There are many different ways to caravan that may apply to different situations. Think about each suggestion to see if it applies to your operation and territory.

Send vehicles of equal speed together if possible. A break down can happen. People don't like to caravan, but it can prevent disaster.

Send slower vehicles ahead as a group. You will likely be out of radio contact. 2 cellular telephones might keep you in contact.

Long caravans are very slow in the city. Stop lights are killers.

On multiple lane roads, the rear car of a caravan can slow down and hold back traffic to allow cars ahead to make lane changes.

In a short caravan the last vehicle can keep left in his lane to stay in sight of the leader.

If the caravan is on a long haul and is holding up traffic, spread out and make room for people to pass.

Put progressively taller vehicles to the rear so that the leader can see them over the top of the middle vehicles.

Be firm about getting people lined up in the right direction and ready to roll at pull-away time. Be firm with stragglers.

Explain that every minute costs. If certain people are chronically late, leave them behind once and embarrass them. (With a map.)

Make each vehicle responsible for the one behind them.

Locals leading a caravan, but who are not used to caravaning should be in radio contact with the production leader and be told if he is losing the pack.

Put a crew person who is used to caravaning in the car with the local.

When arriving, have a person direct parking so as to not interfere with the locals and to facilitate getting away for the next move. Everyone thinks that his vehicle is the most important. Get the working vehicles as close as possible. Have people park facing the next location.

Don't block driveways and businesses. Don't fill business parking lots.

Give each vehicle a well drawn map and set of instructions. You might also provide a commercial map. Consider that there may be no map reader in a vehicle.

Maps should be tested by driving route if possible. Some signs don't read asassumed. Construction can change things.

People need clear, precise instructions so that "I Assumed" is not an excuse.

Be firm about radio chit-chat. It is illegal, it wastes batteries (transmit is 20 times the drain of receive) and you may interfere with others on your channel. Radios that are "Private line" or other tone squelches are heard by everyone on your frequency. You may not hear the others, but they hear you. The newspapers and loggers share our motion picture frequencies: 173.225/275 and 173.325/375 mc.

Vehicles delayed by a light or other cars should let the group ahead know.

Roof antennae and linear amplifiers help extend your radio range a lot. You do need to test them often as they will do no good if not working. The antennae wires often fail and make the radio worthless.

Tell people to stay in vehicles if you are not yet to the right location.

Designate someone to be responsible for gas, oil, tire and water checks before call time or at end of each day.

Give instructions to someone responsible for a group what is needed for the next few shots is there is a vehicle problem.

Try to keep the number of vehicles to a minimum.

If possible have one person who has been to the location before in the lead vehicle. This can minimize any question about wrong turns along the way.

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.