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>How do you prepare for a trip? What are your main objectives when you go?

I'll include a copy of a checklist I made up a long time ago. I don't take half a this stuff along any more, but it might be interesting.

My main objective is to have everything I will need to do the job. Every trip I have this fear I will leave something behind and not be able to shoot. It's best to have a written checklist, but you can do a mental checklist by closing your eyes and going through the setup procedure to get ready for a shoot. As you think, "tripod, mounting plate, camera, batteries, tape stock" etc. hook everything up in your mind. As you go through the list, make sure you have ea. item in your pile ready to pack into your cases.

Have as much redundancy as possible in case something breaks (usually not a whole lot is possible) and then the objective is to get the story, whatever it takes. My film professor in college used to say something like "you can have all kinds of excuses, but the bottom line is either you get it in the can or you don't. Nobody will really care about anything else." I'm always going into situations thinking about how I can capture the essence of the story. What will look dynamic? What different approaches can I use. What will be helpful in editing to give me different options? Doing editing will be your best teacher about what to shoot. Always be thinking editing as you shoot. Think about the pieces you will need to put it together. Establishing shots. Signs. Graphics. Cutaways. Effects elements. After a while, a lot of this becomes second nature do you can relax a bit with it. But there is always something different - no two situations are exactly alike. But you develop your bag of tricks and pull them out as appropriate. The challenge is to come up with something different that you've never seen or done before. Things like the Steadicam open the door for that kind of thing.

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TRAVEL CHECKLIST
Personal Items:


Grooming, Health, Comfort:
Shaving bag
Toothbrush, paste
Mouthwash
cold pills, aspirin, diariha med.
deodarant
razor
shave cream
calogne
shampoo
Foot powder/spray
Hairbrush
Hair dryer
nail clipper
mustache scissors
Foam ear plugs
Dramamine pills
Fibars, Kudo bars, Power Bars
Cans of tuna, small opener
Dried fruit
Red Vines
gum, mints
Jacket, hat, gloves, scarf
Jeans
Bathing suit
T-shirts
Any pants and shirt should go together
Extra shoes/flip-flops
Suit or One nice shirt and tie, just in case
Clothes washing soap
Thick white socks for on the plane
Inflatable pillow
PentaPure water purification filter cup
Passport, visa
Airline tickets, itinerary, hotel info.
Wallet
Pocket knife & flashlight
Date/Address book
Cash and/or traveler's checks, lots of 1's & 5's
Credit card
For postcards: rtn. address labels and addr. labels
Sunglasses, neck strap or string
City & subway maps
Phone & address of contacts
Fanny pack
Document satchel
Carry-on bag
Suitcase or Travel pack
Business cards
Frequent flyer numbers
Alarm clock
Micro cassettes, AAA batts., recorder
Walkman/tapes/AA batts.
Computer/power supply/disks
Bible
Books
Booklite/power supply/C batts./spare bulb/pouch
Flashlight, batts.
Leatherman tool
4-laws
Snapshot camera, film
Gifts: T-shirts, baseball hats, gum, American change, backpacks
Calculator
Shortwave Radio/antenna/freq. book
Language translator
Luggage locks, Gaffer tape & zip ties for latches
Pedometer
Compas
Video Items:
Batt., extra cords, extention for battery in pocket
Camera strap
Intl. adapters, transformer
Guitar Stuff
Picks
Capo
Music