Every year, we spend many days on the road covering exclusive BMW news. From auto shows and press car launches, to test drives and lifestyle events, the BMWBLOG team aims to cover anything and everything in the BMW world, and to capture for you, through photography and videos, our unique experiences with BMW cars.
But to accomplish this over the years we had to invest heavily in the latest and greatest equipment that gives the content a polished and professional look. Therefore the purpose of today’s article is to outline some of the gear we used in our trips that not only make our life easier, but also delivers you the digital content you expect from us.
Among all of us we use a variety of Nikon and Canon cameras, from the highly regarded and expensive Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D600 and D800, to the budget-friendly Nikon D6000. All of these cameras are paired to amazing lenses that help us capture the best BMW photos in any conditions. Those medium and high-end cameras as perfect for local photoshoots and car events, but they can be a burden when traveling overseas or even domestically.
So recently, we started to experiment with newer technology from SONY that delivers great photography in a much more compact body. The last camera to join our gear portfolio is a SONY NEX-5T mirrorless camera which uses the same sensor format that Sony builds into their full-sized DSLR cameras. Using a standard 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom kit lens, the overall package is more compact that any other equipment we have used before, without sacrificing quality. The NEX-5T can also capture fast-moving action at 10fps at full resolution, shoot 1920x1080p video as high-quality AVCHD file, so at times it can substitute the video cameras we have in rotation. The latest test drive of the 2014 BMW M6 Coupe was shot entirely with Sony’s mirrorless camera and while not at the 5D Mark III quality, the photos were quite amazing. Other high-end Sony ALPHA mirrorless products are said to deliver even better results while still having an extremely compact body and lenses. We also see more and more journalists using those cameras at auto shows where the smaller form factor enables mobility.
Most of the in-motion footage we shoot is accomplished with the excellent GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. Three of those compact cameras make our life infinitely easier and they are a breeze to travel with. Snap them on the car or inside the cabin, connect your smartphone to the cameras, adjust the angles and off you go. Here is a video we shot in Estoril, Portugal with the BMW M6 Competiton Package.
For auto shows and car launches we try to get a bit more creative and the latest addition to our gear simply helps us achieve that look and feel we crave to see in videos. The Konova K3 stable and smooth slider is often used in professional cinematography and we were pleasantly surprised by its capabilities when we tested it at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.
Another important tools in our portfolio, and probably most photographers would agree with us, are the tripods that helps us capture precise images with stunning quality. We use a variety of models from Manfrotto, and one worth mentioning for its versatility and lightweight travel is the BeFree model.
One of the best investments for an automotive website, or any other medias that produce audio content, is a wireless system and microphones that could capture clear sound while surrounded by loud ambient noise. Or in some cases, blocking out that background noise while capturing the engine sound on the race track. Here at BMWBLOG we use the Shure FP Wireless System and both the SM58® handheld and WL183 lavalier microphones that are also extremely useful during our usual interviews with BMW executives and designers. Easy to use, compact and delivering high-quality, the Shure FP Wireless System has certainly made our life easier.
So how do we manage to travel with all this equipment, both by car or by plane? For international auto shows and car launches around the world we tend to pack a bit more than usual and we found the Briggs & Riley bags to fit our needs perfectly.
- For a lighter trip when not all the gear is needed, we use the Baseline expandable rolling carry-on which fits perfectly in overhead bins and has a flat bottom which does wonders for compact packing. Another great feature is the CX expansion-compression system that increases packing capacity by 25%, then compresses back to original size for easy overhead storage. The rolling bag is also extremely helpful during auto shows when traveling from one hall to another can be challenging when carrying lots of equipment. We’ve also used the bag on our test drives when shooting from one location to another requires a versatile and compact bag, yet durable.
- For extended trips where we need to pack more things, while keeping the expensive gear well protected, we use the Briggs&Riley TORQ Large Spinner, a hard shell suitcase that has a capacity of 6347.7 cu. in. / 104.0 liters while weighing only 12.2 lbs / 5.5 kg. The four wheel assemblies with rubber-treaded, ball-bearing-mounted wheels provide a low center of gravity and rotate 360 degrees for ease of transport through busy airports.
- To carry and protect our laptops, tables and smartphones, and other electronic devices, we use another Briggs&Riley product, the Medium Expandable Brief. It is lightweight, made of durable nylon and looks stylish, and with its expandable feature it can turn into a bag for quick overnight trips. Using it during the last few auto shows and press trips, we came to love its versatility and the numerous compartments and dividers. We even shoved photo cameras in there for those quick trips.
With technology changing at a rapid pace we expect our gear portfolio to change over time so expect an update in the near future.