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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 8th, 2013, 12:06 PM   #1
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Filming Abroad

Hi All,

I have been asked by a close friend to film his wedding in Mauritius and I want to create something stunning for him. It's a Christian wedding and they will be staying at the Hôtel 5 étoiles Île Maurice - Le luxe de l'hôtel mauricien Sugar Beach which is amazing!

I am doing this all on my own so I was thinking about taking the following items

1 x 6D, 1 x MK3, 1 x Slider, 1 x Glidecam, 16-35mm. 24-70mm and 70-200mm, Monopod and Tripod.

I was wondering if anybody can give me any tips for shooting a church wedding 'solo' and also is it ok to carry on your DSLRS onto the plane?


Thanks
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Old November 8th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #2
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Re: Filming Abroad

Gear list sounds fine. As to how to transfer it, I wouldn't want to trust the camera stuff, and the sound, to anywhere other than cabin luggage.

Tripod and monopod and steadicam will probably have to be check in. Get a really big bag and pack your clothes in too. Airlines don't tend to worry about the size of check in as much as the weight. You can normally just collect larger bags from an oversize area.

In terms of weight of cabin luggage, there's cheats. The staff hopefully won't ask you about weight. If they do and you tell them it's photo gear they'll probably understand. If they still complain, you can do things like hang the cameras round your neck and wear clothes with really big pockets, and these don't count against your allowance. I've had to unpack my gear at the check in in this fashion.

In terms of declaring goods on entry, don't call them video cameras. They're still cameras. Video cameras are sometimes restricted or taxed.

The main issue I've met is batteries; some airlines are very strict and might have a "no more than two loose batteries, and you have to have them with you in the cabin" rule. This doesn't help if you need 20-30 LP-E6 for your DSLRs as well as AAs and AAAs and 9Vs and who knows what else.

Some types of batteries are outright prohibited.

I don't know of an easy solution other than mailing or renting at the other end.

By the way, if 9Vs don't have the connections protected, sometimes they can explode apparently: http://www.neatcircuits.com/battery_danger.htm.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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Re: Filming Abroad

You will have a wireless receiver or a voice recorder with lapel microphone with you, I presume? Didn't see it in the equipment list, just checking.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: Filming Abroad

Royal Mail in the UK have completely banned the carriage of lithium ion batteries because airlines have enforced a new rule/regulation about them. So you can't post batteries on their own anymore, unless it's physically attached to an electrical device.

This might effect you, since you will have many loose batteries for this shoot.

Another thing, are they after long form? or will your mate be happy with a really tightly edited nice short form film (the venue looks amazing for this)? I can't see how you will film speeches etc using DSLRs and no locked off camera.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 04:42 PM   #5
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Re: Filming Abroad

DSLR sized cameras go through security fine - I had my macbook, a DSLR, extra lens and sundry odds and ends in my big laptop bag. Laptop goes through the xray machine separately, cameras remain in the bag. Watch out for radio systems - I had a guitar which despite the assurance in advance would be allowed in the cabin under a musical instrument exception, it wasn't so went in the hold. Fragile notices added at Heathrow and hand carried to the plane (emirates - going to the UAE) However, at Dubai, the radio equipment was inspected - they wanted to know what it was for. Oddly, they didn't seem to know much about it, because nobody checked frequencies - but they were interested in things with electronics and aerials.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 04:46 PM   #6
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Re: Filming Abroad

We've just come back from a month in Africa, with 9 flights and 18 customs inspections, 14 in 3rd world countries there, no real troubles,
but endless waiting around. We took Malaria tabs, even though we were in disease free countries. Check with British regs.

Start collecting info via Google and your travel agent .. >>> Travel Information :: Mauritius Island Online - Tourist & Travel Information Mauritius

Work out how much storage you need to take, then triple it .. having to find a local supply is a pain.
Check for a local camera hire company, just in case. Book your car hire before you leave the UK.

I'd fly there direct, going via Johannesburg might be cheaper but it'll invite no end of hassles, with multiple customs inspections.
Maybe Fedex everything to the hotel but carry cameras on board. Do NOT drink the local tap water .. have fun.

Cheers.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 05:53 PM   #7
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Re: Filming Abroad

My lovely wife is from the equally lovely island of Mauritius and in fact we married there many years ago. Somewhere we have a very cheesy VHS video produced by someone on the island to record the event ;-)

We go back as often as we can to visit her extended family, she more than me, and always fly direct. Virgin, BA and Air Mauritius are the main choices that I would suggest. Last time was in 2011 and we spent an extended stay in several hotels "back to back", including Sugar Beach, followed by a stay at the neighbouring Hilton Resort.

