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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
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Old April 7th, 2008, 01:33 PM   #1
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Shooting in Rwanda w F350

I'll be shooting a video in Rwanda for a non-profit later this summer. I own an XDCam HD F350 and would love to take it. It will be myself and a producer only, with logistic support from the in-country non-profit staff. I have a lot of international experience but it is limited to Central and South America and Europe. I've never shot in Africa and wondered if I could get some feedback from videographers who have shot in Rwanda in the last few years. A pro camera is a target anywhere, but is there any specific concerns I should be aware of? Customs issues? Since this is non-broadcast, I have the option of taking the new Sony EX1, but I have never shot with one. It would be lower profile and less weight for a two person crew, but I would prefer the lens on the F350.

If anyone has recent experience of taking their F350 or other pro camera into Rwanda, please let me know about your experience. Thanks.

Ray Ellis
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Old April 7th, 2008, 04:22 PM   #2
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Ray, I haven't done any international shooting for over 20 years. But anytime you take a professional format camera into Africa, there will be customs issues. For those reasons alone, I would recommend the EX 1. You are much more likely to get that one by customs with a tourist visa and a line about shooting "home movies."

As far as Africa goes, crime is rampant. NEVER allow the camera out of your site, not even for one minute. Another reason for the EX 1, put it in a small shoulder bag, and carry it with you everywhere you go.

Back in the day, I did take Betacam equipment into Kenya. It can be done. Customs hurdles can be cleared. But you really need a capable Rwandan national on the scene to make sure everything is good on that end. You can talk to the Embassy here in the States, but when you show up at the airport with a F350, that customs agent has never heard of the junior level diplomat that gave you advice, and maybe even signed some piece of paper for you back here in the States. Find out from the Rwandan end exactly what paperwork and documentation the customs officials want to see in order to allow your equipment into the country.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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I havent shot in Africa either but Im also going to Rwanda this summer to shoot for a non-profit in July. When are you going?

Anyways, I just sold my hpx500 and bought a jvc HD200 just for this trip because of how small and light it is (and because it records decent HD to cheap small tapes). The Ex1 wouldnt be that bad of a choice either but then your going to have to deal with rerecordable media and offloading ect. vs. just throwing a tape in the bag.

Im excited to hear about what your doing. Send me an e-mail.

Thanks,

Hunter
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Old April 9th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #4
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I Ray,

I have done a lot of work in Africa (Rwanda too...) and as far as customs, Africa is kind of a catch 22. In some countries, if you go by the book, the requirements are just insane. I usually carry a certificate of origin that lists the main pieces of gear (cam, tripod, light, dont' be too specific here....) signed by the customs at my US airport of departure and use this official paper to clear the gear if I am asked too. Most of the time, I just go through the "nothing to declare" line. If I am asked for something, I show them the paper. In 18 years of travel, I have never had any problems with gear in Africa. Also, in many of these countries, the airport people are used to the NGOs welcome crews who usually help with gear/customs. Then, you have filming permits issues but in Rwanda, you should be fine unless you are planning to film in any of the parks.

Good luck!

Thierry.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #5
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Thanks Tim, Hunter and Thierry for the info. I'm glad to hear you haven't had too much trouble in the past, Thierry. There are pros and cons to taking either camera. If I can get my F350 gear into small enough cases, then I'll probably go that route. The certificate of origin and registration is a good idea. Another videographer sent me the link below:

https://forms.customs.gov/customsrf/...cf-4455-fa.xft

It is similar to a carnet, but without the bond. I guess the foreign country still has the authority not to let you in, but I don't expect that to happen in Rwanda. I'll also take a letter from the in-country NGO, on their letterhead, inviting me into the country.

Hunter, I sent you an email directly about my trip. I look forward to hearing about yours.

One other note: CBS Sports sent Producer Pete Radovich and videographer Davie Finch to Zambia to shoot a story on HoopsofHope.org. The story ran on Saturday's pre-game coverage of the Final Four. It was one of best looking pieces I've seen in a while (plus it was just a great story). I've tried to find a link to it on-line, but have been unsuccessful. I'm looking for Davie Finch's contact info, just to ask him a few questions about the shoot. It was very well done.

Thanks!
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Old April 10th, 2008, 09:38 PM   #6
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I hate to mention this but if you really, really get into a bind, $100 can go a long way to make things happen. Not that I would go this route right of the bat (do not give custom guys bad habits and never let them think that you've got the money) but as a last resort, it often works. I never had to rely on this but I know a few people who did...

Thierry.
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