Three days to go. Not even looking forward to it anymore. It’s so close, it’s become inevitable. The time has come to focus on the task at hand. I need to do the last 2 or 3 recaps of what is coming with me on the plane. And this is no joke, I need to make absolutely sure I do not forget any of the kit below.
I do not know if you are aware, but in my spare time I am an extremely unsuccessful YouTuber. Therefore, I will film my entire Patagonian ride and upload the movies to YouTube. Before we go any further, please check out the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/motovlogro. Ok, now that you’re back, let’s break down the gear.
My main camera is the ancient GoPro Hero 4 Black. I do not film at a higher resolution than Full HD, 60 fps, so I do not need more than this sturdy camera can offer. Moreover, now that it’s already 5 years old, all the accessories for it, including the batteries, are very cheap and easy to find. I am bringing along 3 of these. One on the chin of the helmet, one on the handlebars and the third on the right-hand side case.
For each of the GoPros, I will bring 3 sets of extra batteries. Each Smatree set consists of 3 batteries, a charger and the charging cable. Before everybody starts screaming that this is overkill and I am carrying too many batteries (12 in total), please believe me you can never bring too many. I can reliably film for up to 20 minutes with each one and bringing more along guarantees me that even if I lose the possibility to charge while riding, I do not run out of juice half way into the day.
Of course I’m bringing the drone along. I have a love-hate relationship with my DJI Mavic Air. I loved it when I got it and gradually started hating it, especially after the catastrophic failure of one of the batteries over an Austrian forest. The failure caused the drone to land by itself directly over the place where the battery died. To this day I am praising the gods that battery was not in the drone when filming over the sea in Scandinavia.
Even though I have replaced the faulty battery, I have been very reluctant to fly the drone over inaccessible terrain or water ever since. Fingers crossed I come back with the drone and, more importantly, all the aerial footage. The eye in the sky will take up most of the space allocated for the filming gear. There is the drone itself, three batteries, the charging base for the batteries and the remote control.
All the still footage will be taken either by the Nikon D5600 (with the Kit AF-P 18-55mm VR lens), or by my Samsung Galaxy S10. The DSLR is pretty good at everything, but a master of none. The picture quality is obviously better than the phone, but the HDR mode is ghastly cumbersome to use. There is an app that allows you to download the shots directly to the phone via Bluetooth, but I’d rather punch myself in the nuts than use it. Two extra batteries for the DSLR and the possibility to charge them by USB add to the pile of electronics.
All the filming devices will store the data on 64 GB San Disk Extremes. I went for the 64 gig cards because, as with the luggage, you tend to fill up all the space you have. 64 GB are enough for a day’s ride and I can use them as a benchmark – if I film more than that on any of the cameras on a day, that is way too much and I need to find a way to cut down the amount of footage. The more you film, the more it will take to edit the movies afterwards.
Even though 64 GB of storage for each camera is more than enough for a day of filming, it’s obviously not enough for a 30 day expedition, so I am also bringing along my laptop. As a good practice that I learned on the Baltic Tour, I will download into the laptop all the footage from all the cameras every evening. As backup, all the footage will also be burned onto a 2 TB Seagate expansion HDD. After I make sure I safely have the footage on the 2 separate storage media, I will format all the cards in all the cameras. That will give me a clean slate for the following day.
I just want to quickly mention the Sena SMH10 Bluetooth intercom and the Sena GP10 Bluetooth audio pack. I will not get into all the technicalities, but the combination of the 2 allows me to take my voice and record it directly over the video footage of any of the GoPros. By the way, the GP10 audio pack is the reason I have 3 GoPro Hero 4s. It only fits GoPros up to the Hero 4 and I figured I would buy all the cameras to fit the pack. You know, for redundancy.
Last but not least and the biggest headache will be the myriad of cables needed to charge and operate all the gear above:
- 3 x GoPro mini USB cables;
- 3 x micro USB cables;
- Laptop charger;
- Drone / drone remote charger and cables;
- External HDD cable;
- 3 x power bricks.
If you were wondering why 3 x something, well, I need to be able to charge as many things as possible in parallel. And if you think it was hard to read through this long article, just think I have to fit all of the above in the small GS side case. Not really looking forward to that.