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Old February 13th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #1
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Suggestions for 1st Overseas Shoot

I might be opening up a real can of worms here but I'm definitely open to new ideas and suggestions---I've been shooting and working production since '93 and have traveled the US & Canada extensively on shoots but now I'm going to Spain for my 1st shoot overseas for 2 weeks.
My scenario is shooting a motorcycle racing team---no script, no special shots staged or planned at this time---they want a 'fly on the wall' type of coverage or (cringe) reality style shooting.
I've got an XL2 with wireless audio covered and Bogen/Manfrotto 503 tripod/legs w/ 2 7" lcd monitors, my trusty Varizoom Pro Lanc controller, but am considering these upgrades:
audio--a shotgun mic?
new hard travel cases?
xtra batteries/charger (duh!)
20 tapes (maybe 30)
cabling & spares for audio and monitoring (duh!)

So I'd appreciate suggestions and new ideas.

Here's a couple of more quandaries: should I take my 12' mini jib w/ remote head? That's like 4 more cases of equipment to ship.

Many thanks for your patience. Pat
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Old February 13th, 2007, 12:43 PM   #2
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Hi Pat,

Lucky you! Besides what I'm about to tell you, do a search on this forum...there's a few threads that deal with this as well.

First and foremost...how are you going to bring the equipment? If you're going to ship it, cool. FedEx to your heart's content, because you'll have to pay lots of extra charges to fly it. That brings another quandry: you have to check with your airline to see what you can and can not bring into the cabin. I'm talking baggage size here. I flew British Airways and connected to Iberia last July. I have an XL2 and used a PortaBrace softcase for the camera (the CTC-3). It's just a BIT longer than they allow, but I got it through. I also have the Pelican 1510 hardcase with foam inserts. The problem with this is that you have to take the viewfinder off the camera to make it fit.

I only bring this up because Murphy's Law says something's going to get "lost" or damaged. Happened to me 3 TIMES! British Airways "lost" my tripod (and suitcase) for three days...didn't get it back until two days before I left. Iberia "lost" my tripod for 6 days. Needless to say, you want to take your camera with you ON THE PLANE...it's your bread and butter. That gets lost or damaged, you're SOL.

Anyway, I can't recommend what else for you to take as I have not done the kind of production you are attempting...except to say it's better to have more (batteries/tapes) than not enough! Get an extra charger...depending on how long you shoot per day.

Sum up: Ship your equipment...take your camera (if you can).
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Old February 13th, 2007, 03:01 PM   #3
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I second the idea of shipping ahead when possible. On my last trip to Ecuador I was ok with 2 pieces checked and one carry-on. The other person I was with had a total of 10 pieces to check. It cost him $100USD each for the 8 extra bags and equipment cases. I'm leaving for Guatemala in a few days, taking a tripod in a padded case and a duffle bag with personal items, which will be checked. That leaves my camera, which I'm going to carry on with me. Although I have a hard case for the camera, it's to large for carry-on, so I have been taking a small wheeled carry-on with the camera packed inside. This case (see attached photo) is 22"x14"x9" when closed. I have my camera, batteries, charger, lens hoods, and a Tokina 80-200mm lens tucked in a cavity below the batteries. The whole thing weighs ~25 pounds, and the best thing about it is, I don't look like I'm carrying an expensive camera. I also have all my tapes and cables stowed in the outside compartments. As a side note, I understand some airlines are now going to charge for luggage over a 1 bag checked limit, so start packing wisely, or start shipping ahead.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #4
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The other problem is security, it seems very common for baggage to be opened when destined for the holds and baggage has a pretty low priority. Two years ago, I waited and waited for my kit on the way to a skiing shoot. None of the larger items arrived. In the end, despite telling us they were on the way, we found them on a cart in the airport and nobody had the key!

The note about Fedex or other carrier may be sensible advice - far easier to send the kit by a secure method and collect it when you get there.

As for the jib - if the budget allows, send it - if budgets are tight, then leave it at home.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 02:49 AM   #5
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Pat - will the end results be for the US or European market? If the Spanish footage is for viewing outside of USA, then it will be better to shoot with a PAL version XL2 rather than NTSC.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #6
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Thanks guys for all the suggestions. Since the post I've since had several conversations with the owner of the racing team/producer(?) and we've come to an agreement over the what's when's and how's!
No lights, no jib, run & gun style, no specific set up shots, attempt to capture good audio and be that fly on the wall.
I'm carrying my cheapy tripod, my NTSC XL2 w/ 20x & 3x lenses, 30 tapes, 6 batteries, 2 chargers, a cleaning kit/head cleaner, 2 7" lcd's w/ cabling as a carry on, checking my clothes, and voila!

