Clean up the clutter with these 7 tips for staying organized on set.
In the chaos that is a film set it can be difficult to stay organized. When your attention is torn between directing, cinematography, or whatever else the shoot demands, it’s hard to keep track of all your equipment. In the following post we will take a look at 7 of my favorite ways to keep equipment organized on set.
1. Label Makers
Labeling your equipment is THE #1 best way to stay organized on set. By purchasing a cheap label maker you can guarantee your equipment doesn’t go home with someone accidentally. You can also color-code the labels to correspond to respective bags. For example, if you have a lens with a green label your crew will know to put that equipment in the green labeled bag. There are tons of ways to utilize labels for your individual purpose. Label makers are cheap…use them to your advantage.
2. Make an Equipment List
You should have a record of all the video/film equipment you own (for insurance at the very least!) Organize this list by equipment type (camera, lighting, audio, etc). Next, modify this master list into a checklist with two checkboxes next to each piece of equipment. Print off a new version of the checklist each time you head out on a shoot and check off each piece of equipment you’ll be taking with you.
This checklist serves two purposes:
1.What type of shoot is it and what equipment will it require? By going through the checklist you’ll be able to quickly ascertain what you need and what you don’t. Add a check to the first checkbox each time a piece of equipment gets packed. By going through this list you’ll minimize the chances that you’ll show up to the set without a crucial piece of gear.
2. When the shoot is wrapped go back over the list, this time adding a check to the second checkbox when you verify that you have each piece of gear. This will minimize the chances that you’ll leave gear on set or confuse it with someone elses.
3. Sectioned Bags
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good sectioned camera bag. These bags offer greater flexibility because they can be changed and manipulated to accommodate your individual needs. Be sure to get one with velcro sides that allow you to change the layout of the bag at will. I’m a big fan of the LowePro bags for their durability.
4. Velcro Cable Organizers
Velcro cable organizers are a great way to manage your cables on-set. You’ll be able to easily identify cables by their color (very useful on long cable runs), as well as keep them tidy during storage.
5. Tackle Box
From adapters to microfiber wipes it can be extremely difficult to keep up with all the small pieces of equipment necessary for making a film/video. Instead of simply throwing all of your small parts into a random zipper in your camera bag try using a tackle-box instead. I recommend getting a tackle-box that is 1) clear and 2) has moveable dividers (will better accommodate different sized gear).
7. Get a Card Wallet
Losing a memory card can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences for any filmmaker. Instead of going through this awful ordeal purchase a memory card wallet. These storage cases will also keep your cards safe from the elements (some even have weather resistant seals). Make it a habit on set to ALWAYS add a used card to your memory card case when you pull out a new one. This will ensure you only have out the card that’s currently being shot on: no lost cards.
7. Labeled Lens Caps
Got a bag full of lenses? Labeled lens caps make it easy to quickly grab the right lens from your camera bag, as they are labeled with that lens’ focal length. Brands like LensBling make versions of these caps, or you can easily create your own by labeling the caps you’ve got.
Labeled lens caps also make it easier when you are working with production assistants who might not know an 85 from a 24.