What’s in your bag? Do you really think that the cameras and lenses that are in my bag are going to get you my job? Stop! I’m not being arrogant, however, how you shoot and I shoot are so radically different it doesn’t matter if you use the same gear as I do. We are creative knuckleheads and do what we do as individuals.
Wanna know about some of the “stuff” that’s in my bag? Allow me to share with you my camera brethren:Altoids, gum, Mentos, or anything that will freshen your breath. I hate working around bad breath. Whether it is from food, medicine, or whatever — no excuse! If it’s a client, offer it. An assistant, force it. Bad breath, yuck!I have a Gerber Multi-Plier tool and some other tools attached to the sheath. This is often used to cut open a box of cookies. The lone hex key is used for Monfrotto tripods. You never know when you need to tighten up something.When you’re working on a dark set or at night, a flashlight will come in handy. This particular one will clamp onto the top of my bag and illuminate it so that I can find what I’m looking for. (Gum for the assistant, see above).To keep the lenses and any filters clean, I use Hoodman Lens Cleanse. These kits are awesome! No, I don’t have an endorsement; these are really good. Note: when you’re cleaning your lenses, offer to clean the client’s glasses. They’ll appreciate it, plus your work will look better through cleaner glasses.Another great tool for cleaning your gear are these makeup applicators. I find the point on one end is great for cleaning the inside of your eyepiece. These are great after shooting in a dusty location or at the beach. You want to get your gear cleaned up as quick as possible ready for the next gig.Now that I have clean filters, I always keep a Polarizing filter with me. Many times on a show I have to shoot surveillance shots of someone getting into or out of a car. The “Pola” cuts the polarizing light on the windshields, and I’m able to capture the person’s image for facial recognition on the show.There are times when my camera needs to be mounted on top of a 12 step ladder or a scissor lift to replicate a traffic camera or some kind of high surveillance shot. A tripod isn’t going to work. The show’s Grips will rig a Knuckle on a Baby Plate, and then I’ll use this 5/8’s pin with a 1/4 20 thread to mount my camera onto the Knuckle to mount the camera. (I have a video on KelbyOne about “Hollywood Tools for Photographers” if all that lingo confused you, might I suggest you watch it).On a very hot day there are times I need to get some electrolytes in me. Craft Services might have Gatorade, but it has so much sugar in it that I prefer to use zero calorie Powerade. The reason it’s in a ziploc is so that should it leak, it won’t look like blood in my bag. You might ask how would I know that. I can not confirm or deny that it ever happened.Referring to my bag, you will all get a laugh from this tip. Put some toy spiders in some random places in your bag. Should anyone open your bag who doesn’t belong in it, the next scream you hear will be their’s.Have you ever shot talent on location with no makeup artist around and the talent has some oily skin? Tina, my good friend and NCIS makeup artist, showed me these awesome sheets, and they work great! You just press on the oily area, do not wipe, then lift, shine gone.Another non-endorsed product found in my bag is a ShamWow! cloth. These cloths are great for wiping down gear in a mist of rain or a splash of water from the F/X guys. There are lots of practical uses, they’re cheap so you won’t feel bad throwing one away.Finally, one of the most important things found in my bag after the gum are the business cards. I keep them in a case so that they don’t get frayed edges and damaged during transport. Clients can’t hire you if they don’t know how to find you.
There you have it, “What Stuff is in My Bag”. I hope you enjoyed this one, thanks for reading it.
Mike is best known for his work on countless popular shows that are household names: CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, JAG, Boston Legal, Pretty Little Liars to name a few. His current projects are NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Mike is a Trainer for KelbyOne, and Los Angeles Center of Photography. Mike is also a member of the International Cinematographers Guild.
You can view Mikes work at .