Traveling with your sound gear
I had the pleasure of working on CBC’s Arctic Air last season up in Yellowknife, NWT, Canada at the end of that summer. That is Season II for those keeping score. I was very excited to hear I had been hired to go up there to work on the show. It is always great to travel and see new things, meet new people, learn new things about the world, and it does not happen too often, so… I must confess that I was a little freaked out about the prospect of getting my gear all the way up there.
Here is a picture of my cart as I usually work with it. —>
<—- And here is what I took up to Yellowknife.
After a LOT of phone calls to the office, airport, cargo shippers, airlines, etc I found out there were a LOT of restrictions. If I wanted to bring my cart it would have to be stripped down and everything packed into cases. Lot of maximum size requirements as you can imagine. Only so much room down in the cargo hold. The show wanted me to keep things as minimal as possible. More stuff equals more money for shipping, and it wasn’t cheap.
Then there was the problem of batteries. The Gel Cell battery that normally powers everything is something that cannot fly no matter what, but NP-1 style Lithium batteries were ok as long as you followed the guidelines. LOTS of guidelines for all sorts of batteries. More reading. Here is a useful link to an article about all that battery nonsense. I had to bring a lot of batteries to keep everything running, and had to split up the amounts amongst different people we were traveling with due to restrictions on batteries per person. Thanks to my Boom Op Wayne, and our Unit Production Manager Ken for helping to keep the power on.
All the rest of the gear traveled in a 1660 Pelican, and a 1600 Pelican case plus two boom pole tubes. I also carried some gear on the plane with me in the cabin. The Pelicans, and poles had to go up there three days before I left. Wouldn’t you know it, they got bumped off the first plane and traveled the next day. Luckily that was ok and everything was there when I landed. Put it all in the Van that was to be the sound van while I was up there and let the adventure begin.
The couple days we were up there we got perfect weather. 20 degrees Celcius both days. Yellowknife is a beautiful place. Northern lights are something to behold. Recommend you go if you can. Maybe not in the winter though. Pretty cold. On subsequent trips, which I could not go on due to already working, they went in the winter months and it was -35 degrees Celcius. Brrrrr.
Well, all the gear made it up, and back. Nothing got broke, or lost. So all in all a success, but there sure are a lot of things to be aware of, and procedure to follow when packing around all that sound gear. Traveling outside your own country it gets even more complicated. That is another story….