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How to Pack and Prepare for International Video Shoots

A veteran producer of video projects on multiple continents offers tips on everything from hard-shelled equipment cases to travel restrictions to international power issues to visas to carnets for videographers who want to book international jobs, make the most of them, and escape the pitfalls that come with being un- or under-prepared.

Staying Healthy

While this is probably the last thing we think about as video professionals, it can make or break the project. This trip may be a once-in-a-lifetime event and the last thing you want is to be stuck in your hotel room because you’re not feeling well.

Take a few days to relax and rest up before you depart. Drink a lot of water on the plane and, if you can, request an aisle seat so that you can get up, walk around, and stretch your legs throughout the long flight.

Before you leave, find out if your destination requires any vaccinations. Consider getting some sleep aids to help you sleep on the plane and adapt to time zone changes. It’s also a good idea to travel with a general first aid kit. You never know when you may need a Band-Aid or some antacids. (Lots of great foreign food out there!)

Have a Backup Plan

The tips in this article will help you be more prepared, but remember--things can change at the drop of a hat when you’re on the road. Have a conversation with your client and crew about backup plans in the event of delays, broken equipment, or even sickness.

Scheduling a few extra shooting days is wise, too, as there will no doubt be things you have no control over like travel delays and bad weather. Consider bringing along crewmembers that can act as backup videographers, too.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore!

Keep in mind that things don’t always work abroad like they do in the United States. Have some patience with customs officers and locals. Remember that English is most likely not their first language.

Research the local culture and always be polite. Establishing a good relationship with the local crew and clients can lead to some incredible video and get you access to things you would never otherwise know about.

Take a moment and enjoy each place and the people that you meet there. And remember, traveling for shoots is an amazing opportunity, so be sure to plan properly.

Stjepan Alaupovic has produced award winning videos and coordinated successful projects in Italy, England, Hungary, Romania, Switzerland, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, India, Taiwan, and Singapore. A version of this article was originally published in The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide.