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Old May 1st, 2007, 12:07 AM   #1
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Comprehensive packing list for the international videographer?

Anyone know of a good travel videographer packing list? I am leaving soon to do some filming in Moldova (the poorest country in Europe), and am at the point of trying to imagine all of the possible "man-I-wish-I-had-brought-my-___" moments. I think that most of the things you end up with in your kit are things you wish you had in a previous situation, so I am wondering if any of you might offer some of those experiences and wish-you-had's. I will have a small light kit, a lav and shotgun mic, the camera, sticks, plenty of tape stock, extra batteries, power adapters, etc, but what about the things I might not have thought of? Thanks.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 03:19 PM   #2
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I actually shot in Moldova in November of 2005.
A couple of thoughts. Make sure you have a list of your equipment with serial numbers. I kind of blundered my way through customs, but one guy was asking a lot of questions. Fortunatly he didn't know English and I didn't know Romanian so after awhile a co-worker came over, asked me a couple things and then sent me on my way.
Also, the bulbs in your light kit are an issue. Make sure to switch them from 110 to 220. You will want to watch you shutter speed for flickering issues. We had some problems with that with flourescent lighting in India shot at 60i with a Z1 at a shutter speed of 60 (I think)
I would also bring gaffer tape.
I have found a steadibag to be incredibly helpful - specifically the CineSaddle (http://cinekinetic.com/new/). It takes up a lot of room, fortunatly not a lot of weight, and in many b-roll situations it can take the place of a tripod.

That's what comes to mind initially.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 10:03 AM   #3
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I appreciate it! That's helpful. Any other thoughts?
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Old May 9th, 2007, 03:15 AM   #4
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I appreciate it! That's helpful. Any other thoughts?
The CineSaddle is very good, but don't discount any old beanbag you can fill with dried peas/beans on-site. Much easier to pack, that way.

My LensPen. Always checking I've got it.

Bin liners - for wrapping your camera in as a makeshift raincape/dustguard (use with a skylight screw-in filter).

Always have a folded up plastic carrier bag in a pocket somewhere for throwing over the camera.

A screw-in circular polariser (not just for taming reflections - handy as extra ND too).

A little leatherman tool of some sorts - especially if, for example, your tripod has hex/allen key bolts that might need tightening (thank you Vinten).

Electrical insulation tape - not to insulate electricity, but to seal up gaps, tape cables to tripods, etc. It peels off easily. As well as gaffer, white camera tape is handy.

A small prosumer camera (PDX-10, Sony A1) will get you interviews and GVs in places where a Z1 or bigger would raise unwanted attention. Especially so when used with a monopod with a fluid head where a tripod isn't possible: http://www.manfrotto.com/Jahia/site/...fonce/pid/4421

Wireless mic kits need to be treated with caution, checking that their frequencies are legal at your destination. OTOH, I find a couple of wireless mics are essential.

I've packed a Dedolamp on a Magic Arm which has really helped on a number of occasions, but it's relatively bulky and heavy. I'm considering a Swit LED lamp or two - they can be driven off the same batts as my Z1.

Multiple battery chargers and a power strip! I've got three chargers, and if I switch to the Swit lamps, I can see this as getting really important (remembering the days of setting the alarm to 0300 to change batts on the charger).

This may sound silly, but with UK/European airline restrictions on baggage, I'm very pleased I've got a large rolling PeliCase with padded dividers. Half the space for kit, half for my clothing. It means I can move camera, tripod, personal baggage (and even laptop edit suite in backpack) in one trip. Important when working alone.

Another tip, not sure if it's really worth doing, but I put a golf club in my tripod bag. Most airlines allow you some outsize sporting equipment before charging you excess baggage. So there it is: a golf club. Sure there's a tripod in there, but this is my bag of sports equipment. I've never been challenged, but come the day, I'm prepared.

If you're ingesting and logging on-site, I'd strongly recommend a bus-powered external hard disk with your laptop. LaCie's Little Big Disk has recently dropped in price. I've used my iPod as an external capture disk. The point being that you can't rely on a continuous power supply, even in the bigger hotels. The laptop and iPod effectively become UPSes.

Hope this helps - sorry about the length, just passing the time whilst I ingest another tape.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 10:42 PM   #5
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This is some great info. I'm planning for my first international documentary trip, and find this stuff pretty valuable. Couple questions though:

Do many airlines have single-bag restrictions? What happens if you originate in the states on an airline like United with two bags and switch to an airline that only permits one? Which Pelican do you use, and are you fully comfortable with checking your equipment? Have you ever used a TSA-compatible lock?

Thanks!
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Old May 28th, 2007, 02:48 AM   #6
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Do many airlines have single-bag restrictions? What happens if you originate in the states on an airline like United with two bags and switch to an airline that only permits one?
I'm not sure about this one. My experience has been with UK based airlines, and even then, it's a moving target.

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Which Pelican do you use, and are you fully comfortable with checking your equipment? Have you ever used a TSA-compatible lock?
It's actually a StormCase 2975, and it's twice as large as I originally intended, but the extra space has been useful.

'in the old days', I could take a computer bag and hand luggage on board (i.e. the Z1 in a Petrol Wings bag). Now UK airlines operate a strict 'one bag on board' policy, so from UK airports I have no choice: I must check it in. Unlocked.

And on top of this there's the excess baggage (don't get me started...).
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Old May 28th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #7
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This may seem trivial, but bring a small medical kit--my friend who travels internationally always has one. Pack it with Pepto, pain relievers, Tums, etc. Sounds weird, but trust me on this one.

And tons of batteries and power adaptors--my buddy ran into some snags with the differences in how power outlets work.

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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #8
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When dealing with the airlines, most will still allow you one carryon and one "personal item." I carry the camera on board (PD150 in an extra-large Dosckocil hard case-- fits in the overhead) and carry a small briefcase for my personal items. On the way back, the briefcase carries all the recorded tapes (the only truly irreplaceable item in the kit, after all).

As for checked luggage, it is usually much easier, especially on international flights, to pay for OVERSIZED luggage than it it to pay for EXTRA pieces of luggage. So get yourself one or two of those enormous duffel bags and combine smaller bags into that. Some airlines will sell you a heavy duty nylon duffle just for this purpose.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #9
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it really depends on what you're shooting, but i found having an on-camera light invaluable because there were many situations where i was able to conduct interviews in some of the darkest, nastiest lighting environments, where it was pretty on-the-fly

i also took one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...icrophone.html

and found it invaluable for placing my microphone in close proximity to a speaking subject, especially for interviews, but also in situations where a boom or big mic stand would have been intrusive. it weighs nothing.
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Old June 1st, 2007, 06:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Heath McKnight View Post
This may seem trivial, but bring a small medical kit--my friend who travels internationally always has one. Pack it with Pepto, pain relievers, Tums, etc. Sounds weird, but trust me on this one.
That's not trivial. It's a must.

I've filmed in over 40 countries and the single most important thing to take is insurance, oh and a sense of humour - the best way to get your extra bag through without paying the excess is to be polite to the person on check in. A little charm goes a long way.

I haven't been to Moldova, but I have been to both Romania and Bulgaria. The people there are really great, they might not have much but I'm sure they'll look after you. Don't forget it's a 50HZ 220V country.

Liam.

BTW I use a variety of PELi and other flight cases. The 1610 is good for most HDV sized cameras and a few accessories. Check with your airline on baggage, they seem to change the rules daily.
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Old June 1st, 2007, 09:11 AM   #11
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Liam,

Great tips all around. And nothing like some British charm to get a little extra help while travelling. That was advised to me by a British actress friend of mine, years ago.

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