Traveling with Camera Gear SUCKS!… But here’s how to do it

Traveling with Camera Gear SUCKS!… But here’s how to do it


– What’s going on, everybody? I’m out here in Washington DC, we’re doing a project for Boeing. They make things like planes and jets and things that go to space, all kinds of cool stuff. We do a ton of traveling with our shoots and we’ve learnt a
whole lot along the way. I always have nightmares of leaving the gear behind somewhere, or the gear not coming
out on the carousel, not being able to do the shoot. So here’s a little video
on how to travel with gear. Now there’s three ways to
transport your gear, right. You can carry it on the plane with you, which I try to do as much as possible, especially with the cameras
and batteries and lenses. Second option is to check in, sometimes you’re just required to do that. And third is to ship it, but then you have to
coordinate where it’s gonna go and it takes a little bit longer, but essentially my go to is to try to carry it on
plane as much as possible. Most flights, we’re allowed to carry on one personal item, like a backpack and then we’re allowed
to have one carry-on item that you can store in the overhead bin. So these are Pelican 1510s
and these are awesome because they’re hard cases and they’re just the right size
to fit on the overhead bins. Inside here is the camera and inside here are the lenses. This is my carry-on,
this is Steve’s carry-on, And we both carry-on
backpacks with our laptops, hard drives and little things like that. Welcome to Dallas Fort Worth Airport, at three AM in the morning. We’ve had some bad weather, caused some delays in our flights. Basically trapped here for like six hours. All our clothes has been checked in, so Steve smells like- To be honest, traveling with gear can get a little bit exhausting. We’ve done a lot of flights
and each time we fly, we bring way too much equipment. – Just in case. Yeah. Well that’s the problem
with gear and travel is as soon as you say
“oh, we don’t need this, “we don’t need a matte box, we
don’t need these filters.” That’s exactly what you end up needing. First thing you might wanna know, is media rate with airlines. It’s kind of iffy on how to get it. So you’re gonna wanna skip the kiosks, because you can’t get the
media rate through the kiosk. You wanna just go straight
to the front desk area and talk to them. Tell them that you’re
part of a media company, you’re traveling for a shoot and that’s why you have
all these extra bags. Whatever airline you’re flying with, go type in that airline
name and then “media rate” and then just look through their policies. And everyone’s different, a lot of them give you like
discounted rates on extra bags, ’cause we always travel
with a ton of bags. And also, most of our bags are overweight, usually there’s a 50 pound limit, before there’s like $100 charge, but a lot of airlines wave that fee, so you can actually take a
big case and just stuff it. Today we saved like, what? 250 bucks, because of media rate. And really, a lot of times, all you have to do is just say,
“This is my business card.” And sometimes they’ll say,
“we need to see credentials.” And we always ask, “What do you mean, specifically by credentials?” and they say, “well some
sort of official badge.” The thing is, they don’t know what they’re looking for either. We talked to some of
those front desk people, and they’re all confused about it just as much as we were. Pretty much a business card
alone, with a company name on it and just anything that
shows that it’s media. Once, they were giving us a
pretty hard time about it, they were like, “oh, you can’t do it with just a business card.” And then they brought out a
printed copy of their policy. And then we were like,
“It says right there.” So literally even the
people that are working here don’t know that much about the media rate. – The trick is to be confident in the fact that you are
a media professional. That you are transporting media gear. – Sometimes they actually
even ask for your website, and if you have a website,
that even works sometimes. The more ways you can prove that you are part of a production company or media company, then you’re good. – And one more thing that you can do, is print yourself out, your
own company media passes. You can get ’em printed on hard plastic. I think they’re about
12 to 15 bucks a piece, or you can print ’em on
paper, get ’em laminated and just have a clip. And just have your
picture, your company name and the words, “media pass” on there. – If it’s laminated or hard plastic, they’re gonna pick it up and
be like, “whoa, this is legit.” And you could put- copy-paste
a random barcode on there, just so it looks even more authentic. And then they won’t
even ask any questions. But, generally speaking,
the people at the front desk have literally said like,
“we don’t know exactly “what we’re looking for.” We just find something
that looks official. Now, for those of you
