Advice for UK shooter in the US at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > Home, Away From Home

Home, Away From Home
Studio Space (Home) and Traveling Tips (Away From Home).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 27th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 192
Advice for UK shooter in the US

Hi All

I have a great opportunity to shoot a road trip from Denver to San Francisco, taking in the Bonneville Salt flats for a major UK news organisation. I usually shoot with a DSR-450 but I'm planning to travel light and shoot on a Z1, a tripod, complemented with a few minicams and some mics. I'll be there for 8 days.

I'm going through the proper channels for a media visa and also a carnet for the gear, but I was wondering if anyone had any advice on shooting in the US. It's my first time there and would really appreciate any tips/pitfalls I should be aware of before going. My chargers should be fine as they autosense power input from 100V/240V. As luck would have it, I already have some US-frequency radio mics!

Also, I've never flown with gear before so any tips on US airports/airlines would be really useful too. I thought the tripod and vehicle mounts could go in the hold, the minicams can be packed in my suitcase and I'll carry on the Z1...

Hope some of you chaps can help!
Graham Risdon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 28th, 2008, 12:25 AM   #2
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Southwest Idaho, USA
Posts: 3,063
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Risdon View Post
I've never flown with gear before so any tips on US airports/airlines would be really useful too.
Be sure and pack plenty of patience. Cross-country air travel here has been an absolute nightmare this summer; although, I heard from some of my frazzled east coast relatives that if you're heading west, the larger the airport the better your chances of not having horrible delays.

Before I switched cameras I encountered problems over the size of my camera bag. As long as I was on a bigger airplane I could stuff it under my seat, but on the smaller ones I got in trouble more than once for too much bag sticking out. I'd stay bent over pretending to cram that thing further under there until the flight attendants finally sat down for take-off. :) I hope your Z1 case is smaller.

Have a wonderful time in the States, Graham!
__________________
Lorinda
Lorinda Norton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 28th, 2008, 08:29 AM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
There's a new rule that you're only allowed to carry on the battery that's in your camera. Spare batteries must be checked. You might still need UK to US plug adapters, even if your chargers can adapt to the voltage. If you immediately need to do any heavy-extended physical activity in Denver, remember your body has to adjust for the altitude.
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 29th, 2008, 02:27 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 192
Thanks guys

Just got my iVisa approved yesterday at the US Embassy in London, so it looks like it's going ahead. I haven't seen the battery rule yet - is that part of the airline rules or a more general security issue?

I haven't been to the US before so I'm really looking forward to it, although I'm prepared for long delays at immigration....

Many thanks

Graham
Graham Risdon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 29th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #5
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Makati, Metro Manila
Posts: 2,706
Images: 32
Whoops, I mispoke about the batteries, it's reversed, you should put batteries in your hand carry. Here are the TSA rules for batteries.
__________________
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
Michael Wisniewski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 1st, 2008, 02:17 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
According to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration, I believe) web site, the carry on size restrictions are waived for "media cameras", but they still have to be capable of being stowed safely on the aircraft. I think this means that as long as it will fit in the overhead compartment you're OK even if the bag is larger than the official carry on size.

I carried my JVC 110 in a Camrade case on several flights in June and even though the case was a good four inches longer than the carry-on limit I had no problem except for having to sort of scrunch the bag down a bit to get it to slip though the opening of the overhead compartment. The Southwest flight attendant helped me squeeze it in, and the TSA security folks were actually quite helpful and hand checked it for me. Once I showed them what was in the bag they didn't require me to take the camera out and run it through the X-ray machine in a separate basket, even though the sign said video cams and laptops have to be removed from their bags. Your mileage may (and will!) vary

I think you're lucky to be arriving at Denver instead of boarding there as the Denver airport has one of the worst security setups I've seen in a lifetime of business travel. The problem is that there are basically just two sets of security lines for the entire airport and I've had waits of well over an hour in these lines. San Francisco is pretty easy because the terminals are separate so there are a lot of separate security stations scattered around the airport and you don't get 2 million people trying to squeeze through one or two checkpoints like Denver.

If you know which airports/airlines you'll be using, I'm sure somone here will have relevant experience and advice about each of them.

The situation really varies by airport and airline. For example, LA is generally OK, but the Southwest terminal is an absolute nightmare for checking things. In San Jose CA the American/Southwest terminal is also a horror show, but if you depart after 6 or 7 PM it's wide open.

