Like a lot of freelance shooters, I travel regularly for various projects. A common need when shooting on the road is a lightweight grip and lighting support kit. You need stands, lighting modifiers, and various odds and ends that you will inevitably use on-set, whether you are shooting interviews or narrative. And to avoid paying overage fees, you need it to be within the weight and size limitations for checked airline baggage; currently 62 linear inches (length + width + height) and 50 pounds or less for US airlines.

To that end, I’ve put together a simple three-point lighting and grip travel kit. Here’s a FreshDV Gear In 60 Seconds video that talks about the grip case that I travel with, with links below to each piece in the kit, if you are interested in building a similar kit of your own. I’ve also got another GearIn60 video that discusses the lighting kit I support with this grip gear kit, you can see that here. Watch the grip kit video below…

Gear In 60 Seconds – Travel Grip Kit from FreshDV on Vimeo.

Gear Links:
* Pelican 1750 grip case (under 62″ linear size)
* Lowel Gel File
* FilmTools Black C47s/Clothespins
* MSE RoadRags
* MSE MiniGrip
* MSE C-Stands
* Manfrotto Nano 6′ light stands
Or get the Matthews C-Vival Kit, which includes RoadRags, MiniGrip, 2x C-Stands, and the 1750 Pelican case.

In the next Gear In 60 Seconds video, I’ll talk about the LED lights I’ve been using on the road, and how I use the Road Rags to modify and control that light. Here’s a few set pictures from a recent interview shoot that show this grip gear in use.

Important footnote: When putting your kit together and packing for travel, I cannot stress enough the importance of carefully weighing your gear cases before you head to the airport. DO THIS. If you don’t have a good travel hang-scale, use a bathroom scale…first weigh yourself on the scale, and then pick up the gear bag and stand on the scale. Subtract your weight, and you’ve got the weight of your bags. I’d recommend that you weight them twice, and make sure you have at least 1-2lbs of overhead, in case your scale is off. If you are over the 50lb maximum by even a single pound when you check-in, or your bags/cases exceed the 62 linear inches maximum, you’ll pay exorbitant overage fees. Airlines have zero sympathy these days for overages. Each airline also has additional restrictions for international flights, so be aware of those weight and size limits.

You should also be aware that some airlines like US Airways charge ridiculous fees for more than two bags…currently it’s $25 for the first bag, $35 for the 2nd, and the 3rd bag is a whopping $125. This means that three normal-weight bags on US Airways would cost you $185. In my opinion, that is outright highway robbery, so caveat emptor when you are booking tickets. Or better yet, fly with an airline that gives a flying rip about their customers…fly Southwest. With Southwest you can check two bags free of charge, and the 3rd bag is a reasonable $50. But regardless of who you fly with, know their baggage policies and restrictions before you book.

Special thanks to Jesse Rosten for conceiving and creating the GearIn60 logo intro. Seriously, you want to work with this guy.


One Response to “Gear In 60 Seconds – Travel Grip Kit”  

  1. 1 Dan McComb

    I was able to save a couple hundred extra bucks by foregoing the admittedly excellent Pelican case for a hard-shell SKB golf bag case like this one, http://tinyurl.com/3w8dhf3, which I picked up on ebay for $50.

    And there’s an added benefit to using a golf case: many airlines won’t charge you oversize fees when you use a golf case, as long as you keep the weight under 50 pounds. So you have a little more room to fit everything into.