[Gear In Review Podcast] GIR1 - What’s in your tool bag?

Hosted by Reed Smith & Bobby Rettew

Welcome to Gear In Review. Learn more about how we’ll be bringing reviews, recommendations and insights around the many gadgets, gizmos, and widgets used everyday to capture and tell stories inside hospitals.

One of the most common questions asked when we arrive at a client location for a video shoot or interview is, “what do you carry in your bag?”. In this episode we’ll explore what those must carry digital tools are.

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Reed Smith:
Hey everybody, this is Reed Smith.

Chris Boyer:
And this is Chris Boyer.

Reed Smith:
And we are co-hosts on a show called Touchpoint, which is a podcast that’s dedicated to the discussions on digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies. Not only for just hospitals but health systems and physician practices.

Chris Boyer:
In every episode we’ll dive deep into a variety of topics on digital tools, solutions, strategies, and other things that are impacting the healthcare industry today.

Reed Smith:
And while you listen to this show we would certainly love you to check out ours.

Chris Boyer:
All you have to do is swing on over to touchpoint.health for more information and also some of the other shows that are featured on the Touchpoint Media Network.

Reed Smith:
Alright, welcome to Gear In Review. Everyday tools for digital storytellers. I’m Reed Smith and joined as always by Bobby Rettew.

Bobby Rettew:
What’s going on? How’s everybody doing?

Reed Smith:
Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, here we are, episode one. Those that have subscribed at this point, thank you very much. Everybody heard a little bit of the trailer and heard a little bit what we’re going to talk about, but for those that have not, this show, unlike many of our others on the Touchpoint Media Network, is strictly about the tools and the gear and the gadgets and all those kinds of fun things. So less about what to do with them … right? That’s kind of what our other shows are, especially Touchpoint and some of those. It’s more of the philosophically what are we doing and where is the industry going?

Reed Smith:
This is really about the tools that we use and we may get into a little bit of how to use them, but really this is more what are they, why do we use them, why do we need them, that kind of stuff.

Bobby Rettew:
Yeah. So, I think this is a fun show. Specifically, I’m really excited about today. Just to be honest with you, because so many times do I get asked to speak about what’s in my tool bag. That is the number one topic that I get either hired or asked to come train or whatever it may be. People want to know what’s in my tool bag. And I think Reed … hey, you and I like bags, right? I mean, it’s ridiculous right?

Reed Smith:
Yeah, I’ve got a few of them. I’ve got a few of them. And that’s probably a topic in and of … well I know it is a topic in and of itself that we’ll probably cover one day. So, today we’ll jump in and talk briefly about, okay, what’s all the stuff that we carry around? Specifically the stuff that Bobby carries around to capture good content, to tell good stories, and all that kind of fun stuff. And then in subsequent episodes we’ll actually dig into those items individually, talk about the market, what’s out there, compare against them, what’s good, what’s not good, and just review.

Reed Smith:
So let’s jump in and get started. Specifically about what you, and I may chime in a little bit, but specifically Bobby what do you carry with you on a daily basis when you go out and tell these stories. So, let’s start with … you know, you carry multiple things, but your primary bag. Let’s go through an inventory of what you’ve got in there.

Bobby Rettew:
Well, I think it will help, real quick, to set context. Just a quick … to let people know, I was a photo journalist for many local television stations and network television and my tool bag was my truck. My SUV. And so what I use is what I could fit into a Ford Explorer, Navigator, or Tahoe. And it was always the game is how many lights and how big the camera and how all those things could fit in the back and we could be anywhere we wanted to to collect the story. And now it’s all about, for me, is how much can I fit in one bag to do just what I did even more than that SUV. And so, every day I go somewhere, I make sure that I have a few things in my bag because we never know what we’re going to be doing on a daily basis from content creation.

Bobby Rettew:
And so, my bag could be a small sling bag that holds a camera and a few items that has one zipper, to a big backpack, depending on the needs. But I always have a few things in that bag that is really important to me to do a couple things, capture something visually, capture sound, be able to take that sound, or those video, or those images … photos, so capture photos, and then create content with that and then distribute it on our social and digital networks. And so all those pieces have to be in my bag. And to be able to effectively be a quote, unquote brand journalist. And so, the bag can be big, the bag can be small, but I usually always have a camera, I always have a microphone, I always have a camera that’s either video and/or pictures, and then I also have a laptop or an iPad in that bag. A hard drive. Media cards.

Bobby Rettew:
Those microphones could be a wireless mic that hooks into a camera or it could be a mic that plugs directly into my iPhone that I can record. You know, it could be anything. And then the wires … very important, cables to connect stuff. And then I also carry a small set of tools. And what I mean by tools is a screwdriver, a flat head and a Phillips head, so that if something messes up I can fix it. Lens cleaner. You know, nice little cloth. And then I always carry my book of instructions. So I have a little book of instructions for any piece of hardware that I have and I always carry a notepad everywhere I go. And so at any point in time you can open that up and you can find all those tools.

