Gathering Your Tech Gear to Film Abroad

Gathering Your Tech Gear to Film Abroad

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.

Tipping Etiquette for International Productions

Tipping Etiquette for International Media Productions

Awareness about the tipping customs in foreign locales can come in handy, especially when you’re filming or shooting in locations around the world and don’t want to blow your budget on unnecessary expenses.

If you were filming a commercial in Australia, the last thing you want is to leave a generous tip for the taxi driver when it’s customary to just have them “keep the change.” And if you’re heading out to lunch at an elite city restaurant after your photoshoot in Tokyo, don’t even think about tipping because it is perceived as an insult in Japan. When your media project takes you to England you don’t want to forget to tip the hotel porter who brings your bags up £1 – £2. He or she will be expecting it.

While it’s difficult to cover the tipping etiquette of all countries in a single post, here are some we think you’ll find useful when budgeting for your international film production, media project or photoshoot.

South America

Argentina doesn’t have a standard tip percentage; in fact, it’s okay even if you don’t tip. After suffering an economic depression – lasting from 1998 to 2002 – Argentinians are more careful about their money and don’t expect to be tipped or receive tips. It is however customary to part with the change on a small amount at a restaurant or hotel. In another South American country, Brazil, a 10% tip for taxis and dining is the norm so to speak, though some may also tip higher.

Middle East

In Dubai, a 10 per cent service charge is added to hotel, restaurant and bar bills. Tips may go to the waiter who served you or be divided among service staff. If you wish, you can show your appreciation with a couple of dirhams, each being equivalent to a quarter. Porters and valets are used to getting about 10 dirhams in tips while cab drivers expect to keep change on smaller amounts. In Qatar and Saudi Arabia, you can leave anywhere between a 10 and 20 per cent tip at restaurants, and reserve $10 per day for drivers and guides.


If your work takes you to Spain, keep in mind that tipping is not customary but appreciated. A 10% tip in restaurants is just about fine. The same goes for restaurants and cafes in Turkey, though you have to pay as soon as you’re served in pubs, snack bars and tea houses, and tips can be dropped into tip boxes beside the counter. In Romania, anywhere between 5 and 10 per cent will do, but there are many places that expect to receive tips in exchange for service rendered. These include bakeries, post offices, hairdressers and customs. France, England and Germany follow a 5-10 per cent tipping etiquette.

Knowing how to budget appropriately for your production or event location will save you money, stress and hassle. Keep these ‘tips’ in mind next time you take off to an exotic locale for your corporate event, fashion shoot or media production.

Best Filming Locations in the U.S.

Hollywood’s Film Location Trends 2014

Producers often walk a tightrope between keeping production costs in check and ensuring that the quality and authenticity of the movie doesn’t suffer in any way. They’ve increasingly been looking at ‘greener pastures’ away from California that offer lucrative film tax incentives while also serving as good locations for physical production.

A latest example of the growing trend of big budget movies turning to overseas locales is the upcoming (2015) $100 million thriller ‘San Andreas’ starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Interestingly, the movie explores the aftermath of a massive 10.0 earthquake in San Francisco. Instead of SF, the movie will be shot in Australia’s Gold Coast. Another example is the $70 million flick ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ that was shot in Louisiana. So, what does Louisiana have that LA doesn’t?

Louisiana is the #1 spot for Hollywood movie production

In 2013, Louisiana zoomed past New York and California as the most preferred movie production destination for Hollywood movies. It formally introduced film tax incentives in 2002, and currently offers a 30 per cent transferable tax credit to all productions that meet a $300,000 in-state budget threshold. By comparison, California rolled out incentives in 2009 and it was slim pickings until a legislative change in August this year increased the credits pool from a previous $100 million to $330 million per year. However, it may have come a bit late given that the state lost over 15,000 film jobs between 2004 and 2012.

Meanwhile, production costs on major feature films in LA have shot up significantly in recent years. Filming in town has become financially unviable for producers.

Canada remains a favorite

Canada’s biggest conquest following its tax credit incentive program in 1997 was ‘Titanic’. Top-grossing movies such as ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Chicago’ followed suit. The country presently offers a refundable federal tax credit equivalent to 16 per cent of qualified residential labor costs. If you factor in provincial offers, the overall credits can climb up to 70 per cent of eligible labor costs and 30 per cent of miscellaneous local expenses.

Hollywood movies being shot in Canada this year include Robert Zemeckis’ ‘The Walk’ starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Stonewall’, and John Crowley’s ‘Brooklyn’.

