Rob was asking about battery management and storage yesterday. I realized it’s something I’ve never really spent much time talking about. While battery management isn’t a very sexy topic of conversation it’s pretty important to the filmmaking process. After all you can’t really film anything if you don’t have power.

battery bags (1 of 1)

On most of the projects I work on, I usually have a random person assigned to me with the task of “helping out” or “keeping an eye on things”. While these individuals are generally very nice and good at getting you to locations, grabbing food, and corralling people, they aren’t usually very technically savvy when it comes to camera equipment. For that reason I keep each type of battery I use in a colored bag with a label written in magic marker indicating the type of battery. Each battery has either the battery plate or a rubber band placed on it to indicate that it has been charged.

When I’m in the middle of filming, I don’t want to stop and run back to my camera bags two rooms away to grab a few batteries to reload. Making the batteries easy to identify and find makes it very easy to send someone else back to the equipment bag to grab the batteries I need. I keep the batteries and a couple of charges in each bag making things pretty easy to figure out.

If I say “Grab 2 batteries out of the green bag labeled LP-E8.”, they have no problems finding the bag and bring back the correct batteries I need. I change out the batteries and hand them the two spent batteries and ask them to put those batteries on the chargers located in the same bag.

LP-E6 battery (1 of 1)

The canvas bags have the added bonus of keeping your batteries isolated from the rest of your kit which reduces the risk of batteries shorting out. While I’ve never had a battery explode, I have had a few superheat after coming in contact with a pin or paper clip in my backpack. This has resulted in some molten plastic holes in a few things over the years.

The bags also make it easier to locate batteries. If you have a handful of batteries floating around in your camera bag, you might have a hard time locating them when you need them. The larger colored canvas bags make them much easier to spot.

How many times have you lost a battery and charger because you left it on a wall somewhere? That can mean $30 to $60 down the drain. Keeping all of those items together gives you an easy way to check inventory before you leave a shoot. I’ve explained this method to a few people and they’ve taken it a bit further by adding a flash card with battery and charger counts to each bag. At the end of a shoot they double check their inventory with what’s on the card. If it doesn’t match up, the search is on.

If you guys have any ideas, suggestions, or improvements upon this plan, let me know. This is the method I’ve developed over years of shooting but I’m always willing to try something else if there’s a better way.

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