Film Making Questions

#1 Sep 27th, 2017, 14:41
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  • hammockman is offline
#1
Hi all,

I'm considering another trip to India around Christmas with the idea of bringing some entry level film making equipment with me which has raised a couple of questions.

1. Although only a canon 800d, a couple of lenses, tripod, external mic etc (basic gear), I wondered what interest may be paid to me by customs. I have no intention of making commercial documentaries (my skill level wouldn't allow for that anyway), perhaps only uploaded to youtube, but still, I considered customs may not care and make things difficult. Has anyone brought through seemingly professional camera equipment and had any issues? (I understand my gear isn't really professional equipment, but customs may not be aware of that)

2. I've had several extended journeys through India and consider it one of the safest countries in the world I've traveled. However, I thought I might like to explore the back streets of some cities and wondered if walking around and setting up camera gear would attract the wrong kind of attention.

As always your valued thoughts, ideas and experiences are appreciated.

Hammockman
The idea that seeing the world means going from place to place to look at obvious things is an illusion natural to dull minds.
#2 Sep 27th, 2017, 14:58
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#2
Customs globally know more about not just prices, but the value of items than most people give them credit for.

If they feel that you are bringing something in without paying tariffs with a view to re-selling it, then, because you are a foreigner, the customs enforcement directorate can put an endorsement with a list of the items in your passport and require you to take them out with you when you depart.

In the shanty towns of all the major cities, people will indulge you as long as you stay warm and friendly and don't disturb their daily business of business. Avoid unknown and isolated places late at night unless you are with trusted friends, but mugging is quite rare. Better safe than sorry, though, so keep your wits about you.
#3 Sep 27th, 2017, 15:13
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#3
Please do note that tripods are not allowed in ASI controlled sites.
#4 Sep 27th, 2017, 21:13
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#4
Thank you good sirs.
#5 Sep 28th, 2017, 00:30
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#5
Some places are safe, some are not. Do some research before going
#6 Sep 28th, 2017, 00:36
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#6
I would not assume that it is safe to wander back streets with expensive photographic equipment.
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#7 Sep 28th, 2017, 01:20
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#7
Although I did have my bag of goodies with camera and phone, etc, nicked while asleep on a train, I do feel safe in India. I should have taken a little more care of my stuff. Just exercise the normal caution that you would when visiting any city.

Given that I get dozens of requests there to "take my photo" with even my small camera, you will probably gather a sizable entourage!

Many semi-pro travel bloggers seem to use good gear nowadays, so I don't think it will be an issue. I guess the tripod is the item that most tourists don't bring. Can you pack it inside a normal suitcase to hide it away a bit?

Ed.
#8 Sep 28th, 2017, 09:00
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#8
Thanks all.

I'm a pretty seasoned vagrant these days and undertake all the normal precautions when venturing off the "pancake" trail so feel reasonably confident of avoiding most problems. I do however understand nobody can stop determined individuals should I encounter them, and the fact of the matter is should I head into areas that are out of the way or unfamiliar to me, I probably will have to have a local or two with me.

OldandRambling, I had considered bringing a monopod which is a collapsible/telescopic pole-like piece of equipment which is considerably less conspicuous than a tripod, which thinking about it more makes sense. Thanks for reminding me as it probably is a better option.
#9 Sep 28th, 2017, 16:00
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#9
Returning to your original post, and your purpose for the thread...

I think a lot of tourists carry a heap of photographic equipment. Enough to make those of us at the lower end of the photographic heap quite envious. I don't think you will have any trouble at all passing through customs unless you are carrying quantities or specific gear that make you look like a professional. EG, the sort of camera you hold in your hands is unlikely to attract a second glance, whereas the sort that you would carry on your shoulder might well get the attention of immigration/visa folk as well as customs. Similarly, the "normal" sort of photographic tripod, even if it is top-of-the-range pure titanium (or even unobtainium!) will not bother customs at all, but a heavy-weight video tripod (would anyone hand-carry one of these anyway? But just for example) very well might.

Again, stuff that makes you look professional is more likely to lead to a tough interview with immigration officers, as a special visa is required for film/documentary/journalism.
#10 Sep 29th, 2017, 20:22
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#10
Nick-H, thanks. I feel a lot better about getting through with little attention being as I won't have much in the way of gear, and what there is of it is pretty basic.

Again, thanks everyone.
#11 Sep 29th, 2017, 21:03
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#11
Better films have always been made with basic gears only . Enjoy your shoot in India !

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