What's In My Bag

By Yeti Apr 8, 2014
What's In My Bag

Tim Roberts, Ski Utah's Video Producer, chimes in with another blog post about video production on skis.

I get asked a lot about the equipment I use when working on the slopes. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different things, but with the help of the experts at Pictureline, I've landed on good equipment that works for me. Here is a list of the things that I typically bring with me on the slopes when I’m shooting action inside the resort. When non photographers feel the weight of the backpack I’m carrying, they think I'm a little crazy. And they are right, I am. Crazy about bringing back good visuals to share with skiers who couldn’t be there that day. Here is a look inside my pack.

This is a good minimal backpack. I have others that are larger and carry more, but this one holds all the essentials; three lens and a body without seeming too big. Let's be hones, if I used a bigger pack I’d just fill it with more stuff. Using the straps, I can get a tripod on the back securely. I also usually carry a avalanche shovel on the outside snow safety pocket for the obvious reasons, however, this also gives the camera a little extra protection should I happen to go over the handle bars.
This camera does a great job with video and has a small form factor. There are some limitations with using a DSLR over a more conventional video camera, but, its low weight, small size, and large selection of lenses make it efficient for ski videography. The 5D Mark III also features a full size sensor, which really does make a difference in image quality. The 5D Mark III also features a headphone output (crucial for recording important interviews) and dual memory card slots.
This is a great lens for ski photography. With a F2.8 aperture it is fast and is good and fuzzing out the background. Also it’s a good length for shooting action in the mountains. Add a 2x converter to it and you can shoot from a long way back. Here is a link to a video where I used the big boy lens with the 2x converter.
This is a very useful lens and definitely the lens I shoot with the most. Wide enough for most things but can be zoomed in decently. Also it makes a nice starburst out of the sun when you tighten up the aperture. This lens has probably lived with me over 200 days on the snow and still going strong.

Sometimes I like to shoot wide angle. This lens, on a full frame sensor camera, like the 5D Mark III, goes REAL wide. When you want to fit a lot of scenery in the frame, this is a good lens to have in your bag. This lens is especially useful for shooting down mountain and getting the horizon in frame and with a steadycam, where any remaining camera shake is minimized by it's wideness (Click here to see an example on the stedicam).



Carrying a tripod is a necessary evil of videography. While still photographers can handhold most of their shots when shooting action, videographers don’t have that luxury. A carbon tripod is expensive, but light and as an added bonus, unlike aluminum, carbon doesn’t transfer cold to your hands as much, which on early mornings and cold days is key.



Manfrotto 701 HDV Fluid Video Head

This video head is now discontinued, but, I’ve been using it for years and it has been reliable. It’s fairly light compared to some beefier heads, which is nice. With a DSLR you can get away with this lighter head, but, not reccommended for larger camcorders obviously. For video you need a fluid head that allows you to set the resistance at which you can pan and tilt the camera. With a DSLR you don’t need as burly of a head, and this one works great.



Zacuto Z-Finder Pro

This is one of the greatest pieces of gear ever. Basically, it’s a magnifying glass with an eye cup that attaches to your LCD screen. This does two things. First, It allows you to see what you are shooting. Often when shooting outside it is very hard to see the screen because of the light bouncing off the snow in a million directions. With the Zacuto diopter, I can cut out the outside light and get a good look at what I’m shooting. Without the Zacuto on, I typically use the light meter in the camera to set my exposure and then just try to follow the black blob moving on the white snow. With the Zacuto on I can get a good look at what I’m shooting, how good my focus is, and how my exposure is set. Secondly, when handholding the camera, having the Zacuto up against your face gives you a 3rd point of contact with the camera that makes you much more stable.

Zacuto Enforcer

This little toy is pretty cool. Basically you unfold it and it works as a shoulder stock that you can brace against your chest to steady the camera. And really, in videography, keeping the camera steady is a big part of the game. Also, it looks badass, which is always a good thing.





The Goodie Bag

I always keep a ziplock bag in my camera pack that has extra batteries, lens wipes, spare memory cards, random GoPro attachments, and a pocket screwdriver.


For an example of some video I've shot with this rig, check out my latest spring edit.


I hope this gives you an idea of the basic gear I’m using on a daily basis on the mountain. I’d like to thank our awesome sponsors for the support they give us. Pictureline is an awesome local camera store in Salt Lake City and provide us with great advice and rentals. And Dakine makes great photo bags that have reliably carried all my gear for years.