When it comes to moving fast and protecting his equipment, production sound mixer Scott Harber CAS consistently trusts Petrol Bags™, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company. His most recent choices are the Deca Lightweight Audio Bag, the Portable Digital Recorder Pouch and the Deca Sound Man Rain Poncho.
“I started out doing ENG and doc shoots, evolved into fast moving feature docs like “Borat”, “Bruno”, and “Religious” and then into film and television like “Gangster Squad”, “Castle”, “Wilfred”, “VEEP”, “The League and Shark Tank”,” he says. “Progressing from documentaries to cart-based projects has allowed me to work from a more flexible, less formal place. To me, being flexible means being able to adapt quickly to what the director needs. This requires cases that allow gear to be carried and organized in a well-designed system. These days, many shoots are impulsive and can turn on a dime, and Petrol Bags helps me accommodate the director’s vision.”
“I like the Deca Lightweight Audio Bag because it keeps my recorder and wires tight to my body, which lessens the effects of weight and keeps my footprint as small as possible. My Lectrosonics 411s and SRs fit snugly in the elastic tie downs and there’s a synch-down strap that makes the wireless solid and small. I can then quickly lose what I’m not using, which keeps my bag light so I’m not slowed down. Even with several wires in play, I can manage to make the rig compact enough to allow booming to be a viable option. I used to try to do this via Velcro, but had to fight constant snags and the hassle of disassembling a block of velcroed receivers. This bag has solved that problem. Petrol Bags are simply the best designed carriers out there.”
Harber spent a few days on “Wilfred” recently, shooting in the sand on a wide, gloomy beach. “The crew had to fit on a Gator and had some very long dolly runs on a Griptrix so, I needed to keep my sound package compact,” he explains. “Being able to have all my gear condensed in one bag kept me nimble, not a burden, ahead of the game, and best of all, out of the sand”.
A few days later, production was shooting in and out of boats and on a saltwater marina. “The Lightweight Audio Bag and Deca Sound Man Rain Poncho saved me. I was completely self-contained, recording and mixing gear at my fingertips while I kept the gear dry from the overspray of salt water,” he explains. “Going small allowed me to focus on the mixing side of work rather than spending my time on logistics and other concerns.”
Harber recalls more than a few challenges when he was heading up the crew on the upcoming “Gangster Squad”. “We did a number of insert car rigs where my setup had to be able to fit into the passenger side of the tow rig. I ran a multi-cable from the detachable elastic ring on my sound bag in the picture car, to the cab of the tow rig where I like to mix. I had a 788T, a Comtek BST75 and a walkie for cues. From there, I was able to make better qualitative judgments on what was being recorded rather than being outside listening to the dialog over the wind and the generator. Petrol’s system really facilitates my style of work and the way I like to arrange my gear to suit what we are shooting.”
For Scott Harber, Petrol Bags have become a lifesaver. He’s much in demand with a wide variety of assignments. Each brings a different challenge, which requires a different set up. Being able to pack up and move into the action quickly without worrying about protecting his sensitive equipment is a must. “Not a problem,” he says. “Not only are the bags versatile, they’re strong and have all those little extras that make doing my job a lot easier.”