Traveling or moving with filmmaking gear poses numerous challenges. To avoid misplacing or damaging your equipment, there are many things to keep in mind. Our tips will help you safely pack and transport your filmmaking kit, wherever you are heading.
De-clutter before packing
If you are in the filmmaking business, you are well-aware of the importance of being prepared. Because of this, you may add items that won’t be of any use to your packing list, just in case. Unfortunately, your sense of preparedness could actually cause you unnecessary trouble when transporting your filming gear.
If you are traveling for a shorter period of time, those extra components and accessories will only make your baggage heavier. With lighter baggage, you will avoid paying extra fees. Moreover, you won’t have to keep track of equipment you won’t even use and increase the risk of damaging or losing something valuable. Remember that in most locations you will be able to rent if you need additional equipment. Therefore, resist the tendency to overpack, bring only the basic gear you know you will be using during your shoot. Make the most of one versatile camera, two lenses, and only as many filters as you can put in your camera bag, and leave that massive tripod at home. Without the extra baggage, you will have a more pleasant trip and an easier experience at the airport.
When moving to a new location, people are even more likely to pack everything they have, which is a mistake. You need to consider even more carefully what to pack in case your move is permanent. Instead of packing things you don’t use anymore, consider recycling or selling used gear. This way, you will reduce your moving expenses and perhaps even make some money.
Write a list of items you are taking
Before we go into the detail about how to pack filmmaking gear, we’ll advise you to make a list of everything you are taking with you. In addition to the items you’re taking, you should write their monetary value and the reason why you are taking them. No matter how cautious you are, things can go wrong. For example, if you need to file an insurance claim, this list will come in handy. Making an inventory of your equipment can also prevent you from packing something expensive that you do not actually need.
Pack smart to safely transport your filmmaking kit
You should pack your camera and lens separately, even in your carry-on luggage. You should also leave your camera’s aperture open all the way while you transport your filmmaking kit. In case it rains, you should have a few lens wipes, chargers, extra memory cards, and plastic shower caps. Furthermore, you need to think about your lighting, grip and sound gear. You do not want to arrive at the filming location and realize your lights are broken and your stands busted. What if there is no time to rent or buy replacement gear?
Use hard cases and protective foam
Preparing fragile items for the transportation requires special packing materials. You can’t just throw your filmmaking kit in a plastic bag. Fragile items that are prone to damage need sufficient padding and a sturdy container.
For your filming equipment, you should use a hard case and foam inserts for additional protection. By filling the empty space in the case with foam you can purchase at your local hardware store, you will prevent items from moving during transit. Investing a little bit more in protective packing supplies can spare you a lot of headaches. We recommend choosing a sturdy, high-quality case. After you purchase the foam, measure the hard case and your items so as to cut the foam into pieces of suitable size. Each piece of equipment should be protected with at least two inches of foam. Once surrounded with foam, no piece of equipment should be able to move inside the case. This is the safest way to transport your filmmaking kit.
Unfortunately, luggage that goes in an airplane’s cargo area is not always handled as carefully as it should be handled. That is why it is a good idea to use cases that are small enough to meet the carry-on baggage size requirements. Always check the requirements for carry-on baggage before packing since they may vary depending on which airline you choose.
If you want to take a drone with you, there are things you should find out in advance. Remember to check local regulations about flying drones. Since regional guidelines can vary, packing and transporting a drone could be a huge waste of energy (and money). Also, your airline may have some restrictions about traveling with drones - transporting your drone as checked baggage could be one of their requirements.
Insure your filmmaking kit
Even if you take all the measures of precaution we have mentioned, accidents happen. When your filmmaking kit travels long distances and multiple airlines are handling it, there are things you cannot control. That is why your equipment needs insurance. If you already have an insurance policy, make sure your coverage includes whatever the circumstances require before you transport your filmmaking kit.
The price of insurance varies depending on what kind of equipment you are transporting and what kind of coverage it needs. Although it can be expensive, it will be money well spent, especially if something goes wrong and your filmmaking kit suffers serious damage.