A Filmmaker Packs His Own Wi-Fi on Location

Sometimes, less is more: The Verizon Jetpack® 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot packs a Wi-Fi hotspot that’s small enough for a backpack and big enough for the job.

Jonathan Walls specializes in telling stories from remote locations. The freelance filmmaker and co-founder of Playing for Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building music and art schools for children around the world has to be able to do everything—direct, edit, shoot, operate the camera. And jobs are moving to more remote locations, too, from music festivals in Alabama to a talent show in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Verizon Wireless recently equipped Walls with a Jetpack to see if it could help him get the job done. This was his experience.

The device:

Verizon Jetpack® 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi® 5510L

  • Supplied 4G LTE Wi-Fi access to Walls and a production crew of five on a tight deadline
  • Was small enough (about 3 ounces and less than 4 inches long) to fit into Walls’ “less is more” packing philosophy—everything must fit in his backpack
  • Gave access to Wi-Fi for up to 8 hours—from Walls’ car to a make-shift workroom on location

The experience:

Q. How did the Jetpack work for you?

A. I’ve been on the road for the last 10 weeks, and I used it to transfer video files and upload files for some editing jobs. It’s super fast, efficient and just great. Awesome to have.

I was super impressed with it; I’m definitely going to have one from now on. I could have survived, but I would have been super frustrated at the time. There really was no Internet access in Alabama.

The whole crew and I used it to send schedules, photos and scripts because the Wi-Fi was absolutely terrible at the hotel.

Q. How many folks were using the Jetpack at one time?

A. Probably about five people. There was no problem. The other two or three people were in different rooms—two rooms down from where I was, where the Jetpack was. You just need the password.

Q. How was everybody using it?

A. They were mostly communicating with others—management, emails, downloading documents that they needed to print. I was the one using it for (video) files.

Q. Are you able to take the Jetpack and use it in more remote locations for shoots?

A. I am. The stories are all over the country now, and there are more outlets for that type of (video storytelling).

In the search to find new and unusual content, you’re going to rural areas, but you still have to turn out a professional product. On time. On deadline.

Q. What do you bring to the set?

A. My laptop and a portable drive. If I’m on a long drive, I’ll bring the Jetpack with me so I can meet a certain deadline. I’ll work in the car or in an equipment room. I can be uploading or downloading something.

Less is more; it’s pretty simple. I can put everything I need as far as editing goes into a backpack. The hard drives are becoming a lot smaller and simpler, so it’s really easy. And there are still large hard drives. Two terabyte (drives) are the size of a wallet now. And cameras now are getting smaller, too.

Q. How important is it to have reliable technology when doing your job?

A. It’s vital to (stay) on the cusp of technology because things are changing so quickly; to have knowledge of that helps your career and your position.

In Alabama, they couldn’t believe it. The producer was like, “Man, I’m having a terrible time with the Internet.” And I said, “You know what? We probably can share this Jetpack with Wi-Fi.” Saved a lot of headache.

Having good tools enables you to get better at your craft and continue to do what you love.

Learn more about the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 5510L and how it can enhance your mobile life.

Verizon’s User Experience stories highlight the impact of mobile technology in the real world. User participants receive a smartphone or tablet and accessories and report back on how it enhanced their daily life. If you’re interested in becoming a User Experience participant, tell us what makes you a good candidate.

This content was created by an author contracted by Verizon Wireless to provide helpful information on mobile technology. The thoughts, opinions and suggestions of the author may not necessarily reflect those of Verizon Wireless.
LTE is a trademark of ETSI.

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