So, what does it take to do a trip like this and produce digital media from such far-flung places as Iran, Syria, and India? Good question! Even people with extensive experience in digital media production can be forgiven for being a bit bewildered by the incredible pace at which this technology is advancing. We spent over 9 months assembling a kit that could produce high quality results without attracting too much attention at the many border crossings we'll face.
With its 500mhz G3 processor, 256mb of RAM and over 60GB of hard disk storage, the Powerbook is used for all aspects of field media production. It's USB and firewire interfaces are critical for acquiring images from the still and video cameras.
For digital stills, we are using the 3 megapixel Nikon Coolpix 990 with wide angle and fisheye lenses to produce immersive surround pictures. For video, we are carrying the small Sony DCR-PC5 digital video camera, as well as the 3-chip Sony DSR-PD100a DVCAM.
A Garmin Street Pilot loaded with Garmin's Worldmap base maps provides basic position information and a limited map display, which we will correlate with paper maps. The GPS is tremendously useful in places, like the desert, where it can be difficult to pick out the road after a good wind. For an added margin of "positional certainty", a serial connection to a Sony PCG-Z505 computer running Delorme's Eartha Global Explorer software.
Our vehicle is a 1997 Land Rover Discovery, originally built by the Land Rover Special Vehicles Group for the Camel Trophy 1997 in Mongolia. This was the Team USA car, CT44. Equipment includes an internal roll cage with integrated rack and ladder, 9,000lb winch and underbody skid plates, raised air intake, dual batteries, 6-120 watt Hella driving lamps, and heavy-duty suspension. It is powered by Land Rover's 300tdi turbo diesel engine.