Gathering Your Tech Gear to Film Abroad

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When traveling abroad for international film productions and photoshoots, having a travel checklist is essential to ensure a smooth and trouble-free shoot. At the top of that checklist should be the necessary adapters and plugs you will need for any equipment you will be bringing from home. Mismatch in the power or charging gear can be a real headache and cost you time and money if you aren’t prepared. Check out our advice on what you need to know about carrying tech gear for international shoots.

Power standard discrepancies

While 110 volt is the power standard employed in North America, most other countries practice a 220- volt standard. You may need a different plug type and adapter when you travel abroad. Luckily, you should be able to find these power adapters in most countries in Europe or Asia. However, if you’re traveling to South/Central America or Africa, it would do you good to carry different power gear. You could try purchasing battery packs in the market that are designed for the latest DSR cameras, and use standard alkaline batteries. You could also carry a multimeter that can pinpoint the power in the batteries or plug. While we’re on the topic of multimeters, make sure yours can read up to 240 volts or higher. Detailed List on Voltage Requirements

Lighting gear

You might want to carry some lighting equipment on your trip, unless you will only be filming outdoors. It is technically not that difficult, as you can carry LED lights to do the job. Some of the new crop LEDs run completely on rechargeable packs or alkaline batteries. They are lightweight portable and provide quality lighting. Also the lighting kit that you currently own can be switched up to a voltage-level that matches the power standards of the country that you’re traveling to; make sure you ask your light kit manufacturer about the same.

Researching about the destination

If you’re carrying a considerable amount of video equipment on the trip, it is likely that you will be charged an additional fee at customs. Be sure to research on the location beforehand so you get a good understanding of its customs, travel restrictions and other information. Also, do your homework on the cultural issues and etiquette. You’ll be surprised that there are some destinations around the world where cameras, no matter how small they are, are not allowed. Knowing how the local customs function can give you a better chance at capturing some memorable shots.

To avoid customs duties when bringing large amounts of gear across borders, you might want to consider getting an ATA Carnet. For more information, learn more about how ATA Carnets work:

At the Global Media Desk we highly recommend that you use local crews whenever possible. Local crews have their own equipment with the correct voltage and without the hassle of customs. You also get an expert in area to help make it a fun and memorable shoot. Contact us for more information about local crews for your international video production or photoshoot.