What's In My Bag - Lollapalooza 2019 - Social Media Photographer

Hey guys, in this video we're gonna talk about what I'm bringing in my photography bag for Lollapalooza, 2019 and we're gonna chat a little bit about why there's not a DSLR or a mirrorless camera in my bag this year.

Hey, it's Giovanni. I'm getting ready to pack up and kind of get all the stuff that I need to have pulled together for Lollapalooza, 2019. And I thought it'd be a great time to kind of show you what's changed in the camera bag especially for those of you who are content creators, who are looking to kinda shoot for brands and you make a career out of not being a photographer necessarily, like primarily, but certainly for working in the social media space then the kinda gear you might wanna consider that's not traditional to take along with you to events. Now a little bit about my past, and those of you who know me kind of put up with me for the next 45 to 130 seconds.

I have gone through a huge process of starting years and years and years ago with shooting DSLRs for all my content that I used online and for some TV shows that I worked on. I shot with the Canon 5Ds and with Canon 7Ds for a long time. Then I moved into the mirrorless world and I shot with Fuji for a couple of years. I absolutely love Fuji cameras. Then I've gone back and forth to the Fujis every now and again. But then, I spent about three years where I shot everything on iPhones and not only did I shoot everything on iPhones, but I edited my content on iPads which from a standpoint of what do you take with you on the road especially when you're going to three and four-day festivals, whether they're food-and-wine festivals or a music festival or stuff like that, shooting everything on iOS and editing on iOS was an absolute dream come true because there was like nothing to carry with you, right?

So I went through that, showed that it was a viable business model. In fact, the first year that I shot on iPhones exclusively, I made more money with my content creation that year than I had ever done with shooting DSLR and mirrorless. So move forward, I really kind of explored it and did all I could with the iPhones from the standpoint of a creative standpoint, that I felt like I kinda got that out of my system, but I was ready to kind of improve what I was doing but I didn't wanna go jump right back into mirrorless and DSLR cameras. I did play around a little bit with shooting again with the Fuji X-T2, which I believe, in my What's In My Bag video for South By Southwest this past year, that was the last event that I used the X-T2 at. And I keep on going and buying the X100 series cameras. So the X100F is what they've got. I've probably had 4 or 5 X100Fs 'cause I'll get it, I really love the idea of that camera but for what I do it just doesn't tick off enough boxes to make it reasonable for me to take up space in my bag. So that's where we are today. Now we are getting ready for Lollapalooza. I wanna talk a little bit about what the parameters of this shoot are and then we'll get into the gear itself.

The role that I play here at a music festival for these kinds of shoots are that I am a staff member for a brand. So I'm not going in as media, I don't have media credentials but the credentials I do have give me access to the entire festival except for the photographer's pit, which is kind of an interesting scenario because that's probably what most people would kind of like romantically aspire to. Even when I was shooting bands and stuff, the photographer's pit, to me, other than being in the position where I could turn around and shoot the crowd and get amazing crowd shots, with peoples' faces right there in the camera, shooting up the noses of artists, especially at an event like Lollapalooza where the stage is 10 feet up in the air, so you're shooting straight up, it's just not... It's certainly not flattering, number one, and number two, you're down in the pit with 30-50 other photographers, everybody's getting the same shots, right?

So that piece of the puzzle, when it comes to being a creator, just doesn't appeal to me, number one. Number two, because we're a brand... The brand that I'm working for are sponsors of the event, you typically are able to get some of that kind of A+ media content when you need just like a five-second kind of a shot of something. They usually are pretty good, depending upon the event about providing some of that content for us. So I don't need to shoot it 'cause I'll get it from them whenever I need something to have, like a really quick, you know, two to three to five second shot of looking up the nose of an artist.

So beyond that, A, I've got access to the entire grounds, in the general audience, in the VIP areas backstage. And in a lot of situations, I can get to the wings of the stages and shoot into the stage with the crowd coming out. Now, with that being the case, because I've got those credentials, that doesn't mean that I can run around with a huge camera with a big, long lens and not get noticed and not get myself in trouble, right? So it's really important for me to be respectful of the access that the event gives me and at the same time, not standing like a sore thumb, so that I'm not creating headaches for them, right? So that's super important when you're shooting events to kind of understand what the requirements or the limitations are, on you, as a content creator because you have to look at the contracts and see what they are allowing us to do as sponsors, right?

