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MixPre-3 — Looking for a “fanny Pack”, NOT a case or fancy “bag”


TomBoisseau
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I was on a low budget corporate job a few months ago.  We were shooting one of the executives on the sidewalks of downtown Atlanta.  I was using my Sound Devices 633 in a K-Tek bag attached to my harness and wearing some Sony MDR7506 headphones.  The cameraman was shooting with a small “palm sized” camera.  As we were about to shoot on the sidewalk, someone came running out of the building and told us we could NOT shoot there.  So we crossed the street and proceeded to try again.  Someone else came running out of a different building on this side of the street and told us we could NOT shoot there.  Later, we were in the parking lot of a Target store.  Then client had actually contacted the Target corporate office and had received permission for us to shoot in the parking lot of this particular store.  However, someone came running out of the store and said we could NOT shoot there.  We indicated that we had received permission from corporate to be there, but they said that they had not been informed of such and that we would have to leave.

 

It occurred to me... the camera was so tiny, most people probably would have not noticed it.  I however, with my “big” rig, harness, and headphones, surely must have drawn attention.  I wondered, If I had a “tiny” rig in a fanny pack and just a pair of ear buds, perhaps we would have gone unnoticed! 

 

To that end, I put on my Christmas list, and my wife for Christmas gave me a MixPre-3 II.  So now I’d like to find an inconspicuous fanny pack just big enough for the MixPre with the 8 AA cell battery pack and 1 or 2 Sennheiser G3 ENG receivers.  Any suggestions as to what might work well?

 

Thanks,

Tom

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Hi Tom, 

I would advice you to go to a local fishing or hunting gear store. 
Recently I stumbled across some really nice bags from a brand called Predox* that I use for exactly the same purpose. 

 

There are other brands that do similar products, but I just mention this to give you an idea. 

https://www.idzengahengelsport.nl/waterdichte-cameratas-bag-predox.html

 

https://www.streetfishingshop.nl/shop/accessoires/tassen/k7-heuptas/

 

https://www.bushcraftshop.nl/horizonal-pouch-s-copy.html

 

All the best in your quest. 

Lucas

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I think you're going in the right direction.  Ditch the fishpole+zep (huge giveaway) and any sort of cart, get some non-pro looking bag for a small recorder (maybe beat up even), without a harness (like just a shoulder bag), and some sort of "reduced" headphones, or no headphones (at least visible) while rolling, or even some sort of consumer cans like Beats.  When I've really needed to be "gone" I've used small recorders like Tascam DR10 or the Zax and Lectro remote TC recorders (and back in the day, Nagra SN!).   These, plus an attitude and posture of  "I'm not with that guy talking to himself or that other guy with the home-movie camera", plus physical distance from them seemed to help in a lot of work I did this way.  The gear avail today is much more forgiving of this kind of thing, esp re TC sync and better wireless stuff. 

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I get there are sometimes where we do need an incognito look (IEMs, no boom, nondescript bag, etc) but this doesn't sound like it was a "gear" problem, but a production problem. The producers should know where they can or can't shoot, get permits where needed, and have that all figured out before the shoot. This isn't a "low budget" problem, but a pre-production problem...

 

but the client not budgeting enough for competent producers means they get what they pay for.

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3 hours ago, TomBoisseau said:

I was on a low budget corporate job a few months ago.  We were shooting one of the executives on the sidewalks of downtown Atlanta.  I was using my Sound Devices 633 in a K-Tek bag attached to my harness and wearing some Sony MDR7506 headphones.  The cameraman was shooting with a small “palm sized” camera.  As we were about to shoot on the sidewalk, someone came running out of the building and told us we could NOT shoot there.  So we crossed the street and proceeded to try again.  Someone else came running out of a different building on this side of the street and told us we could NOT shoot there.  Later, we were in the parking lot of a Target store.  Then client had actually contacted the Target corporate office and had received permission for us to shoot in the parking lot of this particular store.  However, someone came running out of the store and said we could NOT shoot there.  We indicated that we had received permission from corporate to be there, but they said that they had not been informed of such and that we would have to leave.

 

It occurred to me... the camera was so tiny, most people probably would have not noticed it.  I however, with my “big” rig, harness, and headphones, surely must have drawn attention.  I wondered, If I had a “tiny” rig in a fanny pack and just a pair of ear buds, perhaps we would have gone unnoticed! 

 

To that end, I put on my Christmas list, and my wife for Christmas gave me a MixPre-3 II.  So now I’d like to find an inconspicuous fanny pack just big enough for the MixPre with the 8 AA cell battery pack and 1 or 2 Sennheiser G3 ENG receivers.  Any suggestions as to what might work well?

 

Thanks,

Tom

It really IS small:

 

 

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1 hour ago, Shastapete said:

I get there are sometimes where we do need an incognito look (IEMs, no boom, nondescript bag, etc) but this doesn't sound like it was a "gear" problem, but a production problem. The producers should know where they can or can't shoot, get permits where needed, and have that all figured out before the shoot. This isn't a "low budget" problem, but a pre-production problem...

 

but the client not budgeting enough for competent producers means they get what they pay for.

