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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hendrix View Post
It's always a good idea to keep a battery on the camera, many airports will ask you to turn the camera on.

A funny story, a colleague of mine was traveling many years ago with camera and a bag with a shotgun mic. The security people asked what was in the bag and about the only part they understood was 'shotgun'. Needless to say, he was delayed...
Good thing he didn't bring his boom.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jack D. Hubbard View Post
It takes more time now...
The TSA really takes you apart. Overseas, Leaving Guatemala City, the security people told me I could only have one battery on the camera and the other three would have to go. I successfully argued on that one: that I was a professional cameraman and these were my working tools. The superviser understood and I got thru.

Confusion is the rule..
But overall I am finding with all the condition orange stuff, that the security is often confused or freaked at any location. Worst contenders on the west coast: San Jose, California, and LA, which is a nightmare. San Francisco and San Diego actually have been pretty good.

Be Nice
If you are polite, it helps a great deal. I usually tell the screeners ahead of time that I am a cameraman with lots of wires and cables. It helps.

Two Bags, but keep 'em on the small side...
I carriy two bags on board: a Tamrac Strongbox, black, 17 x 10 x 9, normally used for still cameras. I use it alternatively for the Z1 and my A1U. And I have Tamrac backback,black also a still camera case, which has a large square zipper bottom and pouches above. I switched bags in the field, and also switched cameras, depending on the day and the conditions.

Low Profile...
Both these bags fit nicely in the overhead and actually are very compact. And they don't look like camera bags, and attract unwanted attention, which is becoming more important, especially in high risk areas.

Compact but heavy; A trolley helps a lot...
They do pack some weight; the Strongbox with the Z1 is about 18-20 pounds, and the backback is about the same. I use a small trolley that I bought at Brookstone a few years back. It is very light, aluminum and strong; it will handle at least 60 pounds. Great for going for the long walk in most terminals.

Keeping operational...
Between the two bags, I was able to carry the Z1, A1U, spare batteries, a Wide Angle for the Z1, a Sennheiser ME64 Shotgun mic and K6 capsule, one short and one long XLR cable, Sennheiser Radio mics, 8 tapes, a cleaning tape and a $30 monopod(a lifesaver as it turned out),a polarizer for the Z1 and two compact wall chargers.

It was enough gear to make me operational when I hit the ground even if my other gaffer bag was delayed. (Which happened twice). And, I was able to keep a low profile while travelling.

So the answer, today anyway, is you can get your camera gear aboard in an Orange situation leaving the Continental US and in Central America, but expect to take more time getting screened. Keep it compact, don't raise your profile.
I'm actually a little bit worried. See, I built one of the "build-it-yourself" stabilizers out of pipes. I plan to ship it dissassembled so anyone can see that they're ordinary pipes. But it still looks weird.

I'm thinking of writing with a silver sharpie marker: "Camera Stabilizer Part 1A" "Camera Stabilizer Part 1B..." etc... I'm also going to leave my lighting equipment, tripod, "crash camera" (a Canon ZR80) and a copy of "Filmmaking on a budget" in the check-in luggage.

Probably should also put a copy of "filmmaker magazine" in there too...

Oh, and I'm getting to the airport 4 hours early.
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Old September 19th, 2007, 05:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
One thing I'm concerned about for the next trip is wireless mics. I think they will go in the checked luggage, I'd hate to lose them at security.
Oh god, I forgot about that.

I don't want to put them in checked luggage because they're easily the second most expensive equipment I have - and I'm worried about them getting stolen.

Aaargh. Airport security theatre! It's madness!
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Old September 20th, 2007, 12:00 PM   #19
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I have flown in and out of many airports over the last few years and have never had any problem. I check the tripod in a golf hard case (doesn't usually count against me as a checked article). And carry on the camera case and a case with my audio package. Very rarely is any of the equipment questioned. I have only been asked on two occasions to take anything out and power it up, but carry hot batteries for everything just in case. I do have a very small bogen photo tripod that fits into my audio case with a change of clothes in case of baggage loss.

Last edited by Paul Schneider; September 20th, 2007 at 02:55 PM. Reason: edited for grammar
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Old September 20th, 2007, 01:17 PM   #20
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Check it and make your life easier.

The regulations officially now state that you must remove laptops and video cameras from your bags and have them scanned separately.

Pipes, booms, etc., would fall into the category of large blunt objects "such as baseball bats and golf clubs".

Declaring yourself is a good idea, but it's not like "I'm a filmmaker, so I can take bomb components on" should really be an excuse.

The actual requirements are completely stupid, and very pointless. Regulations are precise, limiting things that aren't harmful (ie juice containers) and allowing things that are (ie 10" knitting needles) because they are or are not specifically noted as such in the rules.