And so, like, one example I've already mentioned they're not gonna let me in the photographer pit. The other one, which is super, super critical, is that I cannot produce, I cannot publish any content with the brand that has identifiable images of artists and especially, has music from the artists in the content, right? So I've gotta prepare ahead of time what am I gonna take with me for background music for these pieces that I'm gonna be producing during the event to make sure that those licenses are cleared and stuff like that. But secondly, I've gotta make sure that when I'm shooting B-roll of bands on the stage, that what I'm typically focused on is side shots of maybe close-ups of people playing instruments with the crowd in the background and stuff like that.

I'm getting the environment but I'm not shooting a full-on face of a band member that is gonna create a situation where there's IP issues and things like that. So walking into this kind of knowing that you kinda get the lay of the land that I'm there to shoot the event and get B-roll of the event and do so in a way that is not burdensome, it doesn't create issues for me with the brand and the brand and the event producers and the producers and me, and all that kind of stuff. So I've made some mistakes in the past and I've been a little bit more aggressive than I should have. But as you do this more and more and you figure out what the rules of the road are, you kind of learn not... What not to do in these situations. So with that, let's talk about gear.

Alright, so let's talk about the gear. A couple of things that I don't wanna bring with me is, I don't wanna bring a huge amount of weight. It's really important in these kind of events that I can within reason be fairly kind of hidden and incognito. I get a lot better footage when people aren't paying attention to the fact that there's some dork standing next to them with a gargantuan DSLR and a big long lens, right? So the smaller the camera, the better but it still gotta be really decent quality. So we'll talk about how I achieve that.

Just know that when I show you the gear that I take to these events, that the most important part for me after I get to a baseline of a certain level of quality in the video and the photography that I can shoot, is being able to be in a spot and not being recognized as a photographer, so that I can get a chance to get great kind of candid video and photography of people enjoying themselves and not posing for the camera. This is obviously the same bag that I've had, not obviously, but it's the same bag that I've had it for several years, that is the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW. About half the stuff that's in the bag now is similar to what I had previously but we'll still go through it again.

Every time I do a large event like this, everything comes out of the bag, 100%, not a single pocket is left untouched inside the backpack. And then I go through all the gear that happens to be in that backpack 'cause usually the bag is always ready to go. I go through every single piece, every do-hickey, every dongle, every screw, every wrench on top of the cameras and the other stuff. And I evaluate, is this something that I've used on the last shoot? On one of the last three shoots? And usually the rule that I use is, A, if something has been replaced, then get rid of it. B, if I haven't used something in the last two shoots that I've been on, it comes out of the bag. It's just I'm pretty aggressive about that 'cause I don't want all the extra weight and I don't wanna have to be digging through stuff that's useless, that I'm not gonna need in the bag.

Up on the top pocket, I will carry my MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop, that's obviously for computing stuff, editing, things like that. In these two front pockets of the Lowepro bag, I've got two waterproof SD card cases, super easy card management here, the blue case has got sd cards in it that are ready to go formatted and empty. If I'm in a situation in the field where I fill up a card, then I put it in the red case and I close it off, and I know that that needs to be downloaded the first chance that I get to download 'em.

In the bottom pocket here, usually if I'm traveling internationally, then I'll have passports and things like that. For Lollapalooza I've just got a couple of set of Apple headphones, these. I've got the 1/8 inch jacks on them with the dongle so that I can have more flexibility with whether or not I use these on an iPhone, or my laptop. And then a hardened case with just about 10 business cards in it. So let's look at the bag. The bag actually, this time I'm really thrilled, it's probably the lightest that I've ever packed a bag for any kind of an event.

So I'm still carrying the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW, I guess this is their larger size backpack, but like I said, I've got less stuff in it, so there's less weight. Certainly, I've got the same number of cameras, but they're different cameras. And it's really gonna force me to do some different things creatively this time around. But I've got a couple of pockets that are completely empty in this bag which has really never ever happened. Usually, I'm terrible about just stuffing every single compartment with as much as I possibly can.

Let's talk about batteries, first. I've got one pocket, in the backpack that has got my batteries in there and I start with an Anker 26,000 and whatever milli amp battery that is used for pretty much everything. The main thing it's used for is to keep my laptop charged up. I might be wrong, but I believe that this Anker battery will charge a laptop at least twice if not a little bit more than that. Inside this Think Tank bag and I'm gonna grab my glasses here is the Think Tank Cable Management 10, the version2 bag. I absolutely love these. I use them for everything.

