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Old March 1st, 2013, 10:19 AM   #1
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lugging your gear

The older I get, the more I wish I could have a zero-gravity zone around my equipment. Multiple trips to the car, and back/shoulder aches when I'm done.

I do a lot of interview shooting in people's houses. I rarely get to see the location before I shoot, so I have to be equipped for most of the common sound/lighting needs.

I've thought of using a luggage cart or handtruck to consolidate things, but then there are obstacles like stairs and narrow doorways. And loading/unloading the cart twice would probably take at least as much time as just carrying things separately.

What's the most efficient approach for you?

P.S. When I'm really lucky, the interviewee will volunteer to help. But I never feel I can ask.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 11:29 AM   #2
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Re: lugging your gear

A cart is a must. I have 3 different carts depending on the amount of gear I'll be hauling. At the least, a folding handtruck with pneumatic wheels adds only a few pounds (should you need to haul it upstairs), but will help immensely on those long jaunts through carpeted hallways or bumpy parking lots. It's also quieter, so you're not announcing your presence like a herd of elephants.
The 2nd cart I own is a flatbed type cart with folding handle and wheels. It packs to only 3" tall, but holds a few hundred pounds. This is ideal for my larger pelican cases, sandbags and case lights. It looks like a doorway dolly, and probably could be used as such in a pinch (haven't tried that yet).
Most importantly, I leave my gear in the car as I arrive, do a site inspection (if I've never seen it), and then choose my gear and cart accordingly.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 11:57 AM   #3
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Re: lugging your gear

Who makes that flatbed cart, and roughly how much does it weigh?

At least I've learned to go in only with what I definitely need and see what I can leave in the car.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:19 PM   #4
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Re: lugging your gear

Phil

I have a folding handtruck and a folding cart. The cart is my primary go-to as it loads quickly, folds relatively flat, and I can bungee my gear. The folding hand truck comes in handy for jobs where I have less gear to haul in/out.

Here are some links:

Hand Truck
Wesco Maxi Mover Folding Handtruck 220649 B&H Photo Video

Cart
MultiCart 8-in-1 Equipment Transporters - R12NF All-Terrain

The cart came with pneumatic rear tires but they never seemed able to hold on to air too long so I swapped them out for the hard rubber. Prefer the pneumatics though.

Reed
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:22 PM   #5
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Re: lugging your gear

My camera and lights are in wheeled equipment cases. Would you ignore the wheels and load the cases onto a cart for fewer trips?
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:31 PM   #6
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Re: lugging your gear

Philip,

My 2 cams are in a wheeled case (porta brace). That goes on the cart along with a case with my LED panels, Pelican with wireless, case with audio cables, mics, and field mixer. Sometimes I even add a small playmate cooler with refreshments! Tripods and light stands are bungeed on top.

Generally one trip and just a few minutes to load up. It took a few gigs to work out a system for loading but I am quite happy with this setup.

Oh, and the length of the cart is adjustable. One venue I shoot at 2-3 times a year has a small wheelchair elevator that I use so I set the length of the cart to fit in the lift and have never had to adjust it for other jobs.

One trip instead of 4-5 and it is a lot easier on my back.

Reed
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Old March 1st, 2013, 12:34 PM   #7
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Re: lugging your gear

Went to an NPPA seminar years ago where I learned that you can put two pro light's, a tota, an umbrella, an extension cord, and three light stands in a bat bag (like in baseball), and carry the whole kit over your shoulder. The light stands go in the bat compartment, and the lights go where you would put the baseball gloves.

Bought me a bat bag when I got home and threw away my Lowell case, it was the greatest innovation in lighting in 100 years.

I now do mostly corporate work, so I have a rolley cart that fits in ADA accessible spaces (which is everywhere anymore).

I tend to agree with you that loading and unloading a luggage cart is more trouble than it's worth.

I have learned over my career that if I carry half as much crap, the shot doesn't suffer much - it's just faster and easier to load-in and load-out.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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Re: lugging your gear

Never in a million years would I have thought of a bat bag! That could be a big help to me, and it's only $13 on Amazon.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: lugging your gear

The guy actually did an hour long seminar. It was called "I don't have time to set up lights".

He advocated keeping your lights on the light stands and putting them in the bag that way. He would literally pull them out, set up the stand, and plug them in. He left the collapsed umbrella on the tota, tilted down (so it would fit in the bag) when travelling. Pull it out, pop out the stand, open the 'brella, plug it in. Swear to God, I saw the guy do a three light setup in three minutes. It looked phenomenal, compared to the "run-and-gun" news crapola I'd been shooting.

