How to DIY a $15 tactical bag into a custom audio kit bag

Sep 14, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to DIY a $15 tactical bag into a custom audio kit bag

Sep 14, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When you start to get more serious about video and recording your audio separately, the gear can be a pain. Sure, you start off with a Tascam DR-100 recorder or something, with its little pouch that clips onto your belt. But then, before you know it, you need 4 channels (bigger recorder), wireless mic receivers, battery packs and all kinds of doohickies.

Purpose designed audio bags are available, but can be very expensive. You may decide you want a pricey one eventually, but right at the start? Surely it’s better to just modify a cheap general purpose $15 tactical bag? This video from Devin at DSLR Film Noob shows us how to adapt this bag to your field recording needs.

YouTube video

There isn’t really all that much to it, either. Sure, it’s not going to have all the bells and whistles of a dedicated audio bag. And it’s certainly not going to have the longevity (although it might with some extra work). Mostly it’s just a case of good organisation and cutting a few holes.

A tactical bag like the one shown is perfect for something like the Tascam DR-70D recorder. It fits the recorder just fine, with a couple of carabiners on the strap lugs to keep it held nearer the bag’s opening. It has pouches on the side for things like your battery pack, or wireless radio receivers.

Of course, you don’t want to have cables poking out or open zippers that could let your gear fall. So, Devin cuts holes from the inside of the side & front pockets to the main compartment of the bag.

Devin believes that the material is strong enough to last with just the cut left as is, and he used this bag for two years before finally buying something more expensive. But, you could seal or stitch the edges if you feel up to it.

Depending on what you wish to place in each outer patch, you might only need to cut a small slit to let a cable through, or you may need a big window to see the entire side panel of your recorder.

Either way, once everything’s in place and the bag’s zipped up, there’s no external wires and nothing will fall out. It’s certainly a lot easier than juggling a random collection of items on your belt. And a lot cheaper than buying something that costs more than your recorder when you’re just starting out.

We use a Tascam DR-70D here at DIYP. I might have to get and modify one of these bags for the next time we record interviews at photography shows!

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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