Packing Quick ‘n’ Dirty

Scott uploaded this vid to my Facebook page from the Karl Strauss brewery at LAX and it quickly got over 100 comments/likes in about 15 hours. Since questions poured in from there and twitter, I thought I’d chuck the vid up here and scramble to answer some of those questions over a wimpy cappuccino here in the Air New Zealand lounge before running to our next legs to Christchurch and onto Queenstown.

Some of your questions in/around packing:

Any special luggage arrangement w/ United?
Insurance coverage of photo gear?
What if one bag’s missing at arrival?

_No special arrangements. That’s what I was trying to get across in the video. Normally we use a shipping expeditor or ship gear as freight, but we were on too short a timeline to do either. Hence, the pain in the ass “gangster method” (hoping not to offend any gangsters who have tuned in…). In this method our goal is to…[click the ‘continue reading’ link below…for more answers and a few snapshots]

trim down our gear to as few bags as we can and put all our camera bags and cases inside duffel cases so they don’t look like nice camera gear, and instead pass as beat up luggage. What we can’t get to our location via this method, we will have our NZ producer rent it. Monitors, lighting, extra glass, etc.

Since Scott, Kate and I all have elite status on United, we can each take 3 bags up to 70lbs. One back of clothes each, leaves us with the capacity to carry 2 bags packed with gear, or about 450lbs of gear total without extra charge. We use pelican cases or just the LowePro bags l to house the gear and then drop that into duffels lined with shoes and jackets for extra protection. Not ideal, but reasonably effective.

_Insurance. As the Executive Producer, Kate handles the insurance. She’s off at a ticket counter right now, but my understanding is that we have worldwide insurance that protects our gear and rented/borrowed gear against loss, theft, or damage. I think our insurance goes thru Taylor and Taylor in LA. Tell them I sent you. We also occasionally have insurance for specific jobs, but since Kate’s away, I can’t ask her on that one now… I know our people insurance is thru our corporate policy and our NZ production company, The Search.

_If a bag is missing? Our tough luck. But in reality, it’s often easier to recover a missing bag thru your airline than it is dealing with shipping expeditors via customs. ATA Carnets aside, shipping lots of gear (eg. if we shipped full kits + lighing + stands, etc, all in big cases etc, can sometimes cause headaches on the receiving end – especially if you’re short on time. Which is why we chose to do it this way on this gig…we had no time in advance. The job cleared in less than 7 days before we shipped out (down payment check came at 9am Saturday morning and we flew out at 6pm that night) so we didn’t have the luxury of time that we often have. Also, regarding missing backs, we make sure to distribute gear intelligently between bags so that if we lose one or even two, we have enough gear to make happen what we need to make happen. Also, recall that Scott and I each carried on a Nikon D3/D3x and a lens + batteries, cards and charger, to protect against worst case scenario. We’re not going to the middle of the wilderness, but we’re not exactly flying to NYC either, so our strategy is based on that stuff too…

Will you show us workflow from click of shutter to delivery to client?

_That’s a tall order but we’ll do the best we can. We’re a little understaffed since we have a lot of stuff going on around the clock back at the studio in Seattle while we’re away, but we’ll try to lay it out best we can from location. There will be more followup posts on return mid September as well.

Sorry, I know there are dozens of questions I’m not getting to here, but I’m outta time on this layover. I will address as many as possible throughout the course of this job.

Which brings me to a good point: please ask questions. If you don’t ask, I’m left guessing at what interests you most.

I’ll give a general overview of the job with as many details as I can when we get to our destination in Queenstown. In the meantime, I’m off to my next plane. Kate and Scott say hey.

[Previous Chase Jarvis TECH: Packing Photography Gear video here. Check it for the more thorough version of packing…]

Crappy-ass salad and a double margarita at LAX:

Moonrise over the Pacific:

Flight attendant catching some down time:

more soon. thx for tuning in…

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