For our next project, I will be flying out to San Francisco area (Half Moon Bay, to be exact) tomorrow morning to shoot for 3 days. I had flown out once in the past, but that was for a small wedding, and did not have to carry too much of equipment. This time, it's a little different story. And trying to figure out how to carry my gears was one of the most stressful parts of pre-production.
There are several competing goals when packing gears. 1) I need to pack as light as possible, limiting the number of bags as well as size/weight; 2) I cannot leave behind something and face a situation where I say "I should have brought ____ also"; and 3) I need to make sure nothing gets damaged during transit.
As I was looking through airline's baggage requirements, I figured that it's better and cheaper to rent a tripod leg instead of taking mine, and decided to put all my other support gears (monopod, glidecam, slider, etc) in a suitcase. But I soon realized there was too much stuff even if I don't take my tripod, so buying a roller case was inevitable.
So, my 2nd configuration was to carry my camera bag and check in this rolling bag full of support gear and all the other stuff including my clothes. But the problem was the teleprompter, which is basically a huge expensive glass that I don't feel safe to put in this bag with other heavy stuff. And also there was a bag full of audio equipment.
Just because of the size and fragile nature of the teleprompter, I will have to carry a suitcase, making it total 3 bags (1 carry-on + 2 check-in). After deciding to take 3 bags, I had the option to take my own tripod, so had a hard time deciding whether or not to cancel the tripod I reserved at the rental place. If I do take my tripod, I will have to take all the stuff out of my audio bag and put it in the suitcase individually rather than just putting the whole bag into the rolling bag, which doesn't seem to be a good idea.
I am not happy that I have to check in 2 bags, but I don't want to think any more about the luggage part of the travel. I have enough things to worry about on my hand.
One more thing. I also have to think about the worst scenario - losing or getting stuff stolen. So, I just backed up my SSD drive onto another hard drive.
This is the main compartment of my camera bag, and the other side holds a MBP 13" and other accessories. I should do a quick run-through video explaining how I'm going to use each of the camera equipment. Maybe if time allows.