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220 Voltage in Europe


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#1 Jay Cavallaro

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:33 AM

Hello all- I am traveling to Europe for 2 weeks at the end of May- beginning of June and will need to light sit-down interviews for a documentary that will be shot in Spain, France and Sardinia. I was planning on bringing a small kit and need to know the best way to step down voltage 3- 4 lights not over 2000 watts total (could get away with less) and traveling lite is essential.

Also any tips on traveling with gear- it's just two of us. And any tips on power for charging batteries, laptop etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a million.

Jay Cavallaro
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:43 AM

Jay,

I just finished a large multi-national project myself. (In fact, in Prague right now) Just my opinion, but save yourself the trouble of carrying a heavy transformer and get 220W bulbs from BULBTRONICS in Hollywood. If you have an HMI, the ballast should be switchable to 220. Just make sure to actually switch it when you get there. And get plenty of adaptors for the outlets you'll need to plug into.

If you're carrying an Anton-Bauer charger, it should automatically switch to 220. Mine did anyway. Just double check, but you'll probably be okay.

And most laptops are also set up to automatically switch to 220 so you shouldn't have a problem.

It seems that most electronics these days are made to be compatible with both 110 and 220 but it never hurts to double check with the manufacturer to be sure. For my small items (IPOD, phone, etc.) I do carry a small step down transformer (available from most travel stores or someplace like Target), but that's just to make myself feel better. Most of those items are switchable too. I plug a power strip into the transformer so I only have to mess with one adaptor for those things that I use mostly in my hotel rooms.
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#3 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 12:03 PM

Jay,

I just finished a large multi-national project myself. (In fact, in Prague right now) Just my opinion, but save yourself the trouble of carrying a heavy transformer and get 220W bulbs from BULBTRONICS in Hollywood. If you have an HMI, the ballast should be switchable to 220. Just make sure to actually switch it when you get there. And get plenty of adaptors for the outlets you'll need to plug into.

If you're carrying an Anton-Bauer charger, it should automatically switch to 220. Mine did anyway. Just double check, but you'll probably be okay.

And most laptops are also set up to automatically switch to 220 so you shouldn't have a problem.

It seems that most electronics these days are made to be compatible with both 110 and 220 but it never hurts to double check with the manufacturer to be sure. For my small items (IPOD, phone, etc.) I do carry a small step down transformer (available from most travel stores or someplace like Target), but that's just to make myself feel better. Most of those items are switchable too. I plug a power strip into the transformer so I only have to mess with one adaptor for those things that I use mostly in my hotel rooms.



Ooops!!! sorry for the typo. That's 220 Volts, not watts. :blink:
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#4 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 12:11 PM

Hello all- I am traveling to Europe for 2 weeks at the end of May- beginning of June and will need to light sit-down interviews for a documentary that will be shot in Spain, France and Sardinia. I was planning on bringing a small kit and need to know the best way to step down voltage 3- 4 lights not over 2000 watts total (could get away with less) and traveling lite is essential.


For a soft source, Universal Divalites work great with the proper adapter for the plug.

For hard sources usually all you'll need is the proper bulb and an adapter for the plug (rental houses sometimes have the right bulbs for you). Totas with Chimeras are very compact soft-source solution. For harder sources, you can go with ProLights, or if you have the room, a couple of smaller Arris, Redheads etc. All with the proper-voltage bulb and the adapter plugs.

As Brian points out, laptop power supplies (at least mine) just need the adapter. But I suppose you should double check to avoid any nightmare scenarios...

AJB
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#5 Jay Cavallaro

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 01:15 PM

For a soft source, Universal Divalites work great with the proper adapter for the plug.

For hard sources usually all you'll need is the proper bulb and an adapter for the plug (rental houses sometimes have the right bulbs for you). Totas with Chimeras are very compact soft-source solution. For harder sources, you can go with ProLights, or if you have the room, a couple of smaller Arris, Redheads etc. All with the proper-voltage bulb and the adapter plugs.

As Brian points out, laptop power supplies (at least mine) just need the adapter. But I suppose you should double check to avoid any nightmare scenarios...

