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Old September 15th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #1
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India Bound

Off to India for 10 days to video and photograph some of our church mission sites in Chennai India.

I have been to Honduras before with my equipment and didn't have any problems, but I have no clue about India.

I guess I'll just throw out a few questions that somebody might have answers to.

1. Shots...I hate shots, which ones are really necessary?
2. Power adapters, do I need them and if so what kind?
3. Weather...What type of clothing do I need to bring?
4. Internet access...How accessible is it?

I will be videoing some interviews, scenery, schools, churches, etc. and taking pictures along the way.
I have a Sony HVR-V1U and a canon 40d, with all the miscellaneous stuff

If you have any advice or comments I would love to hear them.
Thanks in advance!!!

Jason
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #2
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Jason, India is a wonderful place to shoot. I was there on a holiday 18 months ago and it was great.

With respect to your first and last questions:

1. Shots - you need to check with your local health authority. Some of the shots we had were given weeks in advance. Keep in mind that this is a DV forum, not one about health.
4. Internet access - all the hotels we stayed at had access. They were not four star hotels but neither were they the ones you get for less than $10.

Good luck!
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Old September 15th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #3
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Hi Jason.............

I'll second Curt's comments, tho' stress that 10 days really won't even begin to see you through the "culture shock" phase of your first trip there.

Brief answers to Q's:-

1. Hepatitus and Meningitis are the only must do's (they apply even when at home).

2. One of those "universal" adapters should do the trick, tho' if it's defficient you'll probably be able to pick one up in a local market in Chennai. Ensure that anything you need to plug in will work on 180 - 240 volts AC, most stuff nowadays will, but check.

3. Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb - winter, pleasant nights, hot days. NO JEANS! Light weight poly cotton everything, except socks which should be pure cotton.

Mar, Apr, May, June .......Oct avoid at all costs.

4. As Curt said.

Be aware that "professional" filming/ videoing/ photography is forbidden in most govt. buildings and monuments and this has rubbed off on many "private" buildings as well. Check before shooting.

Get the best mosquito repellant money can buy - they WILL eat you alive if given the chance. I think they've improved on "neat Deet" but that's a good backstop if nothing else is available.

Get one of those "round the neck and down the shirt" pouches for you're passport/ money - never, and I mean NEVER, take it off/ leave it behind/ I won't need that etc.

Be aware that, depending on how you're flight(s) is/ are routed, you MAY get stuck with the usual 20 kg (44 pounds) luggage weight limit that applies to any flight not starting/ finishing in the USA (plus 7 kg carry on limit).

The food is out of this world, just don't eat anything that isn't cooked right under you're nose. Your system will not have time in 10 days to come close to adapting to the local bugs - try to avoid them. Consume nothing "fresh" ie. uncooked (peeled fruit excepted) nor anything with or in ice, there's no telling where the water came from. Tap water is similarly off limits. Beer or bottled water is the way to go (the former a bit of a struggle, tho' not impossible, in Chennai).

I could write a book on this but I guess if there's anything you really want to know it would be simpler to just ask.


CS
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Old September 15th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #4
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We were on the Tamil coast for three weeks with 3 days in and around New Delhi in November four years ago. I second everything said here (although I prefer Smart Wool socks over cotton - wash them in the sink and they are dry in an hour and wick moisture better).

Don't try and drive yourself. Just don't. Driving in India is an "artform" that the locals have adapted quite well to and I just didn't understand the logic of. We carried a DC to AC power inverter with the cigarette lighter end on it for recharging batteries in the field. Our hotel had rolling blackouts and our power was never completely guaranteed.

I believe in traveling wearing nylon, polyester or microfibre clothing from the usual "big name" suppliers such as Columbia and North Face (which you are usually able to buy in country for pennies on the dollar, although for some STRANGE reason, the logos never quite look the same... <hint hint>).

When we travelled to Agra to film at the Red Fort and Taj Mahal, we were forbidden from taking our Nikon still camera tripod in, as alluded to in a previous post.

At the airport, everybody has an "angle" on trying to generate some revenue such as offering to carry your bags for you to your car (with the expectation of being paid afterward). Do as you see fit (people there are generally either quite poor or probably need the money, if they are looking to do that sort of "work") but I'm not a fan of pulling ANY money out until I'm with our local guide and/or "fixer".

Lastly: ENJOY! My experience was that the people were wonderful and the landscape ruggedly beautiful, if one can overlook the pollution. In New Delhi, the air pollution is unbelievable. At the airport in Chennai it was quite bad as well but I can't speak for the rest of the city. Save some room in your luggage for marble and wood carvings on the way back. We bought from government shops to ensure we would not be inadvertently exporting endangered species or exotic hardwoods that are prohibited.

Regardless of one's religious affiliation, I would encourage anyone to take in as many temples as possible. The attention to detail is amazing.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 09:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the awesome responses!

One other questions...are wearing shorts acceptable?

I appreciate all the great advice!
Keep it coming if anybody else has anything else to add!

Shaun I promise not to drive anywhere!


Jason
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Old September 16th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #6
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Re: Mosquito repellant - I use Watkins brand cream exclusively. High Deet content, ease to apply and doesn't sting or smell nearly as bad as the spray on variety.

Oh, and bring alcohol based hand sanitizer with you. And use it. Frequently.

As well, don't EVER shake hands with your left hand or pass anything to a local with your left hand. In India, the left hand is used for something... DIFFERENT exclusively. It is considered a HORRIBLE insult to pass anything with one's left.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #7
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Hopefully this thread is still alive.

I am going to India in January and taking my Ex-3-Solo legs combo etc. Its too late to apply for permits and I do have a tourist visa.
Do you think I will have a problem on entry with this equipment?

I am filming at a Yoga ashram in Southern India and at a Dharamsala Tibetan monastery in the north.

cheers, Jon
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Old December 24th, 2008, 10:52 AM   #8
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Everything went fine on my trip
except I lost 9 lbs because me and the food did not get along, and I don't need to be losing weight (skinny enough already)

Yes you have to get a tourist visa, and a few shots.

I sent you an email as well
Enjoy your trip, it was life changing for me.
Jason
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Old December 24th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #9
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Jon: the only thing I can think of that may give you problems is a pro tripod. We were refused entry to a number of locations upon arriving with a tripod. Our interpreter didn't FULLY explain why to us, just sort of "leave it here"... We ended up buying a Nikon still camera tripod for use in "sensitive" locations.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #10
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I'll second that..............

comment of Shaun's, any camera support whatsoever can get you barred from most "official" (ie State owned) places of interest in India.

I don't know what your circumstances will be in your chosen locations but do be aware that unless you have an official invite or it's a private place/ function, that set of Solo's may well be a complete no - no.

It can be done, but requires you have an absolutely expert "fixer" in tow who can smooth the waters.


CS
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Old December 24th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #11
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Thanks, Chris. The tripod NEARLY got US barred from the Red Fort and Taj Mahal. After not allowing the tripod, they started to look MUCH more closely at our camera and camera bag. We were in country filming something COMPLETELY different and merely wanted beautiful HD footage of the Taj and Red Fort solely for our own promotional materials ("look where WE have gone for videos...") with no intent of sales or inclusion in the broadcast piece we were there shooting.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #12
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Thanks guys.
Yes I have come across the tripod problem before in other countries - it's how they gauge a 'pro' from a tourist I guess. I am not worried about shooting the big monuments so I should be fine.
I will be shooting mainly Buddhist locations and so I think I should stick with smaller locales.
I am in the process of looking for local hires to help with this type of difficulty anyway.
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