I really like it….. a lot!
I wanted to get something out for readers who are looking for a mixer bag and harness and have heard or maybe even seen the Orca products at NAB. To cut to the chase, the Orca mixer bag and harness are exceptional.
I used both harness and bag on a couple of shoots in Nicaragua and Guatemala in conditions that were very hot, humid, and dusty. The bag did a great job of keeping the dust out of the mixer and the harness is as I was hoping, super comfortable and not as hot as the Petrol or Kata harnesses I’ve used in the past.
Now with every piece of equipment (especially new stuff) there will be issues and this rig has a few but by no means are any of them reason to not give this system a close look if you’re in the market. Here are my findings.
Orca Mixer Bag OR-32 loaded with a Sound Devices 664 mixer, Shure UR wireless, 2 Sennheiser G3 wireless, Comtec system, NP external battery system.
The bag looks great! I had numerous comments on just how visually appealing it is – even in the airport. I like its look, and since it’s not totally black it didn’t get as hot as my petrol bag does in the scorching sun. The rigid design with the aluminum frame keeps everything well protected and secure, and I like that the two small carrying handles detach after transport. The mixer lift system that Offer designed works perfect and there was no way the mixer or any of the wireless systems were going to fall out. I did have to reconfigure the bag to be able to get at the cables on my mixer. The openings on the side of the bag are a bit small so I had to align the mixer more in the center of the bag which had me removing one of the large dividers. It all worked out fine but I would like to have had more Velcro accessories for bag configuration.
After a couple of days of shooting, I was worried about how dirty and beat up the bag was getting since we were working in humid dusty locations. The bag has a real nice leathery fabric that looked to be getting all scuffed up. As it turned out it wasn’t. A quick wipe and the bag looked like new.
My dislikes of the bag are minor and easily remedied. There’s no place to secure headphones – fixed this with a Velcro strap I use for wrapping cables. The removable pouches are a bit large and there’s no way to secure a component into them. My Comtec receiver never fell out but it definitely could – fixed that by looping the Comtec cable through the pouch. My only real dislike are the little snaps for securing the see-through vinyl front cover. They’re a pain in the butt and hard to line up and snap closed. At NAB, the bag I demoed used magnets to secure the vinyl cover, it’s the perfect solution but they’re not on the one I received. I’ve been assured by Ofer, Orca is going back to magnets.
The harness was everything I hoped it would be. It’s so comfortable and it fits like a glove. It fits so well that it’s hard to get out of! I’m used to leaving the harness attached to the mixer and slipping out of the entire rig. I couldn’t do that with this harness, no way. I had to unclip from the mixer and then take the harness off. At first I didn’t like it because I had to completely suit up to get back to work. After a while I just kept the harness on. This isn’t how I want to be walking around but the comfort is worth it. I’ve already commented on how much cooler it is then any other harness I’ve worn, and when I did sweat the harness dried out incredibly fast. I didn’t use the battery I installed in the harness to charge anything but I did find it jabbed me in the back when I sat down with the harness on.
No real dislikes but I do have a concern. I’m a smaller framed man and to get the harness to fit I had to adjusted it to its smallest size. After several weeks of shooting in the humid heat the harness stretched out. The shoulder area definitely got thinner from the weight of the fully loaded mixer bag and I couldn’t adjust the harness any smaller – it became loose. Now I did loose over 5 pounds on the shoot but not all North Americans are XXL. I’d like to see the harness made smaller or the option to buy a small version.