FYI - this happened a few days back There are some good(???) videos floating around the web. Don't be surprised by anything.

http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal...u-hits-a-2395/
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 3rd, 2008, 12:40 AM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 192
Thanks for all the replies guys.

Turns out the trip has been delayed, so I've got a bit more time to prepare!

Maybe it will be after the main holiday season which should make the flying bit a little easier...
Graham Risdon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 773
I'd avoid the U.S. entirely if at all possible, and hire a local crew with PAL cameras to do the shoot instead. Cameras and data can be confiscated indefinitely at the border.

http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/01/l...r-without-cau/

One of the reasons I've decided to hire local crews for any additional New Zealand footage I need for my documentary - despite the fact that I'd love to go back - is because the last thing I want to do is pay $2000 for a round-trip and have all the footage I worked on confiscated at the U.S. border.
__________________
Equip: Panny GH1, Canon HG20, Juicedlink, AT897, Sennh. EW/GW100, Zoom H2, Vegas 8.1
Brian Boyko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 4th, 2008, 12:43 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
This might be just a bit of an overreaction. I think that well over 50% of international travelers carry laptops, at least judging by my experience in the maybe 300 or so cross ocean roundtrips I've made.

If Customs started grabbing laptops without any reason, they'd have to build a new warehouse at each airport. And the screaming from business travelers would get loud enough to be heard in the White House.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2008, 11:37 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 773
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
This might be just a bit of an overreaction. I think that well over 50% of international travelers carry laptops, at least judging by my experience in the maybe 300 or so cross ocean roundtrips I've made.

If Customs started grabbing laptops without any reason, they'd have to build a new warehouse at each airport. And the screaming from business travelers would get loud enough to be heard in the White House.
The White House is deaf, and airports do indeed have warehouses the size of *cough* airplane hangers.
__________________
Equip: Panny GH1, Canon HG20, Juicedlink, AT897, Sennh. EW/GW100, Zoom H2, Vegas 8.1
Brian Boyko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
I ran across a neat little book the other day. It had a title something like "1,000 Things that aren't going to happen to you"

Thinks like being attacked by a great white shark, having a piece of blue ice from an airplane lavatory land on your head, winning the Irish Sweepstakes, being elected president, etc etc.

I think having your stuff confiscated by US Customs is a candidate for inclusion on the list.

Does it ever happen? Of course. Do I think it's a good idea? Of course not. Do I worry myself into a froth about it every time I come though Customs - absolutely not. The odds of having your stuff stolen are astronomically higher than having Customs impound them.

Which is sort of the point of the book. Not to say that the bad things don't happen, but to say that the probability is so low that you shouldn't organize your life around avoiding them because the time spent worrying about them would be better spent worrying about that bad things that ARE going to happen to you. Like being audited by the IRS, having dropouts on your once-in-a-lifetime video, forgetting to white balance, recording over something important, going out for a day of large format photography with no film in your film holders, etc. (Happened to me!)

Or even missing out on an opportunity to take an 8 day video treck across the US Southwest
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 02:38 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Los Angeles, california
Posts: 228
I just had $10k worth of cameras stolen in flight.

US airlines do not insure cameras, and you only receive $3000 worth of insurance per traveler anyway. You cannot lock your bags. If you can't carry your cameras on the plane with you (and the note above about media cameras is good to know), then you must have insurance with you.

We had our cameras in big Pelican cases. They were opened and checked before the flight and came down the luggage carousel looking in perfect order. We opened 'em up and no cameras. Sometime between checking them in and them being unloaded in Chicago, the cases were open, everything stolen and then sealed back up.

On another note, I'm purchasing a dolly that folds up to the size of a briefcase, and which unfolds to a platform 30" long that will hold 300 pounds of equipment. I can get three big Pelican cases, two tripods and my light kit on it and wheel it away on my own. I expect it to make life easier. :)
Lori Starfelt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 03:03 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
WOW!!! What a terrible story. I feel bad for you - hopefully your insurance will cover them

But I think you CAN lock your bags if you use the TSA type locks that can be opened by TSA personnel. And I think you can lock them after they've been hand checked by TSA while you watch - not sure of the details, but I know folks who travel with musical instruments worth a lot more than cameras and they say there is a proceedure for having the bags checked and then locking them.

Next time I travel I think I'll talk to the TSA folks ad see what I can find out.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > Home, Away From Home

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:35 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network