How To Pack Your Video Gear For Travel On The Cheap.

Cameras

Let's See If The Plan Works! Stay Tuned.

We will be traveling across the country in the next few months gathering interviews for our Documentary, The Board Of Education. We are traveling very light with only a two man crew yet weilding three cameras. Here is our travel plan to get the gear there. Using it on set is a whole other scenario. For this excercise we need to get the stuff there cheap. Airlines are charging up to an additional $100 per bag each way. This would be an enormous drain on our budget. One trick that I learned from Doc filmmaker Albert Maysles was to combine multiple cases in one bag. We are putting our three Switronix TorchLED Bolt lights, cables, power adapters, extra chargers and AKS and small pelican case inside the single checked bag along with our personal items and clothing. We are bringing three cameras, six primes, two zooms, two camera bodies, a Sony FS100 and Canon 5D MKII, filters, cards, batteries and shotgun mic in a carry on travel bag. We will also carry on the tripod case containing a boom pole, a backup Que Audio shotgun mic, an XLR cable, two light stands and of course the tripod itself. I will carry in my personal bag a Sony NEX5N with a Sony 16mm E-Mount f2.8 lens with the crappy Sony shotgun mic. This is our failsafe camera that can literally go anywhere. In all we will bring three cameras, three lights, a 5 x 7 fotodiox black and white backdrop and enough bullets to last for two days. A small but nimble camera package that should only cost us about $40 each way in excess baggage fees. There are two rules in my book about airline travel. Always bring the camera with you on the plane. Bring enough support to get the job done.

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The Board Of Education: A Documentary Film about corporal punishment in the US public schools.

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Thanks!

Jared Abrams
Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • http://twitter.com/zeroscenecred ZeroSceneCred

    Have traveled a fair amount lately and can throw in some experience…..

    If you have the lead-time, fly Southwest in the US for domestic flights. They allow a carry-on, a man-purse, and two large checked bags for free.  I’ve also found that all carriers seem to be more lenient on carry-on bag size if you’re using a backpack versus a roll-along. We use either a Cinebag backpack (the big one) for our camcorder or a Burton photo pack for the DSLR stuff. Man-purse is a Timbuk2 courier bag which carries laptop, drives, backup point-shoot. 

    If we’re just doing interviews and don’t need butter-smooth panning, we leave the 75mm tripod at home and bring a 4 section photo tripod with a cheapy 701HDV head. If we pull the center column out with the head attached before packing we can even fit it into a small carryon sized roller (that we still check). 

    We’re still trying to figure out lighting though! Hah.