Working in the USA

18 replies [Last post]
Graham Risdon
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Hope someone can help.

I've been booked for a 1 week shooting in the States in August. We won't be using the full-size gear - just a Z1 and a couple of minicams, so travelling light!

Does anyone have any experience of shooting in the States especially the need for carnets, best way to transport gear on airlines - someone also told me I needed a work visa - I don't think I do as a UK citizen for just a week....

Many thanks in advance

fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

I did that last year. Took a V1 & PD170, plus 2 x tripods, radio mic & ME66, reflector, no lights, with 2 of us.

didn't need carnets / didn't have to use them.

HOWEVER on the way in, we were taken to one side and questioned at length, as to who/what/why we were shooting, and why didn't we have a business visa etc. Eventually got through, but think a reason for that was that the shooting was for non-commercial reasons, for an established charity, for internal use. Almost missed our connecting flight, we did.

we had cameras & mics in hand luggage.

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

Have filmed in USA many times. Strictly, you do need a working visa - see the US Embassy website for details. However, if your equipment is low key, and carried in hand luggage, you will probably be fine as a tourist.
We use a peli 1550 case for taking our Z1 - it fits in hand luggage bin, but does take over the 6kg weight limit. However, a friendly chat with the airline usually gets past the problem, and they tend to allow it as a carry-on.

Chris
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Dave R Smith
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Joined: May 10 2005
Graham Risdon wrote:
- someone also told me I needed a work visa - I don't think I do as a UK citizen for just a week....

Many thanks in advance

Decades ago (20 years) charter flights had some arrangement with US for visa waiver for UK residents - don't know if that's still the case for tourists - maybe that's what you are thinking back to.

fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

uk citizen can get visa on entry - no prior arrangement required.

There is a time limit, but it's at least 30 days etc. can't remember offhand.

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

As long as you are not of different colour looking like an an Asian, then your be fine,
otherwise you will then you will get pulled over even if you have no cameras.

They are bloody paranoid in security, once your in, the people are fine, I managed to get through in the end by boring them do death by showing them samples of my wedding videos on my pocket PC

LucyLou
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Joined: Jun 23 2008
Z Cheema wrote:
They are bloody paranoid in security

I expect that'll be because people keep trying to blow the planes up! :confused:

If I'm getting on a plane then give me paranoid security staff over lax ones anyday

A bad memory is the secret of a clear conscience ;)

fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

nah, it's not the paranoia that irks, it's HOW they exercise their authority. They seem to have watched too many episodes of some stupid hollywood crime drama where the police et al all believe in maximum intimidation. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

funny how most of the world survives without that attitude......
nothing like a bit of courtesy, politeness etc

:(

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003
LucyLou wrote:
I expect they'll be because people keep trying to blow the planes up! :confused:

If I'm getting on a plane then give me paranoid security staff over lax ones anyday

This was after the flight LucyLou, also what you are saying its OK for me to get stopped repeatedly questioned and basically get Pi**ed of with it so you can live your life in fear safely. this smacks of what used to happen at school , one person would do something wrong and the whole class is punished. Paranoia causes fear, just as it did in Germany all those years ago.

But I do agree there has to be some security.

You are more likely to get run over, mugged and as it seems knifed then blown up in a plane.

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

The Visa Waiver Scheme does not allow you to work in USA. Nor does the Media visa, unless stringent conditions are met (such as being officially on a news or sports story).

officially, you are not allowed to earn any money in the USA from any company based there unless you have the correct permit to work.

Some people may not like the border controls - the simple answer is, don't go there. I have been stopped and asked questions too - so what? I am not a Muslim Terrorist (nor indeed a Muslim anything). Let's keep to the topic of the question.
Graham - which part of USA are you planning to film in? Do you need any extra help? I know certain areas very well indeed.

Don't forget, if you plan to use radio mics, the frequencies are different in USA - ours conflict with their cell phone range.

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

No one mentioned Muslim's, are you saying only Muslim's are terrorists?, that's what your post implies? I assume my name suggests I might be...

perhaps you should have said I am not a terrorist, but as it seems Muslim = terrorist = Muslim and you seem to have validated that.

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

ZCheema
Firstly, the USA and other countries perceive that the current greatest threat to them from terrorism comes from the Muslim community. That is a fact, so get used to it. It does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists, nor does it imply it. So, do not try and distort my words. It appears that you have huge issues with this, and feel persecuted, whether you are Muslim or not. Unfortunately the vast majority of international terrorist incidents in recent years have stemmed from within the Muslim community, so, it is natural to focus on the groups of people from where the perceived threat may lie.

