Production Tips

Filming Abroad

filming abroadAs a video production company the idea of filming abroad has always seemed an exciting prospect and an opportunity too good to turn down. However, the reality of it is that unless you’re very fortunate with the project the chances are that all you’ll get to see are the insides of a plane, a taxi, a hotel and a conference centre. Seen as the majority of our work takes place in the workplace it really doesn’t matter if the workplace we’re filming is in London, Paris or Kuala Lumpur. Having said that there is always a certain amount of excitement when we get to film abroad but that is often overtaken by a realisation of just how much organising needs to be be done to ensure the shoot goes well. So here is a check-list of things to organise when planning a video shoot oversees.

Travel & accommodation

It seems like an obvious place to start but essential. Ideally we don’t like shooting on the same say as travelling although sometimes budgets and time-scales don’t allow this. Even if it’s just a short plane journey to somewhere like Berlin you still need to account for getting to and from the airport, picking up luggage, checking into the hotel etc. All in all it could easily become 5 hours of travelling before you get to stop. Best not to be filming immediately after that. So if the budget allows it then it’s definitely worth arriving the evening before so you can be well rested.

Food, drink and other expenses

It’s always important on every shoot to work in breaks during the day to stop and eat. This goes double for working abroad as you can so easily skip past lunch in order to get everything done which will only reduce the quality of your output. You have to make sure you take more than enough cash for meals and taxis as we tend to be rely heavily on taxis to get us to and from the venue.

Power adaptors

It is absolutely vital to take more power adaptors than you need. Why? Because you can guarantee that no one else will remember to bring them and you’re going to need to plug those lights in!

Spares of everything

On a busy day we might expect to film 4 – 8 hours of footage and we might not have time back it up. Therefore we always take plenty of spare cards with us just in case. The same goes double for batteries, if you’re out and about and running off batteries all day then make sure you have enough as you might not have time to charge them.


Most airliners allow you to take one or two pieces of hand luggage on board and this is definitely where you want to pack your camera, lenses, cards and maybe a couple of batteries. It’s probably the most valuable thing you’ll be taking with you plus if they lose your luggage en route then at least you’ve got something with you to film with!
If anything needs to go in the hold then we always make sure it’s packed nice and tight so things can’t move around and any spare gaps are stuffed with bubble wrap.

Last few bits

There’s always plenty of other bits to remember:

  • Passport & EHIC (obviously)
  • Insurance – make sure your equipment is covered oversees and you have travel insurance for yourself
  • Addresses & itinerary – Print off the schedule for your trip and the address of everywhere you’re visiting so you can point at them when getting in a taxi
  • Mobile phone – Make sure your phone is set up to work abroad (sometimes have to call your provider to ensure this) so you can contact your client when you’re out and about.

Hopefully that covers everything, if you’re like me you’ll double check everything before you go just to ensure everything runs smoothly. And, if you’re lucky, you might always be able to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing as well.

If you’re looking to have a video produced in the UK, Europe or elsewhere then contact Will or Andy at Echo Video on 01273 911345.

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