Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help. at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > Home, Away From Home

Home, Away From Home
Studio Space (Home) and Traveling Tips (Away From Home).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 3rd, 2012, 01:24 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chico, CA
Posts: 83
Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Hi, I'm having some issues figuring out how I'm going to get my gear to location. Here's what I've got.
I have two people traveling and my main issue is that i'm doing a two camera shoot with lighting, so I need to get two full size tripods plus a lowel rifa 66 and lowel pro lights, cords, accessories, etc. Onto our southwest flight and onward to our location and back. I don't mind paying the $50 oversize fee, I've come to terms with it. The problem is how the two of us will physically carry the equipment plus 8 days worth of clothing.

The rifa tube case isn't large enough to carry the rifa 66, pro lights, and all the other stuff. So that's out.
Checking a huge pelican case seems like a disaster waiting to happen because of the weight.

I'll be carrying a pelican 1510 onboard with the camera gear. I've done this before with no problem. I'll also be sporting a backpack with our audio gear and other misc items.

I found a tripod cargo bag that I think I can stuff our two tripods into, and I'll check those.

Each of us will have a bag for clothes.

So I will have 3 items, which I would say is about max.

My associate will have a bag for clothes and will roll the tripod case. This allows him one free hand for another piece.

I found this unit:
Kata KT PL-LW-88W Rolling Organizer Case KT PL-LW-88W B&H Photo

Which I'm pretty sure I can stuff all my light stands and lights into. As long as they won't get destroyed by TSA if I check this? I understand these Kata bags are pretty beefy but wanted to hear any experience you had.

Any thoughts or ideas are welcome.

Thank you,
Paul Hildebrandt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 3rd, 2012, 07:17 AM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 123
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

I would ship, UPS or FedEx, anything that is not convenient to carry-on to the hotel that I would be staying at. Same for return trip, ship it back home.
Jim Schuchmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 3rd, 2012, 10:17 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chico, CA
Posts: 83
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

This is an option, but i'd much rather bring everything with me on the plane if I can. Has no one had experience with this kind of set up before, or does everyone ship everything?
Paul Hildebrandt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 4th, 2012, 12:42 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Other than hiring a local pro-slash- PA (ideally someone with lights and stands), my suggestion would be to purchase a rolling hard-sided golf case. I find them on Craigslist for under $100 and they will stand up to a decent amount of abuse. Mine can fit a big Sachtler tripod, 4 light stands, and a bunch of cords. Pad with some foam or non-essential clothing (sleepwear?) and it's pulling double duty.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 4th, 2012, 07:16 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bay City, TX
Posts: 225
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

I've not done it, but I've heard of others doing as Oren suggested and have considered it -- just haven't had a need yet. Apparently you can get a lot of stuff in those hard golf cases. He's right about using clothes as packing materials to cushion where necessary. I do that sometimes when putting a tripod or my travel slider in a checked bag and everything has come through okay so far.
Phil Murray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,677
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Paul,

I have several hundred flights and more than ten years on the road doing this. Tried it all. Carry on, motor freight for big anvil cases (disastrous results), shipping, and airline checking in gear.

The only reasonable way to do it is FedEx or UPS. Your gear will be there and it wonít be damaged if you pack it properly.

Here is a few tips:

Number one, know exactly what type of aircraft you will be on, every leg of your trip. You are pushing the limits of carry on and check in. If you donít know what youíre flying on you could find yourself standing in a jet way, boarding a regional jet and being forced to surrender your carry ons that you never wanted to loose control of. Your screwed. I had a lap top destroyed that way, and the airline said ďto bad, so sad, go away nowĒ. In reality there is no insurance or reimbursement by them for ANYTHING.

