Leatherman Pocket Knife
                SureFire E2L Outdoorsman
            SetWear Clip-On Utility Pouch
                Chalk holder
                Cardellini Green Laser Pointer
                Retractable Sharpie Marker
                Black Pilot G2 Pen
                iPhone 5 w/ essential apps
            SetWear Glove Clip
                SetWear Fingerless Pro Leather Gloves
        SetWear Journeyman Gloves
        2- Ground Lifters
        Cube Tap
        Pignose Adapter
        Matte Photoblack Tape
        1" Orange Gaffer's Tape
        1" Light Blue Paper Tape
        Gerber box-cutter
        Gorilla Grip Folding Hex Wrench Set - Customary
        Filmtools Lens Cleaning kit
        Assorted 4" lighting gobos

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

        MBP Power Adapter & Cable
        Space Blanket
        Rosco Lens Tissue
        Leatherman Charge tool bits
    Front Pouch
        Goldfold Notebook
        Retina iPad 4G 32gb
            Silicone back case
            iPad Smart Cover
            Essential Apps
                Alexa Pocket Guide v6.1
    Laptop Pouch
        17" MacBook Pro (2011)
    Top Pocket
        Sawyer's 99.11% DEET Bug Juice

        Oakley CrossLink Glasses & Case

        Tiffen 1/8 Black ProMist 4x5.65"
        Tiffen 1/4 Black ProMist 4x5.65"
        Tiffen IR ND 1.8 4x5.65"
        Tiffen IR ND 2.1 4x5.65"
        Nitize S-Biner Multi-Clip
            Innova Keychain LED Flashlight
            LaCie USB Thumb drive
            Mega-Combo Wrench
            Gardner Bender Circuit Alert Mini Line Tester
        Top Pocket Zipper Pouch
            Sharpie Liquid Graphite Retractible Pencil
            Panavision Fine/Broad tip permanent marker
            Retractable Sharpie - Ultra Fine Tip
            Silver Sharpie
            1 - BNC Barrel
            1 - BNC T-Splitter
    Left Top Pocket
        G-Tech 750gb HDD w/case
            FW 800 cable
            Mini USB cable
            Micro USB cable
        Lightning Cable
        iPhone 5 charger and cable
    Left Bottom Pocket
        Petzl Headlamp White/Red
        SureFire 6PX Pro
    Right Top Pocket
        SUUNTO MC-2G Global Navigator Compass/Clinometer
        50' Measuring Tape
    Right Bottom Pocket
        Spare 3.2V Li-Ion Batteries
        Spare AAA Batteries
        iPad Charger & Cable


At home on the bleeding edge.

In March, I had the opportunity to try out a prototype of the FOR-A FT-ONE 4k camera which can capture up to 900 fps super-slow motion at 4k resolution.  For illumination, I tried out plasma lights from Hive Lighting.

My main goal with this shoot was to originate some footage, get acquainted with the camera and to try out Plasma lights, which are flicker-free to several million frames per second and have double the power efficiency of HMI lighting.

I shot a little table top setup.  I used a Wasp Plasma Par for a backlight and a Killer Two Light Plasma maxi in front with some diff to light it.  The power draw was under 800 watts and the lights could be handled without gloves.

For reference, the last high-speed shoot I did, used about 60,0000 Watts of tungsten lighting.  I also spent a couple weeks worrying about flicker and a whole shoot feeling like I was inside an oven.  With the Hive plasma lights, I plugged them into the wall and never once saw a hint of flicker.  The Hive Plasmas are by far the best artificial lighting instruments I've used for high-speed imaging.

I shot at 830 fps, 1/2000 shutter with a Zeiss 85mm SuperSpeed lens at an aperture of 4/5.6. The camera has an ISO rating of 640 and always shoots 4k.  It also offers a 1080/60i or 1080/50i monitor feed.  It can do simultaneous playback and recording.

The FT-ONE has a super 35mm sensor and PL lens mount which is is highly suitable for the work I typically do. It can run off AC power or V-mount batteries.

The camera held it's black point very well, which is often a concern with high frame-rate cameras.  Recalibrating the black balance was easy and very fast.

The camera does not have the exposure tools I typically use built-in, so next time I'll use a monitor that does.

The breakout box made setup and operation of the camera a breeze.

