What’s in My Camera Bag? Packing Tips from an MSNBC Producer

A field producer needs to do many duties while newsgathering, so it’s no surprise their camera bag contains supplies for many potential situations. MSNBC senior producer Aarne Heikkila always makes sure his camera bag includes his shoulder-stabilized camera rig, pocket-sized camera and terabytes of storage space.

“Since I got into journalism, technology has obviously changed a lot,” Heikkila said. “We have a lot of tools that I’m using now that I wasn’t using five or even three years ago. It’s ever-evolving.”

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What does this national network producer pack so he’s ready to be sent anywhere in the world? Watch the video above and read more about Heikkila’s essential gear below.

Camera bag

Bring a dedicated camera bag for your equipment, but never check that bag on a flight.

“If you make a flight and your bag doesn’t make a flight, that’s kind of the worst-case scenario,” Heikkila said. “You never want to land somewhere for a shoot and not have a camera.”

Camera shoulder rig, DSLR

Heikkila likes to bring a digital single-lens reflex camera, or DSLR, and shoulder rig when he’s on the go or shooting “walk and talks.” His DSLR can often be a handy second camera, while the shoulder rig helps with stability and eases camera weight.

“You can get cutaways of the person you’re interviewing or the correspondent you’re with. Or it just gives you another camera to get b-roll,” said Heikkila. “It’s good to have that flexibility.”

Osmo pocket-sized camera

Heikkila always carries an Osmo camera in his pocket because it’s inconspicuous. Its small size and autostabilizing functionality makes for smooth video and steady b-roll shots.

“It literally will fit in your pocket, so it doesn’t add any weight. It doesn’t add any bulk,” Heikkila said. “I just keep it in my bag to have with me at all times.”

Terabytes of storage space

Heikkila often carries 3 or 4 terabytes of solid-state drives (SSDs) so he has enough space for all his footage. SSDs allow for faster uploads and transfers of footage, which is crucial for broadcast news.

“I had a flight at 5 p.m. We finished the shoot at 3 p.m., and I still had to do media management,” Heikkila said. “Luckily, I got everything done in 10 minutes and I was able to make my flight.”

A poncho… for the camera

A rain poncho comes in handy if you aren’t prepared for the weather. But Heikkila frequently uses the poncho to cover the camera, joking, “I don’t mind a little bit of rain, but the camera does.”

“This big poncho might cover me and the camera, but I’ll drape it over the camera and have a bit of the lens sticking out,” Heikkila continued. “You’re totally protected, you’re able to get the footage and not get too wet.”


Don’t get left behind! Heikkila brings his passport on every assignment.