Sugar Beach is indeed a lovely hotel. We have stayed in a number of the top hotels on the island over the years and we have rarely been disappointed by any of them :-)

First thing that happened on arrival in 2011 was that, without warning, I was asked to film a school reunion at Loreto Convent in Port Louis for one of her older sisters. All I had with me was a tiny Panasonic TM900, a spare battery and charger, a Rode VMP and a few SDHC cards - but it worked out fine and it was great fun filming 50 ladies, many now living all over the world, meeting up again after so many years. I produced a YouTube video for them and to this day still get kind remarks from those that were so pleased that I was able to capture some of the magic moments of this special reunion.

Its a wonderful country full of very friendly poeple but go prepared for the unexpected - and whatever you do take some time out after the wedding to enjoy and explore this jewel before overdevelopment ruins it further.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #8
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Re: Filming Abroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
DSLR sized cameras go through security fine... However, at Dubai, the radio equipment was inspected - they wanted to know what it was for. Oddly, they didn't seem to know much about it, because nobody checked frequencies - but they were interested in things with electronics and aerials.
I think every security gate I've been through has wanted to inspect my sound recorders after seeing them in the X-ray machine or in the bag. It's only a cursory look though. They've never asked me to turn them on or open them up or whatever.

"What's this?"
"It's audio recorders."
"Huh?"

(They pick one up and stare at it blankly.)

"Oh, it's camera equipment." ("Audio equipment" doesn't translate into security guard speak.)

Then they wave you on your way.

Incidentally, the amount of batteries that filming with DSLR requires is one factor that makes me want to upgrade to a C100 -- to avoid all the hassles on planes... and there are always hassles... But if I'm only travelling half a dozen times a year, I don't think it's worth it.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 04:14 AM   #9
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Re: Filming Abroad

Whatever you do be very very very careful about the purpose of your visit and any permissions that may be required. Many countries that have restrictions that do not allow you to work professionally if a local could do the same job. You may state that you are a family friend doing a favour and that may be true but it does NOT mean that you will be allowed in if your kit implies otherwise.

There are endless stories of pro wedding photographers being denied access on the USA - Canadian border for example.

Pete
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Old November 12th, 2013, 01:58 PM   #10
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Re: Filming Abroad

No one has yet mentioned insurance, but it's worth checking that not only is your gear covered but so is your public liability and any trade indemnity you may also have.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 10:53 PM   #11
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Re: Filming Abroad

Find out if the hotel requires for you to process your liability insurance certificate. Here in Hawaii, I wanted to shoot a wedding for a friend on the grounds of the hotel. The hotel contacted me and asked that I send in a certificate of insurance with the hotel and their parent company as additional insured for $1 million dollars. I changed my insurance coverage to accommodate the hotel, then faxed in my certificate. They then faxed back to me a pass to be given to hotel security once I checked in. They then give me a vendor's pass for the day of the wedding. Without the vendor's pass, hotel security will stop any video/photo activity on the property.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 09:27 AM   #12
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Re: Filming Abroad

Just want to tag onto what Adrian wrote about Carry-ons:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Gear list sounds fine. As to how to transfer it, I wouldn't want to trust the camera stuff, and the sound, to anywhere other than cabin luggage.
On a recent flight I took I had my main camera gear in a camera bag (comparable to basically a big computer bag) and a carry-on bag.

Adrian's comments about putting a few small but heavy things in your coat pockets I've heard before and seems like one way to stay within the weight limits. I've finding some airlines are getting supper picky about weight and dimensions! Hey, it's a profit center.

Anyway, this was a British Air flight from Seattle to Heathrow with a transfer from there to Vienna, Austria. I've made this trip before over the years but with increased security due to crazy people wanting to blow up the airplane you're on things have changed.

Okay, so we land at Heathrow at one gate then I have to board the second leg from another gate in a different terminal and this requires going through the security scanning check again. You know the drill, everything goes into plastic tubs: computer, keys, change, belt, etc. Your bags and the tubs get run through the scanner but with mine they find "something."

The second time everything has to come out of the two bags: camera, mic, Passport drives, cables, batteries, (these were in the "computer bag", and all the other stuff in the "carry-on" bag (too much to mention). Meanwhile all the passengers behind me are getting very nervous and I'm sure comparing how their line isn't moving against the other lines and wondering if they should jump ship. Now I've got a whole lot of tubs, plus the bags, with my stuff scattered along the conveyor belt or rollers.

Well, they find IT. My iPad. Okay, I didn't consider it a "computer" but of course now I learned my lesson. They have me walk through the scanner arch and wand me over. Everybody is relieved (no, not the WC kind) as things start to move. Now I've got a whole bunch of tubs of my stuff to re-pack while everybody else's is coming down the same assembly line.