But inside here, I've got a few more Anker batteries, the round cylindrical batteries here are used for something in particular that we'll talk about in a second. This other one that's kind of shaped a little bit more like a pack of gum is a small battery, just to give me, a little bit of juice for the phone. And then there are a couple of different kinds of batteries in here for different cameras that we'll talk about in a second. At the bottom of the bag, of the backpack I've got another Think Tank Cable Management 10 bag, and this is the everything else bag. This is anything that doesn't fit into another compartment goes into here, and these are a level for the cold shoe on the camera. It's a lens cleaning cloth, it's a sharpie. There are extensions for different camera mounts. It's camera strap. So that's kind of the everything bag.

As I move over to the other side of the bag, I've got number one, a Think Tank bag with some power bricks in them for the laptop for charging up the other battery and a tiny one for emergencies for like when I'm in a coffee shop with the phone. And then another Think Tank Cable Management bag that has got a ton of USB micro cables that I use later in the hotel to charge everything up with. And then the charger for the laptop and some dongles for reading SD cards not only to the laptop, but over to the phones also. A couple of other things in this compartment here that I'll bring up and chat about a little bit. One is little bit different creative gear to bring with me on the road. Now, if I had my way, then again this is the challenge I have with working outside and we'll talk about the camera in a second. I'll say that again, because I've tried to shoot this video several times.

If I had my way, I would bring my Edelkrone slider and motion heads here with me. The challenge that I have with bringing that stuff is that we are... Even if it doesn't rain, there's always a potential for inclement weather at music festivals, but even if it doesn't rain, those things are gonna be sitting out in the dust all day as I'm using them and I'm really concerned about those things getting garbage kind of particulate and really fine dust inside their motors and screwing them up. And I'm not willing to take those out and ruin what collectively would be almost $2000 worth of gear because I wanna get a couple of slow-motion slides, right?

So the solution for that is to do it manually with something that's a lot less expensive. I don't even know... I assume Edelkrone still makes these but this is basically a manual slider, you stick it on the tripod so you've got a solid mount here. And this guy gives you the ability to basically slide twice the distance of what the actual contraption is. Actually, it's three times, I guess, 'cause you're here, then you can go over here, then you slide all the way in that direction. So it's got a decent amount of motion on it, it's manual, so whenever you're doing something with these kind of tools and you're manually pushing it, there's a lot of hit or miss with this kind of stuff, but it gives you a little bit of flexibility. So this will go with me in the bag, and I've got a bracket here which is the other...

One of the pieces that helps me replace those Edelkrone motion head pieces, which is this guy. This is a much less expensive solution, a much dumber solution to being able to have a pan-tilt head. So I can either mount this guy just directly onto a tripod. Again, I've got a quick mount plate on the bottom of that and you get left to right kinda 90 degrees motion. Or I could take this guy, this L-bracket put that on the tripod and then mount this guy sideways pull that off and then I've got an up and down or I can even tilt the tripod and I might be able to kinda create kind of a diagonal movement.

It gives you some motion and you can do some interesting thing with time lapses and slow motion like that in a way that you can't if you're manually controlling that. For me, what I'm looking to do is create a kit that is light-weight that again doesn't look like I'm walking into the gate with a huge amount of professional gear, but can let me kind of cheat and kind of duct tape my way into creating content that looks a little bit more professional. A couple of other things, this is usually called dead cats, we'll call this a dead hamster. And then a really tiny Manfrotto kind of utility light.

These are the Manfrotto Lumimuse lights. You always want a neutral density filter when you're shooting outside. I'm a big fan of using a mouse so yes, I do have a travel mouse that's an Apple Magic Mouse 2. Oh and in this bag, I'm actually packing the Rode Wireless GO microphone system because I might wanna use it with my on-the-road video blogging set up which is right here. I think this should be for 2019, the go-to video blogging, vlogging set up for creators. This is a GoPro HERO Black 7, the image stabilization in this thing is absolutely nuts.

You've got a $25 Manfrotto PIXI handheld tripod here. You've got, I believe these are about... What they're $60 or so the Videomicro by Rode, and then the ULANZI case that fits the microphone adaptor which is easily the dumbest design decision made in the last five years by a camera company is this mic block whatever the heck this thing is for the GoPro. But ULANZI has a solution that you can mount it underneath there, it stays out of the way, it's not flopping and breaking your camera in the process. Super lightweight, super high quality video, fantastic, wonderful video. You don't have to think about it if it's pointing at you this way, the microphone into the camera is phenomenal.