Reed Smith:
Yeah. I think that’s a great point. So you’ve got … categorically you have something to capture content with, you have something to edit and distribute the content with, but also something in there that I think people don’t think about, or are kind of those periphery pieces, so the backup, having some way to backup media while onsite. Because again, you could potentially, depending on your circumstance, you might end up in a scenario where you’ve filled up a memory card or something like that. You don’t want to get stuck where you don’t have any way to create or capture more content without leaving and coming back. And then those small things like, you mentioned lens cleaner. Another one’s batteries. So don’t get caught somewhere and … inevitably the Lavalier mic battery or the this or that … you know, that’s all going to be dead by the time you need it.

Reed Smith:
Mine’s a little bit different. But things like little controls for power-point slides and stuff like that. But anyway making sure you have some backup batteries and stuff like that.

Bobby Rettew:
Yeah. And to your point, I also carry items to display. So, as communicators, as we collect content, we create content, we distribute content, we sometimes even have to walk into the boardroom of a hospital or organization and be able to plug into a display and share what we’ve done. And so I have a little bag inside the bag of all those connectors. You know, connect you iPhone into the LCD display, my iPad, or my laptop into that display. So the reason why I do carry all those types of connectors is there’s been a situation when I was teaching a full day on storytelling and lo and behold my laptop crashed and luckily the slide deck was in keynote on Dropbox and so all I had to do was pull out my iPad, pull my little … out of my tool bag, just a little connector to plug my laptop into the display and I kept on going.

Bobby Rettew:
So, the goal here is that we’ve got to have all the little tools packaged so that they’re easily organized and we can pull them out and use them very quickly.

Reed Smith:
So here’s another kind of pro tip that I’ve learned is … you talked about cables and things like that. When you’re packing up and getting ready to go somewhere, always pack your charger and your cables first. You’re never going to walk off and leave your laptop, but if you pack the laptop first and then you get distracted, you’re going to forget to pack a charger or something like that. So, anyway, that’s free. That’s a tip.

Bobby Rettew:
Well, I’m going to take it one step further. Every bag has a charger.

Reed Smith:
Yeah there you go.

Bobby Rettew:
Like, my Mac Book, I have five Mac Book chargers, one for each bag. I have … for each bag has a Mac Book charger, an iPhone charger, all those connectors, because I am the worst culprit of taking one thing out and putting it in another bag and forgetting I’m doing that. So I just buy things for all bags.

Reed Smith:
Yeah there you go.

Bobby Rettew:
Yeah. Even when I travel on a plane, my carry-on, which is my clothes bag, has all those connectors in it too.

Reed Smith:
Yeah I think that’s a great tip. It’s funny when I … the first hospital that I went to I remember when I got there we did have a digital camera in the marketing department, a digital camera, and it would hold eight pictures. And I remember I upgraded the camera. It’s one of the first things I did and I think it held 32 pictures or something like that and it was like, you know, how would you ever use this much space? You know, kind of a thing. Anyways, hilarious, as our media’s gotten bigger, storage is becoming more important and ultimately the technology is physically getting smaller. So you can get away with some of these smaller bags and things like that.

Reed Smith:
So, again, we’re going to get into all these individual items like cameras, tripods, lighting, all that kind of good stuff in future episodes. But wanted to briefly touch on what Bobby carries onsite to capture and so you may be going to shoot video, but that doesn’t mean you’re not taking items to capture audio. So to your point, who knows what’s going to come up or what opportunities are going to present themselves and to be prepared.

Reed Smith:
What we also want to do in each of these episodes is leave you with some basic recommendations of … you know, for people that are just wanting to initially put some of this together, maybe you’re more on the marketing side of the house and not doing a ton, and maybe you even have production agency capabilities and things like that that you bring in, but you want to put together something. Well, what is that more consumer, in this case, what’s the more consumer kit that you can put together. And then if you’ve already done that and you want to kind of step it up, what is that next step and then ultimately kind of what’s that pro level?

Reed Smith:
So, maybe let’s transition a little bit and talk a little bit along those lines of what are those four or five items everybody should have handy with them? Even if they’re just walking down because it’s employee of the month and it’s down in the cafeteria or whatever it may be. What do they need to be carrying with them?

Bobby Rettew:
Yeah, so, couple things that I think of right of the hand. For marketing people, your iPhone is your best friend right now. I tell all my broadcast journalist friends that if I had an iPhone X in the days … back in the day when I was a journalist, I would absolutely work circles around people. And so I find ways to use that iPhone in multiple facets. So your iPhone is your friend. So how can you build on the iPhone? Number one, a gimbal. DJI has a great little gimbal that you can shoot video with that’s 140 bucks. And it is … can fit in a bag, in a pocketbook, or anything. And you can use it to capture video and it looks beautiful. It makes it stable when you’re walking around.

