Thursday, July 7, 2011

DIY Filmmaker Travel Tips with Mihir Desai

One of the best things about being a DIY filmmaker is the easy travel.  There’s rarely a need to bring cases upon cases of gear with you.  This is especially true if you’re also a DSLR shooter.  Most of what you need, even a tripod, can be carried onto a plane.

Mihir Desai, of Auteur Mark, is an internationally award-winning filmmaker from Mumbai, India.  When it comes to traveling with gear, he says it’s crucial to own a quality backpack.  As a DSLR filmmaker he’s able to fit his camera, the necessary accessories, and a few lenses into one pack.   For audio gear he uses a Zoom H4N.  There’s also the Tascam DR-100 to consider.  Both recorders are compatible with lavalieres and will easily fit into a good camera bag.  He says that a full size tripod will fit in most overhead compartments.  However, certain countries and airlines will require you to check your tripod and fill out a “Fragile” sticker.  This sticker basically releases the airline from being liable for any damage.  Make sure to get a hard case. 

For domestic flights, Mihir advises that you should only check gear if you exceed the airline’s weight and value limits.  Most DIY filmmakers will be under the cutoff in both of those categories.  Some items that aren’t allowed onboard will have to go in your checked luggage.  These items usually consist of batteries, grip tape, a pocketknife, tools, etc.  In case you don’t meet the airline’s requirements, leave some extra room in your checked bag so that you can transfer less expensive equipment to it if need be.  Again, if you’re flying internationally you’ll probably have to check your tripod and slider.

Another international flight concern is the export certificate.  The export certificate is a note that states what equipment you are carrying with you.  It makes going through customs a Hell of a lot easier, ensuring that you aren’t trying to smuggle gear in or out of different locations.  Make sure to write down the serial numbers of your equipment.  If you can’t prove that you had purchased it before your trip, you’ll probably get stuck paying a high duty charge.

So, to recap:

-       Invest in a quality camera backpack that fits all of your gear.
-       Get a hard case for your tripod.
-       Check a small suitcase or duffel bag for your clothes that you can add less expensive gear to if you exceed airline weight limits for carry ons.
-       If you’re traveling internationally be sure to fill out an export certificate.

Mihir also adds to not forget your sunscreen.

Safe and Happy Travels,


If you enjoyed this article, check out our previous post by Thavary Krouch on filming in Cambodia.

1 comment:

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