shooting on cine lenses or fully manual lenses, a good habit you wanna get into is to fully open up your aperture, whenever you’re gonna store your lens. The reason is because whenever
you close down the aperture, those blades become exposed and they’re more vulnerable
to damage and shock. So lenses are usually
in the safest position, when those blades are
tucked up behind the metal and wide open. And that’s a good habit
to get into all the time, but especially if you’re gonna tug it all the way across the country. Okay, now we are in Saint Louis. Sometimes, when we’re
traveling with a ton of gear, we’re trying to constantly
figure out how to consolidate the gear into the least amount of cases, or else it’s just gonna
be way too overwhelming. So sometimes what we’ll
do instead of packing an entire back for clothes, we’ll take the clothes and kinda just stick it into our gear bag. Especially the stuff that
you’re gonna get checked in. You have no idea how much that stuff is gonna be tossed around. So I always try to take my soft clothing like shirts, sweaters, pants, and I try to kinda tuck
it into every corner. Just to add a little bit
of that extra cushion. But you don’t really wanna open up a case in front of all of your clients and just have a bunch of socks
and underwear laying around. So one of the first things I
do after I check into my room, is always head to the closet
and grab a little plastic bag. One of these bags, there’s
always one in there. So now your clothes can kinda just double as extra padding
when you’re traveling. And I’ll just throw all my
clothes into this little bag. Oh yeah, I always get these. They always inspect the bag, when they see like camera gear, they’re like, “what the hell is this?” If you don’t have good
equipment insurance, you should get some. Let’s say your airline loses your gear, then your insurance should cover it, but what’s not insured is the footage. Now, you have to remember that not only are you using your time, but everybody’s time, you
have to add all that up and you have to realize
that you’re spending a ton of money per day of shooting. So always, always download
and backup your footage. If you could afford a DIT,
or Digital Imaging Technician to kinda download and check
your footage along the way, that’s great, but I
get that a lot of times you don’t have access
to someone like that. And this is important, don’t just download on one drive, but make sure you make another copy onto a secondary drive. These are Western Digital
Passport Hard Drives, they’re not crazy expensive and I at least have to
have it on two of these, if not more. And some people like to download it from a memory card to a hard drive and then from this hard drive, they’ll copy it over to this hard drive, I don’t recommend doing that. Always download from the card,
straight onto the hard drive and then again from the card
to a different hard drive. ’cause I have had times
where the files went corrupt as you were transferring from
the card to the hard drive. So the issue is, if this file
is corrupt on this hard drive, and you back that up, you’re
just backing up a corrupt file. Doesn’t do you any good. So two files downloaded
directly from a memory card. It takes longer, but I cannot tell you how important this process is. I shot a project where the
person did exactly that, they downloaded it from the card, copied it onto a hard
drive and it went corrupt. It was an Alexa mini file and like half the files from
the day just wouldn’t play, it went totally corrupt, you can’t load it into
Premiere or anything. It was a dead file. And they backed that file
up onto another hard drive. They called me like a month later and they were like, “please tell me you have a backup to this file, because our files took a sh***. Boom!
I got an extra copy. I keep all the files I shoot. So you can never have too many backups. Another thing when you’re
formatting a new hard drive, I always just unplug
everything else from it, just so that I don’t accidentally
format the wrong drive. Again, it’s a pretty small risk, but every little thing like that I can do to just lower that
risk just by a little bit, I’ll do it because let’s say you’re downloading footage and
you just had a couple beers, you could wreck your day. So now I got solid copies of all my files. What I’m gonna do is take this one and get it out of my
possession as fast as I can just throw it at somebody to take it. But basically what I’m trying to do, is get rid of it so
I’m not the only person responsible for the footage. You don’t want them to be in the same car, even if you can avoid it. – They always inspect this thing. And sometimes they jack it up. They yanked on one of these antennas, trying to tug it up, ’cause they didn’t know how
to remove the mimic system, and they ripped one of the antennas out. So that kinda sucks. We’re off to Florida for two days now and one of the big things you
always wanna keep in mind, is to always count the
number of begs you have, ’cause you’re gonna be