Tip generously, carry lots of cash for tips, it will pay off for you. Everyone that touches my gear gets greased. Here is the trickÖ.TIP FIRST. For example, you pull up to the curb and start building your pile of stuff on the sidewalk. The ski cap guy with the cart will want to help you but his experience has taught him more stuff does not always mean more cash, some people are cheap. SoÖas soon as the cart is loaded I hand that guy a $20.00 spot every time. If I am not on an airline that day with a gold membership that twenty bucks often gets me to the front of the check in line anyway.

Check in early and board as soon as possible so the overheads are not full. The last cocktail you pound down at the bar across from the gate can cause a lot of problems.

Prioritize everything and plan for the unexpected. What media are you recording to and how are you going to make sure it NEVER gets out of your control. I showed up in Paris and a 300 gig external drive was missing from my carry on! I donít think TSA stole it, I think it was a mistake and he did not put it back. I never saw it again. Thank God it was on the outbound trip and not loaded with footage yet. The point is, it was carry on and still not safe. Guys like us can be a circus going through security. TSA does not like us for two reasons, they have to check out all of that extra stuff we hang onto for dear life and it holds up the line. Be early and efficient. Know the rules, yes they are going to take your tooth paste away. They donít care if you make your flight or not and nor should they. Trying to get them to hurry for you will ensure you miss your plane. Donít make them mad, be a pro. Think ahead, I know silly people that have thrown their car and house keys in a checked bag on the home trip, not a good idea.

Tripods, always a pain and prone to damage. So I have two sets. If I am going on a static shoot like an interview the big beautiful sticks with the fluid heads stay home. I mount the video cameras on still camera tripods I can fit in checked luggage. That eliminates two huge and heavy cases.

I only buy hard sided luggage. Yes, thatís because my clothes are padding gear, you canít carry it all on. I do check pelican cases, yes they are heavy, but the case gets beat up, not my gear. And forget the padlock if it is not TSA approved they will cut it off anyway. Do not pack any type of batteries next to any coil of cable.

You must have plenty of spare lamps for your Lowell lights. The ones in the fixture wonít survive. Lowell recommends you remove them, but even if you do carry spares.

Even if I am wearing jeans I travel in a sport coat. I am NOT a sport coat guy. It is a tool. People in the travel industry have a lot of discretionary power. If you are a Tiva wearing Rastafarian with baggy shorts and you underwear showing you will not get the same respect and favors I get from airline and hotel employees. That is not a judgment on my part, it is just the way the world works. And I was describing one of my former crew members. I never, never, never give travel employees a hard time. It is not their fault your flight is late but people yell at them for it. I saw a replacement plane show up at the gate that had less seats than the scheduled flight. Guess who did not get on board. Yes, the people who had been going up to the gate agent complaining the most.

I hope this helps, Iím not preaching, I just tried to put down a few real world tips. So ship EVERYTHING you can, donít assume your carry on stuff is safe and plan for the unexpected. What are you going to do if all of a sudden you must give up your carry on? It happens.

And lastly. When youíre on the road, ALL LITTLE ROOMS are BAD. Stay out of little rooms. I have never found myself in a little room because something good happened. You are there because your luggage got lost, your filing some kind of a claim, or someone is filing a claim against you, your being interrogated, or whatever. Your never in a little room because its good. I will skip the story about solders with machine guns showing up at security in Europe to take me away, not kidding.

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,677
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

A few more tips:

Do not rely on just a standard luggage tag on the outside of your bags. Make sure every bag has your contact info clearly visible on the inside. Outside tags get ripped off all of the time.

Take two forms of ID carried in separate places. I keep my passport in my backpack in case I loose my wallet. No ID, No Plane Ride.

Eight days on site. Are you shooting in a variety of situations or do you know in advance exactly where and what you will be doing. For example, lowell makes a large variety of ingenious light mounts that replace stands. I have a bunch of them. Could you take just one stand for the riffa and some clamps or door hangers for the pro lights. I rig pro lights all over the place.

That Kata bag looks nice, I use one similar from Porta Brace. It is one of the few things you have with wheels. Before you go figure out what you need to attach other bags or stuff to the outside of it to free up hands.