True, but in verite doc shooting, anyhow, there are often moments where a crew needs to follow a story or a character into places where a crew is not very welcome. 

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

True, but in verite doc shooting, anyhow, there are often moments where a crew needs to follow a story or a character into places where a crew is not very welcome. 

Right – but that's a very different production than "a low budget corporate job" that inspired Tom to make this post and what my comment is referring to. 

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So ... a corporate client wants to shoot their CEO in a certain location, but does not want to obtain a permit... resulting in you having to invest in additional gear... an investment on your part, which probably is not even made up for with their "low budget". This all with no guarantee of the next shoot still not resulting in the whole crew getting kicked out  again regardless.

 

Really?

 

Sorry, but I think it would make way more sense that the client should get a proper permit if they want to shoot in such locations.

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So I guess there are two issues here:

 

1) Did the producers have both the needed permits and their act together?

Maybe not, but haven't we all been on jobs with permits (and with permits in hand) and/or legal right to record but still gotten hassled? I sure have. Getting that stuff resolved with a mix of schmooze, obstinance, basic journalist-level knowledge of the laws, quick calls to lawyers, etc is a key producer skill. But you need to choose your battles (and sometimes go across the street).

 

2) What's a good small bag for a MixPre 3 and a couple Sennheiser G3/G4 RX?

I'm trying to figure out something like that too. For mostly the same reason: to keep a really low profile.  In addition to the fishing/hunting stores, a backpacking/outdoor store such as REI will have a bunch of options (uh, should I disclose that I worked at REI back when I was in college? 😉). Looks like there are several locations out by you. I'd guess they'd be fine with you hauling in your kit and messing around with their stock. And then when you find a pack, if it's nylon, maybe cut/punch the cable holes you need and melt-seal the fabric with a lighter or old soldering iron tip. Maybe go for a design and boring color that a dopey middle-aged guy would wear. Maybe a water bottle pocket or mesh front pocket can hold your TX without too much antenna showing...

https://www.rei.com/search?q=fanny+packs

 

Good luck Tom and please posts pix of what you end up doing.

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I’ve had quite few gigs where cam and audio had to be completely incognito and have tried many different varieties of rigs - from a Maxx in a messenger bag to a 788 in a stroller - and the most effective and comfortable I’ve used is a backpack+app combo. 

I had an F8 and 2xSRbs in the least conspicuous, padded camera backpack I could find, then mixed it all from the zoom Bluetooth app on my iPad mini (and even the phone sometimes). I looked like just another obliviously self absorbed dude standing around staring at my palm god... worked like a charm. 
 

I’m not too familiar with whatever mobile interface SD is using, but if it’s  anything like Zoom’s I would recommend exploring the backpack route. 

 

Cheers,

Evan

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I got a Subalpine for my MixPre3 and it works nicely for when I don't a want to carry around a Camrade or a Porta-Brace bag for this tiny recorder:

https://topodesigns.com/collections/hip-packs/products/subalpine-hip-pack?variant=32249057280053

 

This fits too:

https://topodesigns.com/collections/hip-packs/products/hip-pack-1?variant=32942651441205

 

Of course, one drawback is that there's no rain shield like the purpose-designed bags...

 

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2 hours ago, hobbiesodd said:

I’m not too familiar with whatever mobile interface SD is using, but if it’s  anything like Zoom’s I would recommend exploring the backpack route. 

Sadly Sound Devices Wingman lacks control over trims? (unlike the Zoom F Control App, which gives you that)

But just recently the new updates for SD-Remote gives you this. 
Thus I think if you want to totally hide away your recorder in a backpack, the 833 makes more sense than a MixPre. The MixPre should be in a hip/bum bag you can still somewhat easily access the physical controls. 

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9 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

Maybe go for a design and boring color that a dopey middle-aged guy would wear.

Sounds like me and, for such situations with my Mixpre-3, I use the pinestone-coloured canvas Think Tank Retrospective bags: there's a whole range of sizes and they are very inconspicuous.

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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This is well constructed and can be modified to work for what you're talking about. The strap can be used as either a belt or over-the-shoulder. It has tons of room for a full mini-kit and won't cost much to find out if it's what you want:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XHPIU2K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Of course, the best solution is what some have suggested -- work for productions that know what they're doing and do it properly. IME those are the ones that both pay better and treat you better.

 

However, to quote the old cowboy movie cliche, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

 

 

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2 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

This is well constructed and can be modified to work for what you're talking about. The strap can be used as either a belt or over-the-shoulder. It has tons of room for a full mini-kit and won't cost much to find out if it's what you want:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XHPIU2K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Of course, the best solution is what some have suggested -- work for productions that know what they're doing and do it properly. IME those are the ones that both pay better and treat you better.

 

However, to quote the old cowboy movie cliche, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

 

 

 

Sure, bags such as this one are brilliant. It fits the Nova and Mixpre10t. Plenty of room for my mixpre6 with two G3 Recievers, the mixpre3 will float in it. But maybe that is not a bad thing considering antennas.

 

What I would say is that it looks "kind of professional" with the military look. If you are not using IFB, you could go for something even smaller, possibly more casual in both color and form.

 

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