For years I have dreamt of filming an entire documentary out of a carry-on suitcase, and I have always felt equipment to be a necessary evil of the process. In the days of shooting on film, the gear was large out of necessity. Everything was mechanical and it required an intense amount of lighting to get the necessary picture. Even the best film stocks couldn't hold a candle to what is possible now in terms of low light photography.
As digital technology has advanced, cameras have gotten smaller and lighting requirements less. I think for the first time ever you could film a serious production value film using only what you can pack in a small suitcase. The one caveat up until now has been the drone.
I have used a drone for the past year and a half and found it to be a great accent to my video work. It elevates production to a different level — of this there is no question. It is often overused in my opinion, but that is a different conversations.
The number of times, however, that I have left the drone at home because it is too cumbersome is innumerable. Now with the introduction of the DJI Mavic that might just change. I could literally throw this into my backpack with a camera and take drone shots off the cuff.
Shooting in 4K with almost as good quality (if not equal to) it's larger cousins in this price point, the DJI Mavic offers something pretty incredible. In my eyes now there will be no excuse not to include drone shots. Those long mountain bike rides to the tops of mountains can now easily be done with the Mavic. Folded up the thing is almost the size of a water bottle.
I will have one of these soon. In the meantime have a look at some of the great video footage that has already been shot and see for yourself. In my mind the portability is something that shooters are going to utilize to create some absolutely incredible shots.
Chris Stenberg is a Canadian travel photographer, filmmaker and researcher. When he’s not wielding a camera or raising a family you can find him running, biking and boarding in the mountains or eating an apple under a tree in an orchard.