Meanwhile, about 6 hours later, we're in our apartment and, hey, it looks really nice, neat, and clean. The first thing I want to do is to before my wife starts unpacking is take a video of our arrival. Break out the camera, monopod (had that in the suitcase with the head in the carry-on), lavaliere, …. ooops!… Here is the mic and transmitter but where is the receiver? Look everywhere. Panic setting in. Can't find the receiver. Anywhere.

Long story short, I get on the Internet to find how to contact Heathrow lost baggage. The one place that I had a phone number for (using VOIP) is closed. Nothing else works. Sent an email anyway. Next morning try again and was put on hold for half an hour but even using VOIP it ran up about € 9,- or so. Try several other options and f-i-n-a-l-l-y there is a real live human to talk to. Even helpful.

Between numerous emails, more phone calls, surfing their lost baggage portal, etc., my stuff never turned up. I can't tell you how many people have lost stuff there. Entering search terms in their portal found so many hits but with vague descriptions that there is no way to determine if the item is yours or not. And there is a charge for "finding" your lost item.

So, "Security" check? Not necessarily secure for the passenger.

Moral of this story: Make sure that you get everything that runs through the security check! If you significant other made it through okay have them help you keep an eye on your stuff.
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Old November 28th, 2013, 10:25 PM   #13
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Re: Filming Abroad

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the tips, the smallest bag that I can find that fits my gear is the Lowepro Pro Runner 450 however I am a little confused on how much leeway the airline gives.

I am taking, 5dmk3, 6d, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200, 100mm macro and my laptop. The dimensions I have been given are;

Economy Class passengers are permitted one (1) piece of carry-on baggage, subject to the following size and weight limitations:
FAQ Baggage_content_handbag Handbag: 55 x 38 x 20cm (22 x 15 x 8 inches)

Weight must not exceed 7kg (15lb). Duty free purchases of liquor, cigarettes and perfume in reasonable quantities are also permitted in addition to the above.


‘Wheelie’ bags
FAQ Baggage_content_wheelie Please note that rolling bags with built-in wheels and retractable handles will be permitted as cabin baggage only if the total dimensions (length + width + height) add up to less than 114cm (45 inches). The larger, overnight models of this type of bag will not be permitted in the cabin.


The bag is Pro Runner 450 AW Camera bags, backpacks and rolling cases do you think I could get away with this ?

Thanks
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Old November 29th, 2013, 04:24 AM   #14
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Re: Filming Abroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tariq Peter View Post
Hi Guys,
Economy Class passengers are permitted one (1) piece of carry-on baggage, subject to the following size and weight limitations:
FAQ Baggage_content_handbag Handbag: 55 x 38 x 20cm (22 x 15 x 8 inches)…..

The bag is Pro Runner 450 AW Camera bags, backpacks and rolling cases do you think I could get away with this ?

Thanks
I think you'd be pushing it, unless you got pleasant staff on the day who were also maybe busy with other things.

Some airlines want you to be able to put the back in a specific measuring gauge, which means it has to fit 'within' a frame they have set up. The bad news is many of the frames also have rounded corners, so even some bags that technically meet the specifications won't fit if they have square corners because the stupid rounded corners on the frame are less than the stated dimensions!

It's a tough one.

Check the airline again. Some of them allow one carry-on plus a personal item, such as a handbag or laptop. This is because it was unfair to allow woman a carry-on plus a handbag but not men ;) If so, you can remove the need for the bag to carry your laptop.

For severely restricted air travel I have an old Jessops bag (something like this: Jessops Camera/Lens/equipment Bag | eBay).

I can get two DSLRs with lenses on them plus a couple more lenses in the middle (inc a 70-200). It's also got side pockets. Of course, it doesn't meet the weight requirement, but it's small enough that I've never been asked to weigh it.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 04:36 AM   #15
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Re: Filming Abroad

OK - here it is (dimensions are 18"x10"x9") if you let it sprawl out.

1x 5D3 - with a 24-105L, but I've had a 24-70 on this no problem
1x 5D3 - with another lens - had a 16-35L in here no problem
1x 70-200 f2.8 L IS II
1x 14mm & 1x 50mm in the other bit (on top of each other)
Batteries etc in the top
Two side pouches for extra stuff
Front pocket for lots of extra stuff

Obviously if you stuff the pockets it spreads like any other bag. Oh, and with the gear you're taking, you have no chance of being inside the weight limit, so you have to be very good at making out the bag is not heavy ;)

My wife HATES this bag because she says it looks like a nappy bag, but because it's square, everything fits nicely.

Not recommended it as such, just saying there's lots of alternatives out there most people are unaware of.
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