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Jose Frias

ORCA Bags Review

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Today, at Gotham Sound's Bagging Rites event, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Ofer Menache from Orca Bags, and the opportunity to check out their product line.

 

Here are some pictures:

 

Orca Bags: OR-30 (front), OR-32 (back left), OR-34 (back right):

post-8621-0-16698800-1408996796_thumb.jp

 

Waistbelt:

post-8621-0-92589100-1408997877_thumb.jp

 

OR-30 (for small recorders [Maxx/633]) + Waistbelt:
post-8621-0-91293100-1408996848_thumb.jp

 

OR-30 in a Pelican 1510:

post-8621-0-46088200-1408997726_thumb.jp

OR-32 loaded with Nomad + FP8:

post-8621-0-74089800-1408996893_thumb.jp

 

OR-32 with Nomad + FP8 + 6x UCR411A:

post-8621-0-17210000-1408996972_thumb.jp

 

My buddy Max Futterman wearing the loaded up OR-32 and harness:
post-8621-0-86621000-1408997000_thumb.jp

 

Myself wearing the OR-32:

post-8621-0-97013700-1408997817_thumb.jp

The small Orca handtruck:
post-8621-0-77033100-1408997067_thumb.jp

The Orca Quick Release System:
post-8621-0-62183700-1408997094_thumb.jp

post-8621-0-64080100-1408997876_thumb.jp

 

 

So here are my overall impressions:
All the Orca products I was shown today are top notch. They are low-key, compact, light-weight, sturdy, and very high quality. This is true for the bags, the harness, the quick release, etc. It really resonates throughout their product line.
 
The OR-30 is just perfect for any Maxx or 633 user, there really is no other bag like it. It is smaller than all its competitors (unless you go custom), yet it still has plenty of space for your recorder a few receivers, etc. It could even fit a Nomad or 788t VERY TIGHTLY (which I wouldn't recommend really). It is loaded with amazing features, including that all the sides open up, and with its customizable securing system, you could even flip the bag upside down and the recorder would never fall out. Accompanied with the waistbelt, you have an absolute winning solution for any small bag.
 
The OR-32 and 34 are about the same size (same width and height), with the exception that the 34 is longer in depth, so you could potentially fit many more receivers if that's your thing. Accompanied with the harness, you really get great support. Both are still very light weight, same securing system, all sides can be opened up, etc. IMHO, the 34 is just too big, but if you are a reality mixer that loads up to 10 channels in wireless, I would probably go with the 34.
 
Both the harness and the waistbelt are made of some amazing breathable material, making it great to wear all day. The harness not only clips on top, but also on the waist portion, so it really secures well, and does help push the weight down to the waist/hips. I wore a 32 bag loaded up with a Nomad, FP8 and 7 UCR411 receivers for about 20 minutes and did not feel any weight. Albeit, the true test will come from wearing it all day long (will report back once I do use it on the field).
 
These are priced very competitively. I walked out of Gotham with a OR-32 for less than $300, and with the harness for less than $125. The waistbelt I believe is like $60 or something. The quick release is about $90. Gotham Sound is currently the only place that has stock of every Orca product; I think about 10 of each bags, but no doubt will they sell out quickly, if not today.
 
In my professional OPINION (we all get to have one), out of all the bags I've checked out (Petrol, Porta-brace, K-Tek, Orca, and Kortwich), Orca is most definitely the best bag design and build I've laid my hands on (did I say I walked away with a bag and harness immediately?).

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Thanks for the review. I'm pretty keen to shoehorn my Nomad into an OR30, do they have a clip on pouch like the one I can see on the OR32? Need somewhere for my cameralink...

 

You may need to mod the OR-30 bag to get this working (see what Rado Stefanov did with his). The Nomad will squeeze in VERY TIGHTLY. Your Zaxnet antenna will definitely NOT fit. If you use any outputs, returns, headphones, or connect any wires on the sides of the Nomad (or the 788T for that matter), be ready to make up low profile connectors.

 

Honestly, I don't think it is worth the hassle, unless you are willing to spend considerable amounts of time and resources to mod the bag to your needs, such as what Rado did.

 

The OR-30 and 32 come with two pouches, the 32 comes with 4.

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I heard that Orca are coming out with Zaxcom ERX pouches. Any word on that yet?

 

Sebastian, the ERX pouches are still being worked on. Jack Norflus was kind to bring a prototype of it the first day to Gotham, so I was able to check it out.

 

Here's a picture Gotham Sound took:

1535575_10152267339945814_80804643573540

 

Please note that this is still a prototype, and that changes are being made as we speak! Most definitely a step in the right direction though. :)

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One point I'd make is agency/ clients that use the IFB's are notoriously careless about them and I've found some being dropped and abused in various ways so padding in strategic places would be useful to absorb the knocks.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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One point I'd make is agency/ clients that use the IFB's are notoriously careless about them and I've found some being dropped and abused in various ways so padding in strategic places would be useful to absorb the knocks.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Jack Norflus had mentioned to me that he submitted similar feedback, and that the production version of the ERX case would include padding in specific places for better shock absorption.

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Will the Orca 32 fit in a Pelican 1510? Mine's backordered.......

It will not. Laying it down from any side would be too tall for the 1510 case to be able to close.

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Nice bag!

