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Bob Knapp
Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 9, 2011 at 10:04:04 pm

Does anyone have any recommendations for a hard shell case for lighting stands/small tripods/backdrop stands? I'll need to check this on airlines. It doesn't need to me padded. I'm just looking for something light weight and strong enough to survive baggage handlers. Thank you everyone!!

See What I See Productions


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 9, 2011 at 10:28:41 pm

Lowel cases hold up well.

Think about renting the light kit in the shoot city....

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Noah Kadner
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:56:10 pm

Yeah unless it was some special effects light or in a very remote area- I'd never travel with a light kit. Rent wherever you're going.

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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Bob Knapp
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:34:06 am

Well, these are all one day shoots. Most are fly in and shoot the same day with a cab ride from the airport. Then on to the next city. Someone was telling me about getting a golf travel case. Not a bad idea if you pack it well.

See What I See Productions


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Noah Kadner
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 6:20:42 am

Anvil also makes pretty solid cases...

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:33:54 pm

I use a hard shell Golf bag (has wheels) for the sticks and whatever else I can stuff in there. Travels well. But honestly, I think I'm going to rent the sticks as well from now on. It's such a hassle and the fees.

But I see your point with the quick in and out. Most hard shell light kits should be fine for you.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:38:36 pm

Hard shell golf bag containers or the adjustable length snowboard container they call a "sport Tube" are popular choices, partly because (and you'll have to check if this is still valid) those objects qualify for a discounted rate on the checked baggage scales as "sports equipment". They also don't advertise to theives that "this guy is a movie maker with expensive gear we can steal".


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Rob Neidig
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:21:03 pm

Bob,

Great suggestions from others. I have also successfully used an SKB case that is designed for drum hardware. I typically carry my hi-hat, snare stand, kick pedal and a couple of cymbal stands in there. I have used it a few times to carry video gear, including lights (wrapped in foam to protect them), and it worked great. It also has built in wheels and a handle to pull it. I think if I were buying something just for this purpose, I might go with the golf bag or something, but since I already owned this case, I tried it and it worked great. Just another idea.

Have fun!

Rob

Rob Neidig
R&R Media Productions
Eugene, Oregon


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Bob Knapp
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 5:28:29 pm

Thanks everyone! I think I'm going to go with a golf case. I can get one off Craigslist for around $40-$60. New they are $150+. I don't care if it's scratched as long as the latches are good. It will be scratched soon enough!

As for airline fees I travel all the time so I have status so I get 2 bags free.

See What I See Productions


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 5:57:24 pm

Think about how you'll address access to the bag and lock by the TSA goons. If they pop it open for inspection, will everything just fall out in such a way that they break things, cramming it back in? Will every item have an obvious, labeled place to locate it? Is every item equipped with a name and address tag somewhere on it?


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Bob Knapp
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:36:22 pm

Excellent point Mark! Thanks

See What I See Productions


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Bill Davis
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 11, 2011 at 7:18:37 am

Bob,

If you go with the SKB case, you might consider modifying it by drilling and re-bolting the handle support points. Lighting gear is typically heavier than golf clubs, and while the SKB cases have the advantage of being pretty light (which helps greatly when you're dinged up to $150 for exceeding 50 lbs) a fully loaded golf bag gets pretty heavy pretty fast.

YMMV.

Good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Richard Crowley
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 18, 2011 at 1:40:33 am

I also went with a large golf bag case for a bunch of stands and cables. I managed to pack 95 pounds into it(!) The case was great, but the weight was a killer.

On a short trip across the country, I needed just one stand and decided it would be clever to use a soft shotgun bag. The stand fit perfectly and traveled unscathed. However, at every point along the way, it was treated as a weapon. That got it hand-delivered (vs. on the luggage-go-round), but that typically took much longer and I was always the last one out waiting for my hand-delivered luggage. I don't think I will do that again. :-(


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Roderick Lavallee
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 23, 2011 at 6:40:00 pm

I've used a SportTube for the same purpose. Very useful.

-RJ Lavallee
bent spoon Media


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Liam Hall
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 27, 2011 at 1:56:06 pm

I regularly fly worldwide with 100 kilos of kit - including, but not always, lighting gear. I use Kata, Peli, Tenba and Petrol cases. All four are excellent manufacturers and will have various solutions that will fit your needs because they are specifically designed for the job.

First impressions count for a lot in this industry, I couldn't imagine what my clients would think if I arrived with a golf bag. It sets the wrong tone.

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 27, 2011 at 2:49:07 pm

Golf bag stays in the Hotel room. Only for travel day.
Great for sticks, light stand, bags, batts, cables.
Highly recommend it. Hard Shell with wheels.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Liam Hall
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 27, 2011 at 5:34:07 pm

[Chris Tompkins] "Golf bag stays in the Hotel room."