The market is basically for the US/England and their prospective web sites. It should be fun and interesting as this is going to be a training trip for the racing teams. How come there was never anything like this when I was growing up? (I'm old-56):)

Again many thanks. Pat Miller/Dallas
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Old February 14th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #7
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"I'm carrying my cheapy tripod, my NTSC XL2 w/ 20x & 3x lenses, 30 tapes, 6 batteries, 2 chargers, a cleaning kit/head cleaner, 2 7" lcd's w/ cabling as a carry on..."

WOW! Whatcha using to pack all that stuff into? What airline? (I only ask that because I know Heathrow Airport only allows one carry-on if you are transferring through or leaving from there...so if you've got 2 carry-ons leaving the States and get to Heathrow, you're gonna have to check one of the bags).

Jonathan
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Old February 14th, 2007, 03:29 PM   #8
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Just to add my perspective if I may . . . hope this isn't considered to be hi-jacking the thread. Please put me right if it is.

In a couple of weeks time I'm off to Kenya shooting a documentary for a charity that builds schools in remote areas.

I've got my kit down to the XL2 (disassembled, sadly, in a metal flight case that JUST meets carry on requirements), a Pag C6 kit for the occasional inside interview, 50 tapes, 9 x BP945's (I may be away from power for up to 3 days at a time), matte box (for the CP and grad ND and 'cause it looks cool), Red Eye non-zoom through wide angle adaptor (can't afford the 3X, sigh), and tripod kit (hoping Manfrotto's UK distributor is going to loan one, if not it will be a 501 head and a fairly crap set of legs - my decent gear is really studio sized stuff not suited to lugging around Africa). Accessories include a cleaning kit and a rain/dust cover. I'm also going to invest in a car charger for the batteries as we will have a 4x4 when we're out and about.

Kenya Airways has a strict baggage allowance 20kg, one piece checked and 10kg hand, and as we'll will be flying around Kenya internally I can't push my luck with what I take (having to bribe officials really ticks me off).

My dilemma is whether to take my AT835b and mount it on the camera, or whether the onboard will do. Either way I will need to buy a windjammer (I have a Rycote system with windjammer but I'm nervous about it getting crushed in my luggage so it's staying at home - remember this is a project for a charity so budgets are next to zero - no leeway for excess baggage).

I'm also undecided about taking my trusty Beyerdynamic DT100 cans. I'm interested in levels more than content (I don't speak Kiswahili!!) or the odd distant noise - this is a doc after all, not a feature film - but should I take them or could I successfully monitor with the meters alone? This doc is following two people going around these remote villages recording the villagers singing local songs. The recordings will be made into a CD which is to be sold to raise funds for the charity. Likewise the doc, if successful will be sold as a DVD.As such, I reckon that a good 70% of the audio will be lifted from the singing recordings (using decent pro level gear) and possibly some v/o in post while the remainder will be interviews with locals, charity workers, tribal chiefs etc ;-).

OK, in summary, if I take the AT835b, what items would I need to buy to mount it to the camera and to cut wind noise? The accessory shoe will be used by the Pag light so that's out.

OR will the on board mic do? If so, any advice on a decent windjammer?

Out of interest, if I do take the AT and run it off phantom power, anyone got any idea what sort of hit that would have on the batteries? I'm using third party BP-945 equivalents and I am hoping to get around 2 hours per charge.


I am in the UK so suggestions for a local supplier would work best!

Thanks for any advice!

Ian . . .

ps, One tip for Pat - take ear plugs! I shot from the pit wall at Nuerburg last year during the Old Timers Grand Prix and my ears suffered for a while afterwards!
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Old February 14th, 2007, 03:31 PM   #9
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Oh, as an aside I also meant to say that I intend to get the baggage (with the tripod strapped to the side) wrapped in that heavy duty cling film they provide at the airport. Hopefully that will stop prying fingers.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 05:10 PM   #10
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Ian...
don't know about the other stuff, but I've got the PAG C6 as well. It's a piece of s***. Wished I could have taken more time and got my boss to splurge for a Frezzi. Could you shoot me a PM with your e-mail? I have a quick question for ya about using the C6.

Thanks,

Jonathan
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Old February 15th, 2007, 01:24 AM   #11
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Hi Jonathan,

Yeah it's not the greatest light in the world, but when I bought mine I was given no impression that it is anything other than a modelling light for close quarter interviews - ie a supplement to whatever light is already available.

I've used mine a few times only but so far in that role it's worked fine. I also used it last week to shoot a piece of heavy equipment in a steel factory (hmmm . . . that was fun). The available light was reasonable in most regards but the image was a little flat. The Pag did a great job of just taking the edge off and giving me a little more depth.

Anyway, that said, PM on it's way!

Cheers.

Ian . . .

Last edited by Ian Stark; February 15th, 2007 at 05:37 AM.
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