Why a new range of cases?


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The team here at Ianiro International worked with Luggy for many years - they made wonderful bags with a real Italian quality and an eye for style. Sadly, last year the owner passed away, drawing their business to an abrupt close. For Ianiro International and its customers, this left a real gap. But it gave us an opportunity to reflect on our portfolio and what our customers really needed. We quickly identified problems with the current ranges on offer and we started investigating solutions to the practical everyday issues that current products were failing to address. Surprisingly we discovered that some bags and cases - even very popular and well established models - lacked basic features required for Northern Europe, such as wet weather protection. These may be fine in drier climates but for wet Novembers in Ireland or damp spring mornings in Wales, these bags were, in our view, putting equipment at risk.
Another issue that we recognized (are we alone in this?) is that kit transport often is a laborious two-stage process, with no real need. The first part usually involves loading equipment for transporting or freighting over longer distances. For this, foam-padded Peli-style cases - military grade and strong enough to drop from a TV studio roof or be pulled behind a motor boat - have long been standard issue for broadcasters and production companies. Then, once unloaded from the boot of a car or the hold of an aircraft, the kit will be re-packed into hand-carry bags - with more foam padding - for day-to-day use. These bags - used in stage two - should be tough, light-weight and have plenty of quick access pockets and pouches to enable working on the run.
We set our sights on developing a product that took the best of each system and married them into a simplified, safe and integrated solution.
Why is a two stage carry system a problem?
The big issue with having two distinct cases - hard and soft - is that it involves additional packing and re-packing of equipment. Once a hard case has done its job, the kit has to be taken out and re-loaded into hand carry soft bags that are suitable for day to day work on location or in the field. This regular transfer of equipment from case to bag inevitably involves the risk of breakage, damage or loss. In many ways, let's face it, it's also simply a pain. It also entails having to own padded hard cases as well as padded soft cases - ironically the space taken up transporting soft bags on their own can be huge. For too many years, there's been no joined up thinking about a video our sound professionals needs. Broadcasters have used cases made for the military or medical markets and soft bags developed for the media as entirely separate solutions. It's wasteful in space, cost and time.
This is where Oyster is different: we have developed very tough, water tight hard cases with purpose-built soft bag inserts. The outer shell cases have no padding: there's no unnecessary doubling up of the foam inserts. The enclosed soft bag fits snugly into the outer. It is padded to protect against knocks, drops and collisions, protecting the kit whether inside the shell or when in use on the shoulder. And the equipment in the soft bags themselves is protected in no ordinary way: each interior pad is a hollow container, ideal for maximizing the space for storing lenses, batteries, microphones, cables, mounts etc.
Why is it called a 3-in-1 system?
Firstly, there's an outer shell, a hard case. Into this fits the padded bag. This soft bag element has two uses - as an over the shoulder bag and as a rucksack, using strong and comfortable straps. Typically soft bags are hand-carried but we have included the back pack option for use on more on-location extreme shoots or for where the crew has large quantities of heavy kit to take on their back and to hand carry at the same time. We're giving the user the choice of how to use the cases but we're doing the thinking for them when it comes to selecting the right hard case for their chosen soft bag.
The advantages of an integrated 3-in-1 system go further than practical day to day considerations. As a single manufacturer of both elements, we can ensure compatibility between outer and inner case; we can offer product support for both parts and give advice on the complete solution for kit transport. Almost as importantly for some, as this is an image-conscious market (if you don't believe us, look at the number of iPhones owned in the industry), for the first time we can offer producers nicely designed matching hard and soft cases. Finally, Ianiro has decades of experience in the industry; now we are able to have control over the cases we stock and can respond quickly if a new style, size or type of bag is needed. We can react fast to the development of any revolutionary new LED lighting unit, Arri camera or Tascam recorder.
What's in the range?
At launch the range is already very extensive. We have designed and manufactured Oyster Cases to accommodate all sizes of camera system - video, film and stills. Plus we have models for sound recording kit and lighting units as well as general-purpose broadcaster-class cases suitable for portable vision mixers, recorders and editing equipment. We are able to advise users on the appropriate model for their kit, whether it's for transporting a video boom, a Panasonic HPX250, a Canon DSLR kit or an Alexa.
What's not in the range?
We produce a wide variety of cases to suit most audio and video needs but as a niche and responsive manufacturer, not only can we build to order, we do so as a regular part of the service (and not as an excuse to over-charge!). However, while we are competitively priced, we will not sacrifice quality and our reputation to supply a product we are not proud of. From high quality water resistant zips to hard wearing casters, the system is designed to last - and to take a beating I'd needed.
Should I worry about standards?
Yes. You wouldn't entrust your family to a car without an MOT certificate... Fabricated from polypropylene, our hard cases are IP55 rated for protection from dust and the heaviest downpours. All the cases are made to ISO9001 standard. It's important to know.
How have they been received?
The 3-in-1 concept went down very well at IBC. Resellers and end users instantly 'got' the idea of packing once and of having a modular bag / case system. But what pleased us most was that people really like the fact that they are designed and made in Britain. We sometimes have to remind ourselves that we are based in the industrial heartland of the country; we are in one of the world's centres of excellence for engineering. It's hard when you hear the economy being talked down to remember that the tradition of fine craftsmanship is closely associated with this country and the 'made in GB' kitemark is still recognised globally as a symbol of quality. We will be showing end users the products at BVE North and BVE London and hope that the initial positive feedback in Amsterdam is matched among the UK end users.

Tags: iss070 | oyster cases | ianiro | ip55 | luggy | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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