Protective Bags and Cases

  • With David Kirk

Protective Bags and Cases

Protective Bags and Cases By David Kirk...

Equipment transit bags and cases are not the first things that come to mind when shortlisting hardware, software and cloudware for a media production facility. But they are of vital importance to anyone involved in outside broadcasting, newsgathering or field production. Some hardware manufacturers offer bags and cases specific to their products, not least in the IT category where a very wide choice of containers for iPhones, iPads and the like supplement the boxes in which such devices are delivered. Most equipment suppliers are content to leave the whole business of equipment protection cases to third-party specialists. The following short review looks at some of the key vendors, focusing on their newest products where known.

Absolute Casing specialises in designing and manufacturing bespoke flight cases, available with a range of customisable internal fittings including foam fittings, liftout trays, drawers and compartments. A recent addition is a dedicated case for Chauvet Pro’s Colorado PXL Curve 12 lights. “The curvature of this light makes it tricky to keep still in transit and therefore vulnerable to damage. Our design allows maximum protection for three or six lights at a time. Features include an accessories panel in the door for cables, carpet-lined base partition sides, chamfered foam on the door of the case, vents on the sides and base, auto-aligning wheels and deep wheel dishes for stability when cases are stacked.” 

Best Flight Cases manufactures protective housings for the broadcast media industry and other markets. Custom cases are built at the company’s UK factory. Protective foam inserts are also custom made in house and can be branded with corporate logos and messaging. Brand-specific examples are the model 19006 road trunk which is designed to house an Ikegami HD camera and accessories, and the model 19044 case for Ikegami’s ULE-217 21.5 inch video monitor. Cases can also be produced to accommodate rack-mounted equipment, media production consoles, IT equipment and cable reels.

Camrade’s SecurityCover is designed to provide anti-theft protection and weather resistance. Manufactured from opaque nylon with an anti-theft protective mesh, it is available in two sizes. The standard version can cover a fully rigged camera with up to 40x zoom optics. SecurityCover Large is intended to protect a camera with an attached box lens. Both versions include an adjustable locking cable.

Case Design specialises in custom cases to maximise protection from the elements, shock and vibration whilst keeping weight and size to a minimum. The company was established in 1990, originally developing aluminium flight cases for broadcast applications. Recent additions to its range are aluminium and Peli cases for the ARRI Hi-5 wireless camera and lens controller. One allows the camera to be fully built up with BPA-4 and BP-8 plates fitted to the bottom. The other allows the camera to be integrated with the CBP-1 bridge plate fitted to the bottom.

Nanuk's Top Loader cases are available in two sizes to accommodate various equipment configurations. Customisable interior options allow purchasers to tailor the layout to suit their specific needs. Features include patented PowerClaw latching which uses compressive force to clamp the case tight. Integrated slide locks offer added security, preventing the case from opening during transport or in the event that it is dropped.

Neewer offers a wide range of production related equipment at entry level pricing. Among these are cases and attachments for the Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, including 17 mm / 67 mm lens adapters. One of the largest products in the Neewer range is the PB005/PB009 76 x 28 x 28 cm wheeled trolley which is capable of holding two studio lights, two light stands, two softlight umbrellas and two speedlights. The exterior is of splash resistant nylon and the handle is six-rivet reinforced.

OConnor’s Camera Assistant Bag is designed to allow secure transportation of OConnor fluid heads. A waterproof and dustproof liner with no internal base seams provides protection against ground water and rain. Equipment is also protected when the bag lid is hinged open on set. Additional D ring fixing points on the front and back enable sherpa style carrying for heavy loads, with a leather strap provided, so that the weight of the bag is spread over the cARRIer’s back rather than hanging off the shoulders. Fixing points are included for use with additional rucksack straps and as attachment locations for Carabiner hooks. Also provided are internal double skin waterproofing (to 1.2 metres depth of water), wipeable waterproof outer fabric and zips plus dividers with double sided velcro fixings. The dividers are designed to tie down all OConnor heads and accessories inside the bag. They offer additional elasticated fixing points for pan bars and accessories such as ARRI plates.

Two right-angled dividers are included for fixing additional accessories. The bag fits into standard Pelicase 1620.

