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Nepal Documentary Advice


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#1 Brandon Katcher

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:05 PM

Next week I will be leaving the U.S. to shoot a documentary in India and Nepal for a month. I am looking for any suggestions or advice I can get, because I am still a very new filmmaker (Haven't done feature length before). Sorry in advance for the long post.

So I am going to be following a Catholic Zen Monk through India and Nepal. We will be backpacking 14 days up to Everest Base Camp and back. Right now I am thinking that I am going to try to connect the idea of Zen Spirituality with Everest and "A Gentle Walk through the park" as the monk calls it, as well as my experience making the film and finding my own spirituality.

Equipment:
?Canon XL2 with the 20x Lens
?Tripod
?Kata Backpack for the Camera
?6 BP945 (Cheap Ebay Knockoffs) and a Dual Battery CH-910
?Oktava MC012 Mic and Boom Setup - 30ft. XLR cable
?Sennheiser G2 Wireless System with Countryman B6
?3 Filters: UV, Circular Polarizer, and Graduated ND
?Kata Rain Cover
?60 Tapes - Panasonic PQ
?Backup Camera - Sony Consumer TRV50 with 2 Batteries and a Light
?Various Cleaning - Lens Pen, Fluid, etc.

I will be shooting in 24pa 16x9

I am going to have a sound assistant, who also has a high quality handheld audio recorder, called a Zoom. Records onto SD Cards.

Since I will be putting all this gear on my back, I am trying to keep the weight down. For about 6 days there will be no electricity, which is why I have 6 batteries. 2 with the dual battery seem to last for a good 10 hours.

Has anybody filmed in this area and has any suggestions?

One issue Im a little nervous about is customs. I am supposed to get film permits, but I can't afford it, so I am going to claim everything is personal. (Thought about calling myself a bird watcher, gonna brush up on my bird knowledge). All the equipment is in one bag, except for the tripod and boom pole. I have also been giving tapes to different people to bring in.

So any advice or ideas concerning the doc idea, equipment, or anything else would be extremely helpful.

Thank you,
Brandon Katcher
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:13 PM

"as well as my experience making the film and finding my own spirituality."

The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) will pay you 3 million for this :)

R,
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#3 steve hyde

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:57 PM

When I was there in 1998, I distinctly remember customs wanting to know if we had any motion picture equipment. We did not. I bet they have expensive permits for shooting in Nepal. Nepal likes to make visitors buy permits. It is the main source of income for the country.

Search the forum. We have some Nepalese members.

Steve
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#4 Kamaljeet Negi

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 04:29 PM

Customs shouldn't bother as long as they have no reason to believe that the equipment you are carrying, you will sell it in the country. So you should look into CARNET (if Nepal is member of it ) http://www.uscib.org...documentID=1843 . It is the immigration which might hassle but they wouldn't knw what you carrying in ur bags.

If you are on Journalist visa then its okay. Nepal is bit unpredictable, anyway. Video Camera is fine you could be a visitor who is carrying a personal camera of your own, making videos of your own trip. But with BOOM rods and Tripod am not sure how they going to look at the whole thing. Tripod (esp. Video/film ones) and boom rod invites lot of attention. It shouldn't be a problem if you have papers. In India things should be better.

I shot with Panasonic dvx100 in India and Pakistan we had radio mics and a Sennheiser K6 mostly on camera. They normally don't check what you are carrying as a foreign tourist and Photograph/Video equipment goes in easily.

Good Luck
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 05:18 PM

I don't recommend you being the D.P. and carrying all the gear, that's crazy. 60 tapes seems like a lot to me as well. Once on the climb, how likely are you to recharge your camera batteries since it probably won't make sense to keep more tape than your camera batteries can pull, especially in the cold weather.
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#6 steve hyde

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 06:35 PM

...are you walking from Jiri or flying in to Lukla? I made the trek from Jiri in 1998 when we climbed Ama Dablam. I don't think we encountered electricity until Lukla. Things may have changed since then. I recall sending an email from a doctors house in Namche. They probably have internet cafes there now...

Steve
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#7 Brandon Katcher

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 06:40 PM

Im actually flying to lukla, then hiking from there. The hike itself isn't too hard, 5 miles a day. The altitude will be a problem maybe. I've been up to 14,500 without a problem, but I also wasn't carrying 45lbs of equipment. I am gonna have 60 tapes for the entire month, and I will probably send them back DHL as I shoot them, so no risk of getting them confiscated. Probably wouldn't hurt to carry a lot of cash, to pay people off perhaps.

Brandon
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#8 steve hyde

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 07:00 PM

Im actually flying to lukla, then hiking from there. The hike itself isn't too hard, 5 miles a day. The altitude will be a problem maybe. I've been up to 14,500 without a problem, but I also wasn't carrying 45lbs of equipment. I am gonna have 60 tapes for the entire month, and I will probably send them back DHL as I shoot them, so no risk of getting them confiscated. Probably wouldn't hurt to carry a lot of cash, to pay people off perhaps.

Brandon


Brandon, you won't have to carry anything. It will be quite easy for you to hire assistants in the Khumbu Valley. I never had to pay any bribes when I was in this part of the world, but who knows what it is like now that Maoist factions are making a project out of blowing things up in the region. That means there will likely be more of a military presence. When I was there, I never saw police, military or anything like that - just monks, tourists Tibetan refugees and people living their every day lives there.


Looks like lots of people video recording things up there based on a Khumbu YouTube search:

http://www.youtube.c...p;search=Search

maybe you should contact some of these folks.

Steve
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#9 steve hyde

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 07:13 PM

....and check this out:

http://www.rediff.co...b/20everest.htm

Steve
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