Mics in baggage?

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Chrome
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Going abroad with a full set of production kit in a couple of days. Does anyone know are mics alright in baggage or should I keep them in carry on with the cameras?

DAVE M
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Condenser mics can be prone to damp - so maybe better shoved in the camera bag. They'd also be less likely to be chucked about

Alan Craven
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I always carry my microphone in the hand baggage - it is electronic (may contain a battery too, if you forget to remove it) and therefore not popular with scanning staff, delicate and expensive. The weight and bulk are low, so it is not a problem in hand luggage.

Chrome
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Actually I meant professional mics, not ones with batteries in. Sennheiser MKH416s that will handle damp just fine and a couple of MD42s which altogether are not easy to just 'shove' in my hand luggage with the cameras, they're pretty big. I have some flight cases going into baggage and wondered if they couldtravel with the rycote basket etc.

It was the pressure I was most worried about and wonder if that would potentially affect the mic internals?

I suppose I will play safe and carry them with my cameras, but I will be carrying an awful lot onboard with me. :( We have had to book two seats already... and on 4 flights that's quite a bit extra cost.

Alan Roberts
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Pressure won't be a problem unless there's something sealed in the capsule (very unlikely). Broadcast tv crews carry everything in flight cases, in the hold. Even the programme tapes might go that way, although I know many who insist that they go as cabin baggage, but that's for fear of loss rather than damage in transit. Little or nothing travels outside a flight case, that's what they're for :D

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northernimage
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Keep everything that you can't afford to loose or get damaged with you!!
Also it's a good idea to make a list of all of your equipment with serial nos.
The baggage checkers in some countries can be really fussy and you'll need to have your story as to why your carrying all of this electronic type gear onto an aircraft.
I once had a lengthy delay and a lot of explaining to do about 2 senn radios in my hand luggage at Brussels, they were complete with jewellers screwdrives and long nosed pliers which didn't impress the security men.

Alan Craven
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"Actually I meant professional mics, not ones with batteries in."

I am sorry, Chrome, I had forgotten you are a professional!

My Sennheiser microphones might not come from the upper reaches of their ranges, but as far as I am aware, all microphones need a little TLC, and this is sadly lacking from airport baggage handling.

As I said, scanning staff do not like electonic equipment, even in hand luggage. The last time I passed through LA, I had to demonstrate that my camera could record and play back onto tape, and remove the windjammer from the microphone for them to inspect both items.

Alan Roberts
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I had to take off my trouser belt in Bologna last week. Seriously chaps, flight cases are the best way to carry kit, even when it's cabin baggage (that's how I carry my consumer kit, it makes the operatives take you a bit more seriously, and you can safely stack them).

If you're going outside the EU, you'll need a carnet, otherwise you might get charged in both directions on the assumption (un-disprovable without the carnet) that you just bought the kit and are trying to import it. Untangling that can take weeks (personal experience, big-time). Within the EU, you shouldn't need a carnet, but it never does any harm to have one because not all border operations are friendly.

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Chrome
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I have flight cases Alan, and will put all my grip, cables, chargers etc. in them, but I was warned that the extremes of temperature and pressure can warp the boards inside the cameras and cause them to malfunction. Apparently dry joints and other internal faults can occur.

Alan C., sorry, no offence. It was not my intention to suggest anyone else was not 'pro' or anything (as your comment seems to suggest you have taken it).

Thanks for all your suggestions people :)

Alan Roberts
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Interesting, that's exactly opposed to my experience with high-end kit, it always travels in the hold in flight cases. Never mind, whatever works is good.

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Alan Craven
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Alan R,

What do you about your video equipment when checking in ? Do you tell them what is in the cases?

The only time I ever checked in for the hold any video equipment which contained electronics, I was summoned by Tannoy and made to remove it - and that was before the current terrorism driven security.

I have been told that it is possible to insist on a hand check of electronic equipment and that after this it can go in the hold, but I have no idea how one should go about this.

foxvideo
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Alan, do you mean high-end cameras in the hold?

Friend of mine who freelances for broadcast has had 2 cameras (BVW 400 and D30) go faulty after flights to the States where the camera went in the hold - both times he was told by the repair company it was probably due to pressure/temperature changes when flying. Can't say I know of anyone who now doesn't take the camera on as hand luggage, stripping down if needed. Be interested to hear what/who's cases are suitable for cameras as hold luggage.

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Alan Roberts
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I always tell them (they ask anyway) and open it. Never a problem.

Perhaps some flights have semi-pressurised holds. When I was invloved in getting cameras shipped around the world, they al travelled in flight cases in the hold, and they all worked, nary a problem. That was about 10 years ago though, maybe things have changed since. As long as the hold temperature and pressure remains within the spec limits for the kit, there should be no problem. Perhaps it's temeprature extremes (-40 at altitude). Certainly, I don't like putting my own kit in the hold, always carry as hand luggage in what looks like a flight case (actually a cheap B&Q toolcase) with enough partitions and packing to keep stuff held firmly.

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DVdoctor
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Joined: Apr 1 1999

HI
the whole discussion of cargo holds is subject to massive misconceptions:

The entire plane is pressurized to the same atmosphere level, there is only "one Pressure vessel"

The problem comes in Temperature, usually the forward hold is heated, and the rear hold MAY or MAY NOT be heated. In addition, the pilot has the option to cut off airflow to the baggage hold, for fire control.

So it is possible that the damage wascaused by low temp, but not pressure.

This is the concern with live animals, air quality and temp but not pressure

John

Alan Roberts
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Just to add to that, cabin pressure is held at the equivalent of about 5,000 feet, not sea level. So there is a pressure change during flight, and that might cause humidity ingestion into semi-sealed items. But, like I said, I never had a problem with professional stuff in flight cases in holds. I now carry my consumer stuff in a small flight-type case in the cabin only so that it doesn't suffer from the tender ministrations of Baggage Handling.