Orca Bags produces a wide range of protective bags and cases, ranging in size from the OR-521Y/G waist pouch for accessories up to the OR-518 trolley/backpack for mirrorless cameras. Also available are audio and video equipment bags in various sizes as well as microphone boom pole cases.

Peli’s 1535 Air case, weighing 3.95 kg, is a lightweight version of the company’s 1510 Protector. The case has a retractable handle and wheels plus 558 x 355 x 228 mm exterior dimensions allowing it to qualify as carry-on luggage with most airlines.

Plaber is an Italian manufacturer specialising in customised protective hard cases under the brand name HPRC (High Performance Resin Cases). “Most hard cases are made of standard polypropylene. Our R&D department has developed a polypropylene-based compound allowing a thinner and more elastic shell. HPRC cases are acid resistant, scratch resistant, corrosion resistant, dustproof and watertight. They are tested from -40° to +80°C). All shells and components of HPRC cases are 100% recyclable.” The HPRC S-BRN-2700W-01 case is based on HPRC2700W model for the Sony Burano 8K Cinema Line plus accessories. Nanuk Wheeled and Long cases come equipped with polycarbonate wheels moulded with polyurethane and fitted with stainless steel bearings.

Porta Brace’s CINEMA-RONIN4DOR is designed to function as an ultra lightweight rolling case for the DJI Ronin 4D camera and gimbal. It is constructed from ballistic grade Cordura nylon with an interior frame and a waterproof base layer. The case has off road wheels which are removable to prevent axle damage during travel. Two linked zippers open to reveal the main compartment where a shoot ready rig is held in place by the interior foam frame. Accessories such as camera stabilising cinch, lens support pad and padded lens wrap ensure offer protection. An adjustable strap with anti skid protection allows the case to be shouldered.

SKB Cases’ 3i-261712HD8 iSeries 2617-12 Bl is designed to fit and protect the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio HD8. The case includes profiled foam to fit the switcher plus a large additional pocket below for the power supply and other accessories, as well as a pull handle and wide wheels for maximum transportability. All SKB iSeries injection moulded military standard waterproof cases are made of polypropylene copolymer resin and are submersible. Other standard features include a moulded-in hinge, patented trigger release TSA-retrofittable latches, snap down rubber over moulded cushion grip handles and an automatic ambient pressure equalisation valve. The cases are designed to be resistant to UV, solvents, corrosion and fungus.

Tenba’s Cineluxe Pro Gimbal Backpack 24 accommodates cameras attached to a Freefly Systems Mōvi Pro or DJI Ronin 2 gimbal. Extra wide opening allows fast access to the interior. Each camera can be stored with baseplate, microphone and/or matte box attached. The gimbal stage can be stored in its fully-balanced configuration so no rebalancing is required when the camera is cARRIed to another shooting location. Four straps allow the ring to be securely fastened to the exterior of the backpack. Soft padded wraps and a zippered pouch protect lenses and accessories.

Tilta offers a wide selection of video production accessories including camera supports, filters, a filter carrying case and the Hydra Arm remotely controllable car-front-mounting camera arm. Among recent additions to the Tilta catalogue are five Khronos protective supports for the Apple iPhone 15 Pro / Pro Max.

Trifibre Equipment Cases has over 40 years of experience in making custom transit cases for broadcast, stage and related industries. Among examples are the SKU 3SKB-5260 52 inch to 60 inch flat screen case plus a wide selection of music keyboard cases for brands such as Nord, Roland and Yamaha.

Rounding off this alphabetic review, Vanguard offers a wide selection of video production equipment cases including the Alta Sky 62 backpack which is configured to transport a Pro DSLR or full frame mirrorless camera with up to seven additional lenses, a 16 inch laptop computer and an 11 inch tablet. The interior is a orange coloured to allow a clear view of the contents of the bag. Also in the range is the Supreme 46D heavy duty waterproof and dustproof professional case which has a customisable and removable divider bag interior. Waterproof to 5 metres and able to withstand 120 kg of external pressure, it comes with steel reinforced padlock rings and hard clip locks. Automatic pressure release valves are included.

Postscript
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most challenging environments in any electronic media enterprise is not the great outdoors but the central apparatus room: most if not all are air-conditioned to remove surplus heat and dust so what is the problem?

Run your finger along the top of the racks!