Oct 14 2009

Bag & Blimp

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I’ve modified a Kata 3n1 30 backpack for use with my Sound Devices 702 recorder and Rode blimp. One of the nice things about this bag is the carrying options. You can use it as a normal backpack with parallel straps, a backpack with crossed straps or a shoulder ‘sling’ bag. (either left or right shoulder strap) The bag consists of two compartments. The top section can be used for normal everyday items such as drink, jacket, a novel etc. and the bottom section is used as a side access sling bag. When in ‘sling’ mode, I use it with the strap over my right shoulder, when I need to access the recorder, I spin it around my left hip and smoothly to the front. I can then access the recorder and blimp via the side opening. I also modified the Rode blimp to house my Schoeps CCM4/CCM8 MS rig by shortening the rails, blimp cage and fur cover. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the procedure whilst doing it. While overseas, I walked a considerable distance with the bag in backpack mode containing the recording gear and a Sony DSL camera (with a telephoto lens) and, although heavy, it was reasonably comfortable. I did add a small sternum strap as the shoulder straps kept moving.

Kata 3n1 30

Kata 3n1 30

Inside the bag, there is access to the lining via a velcro strip at the bottom of the lower compartment. I had a sheet of rigid 1.5mm carbon fibre so I cut a piece large enough to almost fill the entire lining space. I did this so that the weight of the recorder was not hanging on the soft lining material and the added weight is minimal. The bracket to hold the 702 is made from 3mm light ply and balsa. The small rail at the rear allows the lip of the 702 to hook under snugly (with a notch for the battery) and the edge rails stop it from moving laterally.

Bracket to hold Sound Devices 702

Bracket to hold Sound Devices 702

This was done just before I went overseas so the workmanship leaves a bit to be desired. The Velcro strap goes completely around and underneath the recorder bracket, and the screws are through the light ply and carbon fibre into a piece of 3 mm aluminium rail that I drilled and tapped rather than using individual nuts on each one. The light ply and balsa was glued using cyanoacrylate (super glue)

Rear edge and side rails to hold 702 lip

Rear edge and side rails to hold 702 lip

Sound Devices 702 snugly in place

Sound Devices 702 snugly in place

Securely held. It's not going anywhere

Securely held. It’s not going anywhere

The modified Rode blimp sits next to the recorder quite nicely with the handle in either the folded or extended position. The Sony 7506 folding headphones sit on top without any problem.

Blimp & Headphones in place

Blimp & Headphones in place

When used in ‘sling’ position, this is how the gear is accessed.

In sling position

In sling position

The Velcro strap holds the recorder firmly in place and everything else fits nicely behind or on top of it.

Just like a bought one

Just like a bought one

The modifications I made to the Rode blimp consisted of shortening and re-tapping the rails, shortening the blimp centre cage to match. Kerry kindly sewed the Rode fur to fit the shortened blimp.

Rode shortened rails

Rode shortened rails

Rode shortened cage

Rode shortened cage

Rode shortened fur

Rode shortened fur

Although I do have the Rycote / Schoeps blimp for the CCM4/8 MS rig, I felt the 150 mm diameter was a bit harder to fit into a backpack for travel than the 100 mm Rode. I may have been worrying needlessly though as Greg travels extensively with his Rycote/Schoeps blimp.

Here is an update showing how the ConnBox is fitted inside the Rode Blimp. I used a small piece of aluminium that was screwed to the rail holder with a slightly longer M3 (3 mm) screw. This aluminium had two tapped M3 holes to allow the fitting of the connbox, which sits through the ring below the mics.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Bag & Blimp”

  1. Greg Simmons on 14 Oct 2009 at 17:33

    Fantastic, John. I really like the way you’ve mounted the SD into the bag like that. Looks very neat, tidy and sensible. I also like how you modified the Rode blimp, but we’ve spoken about that before…

  2. Zack on 15 Feb 2010 at 03:53

    I would love to send you my Rode blimp to have modded like this if you could? I travel a lot myself and need a compact Rode blimp for SFX as well.

  3. Jack on 15 Feb 2010 at 11:38

    It’s not that hard to do. You snip around the cage close to the end. You then place a scalpel blade (or similar) into the edge of the groove (on the threaded end bit, between the edge of the groove and the old bit of cage) you can slowly ‘cut’ through any glue that is there. You need to do this for both the outside and inside edges of the groove. You can then pull out that bit of cage that you then discard. You are left with a ‘ring’ consisting of the threaded end, with a nice clean grove. In this you re-insert the cage (now at the length you want). Put a small amount of epoxy in the groove first.

    Cut the rails with a hacksaw to the correct length and drill and tap new holes for the fittings.

    There is a Schoeps/Rycote blimp 4″ in diameter that is classed as ‘Mono’. The cost would be comparable to sending a Rode here for modification, as you’d only need the blimp and ring. You don’t need the handle etc. if you already have the 6″ version.

  4. Zack on 24 Oct 2010 at 17:46

    Jack, I don’t think I ever thanked you for your reply here hehe. I’m starting to prepare to order another Rode blimp and mod my current one similar to how you’ve done here. My idea is to have the rail a little longer than you have shown to be able to use both rings incase I wanted to mount my MK-012 in an X/Y config or ORTIF. My last few questions are: Do you recall what the thread size was to tap the rail? Also, how did you end up mounting your con-box to the rail there… bit hard to see with the one picture you show? Last thing I’ll have to find is someone that’s good with sewing 😛

    Thanks again 🙂

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