Throughout the year, we spend many days on the road covering exclusive BMW news and in many cases, shooting videos, photos and interviewing BMW executives and designers. To accomplish these tasks, we often invest in the greatest and latest tech that not only make our life easier, but also deliver the best results.
A question we often get while on the road is what type of equipment we use. In the past we would have been seen carrying around a large backpack filled with equipment, but today, we’re more agile than ever and with more compact tools we can deliver the same or higher quality.
For example, moving away from the large DSLR and their bulky lenses to a mirrorless camera has helped us shed at least 10 lbs from our gear. Here is a list of the tools we’ve used this year:
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 is our go-to camera for most photos and static videos. The primary lens we use is the M.ZUIKO 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO with its edge-to-edge sharpness that rivals some of my expensive prime lenses shot at medium apertures.
The OM-D E-M1 16MP Micro Four Thirds camera is one of the most important cameras in the new Olympus lineup, with a plethora of high-end features, like a touchscreen LCD and high-resolution electronic viewfinder, and intuitive controls. We’ve also used the camera quite a bit to shoot B-Roll and has proven to be a great workhorse. Best part, it only weighs 1.1 lbs without the lens.
Our action footage is primarily filmed with GoPros. Over the years we have pretty much tested every single new GoPro, but the latest HERO 4 is without a doubt our favorite. With its smaller footprint and amazing 4K quality, the GoPro cameras go with us everywhere, from a car launch to a test drive and to the track. It has never failed us and has produced consistent results.
We do a lot of interviews every year. And we mean, A LOT. The sound quality is often more important than the video footage and considering the noisy environment we often found ourselves in, it’s important to have high-quality tools. 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.
To properly record the sound, we invested this year in two new products: Tascam DR-05 and DR-44WL.
The smaller DR-05 is perfect for those situations where we need to record an ad-hoc interview, while the larger DR-44WL serves us well with its four recording channels. Imagine a situation where you can record the sound from four different inputs (like on a race track) and be able to bring that engine noise to life. We’ve only had them for a few weeks, so there are more features to try, but so far we’ve been impressed.
One of the best investments we’ve ever made when it comes to video editing was the addition of a large LCD screen. The 31.5 Samsung SE590C Curved LCD has vastly improved our productivity. When editing a video, screen real estate is quite important and with its curved display and a 31.5 inch size, the SE590C has been our workhorse in the editing office.
It has an impressive Wide Viewing Angle of 178 degrees, along with Built-in Dual Stereo Speakers which can be quite useful if you don’t want to plug-in your own home theater setup. The Eye Saver Mode and Flicker Free technology reduces screen flickering for a more comfortable viewing experience.
The 1080P resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for editing videos for our Youtube channel. The two HDMI ports and one Display Port allow us to plug-in multiple computers and laptops, therefore streamlining our workflow.
This is a serious LCD monitor for photo and video editing so you should place it high on your buying list.
Lately we’ve been using two car mounts for our GoPros. One of them is the Tow Hook Camera Mount by Burger Motorsports which is perfect for those track days when camera stability is imperative.
The other one is the Panavise ActionGrip 3-N-1 Suction Cup Camera Mount Kit which is extremely useful when you quickly need to adjust the camera’s angles. I can’t count on my fingers how many times I’ve had more less than 10 seconds to adjust an angle before going back on the track. The ballhead for GoPro cameras is extremely useful.
Our workhorse has been 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. We can fit plenty of clothes and inside and pretty much all of our equipment, including tripods. It’s durable, lightweight and easy to move around.
As we move into 2016 we are going to update some of the current equipment, so stay tuned for more updates next year.
Disclaimer: Some of the products listed here have been given to BMWBLOG as demo products, while others have been purchased by us.