Behind the Behind-the-Scenes: Building Delta a Bag of Cameras

You don’t need to lose a bag on a flight to know it’s a frustrating experience.

It’s one our client Delta Air Lines has made easier with Baggage Tracker in the Fly Delta App. To spread the word about the app feature, we wanted to take people on a journey they couldn’t normally take. How? By taking an ordinary bag, rigging it with 6 cameras, and sending it from Atlanta to New York. The result? An uncensored, curiosity-quenching tour of all the people, places, and things your bag encounters on its way from Point A to Point B. Watch it now if you haven’t already.

The video was a big hit, so we think it would be fun to give you a behind the scenes look at the man who actually built the bag; the guy behind the bag that took you behind the rubber flaps.

Meet Jamie Carreiro. A self proclaimed nerd-storyteller/creative-builder guy who makes stuff. He may be the only person using a mallet, power drill and soldering iron to work in advertising in downtown NYC.

In his own words, Jamie walked us through making the bag.

So you want to send a piece of luggage on a Delta flight and have it record an awesome video of the journey all by itself?

Challenge accepted.

1. First I needed to set up a makeshift workshop in the 6th floor kitchen of W+K NYC.

Done.

2. Choose a camera
Ok so we’ll need to record in every possible direction (who knows which way the bag will be pointing) so that means 6 cameras. They’ll need to be small and lightweight with EPIC long battery life and record times. And be HD. And have image stabilization. And no moving parts that would break from vibration. And be awesome in low light…better call Sony.

WINNER: Sony HDR-CX360V

32Gb of internal flash memory, 4.4 pounds even with 8+ hour battery, 1920×1080 and barely 5 inches long. Win.

3. Design and build the rig.

There was really no other choice than a Pelican case for this beast, they’re tough as hell and waterproof and I love them. I made a bunch of paper mockup-cameras to test fit for size and ended up with the Pelican 1620 case. (Want to know how to make a Pelican case more annoying to move and carry? Design a rig that requires you to take off the roller wheels and all the handles.)

I needed everything to be super beefy and everything-proof. 4.4 pound cameras? I’ll use 11-pound-rated camera mounts. Expecting rain? I’ll put thick rubber washers on all exterior bolts. (I cut these by hand from a sheet of rubber because hardware stores wanted almost $2 a piece! Cray. So we just made some.) Need camera windows that will protect them from the elements? I’ll get squares cut from 1/8″ plexiglass. (Canal Plastics does this super fast and cheap, one of my favorite places in Chinatown. Them and their neighbor up the street, Canal Foam and Rubber.)

Here’s what it looks like on the inside:

And with the cameras mounted:

4. Come Fly with me

Once I had all the cameras mounted and peeking through their little round plexi-covered windows I filled the whole thing up with dense foam and headed to the airport. My man-bag carried an air blower to get rid of dust, lens wipes, windex wipes for the plexi windows and a small kit of tools to maintain the rig. (Protip: if you bring a tool with a handle less than 7″, you’re ok. 7+” and it’s not allowed. This is how I ended up losing my ratchet handle but keeping the socket itself and some pliers. Lesson learned.)

So then I flew around and shot video for one long day in December. And then our badass editor Andrew Robertson added “Hours” by Tycho to take the video from cool to awesome.

Awesome indeed.

For more of our Delta work, head to wk.com, and follow us on Twitter at @WKNYC.

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