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Special Ops Tools

Secret mission-worthy gadgets to aid travel-bound photographers and filmmakers

by Aaron Kohn
on 16 December 2010

Whether traveling the world, making documentaries or just pretending you're Jason Bourne, we put together a few special-ops tools to enhance any photographer or filmmaker's on-the-go lifestyle and resulting images.

povhd1.jpg povhd2.jpg

Mounted to a helmet or vest, POV cameras offer an exciting—if not slightly frightening—first-person perspective. For skiing down a mountain or hunting down targets, this type of camera keeps you hands-free and makes for astonishing imagery. Marquette, MI-based developer V.I.O. recently released POV.HD, a high-def model that means you can play back your latest mission on a massive flat screen TV at full resolution, if that's your thing.

Features on the new camera that make it easier to shoot include a convenient wireless remote for controlling start/stop as well as tagging clips so you can watch favorite moments over again individually and a unique looping option for continuous recording (which also allows for tagging of clips when something happens to only save the last few minutes and thus conserving card memory). A great device for documentary filmmakers, pre-order the POV.HD from V.I.O. for $600.

SeV Vest

With the host of film production applications geared for the iPad, having one on set has become a key component of many shoots. Out of Sun Valley, ID, the travel label SeV created a collection of vest and jackets for storing iPads and other gadgets when they're not in use. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is both a fan and SeV board adviser, offering input on features including a Weight Management System, which evenly balances the weight of items stored in its plethora of pockets, and a patented Personal Area Network, which lets you run your earbud cables through a hidden channel in the fabric. The SeV collection spans $20-450 and sells online.

Maglite XL100

The online or from most hardware stores for $40.

Zaggsparq 2.0

An extended shoot may keep you from an outlet for a few days, so keep all your gear charged with Zaggsparq. Fitted with two USB ports, the Zaggsparq will give you four full charges on most items like iPhones or GPS devices before it needs to be plugged in again. Pick it up online for $100.

IsatPhone Pro

Because you never know where your next assignment will lead you, a phone with full coverage keeps you connected in the most remote areas. A sensibly-sized satellite phone, Inmarsat's newest addition—the IsatPhone Pro—works with their extensive global network and offers new features like text messaging, email and GPS information. The phone sells for $700, check the Inmarsat site for a convenient service provider.

Retrospective 30 Bag

With a bag full of expensive lenses and gear, keeping contents on the DL could save you both money and trouble when traveling. For photojournalists or camera nerds, Think Tank Photo offers a quality bag in a subtle gray or black colorway. The Retrospective 30 style can carry up to two professional size DSLRs and three to six lenses. Combined with their "No Rhetoric" warranty, the Think Tank messenger is an attractive way to transport all of your photo paraphernalia. It sells online for $180, where you can also check out smaller models.

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