As such, it might be an advantage in that you can get through with something that really could be a danger (ie a pile of wires), when it isn't specifically noted as a violation. But that says nothing about the safety :p

Security lines are slow and annoying. I certainly wouldn't want to get more stuck when they found something in my bag (whatever it happens to be... who knows these days). It might simply get confiscated. Wouldn't recommend trying to slip it by if you're unsure.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 02:08 PM   #21
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i almost lost my monopod (tiny 561B) to confiscation in LA because they wanted to classify it as a club....ludicrous. i managed to talk them out of it, but it was a pretty close call. so anything that can be perceived as a club should be checked, otherwise it is at risk...
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Old September 20th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #22
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Please don't check your camera - have you seen the way they handle baggage? I have a friend who works for Southwest Airlines and he tells me the horror stories of baggage handling. I have had wireless mics stolen out of my personal suitcase because I thought they would be safe in there. Yes security lines are a hassle, but so is having your rig broken or stolen! I was actually allowed to fly around the country (about 30 round trips post 9/11) in and out of major cites (Atlanta, Houston, LA, Vegas, NY, DC and more)with a leatherman tool in my camera bag - it was finally confiscated in Lubbock Texas on the return leg of a round trip from Houston to Lubbock. It had wedged itself down in the foam of my pelican case and I never found it until they dug it out in Lubbock.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #23
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I have flown many times since increased security and I always bring my camera into the cabin. My wireless is still worth $750 on ebay so it also goes with me. The last time I flew with my camera was a couple of months ago so it was after the liquid regulations and the requirement to remove the camera for separate scanning. I had three batteries and wasn't hassled about them but I guess I wouldn't mind if I could only take one in the cabin. Putting my camera and wireless in luggage I would definitely mind and might even prevent me from flying. I'm surprised people don't complain about the loud bumping noises that vibrate the whole plane when people are filing into their seats. Those bumps aren't the plane adjusting itself or mechanics kicking the tires. Those little earthquakes are the luggage being crammed into the cargo area. I'm not saying that baggage handlers don't have an easy job. I'm just saying that my camera will never go near them.
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Old September 20th, 2007, 08:06 PM   #24
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I'm wondering though what happens if something IS trashed by a baggage handler or the TSA. Say, if someone smashes your wireless mics or cracks your camera body or lens because you checked it. Does that mean you're flat out of luck? Have the airlines been helpful or apathetic to something like this occurring?

It bewilders me when I get those lovely little pamphlets stuffed into the hard case stating that the TSA isn't responsible for anything that happens to your stuff when they rummage through it. Somehow, I don't see that reasoning working for me if I were to bust something of theirs...
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Old September 20th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #25
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Baggage handlers.

I have a certain sympathy for the stresses and strains their backs endure. However I also have a certain sympathy for my property.

Some years back at LA, I observed with some concern from the seat window, a John Barry case with my CP in it go "airmail", lofted by the hands of a big guy to fly for about three feet onto the conveyer.

Whatever it landed on wouldn't have been done much good and the lens had come off the camera by the time it got to Dayton.
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Old September 21st, 2007, 11:23 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Shawn McCalip View Post
I'm wondering though what happens if something IS trashed by a baggage handler or the TSA. Say, if someone smashes your wireless mics or cracks your camera body or lens because you checked it. Does that mean you're flat out of luck? Have the airlines been helpful or apathetic to something like this occurring?

It bewilders me when I get those lovely little pamphlets stuffed into the hard case stating that the TSA isn't responsible for anything that happens to your stuff when they rummage through it. Somehow, I don't see that reasoning working for me if I were to bust something of theirs...
Recently (maybe a month ago) my wife had a business trip to DC and on her return flight TSA went through her checked bag. I'm sure the reason was because she had bought a lot of bath products in DC. But when TSA had inspected her bag, they "forgot" to put the caps back on the bottles. As such the rest of her bag was ruined and she lost out on what she had bought.

I was a little more interested in solving the issue than she, so I called the toll free TSA complaint number and found out the process for reimbursement. It's seems to work exactly like filing an insurance claim - write a detailed explanation on their specific form, submit it (via fax if I remember right), wait to be called about it, file another form to dispute the ruling, wait to be called, etc.

The TSA agent I talked to admitted that TSA had actually hired people away from the insurance industry to run this section of their operation. Makes sense, but I'm not sure how successful a complaint would be - my wife decided not to file and as I was not the ticket holder I was not permitted to file on her behalf.

FWIW....

Kevin
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Old September 27th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #27
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Okay, here's my plan:

Carryon: Canon HV20, Laptop, Sennheiser Wireless Microphone reciever and transmitter taken out of the backpack and put onto the conveyor seperately The Sennheiser with clear labels which say "Wireless Microphone". Microphones with long wires wrapped tightly and kept in seperate see-through plastic bags.

Checkin: Tripod steadicam (dissasembled and labeled "camera steadying rig" with stickers) lighting equipment with lightbulb installed to make sure that they know it's lighting (damn keeping the lightbulb intact - if I miss my connection, it's game over) Books: "Filmmaking for Teens" "DV Filmmaker's Guide" and "New Zealand Adopts Proportional Representation" DV Tapes: in see-through plastic bag. Clothing.

Sound good?
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Old September 27th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #28
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Flew a couple times in-country... had 4 bags total (2 checked, 2 carry-on)

Had a lot of camera equipment/computer stuff (laptop, portable DVD player, ipod, batterys, chargers, cables, tapes, filters, whatever)

Zero issues with TSA or security... never had a carryon bag checked...

I had everything camera related except tripod with my camera in the carry-on...

http://www.lousyheros.com/pics/tsa.jpg <--- I found that in my tripod bag... I film paintball and I didn't clean the tripod afterwards... haha...
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