How to put together your own photo and video cinematography cart

Jan 16, 2022

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 put together your own photo and video cinematography cart

Jan 16, 2022

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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If you regularly work and shoot in the same location, like a studio or a set place in your home, keeping things both organised and readily available at a moment’s notice can be quite difficult. After all, when stuff’s organised, it’s typically packed away somewhere in a cupboard or drawer. This makes it easy to find things, but for things you’re using regularly, it adds a lot of time to the workflow to keep taking it out and putting it back.

That’s where a studio cart comes in handy. In this video, Pal2Tech’s Chris Lee put together his own, based around an inexpensive metal cart with wheels, which is divided up into sections for all of the various bits he needs to have at hand all the time in his studio.

I’ve seen a lot of cart ideas for studios, but something that never really occurred to me is that most of them seem to have been based around plastic carts rather than metal. Going with metal makes life a lot easier depending on your gear because it allows you to attach things with magnetic mounts, like small LED lights, the Insta360 GO 2 (review here), or other magnetic items you may own.

Creating your little compartments for the different categories of small items, like memory cards, tripod plates, batteries, etc., you don’t need to go and buy a bunch of containers. Of course, you can if you want, but Chris just uses boxes that came with small electronics devices he’s purchased, like smartphones. After all, many small electronic items these days come with some pretty strong boxes to be able to survive the ordeal of shipping more easily.

One of the neat features of the cart is the field monitor permanently attached to the cart. This allows Chris to quickly and easily wheel the cart over and connect it to a camera to check focus on a screen larger than the one on the back of his camera without having to mess around setting up extra tripods or stands or adding a cage to his camera to mount it to. It’s just always there connected to his cart via an articulated arm ready to go.

This isn’t the only way you can set up your studio cart, but it’s one of the more organised ones I’ve seen. And if you decide to make one for yourself, you’ll probably organise it differently than Chris has to let it better cater to your own needs.

Mine, for example, probably wouldn’t just have battery and charger storage but be an actual charging station for the batteries I most commonly use. Then I can just wheel it over to a plug socket and get everything charging up at once. I’d probably also get some silicone mats to line each tray to make things a little quieter when putting stuff in it.

Do you have a studio cart for your gear? What’s in it?

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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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