States that have cut back on film tax incentives

Michigan and North Carolina recently slashed their state tax credits, and have consequently witnessed a fall in Hollywood production. NC, which has hosted such major productions as ‘Hunger Games’ looks set to lose HBO hit ‘Homeland’, which has so far been filmed in and around Charlotte.

No matter where your filming takes you finding qualified and reliable local production crews is a must!  At the Global Media Desk we work with the finest, most respected local professionals in cities and countries around the world. Our production crews have the experience, creativity and know-how to make them the very best in the business.  Contact us to find out how we can help make your production a success.

Canon Photomarathon Asia

2014 Canon Photomarathon Asia

Asia’s biggest photography contest – the 2014 Canon Photomarathon Asia – made its yearly debut in Hanoi, Vietnam on September 27, 2014. The event, essentially a photography competition, was initiated in 2003 by Canon Singapore and is a one-day day event meant to create an abiding interest and passion for all things photography. This year the contest spans over 7 different countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Thailand and Cambodia) and ends on November 29, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

On the actual day of the contest, each participant is given three separate themes at different times to base their photographs on. They are given three hours to complete each thematic work and must return to the contest location with their pictures, and download them onto the server before getting their next assignment.

The 2014 Vietnam edition of the competition aimed to highlight the cultural and natural attractions of Vietnam. About 10,000 contestants participated in the event, making it a grand success. The list of jury members featured three internationally famous photographers, including Maika Elan, a famous Vietnamese photography artist.

Here are a few of the winning images:
Contest topic Tổ ấm gia đình
Prize Overall Grand Prize
Photographer TONG TRAN SON
Contest topic Tổ ấm gia đình
Prize Winner
Photographer CAO THIEN THIEU
Contest topic Cuộc sống trong ngõ hẻm
Prize Winner
Contest topic Vội vàng
Prize Winner

Full Gallery of Canon Photomarathon Vietnam 2014:



Singapore – 1st Nov 2014


Kuala Lumpur – 11 Oct 2014
Penang – 18 Oct 2014


Bangkok – 29 Nov 2014


Hanoi – 27 Sep 2014
Ho Chi Minh  – 4 Oct 2014


Brunei – 19 Oct 2014


Cambodia – 19 Oct 2014


Bangalore – 27 Sept 2014


Medan – 11 Oct 2014
Yogyakarta – 19 Oct 2014
Jakarta – 25 Oct 2014


More info on Canon Photomarathon Asia:

video production trends

Video Production Trends to Watch Out For

Quality content is what makes the world go round. And for the professionals looking to bring it to life, the 2014 NAB Show directs the way! Hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters, the NAB Show is the world’s largest electronic media show covering the creation, management and delivery of content across all platforms. This year’s event in Las Vegas had more than 98,000 attendees from 150 countries and 1,600+ exhibitors. As you can imagine several emerging technologies and the latest innovations came into light during the event.

Unification of 4K and Internet video

NAB 2014 exhibited the march of evolution towards 4K video and Internet broadcasting. Manufacturers of the two products are planning a unified experience of the two seemingly opposite areas. A new codec: H.265 has already been made available this year. It is estimated that H.265 will substitute H.264 as the compression standard for next generation. The present container or wrapper for the H.264 is MPEG-4. For H.265, the new container is High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC). It is not only twice the compression ratio of H.264, but can also support files up to 8K. Manufacturers are expected to adopt it from the end of 2014.

Integrated solutions for online video

The number of video platforms offering an integrated solution is increasing. New entrants have increased and are joining the platform centric multi-bitrate streaming firms. Many companies are offering a wider range of platform services and also options for distribution like adaptive video streaming, video analytics, hosting and encoding.

LED and the lighting revolution

Litepanels brought into the market the Sola line fresnels, a LED line that utilizes only a fraction of power which the fresnels in the 20th century consumed. Another new line called Celeb 400 has been launched, which is a worthy successor to the LED Celeb 200. The new line not only promises the adjustment of luminance, but also the color temperature. It enables quick decision making on whether to make a balance for Daylight, Tungsten lighting or any other factor between the two.

Independents and remote broadcasting

Creative agencies and independent videographers now have a number of compact ways by which they can broadcast directly from the ENG shoot. Many companies have even launched backpack cellular solutions. A substantial range of protocols like HLS, RTMP and RTP permit you to stream high definition videos directly to the web via 4G or LTE USB modem or WiFi.