AJB



That's exactly what I've got a Lowell Tota with a Chimera & grid and 3 ProLights plus 4 small stands, black foil (for bkgrd. cookie), extension cords, gels, ND & CTO, clips and gaf tape all in the Porta Brace back-pack Softcase.

Any tips about flying this stuff? It's 2 of us going over one carrying on the video camera the other the stills gear. So far it looks like I'll have to send tripod, lightcase, audio and suitcase below. I also have a 2 wheeled cart.

I have concerns about the stuff being lost....

Thanks everyone!
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 06:07 PM

Being anal, I know - it's actually 240V in Europe these days. As said, most gadgets and computers transformers can handle any voltage input. Rent or get 240V lights when shooting here rather than bring a heavy and inefficient transformer.
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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 12:20 AM

That's exactly what I've got a Lowell Tota with a Chimera & grid and 3 ProLights plus 4 small stands, black foil (for bkgrd. cookie), extension cords, gels, ND & CTO, clips and gaf tape all in the Porta Brace back-pack Softcase.

Any tips about flying this stuff? It's 2 of us going over one carrying on the video camera the other the stills gear. So far it looks like I'll have to send tripod, lightcase, audio and suitcase below. I also have a 2 wheeled cart.

I have concerns about the stuff being lost....

Thanks everyone!


Check with the specific airline you're using on size and weight restrictions.

While it might seem like overkill, I'd highly recommend that you use a freight shipping service, like Rocket Cargo, and bypass the airline altogether. I usually just travel with my gear while in the States, but going overseas can feel a little riskier.

Shipping service or not, get a carnet and don't lose it! You'll need it to get your gear back in the country.

Oh, and depending upon where you go, just be aware that most vehicles overseas aren't as large as what we have available in the States. You don't want to get somewhere and realize that your Magliner won't fit in the back of your rental car. I don't know who your "producer" is, but I've found that many so-called Producers at the video level are fairly useless when it comes to doing their jobs. You'll likely have to step up and ask those kinds of questions yourself (carnet, is the rental car big enough, etc.) or else you'll all be doing damage control on the other end.


Oh, one more thing...PERMITS! For some reason, most "Producers" I've been working with in LA think that their job is to just show up with a clipboard of questions while assuming that we can just plop the camera down anywhere we want to and go. Find out where you are supposed to be shooting and make sure that permits have been applied for if necessary.

And speaking of locations, see if that Magliner will do you any good. If you're shooting in old buildings, they may not have elevators so you may be carrying an extra piece of gear that won't help too much.
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#8 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 09:18 AM

That's exactly what I've got a Lowell Tota with a Chimera & grid and 3 ProLights plus 4 small stands, black foil (for bkgrd. cookie), extension cords, gels, ND & CTO, clips and gaf tape all in the Porta Brace back-pack Softcase.

Any tips about flying this stuff?


Thats a tiny and very efficient package - if it meets your needs on this project, then thats great. Pack it well in a soft or hard case (better) and send it under as fragile. A Carnet is your friend and make sure all your gear is listed on it. Be prepared for extra baggage charges - and particularly if you are flying within europe, those costs can be quite high depending on the amount you are over. Your PM/Producer should warn the airline if you are bringing onboard a very high number of cases. I did a National Geographic show last year - we had 11 cases of HD gear + lighting we were bringing through from London through Rome, Paris, Tunisia and Cairo. Letting the airlines know in advance is quite important.

I'm in Paris right now and there have been a few flash rainstorms in the area I am in - probably not going to be a problem in June, but just in case, make sure you have a bit of raingear backup handy for you and your camera.

Good luck and have a great time.

AJB
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#9 Sander van de kerkhof

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:39 AM

Make sure you don't exceed 20kg on one single piece of bagage.
Bagage handelers aren't allow to lift more then 20 kg so your case wil be refused on the plane.
Had this happen once... i had 10 minutes to buy a weekend bag and split the weight before the gate closed.

also carry your camera with a tape inside, batterie on the camera, a mic and camera light on the camera in the cabin of the plane just in case they loose your stuff you will still be able to shoot something till they find your bags wich in some country's can take a few days (like spain ;)
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