Shooting in the remote parts of Africa.

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    • #39832
      AvatarHDG
      Participant

      For most of us in the broadcasting world, trips of a lifetime seldom occur, but this November I will have the opportunity to shoot a documentary style show for the company I work for in San Diego. We are heading to Niger and Liberia, the former being considered the most poverty-stricken country by the United Nations.

      My hope is that one of my colleagues can share their experience on equipment maintenance and proper travel while shooting in the remote regions of Africa. Any little bit of information would be greatly appreciated.

      Gary.

    • #171850
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Wow, that is a once in a lifetime trip!

      The farthest overseas my gear has gone was Nicaragua, though my wife took some of our backup consumer gear with her on a trip to Cambodia. In both cases, the very best advice I have is to take good care of your gear. Where I was shooting in Nicaragua, you could have a dust storm one minute, and 5 minutes later be in the middle of a downpour. You really have to be ready for weather changes that you’re not used to.

      Batteries are another concern. Make sure you have plenty of them. Nothing would suck more than being in the middle of a scene with no power for miles around, and your last battery dies on you. You’ll also want to buy a power adapter to convert the local power wherever you’ll be residing to the US standard 115V your chargers were designed for.

      Pretty much, I would imagine that you’re going to want to prepare for anything, and assume that everything that can go wrong, will.

      But I’m not exactly a world traveling expert here. There is a lot better advice than mine on these boards, I’m sure.

    • #171851
      AvatarTomScratch
      Participant

      Hi,

      UV filters for lenses to protect from elements. Plenty of tape and pre-charged batteries.

      Research well in advance the health hazards, take seriously, and take action to protect your health. E.g., likely that you will be in malaria country. Take every precaution against dysentery (I have rinsed my toothbrush with beer on more than one occasion.) Be not tempted by local water or ice cubes, whether from hotel faucets, rivers populated by hippos, or served as ice cubes in your Coke at local restaurants. You can take every precaution against dysentery, and still get it; have an antidote for that. (Got my share of the big D in New Dehli and Bangkok, separate trips. Was hospitalized for this for two days in Bangkok with an IV in my arm. A sister even made a special shirt for me inspired by the experience; she is such a sweetie; shirt sez I Was Dehydrated in Bangkok.)

      Security can be not up to par in third world hotels, esp if you are in bargain hotels. In third world cities, be acutely aware of the potential for theft. A child’s smile can hide the intent of a professional thief. If you can’t carry your camera(s) on your person at all times, take whatever precautions you can. I’m not generally the paranoid type (even after being assaulted in DC two blocks from the White House (Charge: Assault with Intent to Murder; Sentence, 7 years), so this is just an idle thought for consideration: Your chief asset, after your own person of course, will be the hours and hours of tape that you shoot. It will be a tragedy if you drop your cam off the chopper into the rain forest, but not as bad as if you lose your tape. If you do not have your hours and hours of precious documentary footage/tape on your person at all times, make sure that it is in a safe place.

      Enjoy the trip. You will probably need a vacation when it is over. In spite of what I have said, I would trade places with you in a flash.

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #171852
      AvatarHDG
      Participant

      Tom,

      Thank you for all of the valuable information and advice; we are getting extremely excited about our documentary and experience in Africa.

      Warmest regards,

      Gary.

      Tom Scratch Wrote:

      Hi,

      UV filters for lenses to protect from elements. Plenty of tape and pre-charged batteries.

      Research well in advance the health hazards, take seriously, and take action to protect your health. E.g., likely that you will be in malaria country. Take every precaution against dysentery (I have rinsed my toothbrush with beer on more than one occasion.) Be not tempted by local water or ice cubes, whether from hotel faucets, rivers populated by hippos, or served as ice cubes in your Coke at local restaurants. You can take every precaution against dysentery, and still get it; have an antidote for that. (Got my share of the big D in New Dehli and Bangkok, separate trips. Was hospitalized for this for two days in Bangkok with an IV in my arm. A sister even made a special shirt for me inspired by the experience; she is such a sweetie; shirt sez I Was Dehydrated in Bangkok.)

      Security can be not up to par in third world hotels, esp if you are in bargain hotels. In third world cities, be acutely aware of the potential for theft. A child’s smile can hide the intent of a professional thief. If you can’t carry your camera(s) on your person at all times, take whatever precautions you can. I’m not generally the paranoid type (even after being assaulted in DC two blocks from the White House (Charge: Assault with Intent to Murder; Sentence, 7 years), so this is just an idle thought for consideration: Your chief asset, after your own person of course, will be the hours and hours of tape that you shoot. It will be a tragedy if you drop your cam off the chopper into the rain forest, but not as bad as if you lose your tape. If you do not have your hours and hours of precious documentary footage/tape on your person at all times, make sure that it is in a safe place.

      Enjoy the trip. You will probably need a vacation when it is over. In spite of what I have said, I would trade places with you in a flash.

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #171853
      AvatarHDG
      Participant

      Jim,

      Your advice and input is greatly appreciated.

      Warmest regards,

      Gary.

      On a Roll Wrote:

      Wow, that is a once in a lifetime trip!

      The farthest overseas my gear has gone was Nicaragua, though my wife took some of our backup consumer gear with her on a trip to Cambodia. In both cases, the very best advice I have is to take good care of your gear. Where I was shooting in Nicaragua, you could have a dust storm one minute, and 5 minutes later be in the middle of a downpour. You really have to be ready for weather changes that you’re not used to.

      Batteries are another concern. Make sure you have plenty of them. Nothing would suck more than being in the middle of a scene with no power for miles around, and your last battery dies on you. You’ll also want to buy a power adapter to convert the local power wherever you’ll be residing to the US standard 115V your chargers were designed for.

      Pretty much, I would imagine that you’re going to want to prepare for anything, and assume that everything that can go wrong, will.

      But I’m not exactly a world traveling expert here. There is a lot better advice than mine on these boards, I’m sure.

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