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Old May 20th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #1
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Air plane travel and equipment

Hello!

Didn't know where to post this. I hope this is the correct section.

In 10 days or so I am going on a trip (me and my sound guy) for a documentary shoot and we'll be travelling with an air plane.

How do you normally travel. I've never travelled with my equipment before and am a bit worried. I'll go as light as possible: my trusty HPX171, on camera light and sticks. My sound guy will have some equipment to.

What do you normally do? Should I get a strong aluminium case and stuff it with hard foam or do I keep my camera with me on the plane and stuff it in the luggage compartment above my head? What about the tripod?

thanks!
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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:30 AM   #2
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

If it were me (and it has been over the years) KEEP the camera with you or there could be a chance you won't have it later or at least in 1 piece.
I would wrap the legs in buble wrap and then get a hardshell case such as a travel case for golf clubs if you have access to rent one. I used those and even once wrapped the legs in bubble wrap and had to use a square cardboard box that I bought at a shipping company. It was big enough to allow the tripod to fit very nicely, stuffed some additional packing peanuts in the spaces sealed it up and checked it as excess baggage. Worked out fine. Mostly though in the last 10 years if I am traveling to a single location I ship my gear to the hotel I am staying at and let them know to expect it. I've shipped FedEx and UPS and haven't had any problems with the stuff being there when I get there.
It doesn't seem like you have that option so keep it small, compact, light and most of all never check your camera in.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:35 AM   #3
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

What do you mean by not in 1 piece!?:) My biggest worry is that the camera would maybe travel to a wrong location... And why shouldn't I check in the camera?

Thanks!
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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:56 AM   #4
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

I always hand-carry the camera.

Things get stolen from luggage. Luggage gets dropped. TSA agents will go through your bags and not put them back the way you packed them, and the result is damaged gear.

Imagine arriving at your destination and your camera is dead on arrival. Then what?

I put my shoulder mount in the suitcase. I hand carry the camera and a Pelican case. The tripod goes into it's padded nylon case, then into a golf case along with some other stuff that will fit. Sometimes clothes or a pair of boots.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

Just to add to what Dean said, some years ago a friend of mine went to do a shoot out of town. He checked his camera, a very expensive Beta with batterys etc in his Pelican case. Pretty good sized case. When he arrived his case came out OPEN AND, (wait for it) the camera was G O N E! Batterys were there (go figure) but the camera wasn't. This BTW was PRE 9/11 so this is something that has been going on for quite a while. I won't go into the details of what he did, what the airline did and how the story ended but after that he along with many others started handcarrying their cameras OR shipping gear to the destination.
Cameras get stolen, damaged, played with...why take a chance. BTW, the airlines will not pay to replace the gear. At least not that I've ever heard of.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

Take a look in this forum:

Home, Away From Home Forum at DVinfo.net

I recently traveled with a ThinkTank Streetwalker Pro backpack for the camera (EX1r) and accessories. It's small enough to qualify as a personal item and leave you a "Carry-On for more stuff. Sachtler FSB-4 went into an SKB 36" Rail case that had 3/4" high density foam glued with contact cement onto the insides at strategic places. That case is wheeled and has straps inside that hold things tightly to the case. YMMV
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Old May 20th, 2011, 08:55 AM   #7
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanjin Svajger View Post
Didn't know where to post this.
Thread moved to Home, Away From Home -- Studio Space (Home) and Traveling Tips (Away From Home).
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Old May 20th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

I spent nearly 4 decades working in the aviation business, and although my gear is always packed in Pelicans or Nanuck hard cases, I always carry my camera on, for the reasons listed above. It would shock you to see the statistics of luggage content theft at any international airport in a year....in some cases many millions of dollars in claims, and the insurers believe that only about 60 or 70% of the thefts even result in a claim; often a traveller may make several stops, or fly through multiple airports before noticing something is missing. At that point, they often don't file a claim with the carrier or airport simply because they don't know where the theft occurred; they put it through their own insurance, which is not tracked.

Having watched many hours of surveillance footage shot in baggage halls, some of those thieves are amazing. They can ID a likely candidate for going to work on ( high priced bags aren't always the target BTW...they seem to have a sixth sense about which bag contains the good stuff), pick, pry or cheat the lock, rifle the bag and boost what they find in seconds, and move on.

We had a group a few years ago that preyed on soft side, zipper bags. It took us a while to figure out how they were getting into them; no cuts, zipper locks intact and not comprimised or picked, etc.
Surveillance footage showed their tool of choice was a Bic pen. They'd press the pen barrel against the zipper teeth midway down the bag. the teeth would separate, they'd rifle the bag, then reseal it by runing the still locked zipper tabs back down over the separated zipper. It resealed perfectly...no sign the bag had been tampered with. The carriers insurers routinely denied the claims since there was no visible tampering, yet the thefts had occurred.