Lost luggage, of coarse it happens. I guess I have been lucky but eventually they always find it. One time it took a week, talk about stress. And it cost me over a grand in rental gear to do the job. Take this for what it is worth but my brother in-law was a baggage handler some time ago. He claims you should NEVER put fragile on anything. He says some guys he worked with would throw it harder and father. I'm not knocking anyone, just repeating what he said. I like to think people are nicer than that and these days there are probably enough video cameras to keep them honest. Split your like items into separate luggage so if one gets lost you don't loose an entire set up of some kind.

What do you have for back up systems? A credit card can solve most emergencies but it hurts!

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!

Last edited by Steven Digges; December 5th, 2012 at 06:29 PM.
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2012, 02:40 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Steven,
As I read your tips I felt like it was me talking. You are 100% absolutely right with all of your tips and anyone who has never experienced the "thrill" of bringing along a million pounds and pieces of gear need to memorize them, remember them and abide by them when traveling. Many of us remember the "old" days when bringing everything but the kitchen sink was not only the norm but the airlines expected it and of course it was for me at least, easy (relativley) to obtain a media pass from a friend of mine at one of the TV stations. Getting thru "security" was quite easy. As they say, not so much anymore.
If you travel with a bunch of gear you really need to plan for it. If you don't, then whatever happens be it good or bad is your fault!
Good stuff posted here.
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,677
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Thank you Don. I felt I had to jump on this post because some of those things were learned the hard way. And yes, I miss the "easy" days. Our media credentials not only helped make things easier back then, most airlines had discounts for it or would let you pass on extra fees altogether. Now we are just more revenue.

Now I have to get back to my edit desk. There are deadlines calling.

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bay City, TX
Posts: 225
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Paul, read what Steven says. Twice.

Sounds like you're not traveling overseas, but since I'll bet those of us who travel still like to read these threads because of the tips that we can glean from them, I'll comment about passports. Mine NEVER leaves my clothes until I can leave it in a hotel safe upon arrival (after which I carry copies). I usually keep it in a zippered pocket in my travel pants or a travel shirt. I can lose cash and credit cards because those can be replaced quickly and easily. Even close to the middle of nowhere, my wife can send me cash through Western Union. But losing that passport overseas can be a huge pain.

He's dead on about respect and politeness with airline personnel. In the hundreds of flights I've made, only a handful of airline employees were really jerks. Quite the opposite, they are usually nice folks who respond to politeness -- even when sometimes combined with insistence and/or in a stressful situation -- by trying to help out when they can.

On a recent domestic flight in Peru, there was no place for my relatively small bag, but it carried my DSLR and laptop so there was no way it was going to be checked. It was my first time to fly with that airline and had no clout, but after politely explaining what was inside, they put my bag in an empty compartment in the galley. Coming home, my carry on bag was disallowed in the Lima airport by a young gate person. It wasn't a big deal, but I needed a carry on because my layover time in Miami was short and I might have missed my next flight. I politely, but firmly, asked to see a supervisor as I explained that my bag would fit. (I've traveled to Peru about 20 times over the past 7-8 years so I know what I can squeeze above the seat.) The supervisor didn't hesitate to allow me to carry it on. Of course, I kept smiling the whole time.

One other little thing is that I NEVER act like my carry on bag is heavy, even if it really is! I may collapse from exhaustion when I get to my seat, but I act like it's lightweight.
Phil Murray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 6th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chico, CA
Posts: 83
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Thanks for the tips, this is going to take some more thinking.

I'm flying in the United States, Sacramento to Washington D.C. specifically.
I've carried on my camera and audio gear on board with me before in my Pelican case so I'm not too worried about that. Flying Southwest airlines only, and they fly only 737s so plenty of room. I generally only fly Southwest unless I have to fly something else.

