Watch: 5 Travel Tips for Jet-Setting Filmmakers

If a you're filmmaker who travels all around the world, here are some tips that will make each journey a little easier.

Traveling can be a headache, especially if you're doing so for a film shoot. Not only do you have to plan your trip, but you also have to organize and transport all of your essential gear.

Here to help you get an idea of what needs to be done when you hit the road or take to the skies is photographer/filmmaker Peter McKinnon, who lays out five tips in the video below.

Choose the right bag

Whether it's a messenger bag, a bag with wheels, or a backpack, taking along the right bag for your trip is an important choice. McKinnon suggests a backpack for those who will have to carry their gear long distances, since you'll be able to keep it close to you and away from anyone who may want to get their hands on it. If you're taking a plane to your destination, you might also want to make sure it fits in the overhead, because who wants to risk their most important piece of luggage getting lost?

Do your homework

If you're a travel filmmaker, this tip is especially important. Once you get to your destination, you'll want to capture all of the important sights, so doing your homework and finding out all of the best shooting locations is key. Ask around before you go—ask fellow filmmakers who have been to the location, ask those who have been there before, ask locals, ask travel guides, ask anyone who can give you some tips on where you can get some good shots.

Storage and backups

Don't make the mistake of not taking precautions when storing the footage you capture while on location—otherwise, your trip will be a complete waste. Bring portable and durable hard drives (I use a shock-proof LaCie Rugged HD because it has a rubber casing that makes it durable) as well as plenty of memory cards. When you offload your footage, be sure to have an organized workflow so you'll be able to locate your stuff when you return back home to edit. McKinnon gives you a demo of his in the video.

Essential items to bring

So, what are some things you should absolutely bring on your trip? McKinnon lists the following:

  • Variable ND filter
  • Extra batteries
  • World travel adapter kit

Shoot at the right time of day

Choosing the right time of day to shoot your footage is incredibly important because the look of a location can completely change between sunrise and sunset. Once you decide on when to shoot, it's also crucial to be prepared before you head out. Make sure you've got everything you'll need for the shoot, make sure everything is charged, and make sure you know where you're going (because if you're trying to capture, say, a mountain during sunset, you have a very small window to shoot before you lose your opportunity).

What are some other travel tips filmmakers should know about before heading out on their great cinematic adventures? Let us know in the comments.     

Your Comment


#6. - Visas, permits and carnets

March 24, 2017 at 7:40PM, Edited March 24, 7:40PM

Mark Wyatt

They should absolutely go over carnets, I'm a bit confused on them and hope to be traveling internationally for my film work soon.

March 24, 2017 at 7:50PM

John Haas

A supply of passport photos; if you need to get one locally for an official permit chances are there won't be a photo-booth anywhere nearby.

Images of your family - partner, children, parents, grandparents - and hometown to show as ice-breakers.

Single female filmmakers, it shouldn't be the case but a wedding ring will often save unwanted hassle.

Whatever tummy medicine works for you.

Photocopy of your passport and any other important documentation.

March 25, 2017 at 12:36AM, Edited March 25, 12:50AM

Rob Cole-Hamilton

2nd on the stomach ache medicine! Sounds simple but it can save you a lot of misery...

March 25, 2017 at 10:30AM


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