At the time, Lowel's came with these useless 9 foot power cables. He showed us how to disassemble the connectors, throw away the cable, go buy a 25' extension cord, hack off one end, put the connector back on, and have a 25' power cable - no more extension cords.

He advocated shopping for extension cords at Christmastime - you can get these extension cords with three outlets on the end. (You can now get these year round.) One less power strip = one less thing to carry = one less thing to lose.

I did the bat-bag thing for a long time, although I found keeping the lights on the stands would beat up my lights too fast - so I kept them in separate compartments (as described above).
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Old March 1st, 2013, 03:54 PM   #10
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Re: lugging your gear

Get yourself a
multi-cart.
They come in a bunch of sizes, and you can get steel or aluminum if you are worried about weight. Any mulitcart can be configured a bunch of ways, from four wheeled flat bed to two wheeled hand truck. Even come with accessories like shelves, laptop mounts, etc.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 05:15 PM   #11
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Re: lugging your gear

One thing I forgot to mention. Since the tripods/lightstands are often too long for lugging on a cart or to heavy to lug over the shoulder, I also own two rolling golf cases. One is a soft case about 5ft tall that holds about a dozen light stands and a tripod, with exterior pockets for cables. The other is an ATA rated hard case that better for airplane usage. It easily holds a Sachtler tripod and 4 lightstands. You can pad the interior with foam so that nothing rattles around or gets banged up. Both of these were purchased via Craigslist and I paid between $50 and $100.
Amazon has great deals on these hand trucks:
http://www.amazon.com/Magna-Cart-Ideal-Hand-Truck/dp/B001HBH1BM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362179488&sr=8-1&keywords=folding+hand+truck
http://www.amazon.com/Magna-Cart-Flatform-Wheeled-Truck/dp/B002TITK8O/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1362179488&sr=8-5&keywords=folding+hand+truck
Occasionally, I've seen these at Costco for even less.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 08:00 PM   #12
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Re: lugging your gear

I got my hard-sided golf bag from the Salvation Army for $20. I can put the tripod, three (aluminum) stands and a 25' extension cord in it and it comes in at 49.5 pounds - a half pound short of extra charge on the airlines. My tripod is significantly less beat up since I got this hard case.
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Old March 1st, 2013, 08:57 PM   #13
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Re: lugging your gear

I bought a Rubbermaid cart in a pinch for $70 at Home Depot. It folds down and carries up to 500 lbs I think. It works great, I lay my light kit case down first (which extends over) and stack everything on top. I use bungies to hold everything on. Rubbermaid Commercial Products, 500 lb. Capacity Triple Trolley Hand Truck, FG4401-20BLA at The Home Depot - Mobile I've carted this thing all over the place, it works great. It's not that large so you can jam it in a car pretty easy and it's very light. Worked well in NYC where I barely could shove one more thing in a taxi.

I've also used the Harbor Freight $50 hand trucks. Not bad either. 24 " x 36 " Folding Platform Truck
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Old March 2nd, 2013, 08:10 AM   #14
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Re: lugging your gear

Perhaps I'm lucky in shooting for local TV news inasmuch as a) I don't have time to load and unload a cart and b) we VJs have minimal kit allocated to us anyway, namely a Sony Z5, tripod and a few mics.

So I sling the camera on the tripod over my shoulder (ensuring it's locked on!), stick a bag of mics over the other shoulder and head into the interview.

If lighting is needed - what a rare treat and such a shame we're only issued two rather rubbish LED toplights - then they go in the mic bag and I grab a stand in my right hand.

We were issued with small trolleys initially but everyone found them too much of a nuisance to pull stuff around on, over pavements, up stairs etc etc

Regards
David
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Old March 3rd, 2013, 08:31 AM   #15
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Re: lugging your gear

I use a few different sized generic suitcases w/rollers depending on the shoot complexity. I live in a city where I take a taxi to every shoot and every thing needs to quickly fit in the back seat or trunk.

They stack inside each other easily when not in use. They're cheap.

My basic kit: The smallest suitcase can fit my
- rails/monitor/cam accessories
- three 4 CFL bulb soft boxes or three red heads w/stands,
- grip accessories/gels
- audio rec, boom/mic, lab
- laptop
- ac cables/electric stuff

My tripod, camera bag and glider get attached to outside of the case.

Its big, but easily manageable.
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