tired and exhausted. You’re gonna start loosing track of stuff. So one of the things we
always do before taking off is just counting one,two,three,four,five, six,seve,eight,nine,10 bags. So every time we get in the car, or get out of the car or
whatever, we count to ten. And at least check the essentials of stuff you can’t get replaced. We like to generally spend
the day before we take off and just set up everything. We build the camera, we
set it up on the Movi. There’s like some pieces
that are very, very small, you might not even think about, but without that little piece, a whole piece of gear can become useless. Like for example the Movi Pro, like if your forget the
base plate for that, then all of a sudden you have this giant awesome Movi pro that you
can’t even put a camera on. Oh my god my body is broken. I just did one of those mud runs, it was like a Spartan race. So it’s where you just like go and run through a whole bunch of mud, so you could have this piece of metal. It was one of the shorter ones. It was only like four and
a half miles or something, so I was like, “I don’t even
have to prepare for that.” Wrong move. I got cramps in every
single muscle in my body and now I am just wrecked. I totally under estimated that, but at least I can feel
slightly accomplished or whatever. An I also tested out
the hyper lapse feature on the GoPro Hero 7, I just had it on a chest mount and it turned out pretty cool. I actually like this effect. I don’t know why, it’s the
concept of paying money to just put yourself through misery. It’s such a weird concept. Carrie was saying it’d be kinda fun if we swing up for another one and we tell you guys
which race we’re doing, so a bunch of you guys
can kinda like join in and do the mud run with is, I don’t know, would you guys be
interested in joining up? Now before we wrap this up, let me just leave you off with one tip, which is with batteries
and lithium ion batteries. Now once you get your airline picked out, you definitely wanna
check with your airline what the lithium ion carry-on policy is, because all of them could
be slightly different. But generally speaking, the
current FAA regulations- and again, this could updated, all spare lithium ion batteries need to come onto the plane with you and you cannot check it in. So make sure you don’t
leave these spare batteries in your luggage, or else you
might get to your destination, and be like, “where’s
all my check luggage?” and you have to call the airport and realize that they held all the luggage at the last place, because there’s all these lithium ion batteries. So remember to keep all
the lithium ion batteries on you, in your backpack or your carry-on. Do not check it in. I’m not 100% sure why they want
you to carry it on with you, I heard some people say that
batteries can make sparks and sometimes start a little fire, if it’s in the cabin,
the flight attendance can put it out, apposed
to if it’s underneath. Now generally all these lithium
ion batteries have a label on the battery that tells you
how many watt hours are in it. Under 100 watt hours is
generally not an issue, and then if it’s between
100 and 160 watt hours, then there’s a limit to two per person, so we usually try to
travel with four batteries within that range, so I
carry two, Steve carries two. And a good example of that
would be our red batteries, which are 153 watt hours. Alright, time to read some comments. My last video was 10 Christmas gifts that film-makers will love. Let’s see what you guys had to say. Everyday Dad says, “You
had me at sweater.” I know, this is seriously
my favorite article of clothing right now. Can’t even put it on, I’m so sore, my body literally doesn’t want to move. Ouch. “What do you thing about Dji Osmo Pocket?” Uh, I ordered one, so as soon as I get it, I’ll let you guys know. “That sweater is lit, because
it has LEDs attached to it.” That is very factual. Hunter says, “Time to sell my organs…” (laughing) I’m already ahead of you, I’ve already sold all
the organs I possibly can and still be alive. “Did you just give yourself a haircut?” (laughing) I did. And my hair’s been kinda
jacked up ever since, so please don’t look at it. Becki and Chris says, “Please
send me the Apache t shirt for Christmas. Thanks in advance.” If you guys don’t know
who Becki and Chris is, they have an awesome Youtube channel and Chris actually gave me a
spin around in his helicopter. So that was sick. This Boeing project has had
us flying all over the place, to film all kinds of cool
stuff, like the Apache, we have footage of the Apaches. We filmed F15s, F18s, like
really, really cool stuff, but it’s all classified, so I’m
not really aloud to show it. At least until they release it. I was just over at NASA
Kennedy Space Center a few days ago. Once they start releasing some
of the footage to the public, I can show you guys and
should be pretty cool. Anyways, I need to lay back down and just be like a dead corpse for a little bit. I’ll see you guys later. Bye.

