15 items for travel filmmaking you didn’t even know you needed

Tips & Techniques

If you travel a lot to shoot photos or video, then there will likely be a lot of things you keep in your bags to make your life a little easier. If you’re planning to make a trip to shoot something, you might not have thought things through quite as well as you think you have. In this video, the folks at NOMO Films show us eleven essential items that they take with them on their travels.

The video’s called “11 filmmaking travel items”, but they actually cover 15(ish). So, we’re goin’ with that. 15 items. There are a lot of great useful tips for things to pack here.

It’s quite a simple list, but also logical. You might need to adjust it a little, though, depending on what type of trip you’re taking and where you’re going.

  • A power brick – This way, you only need a single travel adapter
  • Collapsible water bottle – takes up little space in your bag, but lets you fill it up whenever you want to stay hydrated while you’re out and about.
  • Crab clamps/Super clamps – These are super handy, attach them to stuff and have 1/4-20″ and 3/8-16″ threaded sockets to screw things into.
  • A “Rabbit Key” – I’ve got a similar type of thing to this from another brand. It’s invaluable for quickly attaching and removing tripod plates.
  • Velcro strips – These allow you to keep all your stuff organised while working on your laptop. Use it to attach hard drives, card readers and other things so they’re not flying around all over the place while you’re trying to work.
  • Right-angle USB cable – When you’re working in unfamiliar and often cramped environments, these will help protect your cables and your USB ports.
  • Travel locks – They really do help prevent theft.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones – You’ll be glad you have these, especially if you’re flying.
  • Sim card holder & tray eject pin – If you’re in a country not covered by your carrier, getting a temporary sim will be priority number 1.
  • Portable speaker – If you’ve got good headphones, this might not be as essential, but it can be handy for editing and mixing sound if not.
  • Rocket Blower – Every photographer and filmmaker should have one of these in their bag, even if they don’t travel.
  • A folding portable reflector – If you don’t have powerful lights with you, these will come in useful to help even out your outdoor shots.
  • A gaiter/balaclava – You might think these are just for keeping you warm in the cold, but they can help to keep you cool in the heat, too.
  • A headlamp – Plan for the worst, hope for the best!
  • Eyewear retainer – Even if you don’t normally wear glasses and just wear shades, these will help to ensure you never lose them

Most of the things I pack for travel are similar to the above list, although I never considered the right angle USB cables before. It’s a good point, though, now I’ve seen it. I might have to pick up a few of these.

I prefer to go with a universal power strip rather than a power brick as shown. Most of my devices use power cables that can be removed from their devices, and US plugs are much smaller than UK plugs, so I try to pack US plug power cables. But some devices are hardwired to UK plugs, so a universal strip gives me more options. I have a few of these with different plugs on the end for countries I visit most often, and just pack whichever one is appropriate for the trip.

As well as the sticky Velcro strips mentioned above, I also take some hook & loop that sticks to itself. You never know when you might need to buy a spare cable or two when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and this will help you to keep them organised.

A backup phone is also something I pack when I travel. If your main phone gets lost or stolen, having a spare back at the hotel or packed in your bag that you can just pop a fresh cheap sim into will be invaluable.

What do you take with you on your travel assignments?

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