Pick and Pluck Foam vs. Shadow Foam

Shadow Foam Creations Episode 29

Written by Nathan – Videographer

Looking for a pick and pluck foam alternative? Look no further…

Peli-style cases are great. They’re big and tough. But one of the biggest problems with these cases, is that the inserts they come with are pretty poor. This case is the Vanguard Supreme 53F.

When you have a lot of camera gear, it needs to be well protected. When the inserts can move or if they’re too soft then everything inside can get damaged quite easily.

One of the biggest problems that I had was that I couldn’t have a spot for each item, which made it hard to keep track of everything. So I ended up just creating a big hole to throw all of the odds and ends in, and it’s just a mess.

Because of the big gap it meant the structure of the foam was weak at the sides and it could easily move around in the case. So it started to distort and warp, so nothing would line up properly any more.

My main camera is a Panasonic GH5, and it’s probably the best camera sub £2k. But it’s too small for my shooting style, so I use a rig with a v-lock battery and an Atomos Ninja Inferno.

I wanted zero downtime from opening the case, to using the camera. Previously, I had each component in it’s own place in the case and would build it every time I wanted to use it. When I got on sets I realised that this wasn’t practical, so I made a huge opening for the camera and rig, meaning there was only one hexagon of foam separating some items, and of course, these ripped.

So the biggest need for me was that I could easily pick up my camera straight out of the case, and keep it protected.

With the pick and pluck foam, this was possible, but more often than not the foam would snag on the parts or I would have to put things on top of the rig because there wasn’t a place for it, more often than not it was the follow focus and top handle. If I took more foam out it meant that the camera would move more, and could get damaged. So there wasn’t a practical solution with this insert.

Pictured are a Tascam DR-40 and Zoom H1

I’ve had this case for well over a year and it’s been on film sets, corporate shoots, documentaries and now here at Shadow Foam. The foam has taken a beating, but it was falling apart after about a month.

With Shadow Foam in my case everything has a place and a nice fit. Comparing the two inserts there is a stark difference in organisation. I can easily find everything now and with Shadow Foam being denser, nothing moves, meaning it’s much more protected.

While pick and pluck foam is much more convenient, there’s no comparison to a custom foam insert. Taking the time to cut out your gear is completely worth it in the end. Not having to search through bags and cases for something saves time on set. The last thing you want to do is hold up a shoot because you can’t find the right filter in your mess of a case. If you want to learn how to cut Shadow Foam for yourself you can learn here.

Check out the video to see how we made it and get a closer look at it.

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