There are also a number of companies selling a set of lock picks online called "bogata rakes" Most are made of titanium, so they go through the security screening without a problem, and they're very compact. With them, almost any padlock will surrender in a matter of seconds. We ( the Airport Authority) ordered a couple of sets to see how easy they were to get, and use. I have never picked a lock in my life, and was able to open a higher end Masterlock padlock in under 30 seconds, the first try. They have sold thousands of them, and a baggage handler with a criminal bent will as often as not be caught with a set in their pockets.

I know that if I'm carrying my camera, no one is going to be looking into the case without me knowing it.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

@Chris: thanks for moving the thread to the correct forum. Sorry for missing it in the first place!

Okey - definitely going to keep my camera and P2 cards with me. You guys gave me quite a scare especially you Wayne:) What kind of bag for my HPX171 (size, dimensions) should I get for airplane travel? I've been looking at Kata CC-193. That should fit in the compartment?

I've also heard that there may be some complications with camera batteries?
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Old May 20th, 2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

Li-On batterys could be a problem if not packed correctly. Keep them in your camera bag and don't let the contacts touch one another. If they get too hot and conditions are just right they can catch on fire or even explode but honestly I've never had a problem whether the small size batterys for small form factor cameras or Anton Bauer Dionic90s for a full size cam. The thing that is against the rules is a battery that is larger than, and I might be wrong on this size, 140W. The AB Dionic 160s are not allowed IIRC but anything smaller should be fine.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 07:42 AM   #11
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

to add to what Don said about lithium batteries, it's important to check the flag country of each carrier you travel with for specific regulations. Even though you may be travelling within Europe, if you fly on an American carrier while travelling, they are obligated to apply US law in regard to dangerous goods, NOT the law of the country their operating in.
Most European nations have a more "realistic" stance regarding lithium battery carriage; US ( and subsequently Canadian regulations) are extremely harsh in comparision, but must be satisfied.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:13 AM   #12
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

Okey will check for specific rules and regulations. I'm flying from Slovenia to Estonija btw... Thanks for all the advices - priceless:)
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Old May 25th, 2011, 06:50 AM   #13
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

All sorts of good advice in this thread, let me add one more tip -- keep a duplicate of all the material you shoot and carry it separately. I typically travel as a pair -- me and a cameraman. These days, we shoot to memory cards, and at the end of the day transfer to a laptop. Then we back up the laptop to a portable drive. He carries the laptop, I carry the portable drive (in our carry-on).

I can live without a change of underwear, but a week on the road where we lost an interview, or the camera didn't arrive in time for a shoot, would make for a very poor outcome. Carry on the camera and anything else that is essential -- it is surprizing how much gear you can live without -- make safeties of everything you shoot.

Cheers,
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Old June 14th, 2011, 12:13 PM   #14
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

I've got to put in my vote for keeping your camera with you always. I figure one more voice will add to the ovewhelming consensus. There are just too many things that can go wrong by checking the equipment that you MUST have. The one thing you don't want is to get off the plane and find your camera missing or damaged. You can always buy clothes or shoes or toiletries, but will you be able to easily replace a camera or a microphone or even batteries?

Also, make sure the the size of your bag meets carry-on requirements. I always have a fear of an ignorant gate attendant mis-enforcing some arbitrary rule that they really don't understand.

It happened to me once on an American airlines flight to Lima, Peru. An attendant at the plane's door forced me to check a bag that I had carried on litterally hundreds of times on AA planes of all sizes. (It was a BIG plane with lots of storage and my bag was well within the requirements for carryons.) Rather than make a big fuss, I eventually complied after moving all of my valuable gear into a smaller bag that I was fortunately carrying.

Needless to say, I was angry and expressed my displeasure when I returned to the U.S. I probably could have taken my argument to a supervisor -- especially since I watched others carrying multiple larger bags than mine -- but decided it waasn't worth it. If I'd only had one bag, I would have certainly done so rather than have my camera equipment placed in the luggage hold for an international flight.

Generally, though, I've found airlines to be understanding about expensive equipment and can often find a place to store your stuff even if the overhead compartments are full. It's a good idea to politely inquire at the gate when you check in if you think there might be a problem.

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Old October 22nd, 2011, 06:12 PM   #15
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Re: Air plane travel and equipment

So what if you have a ENG camera like the Panasonic 370 or the JVC 700? those dont fit in anything that you can carry on I think.....or if someone knows let me know. I have checked my JVC700 in a pelican about 5 times now and after reading this I am probably going to sleep with it between my wife and I tonight ! LOL. But seriously I feel lucky.

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