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Jeffrey Gould
Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Jul 26, 2008 at 1:56:43 am

Hi, i searched and found some info on shipping cameras, but they were a few years old and was hoping members had some new insight or suggestions. I shot a video out of state a few weeks ago (I drove), but as I'm editing, I might need some additional shots. so I was planning on flying. I really don't want to carry my full sized DV Cam camera on a plane, as it doesn't always fit above and once they flat out wouldn't let me bring it on the plane, had to be checked. Is there a safe way to ship it? I've shipped other equipment such as dollies, cables, lights via UPS with no issues in the past. Thanks for any direction.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Mark Suszko
Re: Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Jul 26, 2008 at 5:58:55 pm

Are you familiar with the Porta-Brace "Smuggler" bag? You unplug and unscrew the viewfinder and lens from your full-size camera, this bag lets you fit everything compactly enough to pass thru the sizing limits at the airport for carry-on bags, and fits under seats or in overhead compartments. When you get off the plane, re-assemble the lens and VF, and zip open the special seams of the Smuggler: it now expands to fit the full-sized, assembled and ready-to-shoot camera. Its like "Transformers":-)


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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Jul 26, 2008 at 6:44:02 pm

Hi Mark, I did see that bag on the porta brace site when I was looking for a bag a few months ago. Since I just bought a Sony Bag for $300, I'd rather not buy another one...but since this seems to come up a lot, I'll look into it. So you think shipping via UPS/Fedex isn't the way to go? Thanks...as always.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Randy Lee
Re: Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:36:22 pm

Oh, man. Having worked at Fedex, and worked with quite a few UPS people there, I would never send anything important or expensive that way. Especially if you're counting on it using it on the other end. Its usually not an issue, but the way packages get treated en route definitely isn't how I would like to see my equipment treated. "Special" packages such as camera cases were probably the most mistreated. Plus there's always the possibility of it getting lost or not arriving on time.

A few hundred for a new bag should be something that you could roll into expenses for a job, and could (and should!) be recouped without a second thought. If you're trying to make sure you're not going to have any issues on the other end, you should either keep your gear with you, or rent when you get there. That's my 2 cents, anyway.


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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:45:06 pm

Thank you Randy, While I have sent equipment such as: Stands, Lights packed well, Cables and even my Monitor...I have never shipped my camera and I agree with you, I never should. If you think about it though, that's how the equipment gets from the manufacturer to the stores and if you do mail order, to the consumer. True, a few hundred is nothing...however these are pickup shots and I offered to foot the bill for the airfare and they'll pay for shipping the equipment. That's one of the problems shooting out of state...if you need additional shots. I'll check out Porta Brace. Actually the MRP is $450.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Randy Lee
Re: Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Aug 1, 2008 at 3:05:12 pm

I think that the big difference between individuals shipping gear and it getting shipped from the manufacturer is that we tend to ship a case with our gear, whereas the manufacturer tends to ship quite a few boxes with the case and gear inside. When you have boxes and boxes coming down the conveyer belt, you treat them ok. When you have this weird-shaped (compared to everything else) package coming, you throw it around, it doesn't stack well, so it falls or gets tossed around until you can find somewhere to put it, and it generally gets mistreated.

Half the kids working there sit outside smoking pot in their cars until they go in to work, and in a small market, Madison WI, we lost around 4 to 5 people a week minimum, and half of the people that started never showed up for their second day. And everyone I talked to said UPS was even worse. So maybe most people don't have problems, and some packages are ok, but I wouldn't want to trust my camera to people with the sort of attitude that they had there.

Those pickup shots are always the trouble-makers, aren't they? But it's definitely worth it to make sure the camera goes safely, both because it makes everything run a little more smoothly, and because... who wants to go through showing up and finding a broken camera? Or even if its not this time, the extra wear and tear from being treated poorly in transit will eventually catch up with it.


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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Shipping DVCAM/Equipment
on Aug 1, 2008 at 3:15:12 pm

You're a wise man...thank you for your insight. Whenever I ship from UPS, I use their boxes and use lots of foam and bubble wrap. I got good at packing just what I will need. The only issue I ever had was that the girl who taped the boxes for the shipment home, didn't do a good job and two pieces fell out during shipping: A $250 camera plate and something else for $50. I did look into rental facilities, but in the past I have been disappointed with the equipment as that gets mistreated as well. Funny about the pot smoking teenagers, it is a pretty awful job though. I need to take a camera and a laptop on the plane with me and I guess I'll check my suitcase and ship all the metal gear and cables. Thanks again.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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