At tech conferences the talk in the press room at some point turns away from the gadgets being presented and to what we’re actually using.Here’s a video of the gear I’m carrying this week at IDF 2010. I always find it interesting to peer inside of others’ gadget bags, especially those that belong to people that try and buy a lot of gear.
On Monday I carried a pretty heavy load of gadgets to cover IDF 2010, including my Nikon D700 and Panasonic AG-HMC40 camcorder. I always enjoy having my favorite cameras with me to shoot events, but I had a minor back ache by the end of the day and I was envious of the lighter gear that some of my friends were carrying. I’ve been working to improve health by breaking some bad computing habits and carrying less stuff is definitely on my good posture to-do list.Avram Piltch of Laptop Mag was carrying a Sanyo Xacti HD1000, while the NetbookNews.com team had a pair of Canon Vixias. Others were carrying Flip cams and other budget video cameras.
Video Camera Setup
I decided to dump the jumbo camcorder yesterday in favor of my own Sanyo Xacti HD1000. Though it’s far from perfect, the Xacti is my favorite compact camcorder. Though its image isn’t as clean as I’d like, I really like that fact that it has a microphone input jack and a shoe that can be used to attach a microphone pack or light. I can easily slip it in and out of my pocket and it’s only a little bigger than a Flip camera. It records in H.264, which means its files can be edited easily and uploaded directly to YouTube or other video sharing sites. I also have a Canon Vixia, but the problem with it is that it records in AVCHD, a format that you have to fight with to edit and upload.
The shoe at the top of the Xacti 1000 is perfect for attaching my Sennheiser wireless receiver. The wireless lapel microphone does a great job in isolating audio on crowded show floors and gives me the freedom to get up close and personal with gadgets without worrying if the on-board mic can pick up the speaker’s voice. To brighten up dark scenes I’m using a Light Panel Micro.
I use a Monfroto 560b monopod to stabilize video. It can be tough to keep a camera steady without assistance, especially a tiny camcorder that is difficult to grip with two hands. I didn’t end up using it to much today and I’ll probably ditch it for the rest of the week though.
The Sanyo Xacti doesn’t have great battery life since its battery is pretty small. To rectify this problem I brought along one of my CallPod Duos. This device can charge two mobile devices simultaneously and I was lucky enough to find an adapter that fit my camcorder. I had to use it twice to recharge the drained Xacti battery and it still had 80% remaining by the end of the day.
I’m using my 15″ MacBook Pro, complete with NVIDIA graphics and Intel Core i7 processor, at IDF 2010. It has a big footprint and is less mobile than other devices I could bring, but it’s a good tool for the tasks I have at hand, including editing videos and photos. With the monitor dimmed and NVIDIA graphics turned off it gets about six hours of battery life, which was more than enough to make it through most of the day, including the keynote. I generally like carrying more mobile notebooks, such as my HP Envy 13, when traveling to conferences, but IDF is only 15 minutes from home. Intel’s done an excellent job in organizing the conference so that there’s not a whole lot of walking around and there’s plenty of workspace for us in the press room. At shows like CES we end up having to work at cramped tables or on the floor without a power outlet in sight.
Backpack and Pants
I’m carrying my notebook and soem fo my gadgets in my favorite backpack of all time. My Voodoo Tactical pack is built for military personnel and police, but it’s very functional as a notebook and gadget case. The backpack is built to be worn for long periods of time and form definitely follows function. It might not be appropriate for the board room, but it sure is comfortable to wear. The main compartment can fit one or two thin 15″ notebooks. The smaller compartment can fit a 12″ Tablet PC, 13″ notebook or iPad. There are two pouches for odds and ends built into the backpack. Attachements can be added on at will to accomodate smartphone, hydration packs and other accessories. Many of these attachements were originally designed to carry ammo and magazines, but they fit BlackBerry devices and iPhones like a glove.
The SCOTTeVEST Ultimate Cargo Pants I’m wearing in the above video are absolutely great for traveling and covering trade shows. I’m able to keep all of my camera accessoires within reach and it helps keep weight off my back. I now have three pairs of these pants and I wear them almost as much as I wear blue jeans. They’re part of my plan to improve my posture and allow me to keep my over-stuffed wallet out of my back pocket. I’ve learned that the imbalance can cause my hips and back to rest in an unnatural position when I’m seated.
Update: Since BO asked about similar videos in the comments, here are a pair of old videos.
This is the one Rob and Warner posted from CES 2009.
And here’s one that Sascha from NetbookNews.de published during CES 2010.