Not exactly handy for the quick dash to the airport at the end of the shoot...

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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Mark Suszko
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 27, 2011 at 6:27:41 pm

It might also give an impression to your clients if you show up without your lighting gear, because it was easily identified as film making stuff and stolen en route. If you have the kind of superficial clients that would obsess about what brand of trendy bag you carry the stuff in, I think you have bigger problems.


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Liam Hall
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 27, 2011 at 7:18:39 pm

[Mark Suszko] "It might also give an impression to your clients if you show up without your lighting gear, because it was easily identified as film making stuff and stolen en route. If you have the kind of superficial clients that would obsess about what brand of trendy bag you carry the stuff in, I think you have bigger problems."

Mark,

I'm guessing that comment is aimed at me...

First up, I travel a lot and have done for years. This year alone I've shot in twenty-two different countries. I agree traveling with gear that says "steal me" isn't smart and something I take very seriously. Luckily for me, in my twenty-seven years in this business I've had precisely zero bags stolen.

Secondly, I don't have superficial clients. I've worked for several Royal Families and several governments around the world. I make films for some pretty big companies too, like Kodak, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Tetra Pak, Unilever, BA... ...You get the idea...

Thirdly, it's not about having trendy bags either, (I didn't know lighting cases could be trendy anyway). The point I make about creating a good first impression is that I consider it very important that a client or interviewee has absolute confidence in my ability to deliver. If I turned up with a bag with "Calloway or Nike" written in large letters down its side or a few stands tucked under my arm, because I left the odd looking case in the hotel, they might start to wonder who they'd booked. That nervousness can transmit itself to the screen. If it can be avoided, avoid it.

The OP asked advice for a lighting case, pretty much what he got was advice for a bag good enough to carry some stands, but not necessarily heads. My advice is simply choose a bag that is designed for the job you need it to do, otherwise you may come unstuck. Particularly if the airport thieves like golf:-)

Liam Hall
Director/DoP/Editor
http://www.liamhall.net


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Bob Knapp
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Nov 28, 2011 at 5:47:58 pm

Thanks everyone for great input! I definitely see both sides for quality of cases. For fun I’ll finish up this thread and describe my experience.

I needed a case fast!!! (3 days) so I went with a golf case. I found one on Craigslist for $15!! It wasn’t top of the line but for the price and it looked like it was never used so I went for it. I Placed 2 light stands, backdrop with stands, spare tripod, and even 2 light fixtures (carefully wrapped) in the case. The case had a place for a lock so I used a TSA lock for protection and in case the latches came loose.

First flight the case came out perfect everything in working order. The flight back was out of ATL. I had to drop the case at a different bag drop off for larger bags. The TSA guys there were already diagnosing a golf bag so I knew mine wasn’t going to skate by.

When I picked up my bag after the flight it came off the belt with 2 of the 3 latches unbuckled. The bottom latch and the lock was the only thing holding it together (I got lucky). Everything was still in its place and working properly.

So, you can see both sides on using a quality case. I fixed the latches to make them tighter and we’ll see how round 2 goes. I’m definitely sold on the golf case idea. I’ll probably buy a better quality one soon.

I’ve never had gear stolen but I try to be careful. I even lock my Pelican cases to the bed frame in hotels if I’m not sure about the area. TSA and baggage handlers are our biggest problem. I’ll always be traveling for work so I’ll keep experiencing and learning and try to make things easier and safer. You guys helped tremendously thanks again and hopefully this will help others with their decisions when traveling with gear for work. Thanks again!

See What I See Productions


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James Dow
Re: Lighting case for airlines?
on Jan 25, 2012 at 2:55:20 pm

I'm usually a one man band production guy. My usual routine is as follows...
HVX200a in a Kata airline trolley bag that I always try to keep with me. Often the smaller regional jets with the small overhead storage bins necessitate the "Green card gate check" treatment. When this happens I remove the camera and my laptop, and carry them on as my personal items. The KATA bag looks like it will last 2 years before needing a replacement. (probably because I carry too much in it...the handle is about to snap off. Hopefully I can just replace the trolley part.)

Sometimes I check a Lowell Rifa light and a tripod. I have had one tripod disappear upon clearing customs and re-checking on United. It showed up a month later, after I had purchased a new tripod. If it would have stayed lost they would have replaced...since it was later returned I got nothing for the inconvenience.

Depending on my destination I will often ship a light kit via UPS. So far this has worked pretty well. A 90 pound ARRI kit can cost $200 bucks to ship, but the client is gonna pay for that, right? I LAO Have a 50 pound Lowell DP kit that I ship frequently. I just gaffer tape the latches and slap the shipping label on it. So far, so good. Since I have several kits I'm usually covered for my shoots while waiting for the return shipment.

JPD


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