100 thoughts on “Traveling with Camera Gear SUCKS!… But here’s how to do it

  1. great tips! …i travel a lot …and make a music video for my music/cooking channel …and these tips were great …esp the 'media rate' tips …thanks!

  2. Hey, Thorsten here, I'm an Airline Captain and YouTuber, I loved this video. I agree 1000% with the backup. As well I do a copy in5o my Dropbox, but it can take a lot of time. Loved the aperture trick and I'll try the media pass. Regarding the batteries, it is exactly because of fire fighting that the battery has to be in the carry on bag. Only water can cool down a battery thermal runaway, and in the cargo compartment the fire suppression system is based on oxygen deprivation using Halon gas. Tell me what you thing about my videos.

  3. If you travel internationally, they won't even consider media rate, at least that was what happened to me. They even told me that I need to send cameras and lenses with check-in bags. Of course I refused.

  4. I packed my Philips Sonic ‘electric’ toothbrush in my check-in bag, flying United Airlines from Bejing back to thenStates, and it was confiscated on 12/17/2018. Does it have nickel cadmium battery? Checked…Yes. It does.

    I carried my Mavic (2) batteries, my Zhiyun Crane (4) batteries, my GoPro7 Black (2) batteries and my (3) power banks on board.

  5. I walked the public walkway on top of the Beijing National Stadium (Birds Nest) and I had my Zhiyun Crane with Sony A6500 mounted, iPhone 8Plus, and GoPro7 Black mounted on A 5 foot Monopod. I carried a LowePro Sling-bag to place the Zhiyun/A6500. Too much gear to handle on a narrow and down walkway. It would’ve been nice if I had my Osmo Mobile for the iPhone 8Plus with me, or even a head mount for the GoPro7 Black.

  6. Dude I live in DFW. We got Ratheon, Boeing, Toyota, TI, Yum Brands, Dr. Pepper Snapple, and other companies. It’s nifty

  7. Tip for the media badges: they usually require an expiration date. They never assume anyone would make their own badge with an extirpation date! I just put a big "2018" at the bottom and it works! Then I just reprint and laminate my own badges again the next year! Just finished making my 2019 credentials!

  8. Storing on hard drives is a bad idea for travel, hard drives are prone to failure from drops, its better to use Solid State drive, much more reliable.

  9. If they say "we will charge you for extra luggage" just respond,"charge my batteries instead B*%#h" BTW, Soo…. many…. great…. tips!

  10. If it is only a one day shoot, consider renting at locations. Lots of benefits, including wear and tear on your equipment. Washington has tons of media rental companies. You can hire a shooter and audio tech, with equipment and transportation for the cost of a single airline ticket. Bring your own high end must haves, such as Red or arri. Leave lights, monitors, tripods, c stands and other low cost rental equipment at home.

  11. Did I hear "Alpache"? … ?11:57 12:11 very consistent though ?☺️???? btw love your content ☺️☺️☺️ fun and uplifting even

  12. Last year I had a shoot across the country. I showed up to check my bag a few minutes late, they reluctantly took my cases but they ended up not making my flight which left earlier than expected. Luckily my shoot wasn't until the next day and they got my cases in and delivered them right before I had to head to the shoot. I get there to set up AND TSA TOOK ALL OF MY BATTERIES IN MY CASE. Luckily I had a couple camera batteries and power banks in my carry ons that I made it through the shoot with a simple light setup. I now carry a separate small bag of just all my batteries onto the plane.

    The moral: if your flight is delayed 30 minutes before you leave home, that doesn't mean to plan to arrive 30 minutes later than you would have. The bag cutoff may still remain the same. AND carry all batteries with you, and of course carry on your cameras and lenses. You can always buy some tripods the day of, worst case.

  13. Anyone know about the channel Make.Art.Now?
    He had shows how to make media pass so legit that he has never wasted any time while travelling !

  14. Have you travelled internationally with gear (I see Toronto at 12:07)? What has been your experience with that and what do filmmakers need to know?

  15. Just Saw your video and here I was thinking I was packing too much, which is an camera backpack and a Rolo travel bag now I feel like a minimalist.
    I totally get the just in case thing. When I pack for a motorcycle trip I just cannot leave my tool kit behind it weighs almost five lbs and truthfully my multitool usually fixes everything that needs fixing

  16. I too have 2 WD 4TB drives, but bad habit of copying from one drive to the other. Next time: card to drive! Thanks for the advice, I never thought of that.

  17. "3 A.M. in the morning"? As opposed to 3 A.M. in the afternoon? C'mon, guy. Do you also say "PIN number"? }:-) Re: backups – the probability of data loss is inversely proportional to the number of backups.

  18. Frickin awesome video. Very informative dude. I'm directing and producing my own music videos so definitely saved me a few unnecessary pitfalls along the way. Love it dude.

  19. As someone who is always yelling at people about their shitty back up practices I really appreciate your section on backing up footage. I would also recommend using a check sum program such as Shotput Pro or Hedge whenever possible.

  20. Btw, a great alternative to traveling with all your gear is: renting as much as you can at the place you’re going to. You can often do it online and make sure everything is there. Bring your small stuff, bring your favorite things but rent the large stuff.

  21. Thats funny my son is a DIT in Atlanta he stays working and is doing really well out there. Great work Potato Jet I subbed today great info.

  22. Hi. When is coming to footage backup is a pleasure to understand that you are not the only paranoid.. you just are among Phsycotics!