Bobby Rettew:
Second thing that I would encourage people to have is something that you can, basically, back that media up. You never know whether if you’re using your camera or your iPhone or whatever it may be, but have a way to get those photos and those videos off your phone, into a Dropbox or into a place to back it up. The reason why I say that is, you can drop your phone of the cliff or lay it on the ground and someone accidentally steps on it, you know, something happens and that media’s gone. I always make sure that I backup my media. All the time. I’m really intentional on that.

Bobby Rettew:
And then finally, I would say if you’re a marketing person, when it comes to … if you’re going to use your phone as your place to do this, have a really good understanding of the apps on your phone to use. Don’t let it be the first time you’re doing it when you’re trying to do a story. Make sure you understand what those apps are. And from a consumer or prosumer, you know if it’s iMovie or Adobe or just the basic picture function has a lot of photo editing capabilities. Know how to use it, know how to use it quickly.

Bobby Rettew:
So, that’s something I would say is, how can you use the tools in your hand, stay as portable as possible, know the stuff as quick as possible, and be able to use them quickly and efficiently to get it out to your networks.

Reed Smith:
Awesome. So, smartphone. Preferably an iPhone X, at least at this day and age, understand the apps that are on there and again, we’ll get into more of that kind of stuff. Maybe it’s a subscription to Dropbox or something like that, but some sort of a backup scenario where you can get the media off your device. And then some level of stability. And so there’s some little gimbals and things out there. Even some little things that you can use to attach your phone to a tripod, for example, or whatever it may be. So, I think that’s great.

Reed Smith:
So for those wanting to kind of take that next step, where do you go from an iPhone X? What’s kind of that next realm?

Bobby Rettew:
Well, I try to encourage people not to buy a video camera or a still camera. Buy a multipurpose camera. So, I use Canon products and I like their Canon DSLRs and usually they have video built in to them. Buy something that allows you to take pictures and also can do video, and also has wifi built into that camera, so that you can transfer that media either to your phone to edit, or into your laptop. We are in a place where we want to share information quickly. So, the camera has to be, number one, easy to use. So it fits in your hands well.

Bobby Rettew:
You can do multiple things with it and you can get it out of the camera to distribute it very quickly. So, a DSLR is a great start. Something that’s a small … an entry level like a Sony, a basic Sony camera that has video and photo capability with wifi so that you can distribute it out, or a Canon, or a Nikon. Something that’s very basic that allows you to do all those things and then distribute the media quickly.

Reed Smith:
So I think that … yeah, that’s great. And that makes a ton of sense. And they make some amazing cameras that have a lot of great … and I’m saying this in layman’s terms, but kind of auto functionality where you don’t have to be an expert and understand what aperture and shutter speed and some of that stuff is, and still be able to capture some really great content. So I think that makes a ton of sense.

Reed Smith:
Alright, so those are two great recommendations. The third category, kind of pro category. Maybe it’s somebody that just … you know, this is their hobby or they’re really wanting to dedicate more time to this. From a content capture standpoint and maybe even just something that should go in the bag that’s a little on that higher end, what do you recommend?

Bobby Rettew:
There are two things that I have as go to in my bag all the time, from a professional standpoint. Number one, I shoot with a Canon DSLR, a 5D Mark III, it’s pro end of the prosumer range. And the reason why I like that camera is that it shoots on two cards at the same time. So I can shoot on a big card SD where I can get the raw files, but it also does a smaller, lower res jpeg as a backup. So, it allows you to capture images in two places simultaneously. And I’m big on backup. It shoots beautiful 1080P video. It shoots 25 megapixel images. It shoots up to, I think, eight frames per second and great auto function and it does really well.

Bobby Rettew:
Second thing is I really, really love my Shure mic that … I think it’s the MV88 that you can plug into your iPhone and record quality audio. The reason why I like this is because many times we’re writing blogs and we want to go ask questions and sometimes we’re trying to take notes, well that MV88 does a great job of recording in noisy places, good crisp audio. And you can take that audio file and push it up to places like a rev.com to have it transcribed. And once you have it transcribed in 24 hours, there’s your blog post.

Bobby Rettew:
So, those are simple tools that allows you to capture things quickly and to turn it around quickly.

Reed Smith:
Very cool. Well those are great recommendations. Again, we’re just getting started. I hope you’ll subscribe, continue to listen as we dig in to a lot of these different types of technology and gadgets and certainly would love your feedback so please reach out to us if there’s things you’re considering, wanting to know more about, would like us to just review or talk more about. We can certainly do that. So for Bobby Rettew, I’m Reed Smith and we will see you next time with more Gadgets In Review.

Reed Smith:
This show is made possible, in part, by the Social Health Institute. Through research and partnerships with healthcare organizations around the country the Social Health Institute explores new and innovative ways for hospitals, healthcare organizations, to develop and enhance their social media and digital marketing strategy. To learn more about the Social Health Institute visit them online at socialhealthinstitute.com. That’s socialhealthinstitute.com.

Reed Smith:
This has been a Touchpoint Media production. To learn more about this show and others like it please visit us online at Touchpoint.health.

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