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Old August 27th, 2006, 10:42 PM   #1
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Air Travel ?'s since liquid crackdown.

Will be traveling out west later this year, and want to take my camera and bag. I understand we're now allowed 1 carry-on, which I plan to be my camera bag. I certainly don't want to trust checking it, and will be visiting at least one nat'l park, hoping to get some footage, even if only for future use).

Any advice that recent fliers can provide about traveling with equipment under today's air tavel restrictions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old August 28th, 2006, 12:01 AM   #2
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Denis,

I traveled from Austin to San Francisco (actually we flew into San Jose) and back this past week. I called American (the airline I was traveling) and the airport I was traveling from (as a second check) and both told me that as long as I didn't have liquids I was OK. And that I was allowed one carry on bag and one personal item.

I saw a couple of guitars being carried on and I know that these went way beyond the 45 combined inches of a carry on.

I carried a hard shell camera case (for my XL2) and a soft briefcase with chargers, other electronics and a laptop. Both of these items were large.

I had no problems.
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Old August 28th, 2006, 07:50 AM   #3
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Jesse, what hard case did you carry onboard? Bob
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Old August 28th, 2006, 09:49 AM   #4
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Jesse,

Was everything removed from your bag and inspected individually? Another flight I took, even years before 9/11, I had to put battery to camera and let security look through the viewfinder to prove I was indeed carrying a camera. Did you experience anything like that?

THANKS for the input. I'm a little bit of a nervous flier and it adds a level of comfort to taking what I want on this trip. I'll certainly call the airline beforehand.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #5
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Bob,

I used an Amvona hard case (ebay).

Denis,

No one ever asked me to turn on anything.

On the way out, the camera case was not opened. But my briefcase (full of electronics) was.

On the way back, the camera case was opened but the briefcase was not.

Go figure.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 12:57 PM   #6
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So is a fluid head considered liquid? (kidding)
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Old September 1st, 2006, 08:36 PM   #7
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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...
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 02:39 AM   #8
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Sign of the times...

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.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 11:21 AM   #9
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All good advice.

Jack,
THANKS for the input.

My trip is basically a vacation. We'll be landing in Las Vegas, and have one overnight to Zion Nat'l Park on the itinerary. Will be traveling w/HVX, one shotgun mic, a monopod (which I haven't bought yet), and at least a couple of batteries and charger.

BTW, is it hard to have a monopod double as a mic boom? Seems like something seasoned traveling shooters would know or want to have. I can hand-hold the cam when I need to move the mic away from the cam, but something that would serve "double-duty" seems preferable.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 12:15 PM   #10
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I've been on airplanes a lot recently. In my hometown of Portland security was typical and pretty quick.

One place I visited, Maui, was also typical - pretty slow through security (yes, it was work that took me there!)

Be aware that the tools you might have in your camera bag have become somewhat of a gray area, screwdrivers will sometimes be confiscated. I recently had to add more tools to accomodate some new equipment, they will go in a baggie in my checked-in luggage along with the bottle of lens cleaning solution. A small screwdriver or pair of pliers might or might not get taken out at security.

BTW, the restrictions also apply to gels & pastes, no tooth-paste in carry on luggage either.

YES, you can take liquids in your checked-in luggage.

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.

Regarding use of a monopod as a mic boom, sure, it will make a decent short boom. Booms of that length are mostly used by news photogs to get the mic through the crowd, usually with the mic under the subject. But if a short boom will do something for your shoots, by all means do it. You'll need a 1/4"-20 to 3/8" or 5/8" adapter for your mic clip, which is very small, get two!

If you have someone to hold it and a tight shot it should work just fine.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 09:13 PM   #11
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I guess all those guys who like to home brew their equipment might be pulled over more often eh. I saw plans for a wireless flash recently that when assembled looks like Osama made it.
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Old September 3rd, 2006, 09:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum

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.

What makes you concerned about the wireless? Last year I checked my wireless receiver it was trashed by TSA. So, I plan to carry it on. I will be traveling to LA, San Diego and Ontario multple times in the next two months. Great thread. Thanks for the info.
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Old September 8th, 2006, 10:39 PM   #13
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Went and came back - yes, wireless traveled in the checked bags.

Weren't the London would-be liquid bombers using radios for their devices?

Maybe it isn't an issue at all.

I really do need to get a shorter tripod though - to get it into a suitcase I had to fall back to the nasty backup tripod...
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Old September 11th, 2006, 08:13 PM   #14
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Tripod..

Hi guys, been away for a bit. Seth, I use a Gitzo and take the head off. I wrap it in the tripod bag and the legs fit neatly into a hardbottom duffle. Never used the tripod as a boom, but sounds like it would be a good altnerative in a pinch.

Jack
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Old September 11th, 2006, 08:52 PM   #15
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I recently flew from Atlanta to Vancouver, caught a ship to Alaska and flew back to Atlanta from Anchorage. I put video and still camera in a Kata Panda along with a matte box, filters, flags, tapes, snake, etc. The only thing that happened at the security checkpoints is that they wanted the video camera out to x-ray separately. I could have taken another carry-on, but didn't need to with the Panda since it holds a lot.
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