Filming abroad is challenging for all the producers; from feature film to corporate video or simple b-roll shots. You always have to keep an eye on your production especially in terms of scheduling and budgeting.
Producers who have to manage a production abroad has to go through a lot of information that they have never experienced before.
Here are our most important tips to take a look, before starting a video production outside of your home country:
The most challenging issue you may face is going to be communicating with local authorities. You will need to get all the necessary filming permits before you leave your home country, otherwise you might have to deal with complications with the authorities which may interrupt your filming on the ground.
If you are filming with a very small crew, you might think of trying to get away without a going through the paperwork, but it’s is vital to avoid anything which may cause your production to stop. Even if you are only filming on private locations, having local authorization from the film offices will help your production go smoother.
2: Local Kit:
This is a tricky one. If you want to travel lightweight and hire equipment locally, you have to find a decent camera rental company in order to work effortlessly. To make sure everything is going to be working as expected, you need to do proper research or ask for recommendations from your colleagues and local professionals. All countries have different approach for insuring camera kit. While it is easier to get insurance for your equipment in some countries, others might turn to be a real problem. For instance, video production companies in Turkey might be able to offer you insurances when hiring filming equipment while companies in Italy will not.
If you decide to bring your camera and lighting equipment from your home country, you will need to make sure that your kit is secure and ready for transit. Flying with equipment certainly will cost more in terms of luggage space, and you will want to avoid paying penalties at the customs. In this case, you will need additional paperwork to bring them legally into a country. In most countries you have to get an ATA Carnet for your equipment, in order to deal with customs offices.
3: Local Crew
There are two aspects to consider when hiring crew for your production abroad. It’s no surprise that you may want to work with your own crew which you have worked together number of times so you know exactly what they will deliver. But when properly researched; hiring local crew obviously has its advantages.
First off, it can help you save production money to which you can use somewhere else rather than travel and accommodations. Local professionals that you may hire will usually have great experience working in their home country; they will be experienced and know the environment as well as the people in the area. If your on camera talents are local, hiring key members of your crew locally is also another great benefit to ease the communication. Not to mention that you will grow your world-wide network which good for your own business and the local filming community.
4: Local Fixer
A difference maker for any production abroad; hiring a local fixer is probably the most important decision you are going to make. Even if you are going to a country you visited before, you’re probably not familiar with the local rules and procedures with film production which may change over time.
A fixer will be your local right-hand. Fixers usually have better network for managing a production and they are also great to have for dealing with paperwork on your behalf. They will also be a vaulable part of your team when you are on the ground. Fixers can help building a bridge between you and the local people and they can help overcome any misunderstandings since in some countries, local people are skeptical towards foreigner productions.
You definitely need to find your fixer, before leaving your country. Keeping constant contact, through e-mails, phones, video conferences are highly crucial.
5: Schedule/ Budget.
When you are filming abroad, filming takes usually more time then your hometown. You will probably have no to little recce time or, in most cases, you will need to start filming immediately after you show up at the filming location which you see for the first time.
Having local people in your team may help with timing to since they will have better experience in terms of traveling within the country. When you are preparing callsheets, for example, you may have the opportunity to ask your local crews advice. Even though they might be working great at home, Google Maps or similar navigation apps may not be really helpful while calculating real travel times in between your locations.
In most cases, you will have to use a different currency when paying for things during production abroad. Even in the case that your currency is more valuable than the local currency, you may end up spending a lot more then anticipated. You have to keep track of your expenses and make sure that you collect receipts even for the little things so you know what is going on with your budget.