Traveling with Gear

Have a gig 2,000 miles away? Wondering the best way to get equipment there?

Well we may have some tips for you!

Recently we had the opportunity to film a wedding in Puerto Rico. Besides being an amazing and beautiful place, the question always becomes how are we getting equipment down there as efficiently as possible. There are certainly a number of ways to do it and obviously each gig will need different methods of doing so.

Probably the most important thing is planning. It starts at the top with a solid structure and knowing what you need and where. We were doing a wedding so we pack at the core: 3 Camera’s, Tripods and monopods for them, a glide cam, audio equipment, lenses, plenty of batteries, cables, chargers. Realistically this is a light load. When we shoot weddings we generally only use available light, with an exception here or there, so lighting equipment did not need to make the list.

We decided the best way to go was to bring our own stuff instead of renting what we needed. This certainly depends on what it is you need and whats available where u are going. We made a checklist of what we needed to bring and how we were going to pack it. This is important to do so you make sure you have everything by the end of the trip. Checking it before you leave, when you get setup for the shoot, when you do a final pack up and finally when you return home.

Next we had to figure out the air travel. Depending on what airline you choose the rules will be different but for most of the big name ones a checked bag is about $25 dollars up to 50 lbs (anything after 50 its usually $100 more even if it is 51 lbs).

There were two of us going down to shoot so we divided the equipment up between us. Each packing our carry on with cameras, lenses and batteries (which are not allowed in checked bags). In our checked bags we put the tripod and monopod we will be using along with our clothes and travel extras. While the tripods and monopods aren’t that big, they are long so I would recommend a good size duffel bag as opposed to a suitcase.

As for the cameras and lenses, these we were putting in our carry-on. We each took 2 camera’s and 3 lenses, a set of lavalieres and on-camera shotguns mics. These fit nicely into a camera bag which was acceptable carry on size. (you can confirm the size of the carry on requirements per airline on their websites)

Now most of the larger name airliners will let you do a carry on and a personal item so i was still able to bring a back pack for my usual travel gear and my laptop so I could back up footage right away.

The next step was airport security with all the stuff. The last thing you want to happen is getting to security and something in your bag is not allowed. The best way to prevent this is research. Get online, read the items not allowed or if you are unsure call the airport and get in touch with the TSA. Preparation is everything.

Nothing we had was a problem. This is with all our cameras batteries and audio equipment in our carry-ons. Some airports will make you take more out of your bag and into the bins but besides that there were no actual problems.

Traveling with equipment is actually easier than it seems. The rules are very easy to follow and our trip went fine without a single travel problem. All the gear made it there and back in one piece. This all comes down to the preparation so put a little extra time and you’ll save plenty on broken or missing equipment!