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Tips for shooting in Russia?
  • Heading to Russia (Moscow) in a couple of weeks from the U.S. Most of my shooting will be in the client's corporate buildings, but looking to get some city/culture b-roll as well.

    Is there anything special to keep in mind, either with customs going in/out of the country or in shooting on the street in Moscow?

    I've traveled with gear before - wondering about tips specific to Russia. Would love to hear your thoughts or experience.

  • 12 Replies sorted by
  • Generally it's weather and beautiful girls are going to distract you all the way :) Keep in mind the traffic. Underground is much faster way to move but you can't shoot over there. Probably there are much more tips but I don't live in Moscow. Better come to Siberia.

  • There's a statue and donation box honoring Vitaliy at the airport entrance, it was placed there so Canon fanboys can donate anonymously. It's emptied hourly :-)

  • I'll be sure to get footage of the statue with a hacked GH2, which i'll post here on my return.:)

    I think what I'm really wondering is - can I get away with using a shoulder rig + FF in downtown Moscow? Too risky (theft)? Against the law? Will I get nabbed by the KGB and thrown in jail with Pussy Riot?

  • Will I get nabbed by the KGB and thrown in jail with Pussy Riot?

    Only if you get caught with Canon gear.

  • thrown in jail with Pussy Riot?

    don't expect too much. Jail yes but not with girls ;-))

    I was in shooting in Siberia a month ago. I was warned about lot of things and I cannot confirm any. People were polite and friendly even custom officers in Moskow and Barnaul. I was travelling with an ATA Carnet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATA_Carnet for my equipment and if you have more than a GH2 with two lenses I would recommend getting one to be on the safe side. I don't kow how to get one in U.S. but you should find easily find out

  • I did a vacation video of me and my girlfriend in Moscow. Granted, I was mostly at all the tourist sites, so there is a low liklihood of crime in those crowds, and everyone else had cameras, so GH2 did not stick out at all. I used one of those tent-pole tripods, which I highly recommend. Not sure about shoulder rig and FF, but why not just strip it down to it's "covert" size. Do you definitely need a full rig?

  • I live in St-Petersburg and can say that it's quite safe here on streets. Just act as you would in any big-city — don't go with your camera to abandoned places, don't show your rig and camera in downtown at night, keep your backpack in front of you in crowds (busses, underground, other places with lot of people).

    I often see here tourists on streets/underground who carry their cameras on their shoulder behind their hand. It's not safe. There is little chance that you will be robbed in crowded place, but I heard that sometimes thieves steal lenses right from a hanging camera.

    As for customs, I think you shouldn't worry. It depends on how much gear you have, but once I travelled to Finland and back with a Red One package without any questions. As far as I understand, according to the rules, you can declare all your valuables and then follow the red channel on arrival (customs officer will check your declaration and your valuables). On departure you'll have to do the same, and if you leave with the same valuables it will be ok. It's not considered to be an import in this case. Otherwise you can import valuables up to the sum of 1500 EUR. It's not a strict law, as it's hard to distinguish between imported goods and goods for personal use.

    Feel free to ask any questions, will be happy to help.

  • @tjnavyblue You'll be fine. Tourists bring tripods with them as well, right? I do. I mean I am always a 'tourist' when I am abroad. Take the metro (a highlight on its own ;-)

    Moscow-Metro-Map.jpg
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  • We lost a 40 foot screen in Moscow once - well the police "stored" it for us lol

  • Make sure you use a camera strap on your GH2 and hang around your neck, you look like a tourist that way.

  • Thanks all! About what I was expecting - nice to have some of those expectations confirmed.

    Trying to get together info for an ATA Carnet - any further tips on this? I'm shooting in UK first, then flying to Moscow, then back to UK, then US. If all my stuff makes it home with me: hooray.

  • Don't know about Moscow, but last summer I shot some city culture on main commercial street in Saint Petersburg. Went there at night, alone, with a gearbag, GH2 and a tripod. Any thug would've had an easy job taking the gear, but there were no problems, probably in part because there were always people around. Just the usual encounters like people asking "where will this video go".

    Before going I was told not to "flash brands". So I covered main logos on gear and wore aged no-brand clothes. Not sure if it had any real effect, but on the streets no-one seemed to treat me as a tourist, everybody started conversation in Russian.

    That said, outside main streets there were definitely some places I wouldn't go alone with full gear. A small cam and a zoom lens maybe, but nothing that would prevent from running or be too expensive to let go of.