So that's my entire vlogging setup. So this whole set-up here which lives in one of these single bags, and with some, with all the batteries in there it's about a $700 set up, I guess, maybe $600 I'm not sure. Certainly it's inexpensive, it produces great quality and takes up next to no room in the bag and you really can't go wrong with it. So I've got that set up there, but there may be a situation where I want to not use the Videomicro, I might be in a super loud kind of environment or I might be standing further away from the camera. So, in those situations, I would use the Videomicro... Or the Video Wireless GO.

Outside of this I've got... In the side pockets I've got pens and pencils, and note taking stuff and other business cards, something you're not interested in. The last three main things in the camera are number one, my second cameras, which will be the Insta360 ONE Xs, I love these things to death. These are so ridiculous versatile that not only do they give you a whole different perspective on especially an event situation, because of the way you can edit the video that comes out of these they're 360, you literally do not think about what you're shooting. Anything that is outside of about two to three feet from the camera is going to be in focus, and the color on it is gonna be fine, the lighting is gonna be fine, unless you're in pitch black.

And it completely eliminates the need for a gimbal. Because the footage is stabilized. If I had to use the GoPro for something that's stabilized the last camera I'm gonna use, it's stabilized. So the need for a gimbal is kind of removed from the scenario when you're using a gimbal for stabilization, number one. Number two you can crop this 360 footage into a 1080p, which is what I produce my content with and use it to kind of pan and tilt around in a scene. And again, I don't have to think about what I'm shooting it's just gonna be there. I've got two of these. They tend to be super versatile and I might find myself in situations where I can mount it and walk away from it and come back an hour later. That's why I mentioned those other batteries earlier because these cameras can be powered by an external battery.

I can have these things run until the card fills up. I can have them run for two hours, three hours straight and just record an environment then go back and go through the footage if I want to. So the cameras which are super important for this shoot for me are gonna be the Insta360's, and the main piece, the star of the bag is a camera that ends up being the perfect event camera for me for a few reasons: Number one, because I'm really looking at getting gear that is small footprint, not intimidating, I wanna go to events and just shoot events and not be the idiot with the big camera, with the big lens, and the big backpack. So I've moved in-house, let me back up.

The perfect camera I've found so far to shoot what I'm looking to shoot with the exception of one thing is the Canon EOS M50. The only thing... Two things this camera missing, mainly, is the weather sealing that's non-existent on here. If this thing had weather sealing on it, that would be completely nuts and off the charts. The other thing would be in-body image stabilization. If they come out with any camera, that is this size in the mirrorless kind of mode, that has IBIS and has a camera... Has a microphone jack game over, and they've just released the G7X Mark II or III, whatever it is.

It's got a mic jack in it and it's got image stabilization, but that's not weather-sealed so that... The G7 would not be a camera that would be good for me to use. I'm absolutely in love with the utility of the M50, but it's not gonna work for me in the Lollapalooza environment because of all the dust and the potential for rain. So, what have I moved to? I have moved to a super kind of hyped up accessorized Canon G1 X Mark III.

With... If this camera had a tiny bit faster lens or if it was 2.8 all the way through from the 24 to the 72 millimeter and if it had a mic jack in it, it would be game over, I wouldn't have any M50s, I'd be only be using this for in-studio and the event stuff. But alas, every camera has got one little thing that's missing. In the scenario for the G1X Mark III, this ticks off a lot of boxes for me for shooting events. Number one, it's got the same sensor, or actually a newer sensor in it than the Canon EOS80D, so it's got a phenomenal sensor in it.

It's got dual pixel auto focus so it's got that magical auto-focus, it's got the magical Canon color science. It does have fantastic image stabilization. I have mounted this to the windshield of a vehicle and used it to vlog upside down, the camera is smart enough to flip the video over for me and the image stabilization is phenomenal on this thing. And last but not least, it is weather sealed. So, I can shoot this in the rain, I can also take this thing out into the dirt and the dust of a music festival for four days in a row and not have any concern about this thing getting jacked up and dust getting into the nooks and crannies and jacking up with the camera. So this is what we'll be shooting Lollapalooza with this year. Obviously, I will have my GoPro with me, but the intention to have the GoPro is not to shoot Lollapalooza but since it's with me, I very well may use it, but for the most part, this is my gear.

Little tiny, looks like a cigarette lighter almost, the Insta360 camera and the G1X Mark III. The other big thing that has ticked off for me on this camera as far as things I'm looking for is that, if I take off this... The filter rings on here and I remove the hot shoe on this or the cold quick-release plate thingymajiggy majigger, and even if I went to the point of taking off the thumb grip that I use on here and the camera strap holders, this is a... It's a point and shoot camera that some dork would take with him on a trip to Europe, right?