Rolling at a 1/2000 exposure time still requires significant amount of illumination.  I lit for this camera test using around 750 Watts of power from an ordinary household circuit.

Example footage - FT-ONE camera, 830fps, 1/2000 sec exposure time, 4/5.6 aperture, 85mm Zeiss Super Speed lens.  Please note that this web video is taken from the cameras 1080/60i monitor feed with a frame rate conversion to 1080/24p which did result in some motion artifacts.

iOS apps for Cinematography

Over the past few years, my iPhone and iPad have become indispensable tools.  Here's some of the apps I find useful.


Artemis Director's Viewfinder - Not the same as looking though the lens but very useful nonetheless.  I use it extensively on tech scouts and a fair amount on set.

pCAM - My go to camera reference and calculation app. It's got everything.  One day I was trying to plan an underwater shot with a housing that had a flat front port.  I needed to know what the magnification factor would be.  I wondered if it pCAM had that.  It did.

Helios - Comprehensive sun position software.

MovieSlate - As long as I'm not shooting day exteriors, I always have a slate and an insert slate in a pinch. I primarily use it to take camera notes because it has several good export options.


ColorWheel HD - Great tool for talking about color with directors and production designers and for setting up color palettes.

myPANTONE - Another nice tool for collaborating with regards to color.

Location Scouting

Panascout - Not the greatest app, but I still use it for sentimental reasons.

MapCamera - Nice when running around town looking at lots of different spots.

MagicPlan - Good for measuring a room when I don't have a measuring tape handy.

SunSeeker - Sun position software - I prefer Helios, but SunSeeker is cheaper.


KnotsGuide - Fun with rope.

TechScout Pro - Can be used to generate lighting lists.  Fun to browse.

ALEXA Pocket

Kodak Cinema Tools

Moviola Camera Guide - Lots of good reference info and can also be used to generate camera equipment lists.


Toland - I don't use this app much, but it's pretty decent for taking camera notes and calculating exposure, filter factors, DoF, etc.

Cine Meter - While I don't rely on it's accuracy, I find the display easy to use when I need to discuss exposure with a director or production designer while walking around set.


MovieLooks & VideoGrade - a couple apps that can do some basic color grading and video filters.  Useful for generating a quick & dirty look when the director asks something like "What would this look like with a bleach bypass?"


Shot Designer - Useful for generating overheads.

BizXpensTrkr - I use it for logging mileage and expenses.  I don't love it but haven't found a better one yet.

Dropbox - I put .pdf camera manuals there for easy access along with visual reference materials, storyboards and scripts related to current projects.

Videos - It's nice to always have my demo reel with me.

GarageBand - Good if one needs a click track for a dance sequence.  I've also used it to drive a subwoofer covered with a swimming cap to launch paint and powders into the air for some high-speed work.  That's fun because rather than saying "roll camera" we say "drop that bass."

1000 fps Phantom shoot - Part 5 - Results

It took awhile, but the spot for which I shot at 1000 fps with the Phantom Flex finally hit the airwaves:

Finding a Doctor in Vietnam

A couple years ago, I bumped my head on a crane and went to a regular hospital in the Vietnamese countryside for some "sewing" as my director so charmingly phrased it.  They took good care of me, but I'm not so comfortable with language differences when it comes to non-emergency medical care.

Then there was the time I went to an international joint-venture hospital...  I'm pretty sure that the purpose of an IV is to put fluids in, but the staff there seemed to think that it was meant to spray my blood all over the place.  Having shot a horror movie or two, I'm reasonably familiar with methods to achieve the same effect without the use of actual blood.  That was a fairly mild incident in a stay I would describe as a comedy of errors.

So, if you find yourself looking for a doctor in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I heartily recommend my physician,  Dr. Mark Siefring.  Dr. Siefring has been caring for patients in Vietnam for the past ten years or so and is well-acqainted with the medical community and resources in Saigon.  When I needed some tests that were beyond the scope of his clinic, he referred me to some excellent local doctors.

In addition to his experience as an Internist and General Practitioner,  Dr. Siefring specializes in Practical Dermatology and Dermoscopy.  For someone who grew up in the desert and spends as much time in the tropical sun as I do, that's a skill set I find reassuring.

In my experience, International S.O.S. is a reliable bet when traveling, however, I spend enough time in Vietnam that I needed to find a primary-care physician.   Dr. Mark fit the bill, and he has taken good care of me.