The USA will do what it feels right to protect its borders and its people. I am not suggesting that they get things right on every occasion, but, they do have a much tougher policy on immigration than, say, Britain. If you do not like it, don't go. Like I also said, I have been stopped and asked questions - I am not complaining about it though. I accept it as part of their policy. Remember, we are visiting their country! Similarly, if you want to have sex on the beach, don't go to Dubai.

Get back to helping Graham - it is far more productive. I notice that you have offered nothing valuable in helping answer the question so far, and have just spouted on about how hard done by you are.

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

Sorry perhaps a new thread could open it up, I will end this conversation as you you request.

Aplogies Graham.

Z Cheema
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Joined: Nov 17 2003

You will need a machine readable passport and an address in the states you are going, else they wont let you on the plane. This was in term 3 Heathrow using the check-in machines

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

This would be the Advance Passenger Information that is required. Also, they now take phtos of every visitor, and fingerprint everyone on arrival (every finger now, too). I travelled there last week.

Chris
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Graham Risdon
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Hi All

Thanks for the comments.. I'll try to answer a few...

Looks like flying we're flying into Denver and out of San Francisco... Client is a major UK newpaper and 2 car manufacturers. Got my PA to contact the embassy today - they said a visa was required and it cost $134 but you had to visit the Embassy in London...

For the record, I'm not a muslim and do understand that terrorism is a big threat although I'm not sure how this relates to work visas - smacks more of protecting their market...(!)

Regarding gear, I'll be taking the Z1, a couple of radio mics (US frequency!) and 2 minicams plus vehicle mounts as well as a tripod of some sort. My satchler is too heavy for the Z1 so will probably but a lightweight Vinten/manfrotto or maybe a small Satchler. we'll probably take a PD170 as a backup in case the Z1 fails! Does this class as low-key?

I'll probably try the the official thing, although I wonder as we're working for a paper whether the news/media visa would work.

The fingerprinting thing must take ages - does that mean big delays through immigration in the US?

Many thanks for all the help so far - any more comments would be gratefully received.

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999
A few more things..

hi graham,

The visa requirement has nothing to do with terrorism - it has been in place for a long time. The post had strayed, hence my earlier comments about keeping to the point.

You may wish to consider hire of tripod and contingency hire of backup camera, such as an alternative Z1. Then you could shoot HD mode on z1, and call on hire company only if necessary. There should be plenty of choice in either city. Benefits are that excess luggage is reduced, and less risk of damage to equipment. If you take cameras, keep them as hand luggage, preferably in Peli case as I said earlier. Tripod should be flight cased. I had one smashed by baggage handlers, even though it was in flight case - pretty difficult to achieve, but they managed it. I also had a Betacam wrecked once too, and never again has my camera been anywhere near the hold. When I travel with kit, I fly Virgin, and Premium Economy Class. the extra is worth it, because you can take 2 pieces of hand luggage and you arrive less tired - helpful if you have a drive to follow. You also get a larger weight allowance for baggage, and less queue at the airport. The supplement on the ticket was only about £225 return.

If you opt for better ticket, it can help with immigration. You get off the plane first, and baggage is delivered first. This can make a real difference at immigration, as sometimes, the lines can be very long - and you have just got off a plane with maybe 400 people onboard. The finger printing definitely slows things down. Until a few weeks ago, they were only taking prints of a couple of fingers, but this is changing to the whole set. Also, they take a pic of your face too. Beware, car rental lines can be slow-moving too. I have recently had to wait well over an hour just to pick up my car. I took my TomTom, by the way - it has USA maps- though I never used it.

I would recommend that you get the Visa, by the way - you MAY be refused entry, with no appeal, otherwise - and then you will be refused on future trips to USA too, automatically.

If you would like a chat about this, give me a call on the Hallmark number.

Chris

Chris
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PaulD
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Joined: Aug 31 2002

Hi
"Travelers’ laptops may be detained at border.

WASHINGTON - Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.
The policies cover any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form, including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080103030.html?nav=rss_nation
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25960741/

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001
PaulD wrote:
Hi
"Travelers’ laptops may be detained at border.

WASHINGTON - Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.
The policies cover any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form, including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080103030.html?nav=rss_nation
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25960741/

I think that we are fast approaching the state where the rest of the world will have to excommunicate the USA, as a pariah state. They appear to practice most of the evils that they so readily ascribe to others. As with so many such countries the individual citizens are fine, they just seem to elect such unpleasant politicians. Then who are we to talk? Perhaps one should bear in mind John 8:7