The Perfect Lighting Case

If it’s good enough for a commando, it’s good enough for me.

As mentioned in the book, I have one case that holds all my cameras (4) and audio gear and is small enough to fit in the overhead compartment in an airplane. It’s a Lightware case, which in my opinion, is the best equipment case in the world–details of which are also covered in the book.

But for years the bane of my run and gun life was my lighting case.

The soft light boxes and fluorescent bulbs themselves were feather weight. But added to that were 6 light stands (different sizes and heights), two different tripods, microphone stand and all the related accessories and tools including steel toed shoes. It made for a relatively heavy case.

For a while I used an oversized suitcase with wheels and a handle. I could just barely fit in my longest piece (the longest part of the disassembled microphone stand) by placing it diagonally. Everything fit and it was easy to transport, but with no compartments, it was rather clumsy to access what was in it. I had to practically empty it to get at the stuff I needed.

So I switched to an extra large wheeled cargo bag with a handle. It was a ‘heavy duty’ bag made in China which should have told me something before I bought it. It was the right size. I was able to construct and add a partitioned box inside of it so that everything wasn’t all jumbled together, but it wasn’t long before it started tearing in a couple places after hauling it up stairs, and not long after that that one of the ‘heavy duty’ wheels broke off.

So that went to the dust bin.

Then I got smart in my Google search.

‘Heavy duty wheeled cargo bag’ lead me to a military supplier in the UK Military First.

There are other suppliers, so matter where you are, the bag I got is called 5.11CAMS 2.0 (and that’s just the link to Google it).

This bag was made for Commados and S.W.A.T. teams for loading out their gear. There’s a great video on the Military First site, linked above, that describes the bag and how and why it was designed. This thing gets thrown in and out of trucks and helicopters full of guns, ammo and other kit. It’s truly ‘heavy duty’, with large wheels, grab handles in all the right places, a top zipped compartment with divider (and you can modify and add in your own additional velcro dividers), as well as a zipped bottom compartment designed apparently for guns, but which is perfect for all your stands and tripods. There are also 5 zipped compartments on the side and velcro straps that allow you to strap on a tripod or similar piece of equipment on the outside of the case. Importantly it has heavy duty skids on the bottom that allow you to drag it up stairs without ripping up the bottom. And you can stand it up on either end.

Here’s my case fully loaded.

lighting_and_stands_case

lighting_and_stands_case_top_and_bottom_compartments-2

 

And here’s what’s inside of it (with the exception that the contents of the grip bag shown in the photo are now in a couple of the side zip compartments of the new bag)

lighting_and_stands_case_contents.jpg

I may be the only videographer in the world with a lighting kit in a commando bag, but I must say, I consider this situation totally sorted.

I couldn’t be more happy and confident.

My Lightware camera case has been on the road for 8 years and still looks new. I expect it will last a lifetime.

I feel the same about my ‘Lighting case’ now. It cost £270, but it’s worth it. The Lightware case wasn’t cheap either, but then, when it comes to assuredly safe transport and ease of access to contents, it’s worth the piece of mind to have cases designed to do the job.

 

 

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