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Chrome
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Thanks for all the help and guidance. Though I have a backup for almost everything I will still be carrying my cameras and mics; I cannot afford to take any chances. Not having the budget or maintenance facilities of the Beeb I have to treat my equipment with the utmost care. I fully take on board what you guys have said but whilst the slightest risk exists I would rather err on the side of caution. If I arrived with my equipment in any way impaired my reputation (such as it is) would be in tatters and this client would probably be lost forever.

The only real concern now is that my tripod/boom will still be baggage and this will have to go in a soft case :(
The Vinten cases are pretty robust but we will have to see.

Alan Craven
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Never had a problem checking in with tripod and heads in hold luggage. I usually have a carbon fibre tripod, which I thought could cause problems, but not even LA at their stickiest have ever quibbled. I simply pack it in the centre of a large case, surrounded by clothing.

There has never been any damage in transit, even when there has been external damage to the case. I was once asked to confirm what the item was on arrival at Aukland, where they scan and sniff incoming baggage.

Chrome
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Unfortunately my tripod is a bit too large to fit inside a case, measuring around 930x250x250 collapsed, so it has to take its chances in its own carry bag. BTW the legs are carbon fibre on these ones too. I am going to pad out the bag with towels.

Though I have travelled a lot in the past with flight cased equipment (including some very valuable prototypes), I haven't got international assignments since setting up on my own, so I am not really set up properly for it. If these come around more regularly I will have to invest in a set of 'proper' flight cases for the tripods and additional equipment. It will be interesting to see if the hired CRT monitor survives the flights (there was no way I was taking mine).

Alan Craven
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You obviously use small cases, Chrome!

I have a giant economy size Eagle Creek "wheelie bin" which would take your legs comfortably.

Could you use a golf bag - that would provide more protection than a soft case?

John Willett
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Chrome wrote:
Actually I meant professional mics, not ones with batteries in. Sennheiser MKH416s that will handle damp just fine . . . . . wondered if they could travel with the Rycote basket etc.

Don't travel with the 416 installed in the Rycote as you are likely to damage the microphoe, the suspension, or both.

Ideally take the microphone separately in it's own padded case (supplied with the microphone) - that's the safest.

John
 
A picture tells a thousand words, but sound tells a thousand pictures.

foxvideo
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Sue took a Vinten in it's soft case to Romania a few months back, fine when it went but had a "wobbly leg" on arrival, further investigation showed it to be a loose "security screw" under the top where the legs attach, which no one had the tool for despite all the Swiss Army knives etc, just thought it worth a mention....!

Dave Farrants Fox Video Editing

Alan Roberts
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And ski bags are good for carrying tripods and other long, stiff things, cheap from any sports shop.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
Broadcast tv crews carry everything in flight cases, in the hold. Even the programme tapes might go that way, although I know many who insist that they go as cabin baggage, but that's for fear of loss rather than damage in transit.

Regarding programme tapes, I would rather poke my eyes out with pointed sticks than trust them to the hold! Yes, the problem is loss, rather than fear of damage etc. This is one HUGE advantage of the DV family of tapes over the Beta family - unless the shoot has been mammoth, the size and weight is rarely a problem in the cabin. Even 20 SX or Digibeta would be.

Opinions vary, but generally in broadcast, yes, everything would go in the hold in flight cases - the Pelican series seem to be taking over from aluminium boxes. I wouldn't dream of taking a tripod into the cabin, but would put it in a hard case, and certainly wouldn't worry about microphones in the hold. The exception is likely to be the camera itself, which would frequently be hand carried. Here the reasoning is mainly due to it's value and the possibility of loss, secondly possible physical damage, but not really worry about environmental conditions in the hold. I've had to ship a camera sometimes, and never had any problems along those lines - just been pleased to see it emerge on the baggage carousel! :)

For a while now the maximum weight per case has been 32kg, and this is mandatory. Provided you have the money there seems little practical weight limit to the total you can travel with, but each individual case MUST be less than 32kg. (My personal record for excess baggage for a single flight was £2,200 - more than twice the cost of the ticket.)

I must correct Alan on one point regarding carnets - outside the EU they MAY be required for some countries, but for others a list is acceptable by itself, detailing your gear with serial nos and approx values - normally just the main items is sufficient, together with a catch all "tools of the trade" to cover the remainder. Note that if they ARE required by a country (eg USA) they MUST be carried.

I wouldn't take one for travel within the EU, partly because they are very expensive, (and why spend money unnecessarily?), and partly because once you start with one you MUST then get it dealt with at every border, and nowadays that may be difficult with some internal EU borders. And if ever I am asked "so just what has the EU ever done for me then!?" I think back to my early days in the industry when an (expensive) carnet was needed even for a days filming trip to Calais......

DVdoctor
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The reason that Humidity usually is not a problem is that the air at high altitudes is extremely dry, Depends on how much air the pilot is recirculating or bringing in fresh.
In order to have minimal discomfort on the ears, the pressure altitude is usually gradually altered.

Most problems I have seen are result of mishandleing the baggage on the ground, and thru the transfer process. Marking something fragiel seems to bring out the worst in Baggage Handlers

John

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003

It's worth adding that if you try to take too much into the cabin, you may be refused entry until agreeing that something may go in the hold. Since it probably won't be well protected, you may then wish you'd planned to check it properly boxed in the first place. (And I have seen this happen - once with little sympathy, the person was really pushing his luck, and people like that spoil things for the rest who are being more realistic.)