Travel: that evasive concept we so eagerly pursue and yet sporadically get to experience, unless you have a job like mine as a video producer. I recently embarked on an eight-day video shoot that took me to seven different states over the course of 18 flights. Because of the intense and rigorous nature of our trip, our crew took some calculated measures to anticipate any difficulties that we might encounter along the way. It should be noted that although this post focuses on video/photo production, a lot of these tips can be helpful for any business or personal travel.
This one is a no-brainer, but is worth emphasizing. As we always work to be good stewards of our client budgets, it is important to think about efficiency before your journey even begins. This means weighing the price of checking bags against how much you and/or your crew can carry. While packing, prioritize your belongings based on functionality and weight. On this particular trip, we were able to forgo bringing an entire lighting setup in favor of one LED that fit in a single checked bag. To compensate for this lack of artificial light, we brought along a reflector that easily fit into one of our carry-on bags.
Germs and the constant threat of sickness permeate in travel. This is probably because airplanes are about as germ ridden as a McDonald’s ball pit during flu season. Put an emphasis on maintaining a healthy diet and getting proper sleep before and during a trip. Pack snacks, a water bottle (to stay hydrated!) and PLENTY of Vitamin C and/or Zinc.
Worst Case Scenario
Think of the worst possible thing that could happen, and plan for it. Air travel may be the safest way to travel, but it is also the most complex. On our journey, an unforeseen plane delay forced us to work with our airline until they re-booked us onto a competitor’s airline so we could stay on schedule. However, this could have easily derailed our video shoot had our checked bags not arrived in time. While packing, we determined what items we absolutely needed in order to still be able to do our job at each of our shoot locations. Keep your friends close, but keep your camera and essential toiletries even closer.
Tasked with dutifully protecting our country from filled water bottles and fancy shampoos, the TSA is the final bastion between you and your equipment’s final destination. You are in a completely different jurisdiction at this point, but there are measures you can take help your situation. If stowing expensive gear in a checked bag, consider writing the TSA some kindly-worded notes reminding them that they are in fact dealing with sensitive equipment.
If possible, pack loose objects like batteries and memory cards in clear bags to reduce too much rummaging and guesswork. If carrying electronics and equipment in your carry-on, make sure they are easily visible and accessible. Yes, it’s annoying, but at least it keeps us all safe while flying.
The more you travel the more routine and familiar the process becomes. But no amount of travel experience is more important than organization, staying healthy, planning ahead and packing equipment intelligently. Enjoy the friendly skies!