Before I read Steve's post, and after I posted my initial thread, I had read some info on other sites stating that Southwest airlines allows 2 checked bags, and if you are media, with no press pass required, they allow your oversize and overweight units at no extra charge. I have since confirmed this on their website.

I appreciate your advice and will study this carefully, allow me to lay out my initial plan and let me know what you think please.

I had planned to send my lights and stands in a Pelican 1740 and lock it with tsa locks. This would sufficiently protect them from damage and theft, assuming the entire case was not lost or stolen, which I imagine would be pretty hard to do considering it's size. I also don't see anyone wanting to steal some Lowel light stands or tungsten lights. If I was a baggage thrower, I'd probably find something easier to steal than some clanky lights. My tripods I had planned to check in a separate Tenba tripod case which they advertise as air certified, and I've spoken with other film makers that state they check this case with no issues. I've since decided that the KATA case may not be right for what i'm doing.

While I agree it may be easier to ship, I've also ran into issues with hotels forgetting to ship my stuff back. And when I have a job in town a few days after I get back, I can't have my stuff at a hotel across the country. It would just be so much more convenient to know my cargo is sitting in the hold of the plane I'm flying in.
Paul Hildebrandt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 7th, 2012, 02:54 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Winnipeg Canada
Posts: 532
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
I showed up in Paris and a 300 gig external drive was missing from my carry on! I donít think TSA stole it, I think it was a mistake and he did not put it back. I never saw it again. They donít care if you make your flight or not and nor should they.
Yep, The TSA Is Definitely Stealing iPads

I think they should care if you make your flight or not. People have too easily accepted the 'new' norm- all your rights are stripped away and everyone and their grandmother are assumed to be a bomb carrying terrorist. With the high price of air travel, one would expect better 'service'...
Brian David Melnyk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 7th, 2012, 08:20 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Nope they don't care and frankly I don't want them to. Yeah you got a few bad apples and yeah we all complain about about TSA but honestly I think the vast majority of them are just hard working people trying to do a very hard job. Their job is to keep as many nuts, idiots and bad people from getting on our air travel system as possible and if it takes a bit of extra time to do that, fine. If you miss your flight then it might be because you didn't allow enough time to go thru security, or you were carrying something you shouldn't be carrying. In the Chicago area where I live 2 people were stopped and arrested for carrying guns in their carry on. Neither were loaded but both could be since the ammo was in the same bag. One was a flight attendant whose claims her husband had used the bag the day before for a hunting trip and the other an Illinois state senator who says he had just come off his part-time job as a security guard and didn't realize he had forgotten to take the gun out of the bag before he packed for his trip to Washington DC. He does have a valid FOID card and the gun is registered in the state but really folks? You didn't know it was in the bag?
I'm not saying either is a terrorist looking to do harm but I am saying it is against the law to bring a firearm onto the plane except under special situtions such as a law enforment officer performing their duties.
I think most TSA agents want to get you thru as quickly as they can but at the same time, they need to be careful and complete in their job so if it takes a few minutes extra, that's fine with me.
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 7th, 2012, 04:06 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,677
Re: Travel equipment situation, stressing, please help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Murray View Post
One other little thing is that I NEVER act like my carry on bag is heavy, even if it really is! I may collapse from exhaustion when I get to my seat, but I act like it's lightweight.
Phil, How did I ever forget to include that one! And here is one more. Most men carry on a lap top backpack or brief case (I love my Swiss Gear Backpack). Some women carry on those fancy shopping bags with string handles with stuff from the last expensive place they went shopping. Do not crush those bags when you put your stuff in the overhead. I saw some poor guy do it and the woman came out of her seat and caused a major scene....it was hysterical for me but not him. I thought for a minute she was going to draw blood!

I also keep a set of ear buds in my shirt pocket even if my i-pod is in the backpack. That way if I end up sitting next to a chatty grandmother that wants me to hear the life story of all eighteen grand kids, in go the buds and the unterminated cord stays in my pocket. Silence is golden.

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > Home, Away From Home

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:04 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network