Gear for Tbilisi

I’ve been stewing on my Lara Marlowe post for some days. While I lack any of her experience in the field, and don’t intend filing copy in any way similar to her own, I do find myself asking how I would do things differently. And if I am to do things differently, I have to put up or shut up. My date for departure looks to be around September 20.

Provisionally, the equipment I will bring with me to Georgia will be the following:

My Canon 20D. Still learning the intricacies, and with a standard lens for now. Battery grip and two batteries. 2 x 1GB compact flash and 1 x 4GB.

An EeePC 901. Relatively solid, portable. 1 x 8GB SDHC card for portable storage. I will probably bring this instead of my MacBook Pro.

A Flip Ultra. Will be testing it shortly, so this would be a make-it-up-as-you-go-along effort. But could prove invaluable, it is compact, durable and solid-state. The Mino would be nicer but I haven’t seen it around.

What other gear should I bring, if any?

Update: Michael Totten recommends an Olympus voice recorder. I might get one in duty free.

12 Responses to “Gear for Tbilisi”

  1. Tom says:

    I’d say a flak jacket, judging by the Turkish camera crew’s clip you posted.

  2. Dan Sullivan says:

    As large a tricolour as you can find!

  3. Gavin Sheridan says:

    I don’t intend on being quite as gungho as the Turkish journos… and the video was shot at the height of the conflict.

    A tricolour?? lol

  4. Gavin, I suggest you contact Michael Totten (http://www.michaeltotten.com/) for some pointers on gear and some tips on contacts. He’s on the ground in Georgia now. He’s been to several “hot” places and he knows how to get the story out while staying alive.

    Eamonn

  5. Gavin says:

    I didn’t know Michael was going, I’ll give him a shout, thanks Eamonn.

    I will likely stay out of many of the more volatile regions though, and have the advantage of already knowing locals, which has always been important in Georgia, war or no war.

  6. [...] nephew, Gavin, introduced me to a brilliant website recently. It’s called TED which stands for Technology, [...]

  7. RW says:

    Three things come to mind. A sat phone is expensive, but very handy. Domestic mobiles are often the first to go when shooting starts. The other is a waterproof notebook, preferably two or three. At a minimum, record all essential contact numbers and other info (eg your passport number) on one of these and then keep it very secure. It means that if it all goes wrong and you are robbed of everything, you at least have the most important details recorded. Not a small consideration either – your two biggest threats in a hostile environment are car accidents and banditry. One last thing on a similar note is to make photocopies of your passport and so forth and keep them separate. You will be asked for your documents frequently and it is always preferable not to hand someone you may not completely trust your actual passport if you can get away with the copy. It is also worth spending a little time online to get an outline of ballistics and cover; best practice about finding cover can be quite counter-intuitive and even if you are not intending on pushing the envelope, you are still head to somewhere where being in crossfire unexpectedly is a possibility. Happened to me on a recent trip when I had not expected it would. I would not recommend travelling too light on info and equipment either – for all we know Tblisi will be the new Gori in a few weeks time. Best of luck, excellent idea to make the trip and I look forward to reading all about it.

  8. Gavin Sheridan says:

    Thanks for the info RW. I will be sure to follow your advice.

  9. Peader says:

    And don’t forget to make a will before you leave !

  10. Gavin Sheridan says:

    Thy will be done.

  11. Gamma Goblin says:

    Spare underpants.

  12. Gavin Sheridan says:

    Hehe. Good idea.