 

Here is my wishlist for V2.

 

Bag

More zips on the zippers

Velcro flaps to route cable from bag through to the wireless pouches

Velcro Strap to hold rain shield while rolled up

Place to hang headphones

Clip for to hold 2nd a NP1 under 788t in open space

 

Harness

Move battery pouch to front on harness or make it removable from back.

Add places to mount wireless pouches

Add place to strap a boompole onto harness?

 

Strap

Make Cushion movable on strap

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MY OR-32 REVIEW:

 

On my last gig, I was able to put the OR-32 bag through its paces by using it in different circumstances, some of them with very little preparation and having to figure things out on the go. This review is from the perspective of using the bag on the field, and where its features shined, and where they could've done better in my opinion. I used to rock the PS614 bag. I use a Zaxcom Nomad 12.

 

1. Travel: I generally travel to each gig with my bag all armed and almost ready to go, needing only to place my NP1 battery, connect the antennas to the receivers, perform RF scans and put fresh batteries where required. Because of how sturdy this bag is, I don't have to worry about stability, fragility, or else. I will be getting the travel cover as soon as it is available, to help keep the bag clean from dust and dirt, but otherwise, I feel absolutely confident that the bag keeps my gear inside secure and stable. I traveled about 4.5 hours to State College, PA and another 4.5 hours back for my last gig, the bag and its contents held up perfectly fine. I'm also confident that air travel will be a breeze (no pun intended) with this bag. It will absolutely fit in the overhead compartment. If you are using the OR-30 for smaller recorders, then you can also fit it in a TSA-approved carry-on size bag or case such as the Pelican 1510. The OR-32 and OR-34 will not, however, as they are too tall for the 1510 to close no matter what side you lay it on. You would likely have to carry them on their own, or check them in a bigger case.

 

2. Sit-down interviews: This is what I mostly do for a living: I set-up a boom on a c-stand, a wire on the subject / talent, set my bag down, and press record. My biggest grief with my previous bag was that it would never sit up straight, and would always flop to one of its sides. The aluminum frame absolutely helps keep the bag sitting straight at all times, while at the same time offering invaluable protection to the gear inside. Sometimes I have to connect to as many as 3-4 cameras, so the fact that all sides of the bag can be unzipped and opened makes it stupid easy to access your recorder's I/O connections, regardless of where they are. The two removable pouches attached to the side of the large front pocket feel a bit odd where they currently are, especially because it makes unzipping the two front corner zippers of the bag a bit harder than it should be. Additionally they are far from the recorder (which is usually placed closest to the body) and you would need long cable runs to get them through the large front pocket (an extra pair of zippers would be nice here), and through the gate between the large front pocket and the main compartment to your recorder. I think their current locking mechanism (90 degree turn) is great, but the snapping piece above them is hard to snap together quickly. Currently I'm trying to figure out the best way to route my Comtek M-216 by using one of these pouches, but may end up using a completely different solution / arrangement, we will see. The two zipper pockets on the side make it easy to manage cables coming out of your bag. I do agree that an extra pair of zippers on these would be better as well, but to me, not a put off. The handles make it easy for a quick move, and if you don't need them, you can remove them! Perfect.

 

3. Run-and-Gun: Unfortunately due to some missing pieces, I was unable to test out the Orca harness this time around, but Gotham Sound and Orca are taking care of me as we speak. Instead, I used my good ol' Versa-Flex HS-1N. The bag did not feel any heavier than my previous bag even with the aluminum frame. It was obviously bigger than my previous bag, but not disturbingly or uncomfortably so. The bag withstood absolutely everything I put it through, including running through farm fields alongside sheep and cattle; my gear was always secured. The back pocket where one would place the NP1 battery in is not very accessible when wearing the bag in a harness. I don't use it for that anyway, my NP1 is in the main compartment alongside my wireless, so that pocket may be unnecessary. I did place spare batteries in there though, so time will tell whether or not I would use it. What I did like however, was that the back pocket is not as intrusive and bulky as the one my old bag, so I don't mind this one at all. Others may actually use it to store their NP1 or other battery.

 

4. Follow Car: In specific shots, we were following the subject riding his ATV on a Kubota utility vehicle, and while riding shotgun, I secured my bag onto the side of the dashboard very cleverly using some bungee-like cords. Again, everything inside the bag secured, no problems.

 

General consensus: Love this bag. I like the idea of a strap (perhaps something quieter than velcro) to hold up the rain shield while rolled up, but I generally just took it off when not using it. I also used one of the additional bungee cords it came with to hold my headphones and excess wires, so no issue there. The bag is a bit wider than you would probably need for the Nomad (or 788T), but my current configuration is using and filling the space very well. With more time, this will continue to evolve, and I may do a few mods of my own to make it perfect for my needs.

 

So, great job Orca!

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I'm sorry if this has already been answered but is anyone using an orca bag with a 664 and if so is it the 32 or the 34. The 34 looks huge in the pictures,

Thanks.

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Just putting my Orca 32 together for a Nomad ten and five 211s. I'd like to put both dividers in so I have the elastic needed to hold five receivers. When the Nomad is in with the lift system there doesn't seem to be enough room to get the second piece in. There would be a severe bow in the middle if I forced it in there. Am I doing something wrong?

Bernie

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