This is... There's nothing intimidating about this camera. Even if I didn't have credentials to shoot Lollapalooza I would get into the festival with this thing and nobody would question me for, about it. And this is a huge part of the way I shoot is that I don't want people looking at me thinking that I'm media, I wanna be a fly on the wall and I don't wanna be noticed. This camera should allow me to do that. But this thing's a monster. I mean it's an absolute tank and it has got an 80D built into it, it is a phenomenal piece of kit.

So, that's the gear in the bag. The only other couple of things that I'm gonna take with me are, A, I've got this other Think Tank, this is a Cable Management 30 bag and this has got a couple of USB charging hubs in it with some other battery chargers and extra USB and lightning cables in there. So this is the kit that gets checked in my bag, I don't put this in my backpack, but this is what lives in my hotel and keeps everything charged up all in one single bag. If I'm shooting time lapses and things like that, I am gonna wanna put my camera on a tripod. So bringing with me, the Manfrotto, this is a ridiculously, old heavy tripod. This is the 055XB.

I think I've had this thing for easily for over 10 years, and on top of it, I've got the MX... Or the MHXPro ball head, this is a fantastic ball head as well. The other piece of kit that I will use with me all day, every day, I will always have with me, if I'm not using the tripod, is this Manfrotto XPro monopod. I have taped over the, I don't have one over here, I've taped over the name of it, so I don't know the exact name, but it's an aluminium monopod. And I'm using 492 micro ball heads from Manfrotto with a micro, a small release plate on there. A couple of the other things I've done with this, this guy also is well over 10 years old. They are monsters, I've replaced screws and things in them every now and again.

Gaffer tape is taped onto the pole here, because if you've done events like this, if you're shooting professionally, gaffer tape is something you always need, like gaffer tape and aspirin are the two things you always take with you no matter where you're shooting. So I've got gaffer tape, ready to be pulled off and used if I need to. And then the very last itty bitty tiny hack that I have and I'll recommend everyone do this, run to your local academy and pick up one of these little bags. Now, these bags are meant to be used whenever you're out boating and you want to put valuables in a waterproof sealable bag, so that in case you capsize or water splashes in the boat, you've got a bag with your keys and your wallet and your phone and whatever inside here that can be closed up and sealed like so, and it's a water-tight bag. I don't use it as a water-tight bag. I use it, as A... Since it's water proof, I can take a camera and put it in here and protect it in case it's raining or stuff like that.

The more important thing that I do, though, is you're outside, and there's a lot of heat outside and those cameras have the sun bearing down on them all day long, and even if you're not shooting, the camera is gonna heat up which is gonna reduce the amount of shoot time you can get when you're shooting video on a camera. So what we do is whenever we're not shooting imagine the camera is sitting on here, if the bag goes on top of the camera and the mono-pod and you close it up, then that allows you to walk around the festival with the camera protected from the heat.

I chose a light color because I don't want the sun to soak... I don't want the color to soak up the heat and transfer it inside the bag, I'd rather have that the heat bounce off the bag and disperse that way. So while I couldn't find a bag that had a yellow top on it, I chose the yellow bag because I want the sun and the heat to kind of bounce off the bag. So that's a little hack. You're welcome.

So with all that, I think I'm done here with this video. A, thank you for watching, I really honestly do appreciate it, especially those folks that stayed this long till the end. Please subscribe. I'm on the road to 1000 subscribers right now, so that's kind of important to me.

Secondly, honestly man, if you guys have any questions at all, if you have questions about the gear that I use, I do this stuff on a regular basis, and I'm not hyper technical with the kind of reviews and I don't get into the pixel peeping and stuff like that. I use tools or I use products and equipment as tools of the trade. They're very functional to me so I don't lose my mind over Canon versus Nikon versus Fuji versus Sony. I just kind of use these things as like a hammer and a screwdriver in order to kinda get the job done for my clients. So, from that perspective, I'm not gonna overwhelm folks with a bunch of details although... I'm not going to.

But if you have questions about how this stuff works in the field, please. I've used this stuff forever I've been doing this for 20 years. Leave a comment, I'll be thrilled to connect with you and answer any questions you might have. And with that, I'll probably have one video released in between my next Lollapalooza video just so I make sure that I keep the production up, but if I don't see you in Chicago at Lollapalooza in the next video, I will see you in Chicago at Lollapalooza at the following new video or maybe the one, so I'll definitely follow up and I give you guys kind of a view of what it looks like to kind of shoot the event as a social media content creator for a brand. And with that, I guess I'm done. Thanks guys.