On The Road with EPIC
The adventures of a video crew on the move
How do you pack for a trip? I’ll admit, I’ve always envied those folks who can toss a couple of things in an overnight bag and call it good.
That’s simply not in my DNA, which may explain why I’m part of EPIC Creative’s Video, Motion + Photography (VMP) team. We travel big! And we do it a lot. In fact, in 2022 our team was on the road 36 weeks out of the year.
We’ve been everywhere: San Diego, Brainerd, Rochester, Chicago, Colorado Springs, San Antonio, New Orleans, Louisville, Fargo, Phoenix, Kansas City, Fort Wayne, Philadelphia, Fayetteville, Traverse City, Houston, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Austin, Temecula, Portland … you get the picture.
That’s a lot of coming and going and a lot of people and gear moving across the country.
So how do we make it all work?
Organization is key
Our VMP team leaves nothing to chance. Before any trip, we meet with the client and ask a ton of questions. Will we be doing interviews? How many people will we be talking to and are they separate or together? Do you want a cutaway camera? How big is the room? Are there windows? Is it noisy? Will we also be taking still photographs? Do you want time-lapse footage? Do you need a drone? Do you want to stream this? How will the footage be used? We could go on and on!
Our VMP team leaves nothing to chance … Like boy scouts, we always try to be prepared.
All this helps us decide what to bring. And we have a lot to choose from: we have 27 cameras, 5 drones, a multitude of microphones, and dozens of lights. Plus there’s all the other little stuff: a teleprompter, extension cords, splitters, adapters, battery chargers, lens cleaners, light stands, clamps, and even our own rolling cart.
Like boy scouts, our VMP team always tries to be prepared. We’re pretty adaptable for just about any scenario a client throws our way, planned or unplanned. But that means lots of bags!
Bringing the baggage
When we show up at the airport, you can’t miss us. We’re “that person” in front of you that takes twice as long to move through the check-in line because we’re moving 8-12 bags. And while we’ve been lucky and rarely have had an airline lose our luggage, we do take precautions. We take our cameras as our carry-on, so at a bare minimum we could still shoot video.
Once we land, we’ve got things down to a science. One person gets the rental car; the others get all the bags and wait. Doing pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport can be the most challenging driving during any trip out-of-town—especially trying to figure out how to lower the back seats in a variety of SUVs in the dark. (You’d be surprised at what some of the switches in those vehicles do and don’t do!)
Then it’s off to the hotel. Here again we occasionally have to get creative. Some hotels/motels still don’t have elevators, so we need to make sure we have a room on the ground floor. Otherwise we get our workout by hauling all our bags up to our room.
Secret admission: We often “borrow” the hotel cart for the duration of our stays. It makes getting our gear in and out a little easier. Plus it gives us a convenient storage spot in the room.
Charge it up
At this point, you’d think we have time to relax and check emails but, for our photographers and videographers, the real work is just beginning.
First, we do an outlet hunt because we have a lot of batteries that need charging. Then we start rebuilding cameras and double-checking that all the equipment we brought is ready to go for the shoot. It’s always time well spent so we’re ready to hit the ground running.
Since we’re typically staying in an unfamiliar city, we make sure to give ourselves plenty of time to get our location. But sometimes even our best-laid plans can go awry. Like the time in New Orleans, when our shoot location was less than a mile away and we gave ourselves 30 minutes to get there. Plenty of time, right? Nope. We ended up crossing paths with an organized run going through downtown, which blocked all access to the convention center. Eventually, we found the closest parking garage, loaded up all our gear, and hauled it through the city for a half mile. It’s all in a day’s work! (And in case you are wondering, yes, we made it with time to spare, although we were a little sweaty.)
We’ve also hauled gear up dry and dusty California hillsides, through muddy concert venues, and out on thin metal catwalks—all in pursuit of the perfect shot. Then we pack it all up and head home or on to the next shoot.
2023 will no doubt be full of adventures and travel for other exciting shoots, so reach out and connect with us, lock in a date, and book your next EPIC Creative video. Just don’t expect us to travel light!
Want to stay in touch on where we are going and when we will be there? Sign up for EPIC emails, and we will keep you in the know so you can piggyback shoots at locations we have coming up!