Lighting camera operator Matt Jones tries out our WT1905 watertight hard case on a real-world shoot. Here are his thoughts…
As a lighting camera operator a large portion of my job consists of travelling from one location to another. Whether you’re travelling by car, train or plane, it’s essential that your kit is kept safe and easy to transport. Camera kit can be expensive, and it’s always the little bits that get damaged and end up ruining your entire shoot, as well as making a large dent in your bank balance.
Investing in appropriate cases to cart your kit around is paramount. Enter Wex Photo Video’s range of watertight hard cases, by Calumet. They come in various sizes, from the WT6840 – large enough to carry a camera body and some accessories – to the WT116, which you could use to safely stow a GoPro kit in. The cases are made from a strong resin plastic housing and offer military-standard protection for your cherished camera equipment.
On a recent shoot I was given the WT1905 rolling hard case to test and was impressed right away by the build quality. The case felt extremely solid and I immediately appreciated its cuboid shape, which is perfect for stacking. It’s not much fun trying to squeeze mismatched cases into the back of a car after a long day’s shooting, so the simple shape helps.
Product features at a glance…
- Waterproof neoprene sealant
- Pressure valve (adjusts pressure quickly, when altitude or temperature changes)
- Ergonomic handles
- Sturdy locks that can be secured with padlocks
- Adjustable foam cube insert
- Weight: 7kg
- External size: 54.6 x 34.7 x 24.7cm
- Internal size: 51.7 x 27.7 x 21.7cm
The shoot took place in Glasgow. I was taking a lot of kit, which I just about managed to cram into the back of my estate. I decided to use the WT1905 to transport my matte box, filters, V-lock batteries and battery charger. In the past I have damaged a V-lock battery charger. The bottom mechanism that protects the golden pins is fairly flimsy, and if caught can snap off and damage the pins. On this shoot, I had limited batteries so transporting the charger in a safe case gave me peace of mind.
Matte boxes also have plenty of little weak points and this project was heavily reliant on filters, so the last thing I wanted was for a filter to crack or the matte box to get damaged. I carefully and easily cut out the internal foam insert to snugly hold each piece of kit. All of my items fitted in the case perfectly.
We arrived at our destination and began the process of unloading all of the kit into our accommodation for the night. On these kinds of shoots, with multiple location changes and overnight stays, you find you are constantly packing and unpacking kit regularly. Being able to quickly pull the case out of the car and put it back in again, without being too careful, is a massive bonus.
The wheels and extendable grip also allow for easy transport on foot, you can even stack a smaller box on top of the case when wheeling as the handle is extremely sturdy. I can see this being a massive feature on future shoots, when travelling by train.
When carrying multiple strapped bags through a busy train station, you can end up looking a bit daft. You run the risk of leaving a trail of devastation in the form of knocked over newsstands and spilt coffee – not an ideal situation... With the WT1905 you’re able to glide through, dodging the coffee-laden commuters with graceful ease. The wheels are also inset, so they won’t get damaged if you clip the edge of a doorframe or curb, or hinder the case’s ability to be stacked.
One of the locations we shot in was an old civic hall, just on the outskirts of Glasgow. Again, the case came into its own when navigating the building’s narrow corridors and staircases. The grip pops in and out with ease, which can be done with one hand, leaving the other free for another case or bag. The shoot was successful; we got everything we needed and left with no damaged kit!
In summary, the case is immensely well built. I’m convinced you could drop it from several stories, and it would still keep your kit safe and sound (please don’t try that at home!). The extendable grip and inset wheels are very useful, you’ll save your shoulders a lot of strain (the last thing you want is to be exhausted from carrying kit before you even push the record button). The other huge factor is the price; the WT1905 retails for £189. An equivalent product from a competitor like Peli will set you back around £230. For me it’s a no-brainer, if you’re on a budget save your money and go with the WT1905.
Too long; didn’t read…
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a secure and waterproof hard case to store and transport video kit.
What does it compare to? Hard cases from other manufacturers including Peli and Vanguard.
Why should you care? If you’re going to spend big bucks on quality filmmaking gear, you owe it to yourself to keep it safe.
What do we think? The WT1905 is an affordable hard case that’s sturdy and easy to manoeuvre.
About the Author
Matt Jones is a lighting and camera operator who has worked in various roles on dramas, commercials and corporate films, across many digital formats including Phantom, Sony, Canon, ARRI and RED. Visit his website for more information.