How to Travel with Production Gear: A Complete Guide


Working in the film, modeling, or entertainment industry as a photographer or a camera person requires travel all the time. If your job involves traveling with production gear from one location to another frequently, it can be daunting and even stressful. Filming equipment is costly, and even the slightest bit of damage may prevent it from operating correctly. With that in mind, here is a useful guide that should help you protect your production gear while traveling.

Pack only what you need

When packing and relocating film equipment, one of the biggest issues may be overpacking. If you are traveling to the middle of nowhere to shoot a scene, you might bring more stuff than you actually need. Filming requirements constantly change, and there is nothing worse than being on the location and not having all the necessary equipment. That’s why professionals tend to carry a lot more stuff. When that happens, the chances of something getting damaged during transport grow bigger.

A good piece of advice is to analyze your scenes and try to prepare only the equipment you will need. Furthermore, if you are not shooting at a distant location, remember that there are local production gear shops where you can rent a piece of equipment in case you need it.

Invest in a sturdy carry-on case

You should not cut corners when it comes to traveling with your filming equipment. Packing filming equipment in a box or a backpack not intended for it may lead to damage. Instead, you should purchase a specialized carry-on case that can easily lock and protect your gear. It is usually padded on the inside and has enough room for everything you need to bring.

Furthermore, this is one of the best hacks to store your material and filming equipment. If you need to go on a break and don’t intend to use the equipment for some time, the best way to keep it safe is to place it in a protective case.

Prepare ownership papers if leaving the country.

One of the problems that occur if you travel abroad to do a shoot is if you don’t have any papers to show where you purchased the equipment. According to the customs rules, if you have bought any electronic equipment abroad, they will have to tax it when you return home. To get customs clearance and avoid this problem, make sure you have proof that you have purchased the equipment back home.

Equipment insurance is necessary for your peace of mind.

Whether you like it or not, sometimes things just get damaged during transport. No matter what you do and how well you protect your precious production gear, you cannot control all the things at all times. When a problem happens, and something gets damaged, you will be sorry if you didn’t purchase insurance beforehand.

The cost is small compared to how much you would have to pay to purchase a new camera or a lense. Be smart about it and get your equipment insured before traveling with it.

Be mindful of the weather in your filming location.

Weather will affect your production gear if you are not careful enough. For example, if you are traveling somewhere north where the temperature is below zero, you must learn how to store your filming equipment in cold weather. When the temperature drops, it may seriously damage the production gear, so you need to prepare for it in advance.

Do not forget to pack the equipment you need for maintenance.

It is imperative to bring additional equipment you use to maintain your production gear, like cleaning solvent for lenses, tools, spare parts, batteries, etc. This should be an inseparable part of your production gear; never travel without it.

Research the location you are traveling to.

Depending on what production gear you have, you might want to look for an official service center in case you need a professional to look at your equipment. If something gets damaged, or you need to purchase an add-on, you want to go to the professionals. With that in mind, prepare yourself for anything that might happen.

Make an inventory of all the filming equipment you are traveling with.

Another smart thing you should do when traveling with production gear is to make a list of everything you are taking with you. That is an excellent way to make sure you don’t accidentally forget anything when traveling back. Use the list to check if everything is packed and in good condition. Some of the essential items that should be on every list are:

  • camera
  • lenses you want to use
  • charger
  • batteries
  • cleaning solution and cleaning kit
  • tripod
  • a hard drive to store the material
  • memory card for the camera
  • a polarizer
  • camera bag

You might have other items on your list, so be sure to put everything on paper.

Always know where your equipment is during traveling.

You should not lose sight of your filming equipment during travel. Know exactly which bags are yours and where they are at all times. If you are traveling as a part of a larger group, make sure that only authorized people handle your bags.

Label your bags.

Another smart idea is to label your bags, so other people know that the expensive production gear is inside. Otherwise, they might accidentally place something on the bag or not treat it carefully, resulting in damaged equipment.

Guide to traveling with production gear – delivered!

Hopefully, this useful guide to traveling with production gear should help you secure your equipment and treat it with care. These valuable tips will save you a lot of trouble and unexpected expenses if something damages. As a key takeaway for today, remember to treat your equipment with respect and great care. Try to prepare yourself for anything that can happen, and your equipment will stay safe during transport!

Author bio: Mark Hanson is a professional photographer with over 15 years of experience. In his spare time, he caters to his passion for writing by producing quality articles on filming equipment to help other professionals in the filming industry.


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