Posted 14 July 2005 - 06:39 AM
My equipment package will be based around a DVX100a, matte box, filters, and a good tripod. Probably we'll be doing interviews for which I will have a simple collapsable reflector kit which can fit in my Cinebag easily, along with various microphones, 4x4 filters, warmcards, an insert slate, and a color chart. While this isn't the ideal package for top quality pictures, it is what I'll have available to me, and is approaching the limits of what I can personally carry and keep track for several weeks.
I am writing to hear your thoughts of things I would probably forget, or otherwise not even think about, taking with me. Outside of the obvious need for a power converter to charge my batteries, what other ancillary tools come to mind for a "middle of nowhere" doc shoot?
Will I need to observe any special considerations (i.e.- shutter speed) when shooting 24p in a country with 50 cycle electricity? For some reason, I thought I would experience flicker, but perhaps that isn't an issue with practical fixtures anywhere on Earth, regardless of shutter speed. I had intended to operate at 1/48th most of the time.. Should I go 1/50th instead?
There are so many things to think about and I need a good sounding board right now.
Posted 14 July 2005 - 10:08 AM
Are you refering to the cycle of the lights and how that would affect the shoot?
Also, keep a close eye on all your gear, theft if the biggest problem for any film shoot in Romania. The internet is full of stories about film crews being robbed blind there, the Romanians have a special knack for this.
It's a dirt poor country and there are a lot of desperate people there.
Posted 14 July 2005 - 11:40 AM
My mom is from Moldova(country right next to Romania) and my dad is from Russia. I moved to the U.S. just 5 years ago. I visit Romania and Molodova often. And I will tell you its not the U.S. unless you are staying in the capital with a very nice hotel. You wont be able to buy anything american for the price you can buy it here in the US.
If you are shooting out in the country you wont be able to charge or power anything unless you have someone who has some power (most likly not) so have lots of batteries and charge them with every chance you get.
Also go with someone who has been to Romania and knows how to speak both Romanian and English. Because the customs are not the most honest people in the world and they will make up things just to scam you, so having someone experianced will help.
Dont show your cameras and expensive American things because they will know you have money and try to scam you. (other clues are back packs, shorts, baseball caps, other sports attire)
Take extension cords, and converters.
Take losts of batteries for you camera.
Take a flashlight
Take at least one small, sturdy (sturdy is important) stand, 6 feet high for your reflectors
Take gaffers tape
Take ND filters.
Take lens hoods
Take some small tools like screw drivers, pliers, and some other tools just incase something brakes.
Dont (do not) take anything that you wont need but will make you look like you have lots of pro equipment.
I dont mean to scare you because it will be allot of fun even though you will run into allot of problems. Just take someone experianced and that knows the people and you will be fine.
Edited by Ckulakov, 14 July 2005 - 11:43 AM.
Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:43 PM
Posted 14 July 2005 - 04:57 PM
What can you possibly do when you're getting scammed by a customs agent in a foreign country, or any other official trying to scam you?
Just say no?
It would seem to me, you're basically screwed, right? Because they could arrest you, take all your stuff, etc., couldn't they?
Do you suggest carrying bribe money?
Should these guys pack their gear in beat-up old suitcases instead of flight cases?
David Mullen, what did you do when you filmed in Russia? Did you have any problems like this?
Posted 14 July 2005 - 06:13 PM
It is not that common in Russia since there are lots of american tourists flying instead of using a train.
Usually if you are going on a train you will be stopped on every border along the way like in the Ukraine, Moldova, and Russia.
Posted 14 July 2005 - 06:38 PM
Ckulakov - Thank you for your first hand knowledge of the area. Power is a definite concern. I have mentioned the fact that I do need power, and nothing has come up so far to indicate there will not be, however, knowing it could be a potential problem I will press the topic a little more with the organizers of the trip. We are shooting in Bucharest for 3-4 days, then the town of Voronet (SW of Suceava) for the rest of the shoot, which is about 10 days.
Customs and theft in general do concern me as this is my personal camera equipment. I'm pending on an equipment rider from an entertainment insurer and will have everything on a policy before I leave the U.S. I can't afford to lose my gear to thieves. Barter money is a good idea.
I wonder if my UHF Lectro kits will be permissible in Europe? I understand there are different frequencies for the different parts of the world, and while this isn't directly related to cinematography, I wondered if anyone had any insight into this.
Oscar - Thanks for the list. I will probably not be taking a field mixer and my mics can be phantom powered from the camera (except the radio mics, of course). I can't decide if it makes sense to take a couple of lights or not. If I did, it wouldn't be much. Maybe a 2x4 Kino and an Arri 300W or something. Then, of course, there's the power issues and stands...
Speaking of stands. I like the idea of getting a good stand to hold reflectors. (what I wouldn't give for real shiny boards, silks, and C-stands!) yet portability is of the highest concern. What are your thoughts on this kit?
I thought maybe I'd pick up a couple of those Portabrace "hollow shop bags" which can be packed away flat and then filled with water.
Any thoughts on this?
Thanks again for everything!
Posted 15 July 2005 - 04:06 AM
> I wonder if my UHF Lectro kits will be permissible in Europe?
In theory probably no; in practice I doubt anyone'll notice. Check they're not in the same region as anything really important or sensitive (Military or emergency services comms, airfield RF services, etc) where you're going, but I wouldn't hold my breath for problems.
Posted 15 July 2005 - 08:03 AM
I shot a Super 16 90 mn fiction tv film in Romania 13 years ago, so I don't know if it changed a lot since, but this is my 2 cents :
Be 100 % sure to be 100 % clean with customs concerning everything you bring there. That means you gotta have a list of every single item checked by the custom when you leave US - in Europe we have ATA carnets.
Show this to any custom you pass thru, so that you can pass it back on the way back.
We crossed europe with the truck and had problems at the custom because of people wrecking it so we couldn't leave... We made it.
There usually are no problems with the customs themselves if you are clean.
Mind that there are nealy no road signs in the country. You defenetly need a romanian driver.
Mind to always stay in the big international hotels wherever you go.
Mind that the ffod looks fine - especially in august ! - and don't eat meat that doens't look fine.
Don't forget to take basic medecines with you because they are none there
If you have a problem with camera systems, go to the TV studios in bucarest, they are very nice people, though very "slow"...
Ask for Radu and send my regards.
Posted 08 October 2006 - 09:09 PM
With regards to customs create a chart that has all your gear, country of origin, serial numbers, and cost. I create a separate list with out the cost on the list to prevent it?s use as a shopping list. I also take digital color photos of all my gear and cases. I organize the photos by what cases the gear ships in. I then make multiple copies. It is great documentation that you had the gear and it helps finding lost or stolen equipment.
Posted 08 October 2006 - 09:41 PM
I returned from this trip one year ago, but you are correct! 50 cycle fluorescents (w/ mag ballasts) were a problem in Romania(in 24P). Although, the problem was a small one as the flicker was easily mitigated using the syncro scan shutter method you suggested. I also made sure to take pictures and make lists of all of my gear before the trip. I am happy to report the trip went very well and all of my equipment (except for a slightly damaged head) came back in great condition. Thanks for your concern and reply. Sincerely,