  23. Yeh dude, batts in the cargo compartment if they go into thermal runaway can be more dangerous than an engine fire. Cargo compartment fire suppression normally isn’t sufficient for it, the cabin crew have fire sock bags for this on board

  24. What a great segment! The media pass section was helpful. Just like sales tax, you ask 3 different officials and you typically get 4 different answers! I really enjoy your channel. Thanks for good first morning cup of coffee viewing!

  25. Great tips never thought about opening up the aperture. Also backing up hard drives from the card, I’m sure I would have learned this but this saves me from learning it the hard way ??

  26. Don't you use some software like silverstack or shotput pro for your backup? those shloud prevent corrupted files.

  27. Pro tip – ALWAYS use Beyond Compare to do ALL your file transfers especially with camera cards. If you're not using it, you're rolling the dice every time you copy/move files.

  28. TSA is a bunch of government unionize GOONS!!! Typical personality with a little power that they need assert over anyone they have a grudge wit’ (wear a MAGA cap and you’re sure to get the 3rd degree just to prove a point) and – if you try to warn them that something is delicate – some will make sure to yank or pull it just to show you they could care less about who you are, what you say or think…

    Had a Laptop bag that had a zipper already coming lose and I asked if I could open it slowly, myself, the woman say “No, sir!” Yanked it and tore open the whole case…

    “You shouldn’t be Traveling with Faulty Equipment!”

    And their salaries, life long pensions and 1st health care come outta our taxes!

    People that REALLY need to be fired and get a real job and some humility if not humanity.

    Jerks with government badges.

  29. Yes sign up for a 5k Run! I'm trying to do one in every state. I went to Montana for the spartan there but couldn't run. I made a vlog about it :-p

  30. What about a cloud server? My friend has a RAID drive system and he uses this service called nextcloud. It uses his own drive to for the cloud device.

  31. li po charging pouchs are also another cheap safety measure even thought the most risk is always when charging storing them in a lipo pouch is going to add a little bit more security

  32. With that much expensive gear, could you use RFID tracking whilst on the move? You could add the tags to the contents of the flightcase so you could check they are loaded without having to open each one up. It may seem strange, but given the weight of these flightcases, it can be hard to tell if they are loaded just by lifting them.

  33. I capture videos of training conferences for my company globally.
    I Regularly lug around 3 70Lbs cases.
    Oh boy!

    Routinely have my gear get held up by customs. Nothing better!

    People be like, "you travel for work? that's awesome" … ?

  34. I don’t even own a camera and I keep coming back to your vids just because how upbeat and cheerful you always are in your vids. Thanks, love your vids.

  35. There is a long history of Lithium Ion batteries going into thermal runaway. Temperatures reach 1500 degrees F in about 3 seconds (I've tested this in a lab), and they also off gas very poisonous and noxious fumes. Generally not something to trifle with. You are correct, they want them to be readily accessible in case they do self combust. There are several well known instances where airlines have crashed as a result of this thermal runaway issue. Hence the reason why airlines are uber cautious now.

    Great video, very informative!

  36. I'd suggest to make double copies of your footage to two different drives on one go with a transfer/copy-specific software like Shotput Pro or Hedge, that way you'll get checksum-verified copies of your footage. And never erase your materials from the original cards until it's absolutely necessary.

  37. I have a question about them not knowing what constitutes a media company couldn't I asked if I work for the airline show me your equipment that you are needing to transport for this Media Company I guess you probably have a lot of your company names on stuff and if there's one thing I've learned from you sir I'm sorry I do not know your full name so it'll be sir until I figure that out how prohibitive the cost are for entry now I guess I'm assuming people are like me and when they see somebody make a really outlandish claim like best cinematography camera in the world I'll go oh yeah prove it and you made a very strong case for the Alexis Arie whether it's the mini the LX I can't remember the other ones I apologize I've seen maybe half a dozen two dozen of your videos I have no knowledge of these beforehand wouldn't that kind of punch over the top nobody is travelling hundreds of thousands of dollars video equipment maybe monetarily but you were on a lenses different cameras it would all lead itself to if you're not a media company you sure spend like you do so you should get the discount anyway. That's funny I have been thinking about a video and washed of yours was already going to leave a message which will follow this

  38. Next time they ask to see "something official", take off your pants, point down and center with both fingers, and then yell "Official enough for yu!?!?"

  39. why dont you just get a checksum backup software that secures every bit of the files have been copy like https://www.redgiant.com/products/shooter-offload

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *