Thread: Distant Relatives - New Zealand

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  1. #1 Distant Relatives - New Zealand 
    Senior Member Jeffrey Loewe's Avatar
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    Back in September I got the opportunity to go to New Zealand for a week and a half window to shoot a group of skiers for the brand Giro Sport Design. We only had 3 days on snow and had some difficulty getting our gear through customs so had to wait to collect lenses and backup cameras/drones. The whole piece was shot on a Red Raven, DJI Mavic Air (due to size and locations we had to be), and DJI Mavic Pro (when our Air decided to fly away). We were based mostly out of Wanaka. Went up to Treble Cone, Franz Josef, and a bit more of the west coast.

    Hope everyone enjoys it!

    Side note anyone going to NZ now with gear and if you're not a local, it's a massive headache. Get your gear in through customs (which is now a requirement apparently) ahead of time otherwise customs will hold it and randomly just decide things they can keep. Can't say i'll be to excited to shoot in New Zealand ever again even though it was beautiful.


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  2. #2  
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    Hey mate,

    Nice images. Glad you had a good, successful trip.

    For anyone else reading this. Do your research, get an ATA Carnet. Makes travelling with equipment super easy! (and you won't have any trouble with NZ Customs...)
    (applies for many, many countries... including those of us who travel in and out of the USA (even Colorado!) for filming...)

    For your Drone filming in NZ, have a look here for the local laws:
    https://www.airshare.co.nz/rules
    If in doubt, hire a local CAA102 qualified company, or a local Line Producer or Production Manager who can handle all of your requirements (even Work Visas!) with ease.
    Ben Ruffell
    Director of Photography
    www.benruffell.com
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Jeffrey Loewe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruff View Post
    Hey mate,

    Nice images. Glad you had a good, successful trip.

    For anyone else reading this. Do your research, get an ATA Carnet. Makes travelling with equipment super easy! (and you won't have any trouble with NZ Customs...)
    (applies for many, many countries... including those of us who travel in and out of the USA (even Colorado!) for filming...)

    For your Drone filming in NZ, have a look here for the local laws:
    https://www.airshare.co.nz/rules
    If in doubt, hire a local CAA102 qualified company, or a local Line Producer or Production Manager who can handle all of your requirements (even Work Visas!) with ease.
    Thanks!

    We went through all the necessary processes you mentioned and for whatever reason we had issues in Queenstown. This has happened to several other crews I know of also going there in the last year. NZ customs in my experience was incredibly rude and stepped over lines and actually stole gear that was accounted for and based on our conversations with customs before traveling, all set and good to go. They told us other steps and process we needed to go through entering NZ in the future for production work. We got back and called customs in Auckland and asked for a future trip and were told that we just needed a carnet and a work visa. We told them our experience and they mentioned that wasn't normal. It's unfortunate because it's wicked beautiful in NZ. I've actually moved two other shoots to different locations after our experience in NZ.

    That said watching the news while there it seems like NZ customs is tightening up on things abroad in general. There was some scuttle going on over food from the UK not being allowed in anymore because of customs issues.

    In my experience i've been to nearly every continent for production work and never had the issues i've had with NZ. We played by the rules and got hassled. Like I said this wasn't a one off situation. A much larger production crew that crosses all their t's and dots all their I's had the same issues our crew did.
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  4. #4  
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    Sounds really stressful!

    What did Customs take from you? Specifically?

    Queenstown (my home town) has a lot of film crews coming in, and the Customs there are pretty vigilant, especially when they see camera equipment, but I have not had a problem personally. As long as you have the Carnet and the Work Visa you should be fine.

    If you are able to let me know some more details, I would appreciate it. It would be great to get to the bottom of this so that we can figure out how to make the process better in the future, for other travelling film crews.

    Thanks,
    Ben Ruffell
    Director of Photography
    www.benruffell.com
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Jeffrey Loewe's Avatar
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    Out of our Carry on's they took our gimbal batteries. Out of bags under they plane we had some of our XLR cables and stands that were removed and not returned (however this happened on departure). We were left with a print up from NZ so we knew it wasn't customs in AUS or US.

    It seemed isolated on the gear removal side of things. However we were advised in the future to use a customs import company to bring gear into the country.
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  6. #6  
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    Good to know. Hope to go there one day but didn't realize this was going on. I'll make sure to do more research.
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  7. #7  
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    Nice work with the Raven Jeffrey. I been to New Zealand once and it was amazing.
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  8. #8  
    Always love seeing ski films!
    Sterling Williams

    @sterling.a.williams

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    www.sterlingandrewwilliams.com
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Loewe View Post
    Thanks!

    We went through all the necessary processes you mentioned and for whatever reason we had issues in Queenstown. This has happened to several other crews I know of also going there in the last year. NZ customs in my experience was incredibly rude and stepped over lines and actually stole gear that was accounted for and based on our conversations with customs before traveling, all set and good to go. They told us other steps and process we needed to go through entering NZ in the future for production work. We got back and called customs in Auckland and asked for a future trip and were told that we just needed a carnet and a work visa. We told them our experience and they mentioned that wasn't normal. It's unfortunate because it's wicked beautiful in NZ. I've actually moved two other shoots to different locations after our experience in NZ.

    That said watching the news while there it seems like NZ customs is tightening up on things abroad in general. There was some scuttle going on over food from the UK not being allowed in anymore because of customs issues.

    In my experience i've been to nearly every continent for production work and never had the issues i've had with NZ. We played by the rules and got hassled. Like I said this wasn't a one off situation. A much larger production crew that crosses all their t's and dots all their I's had the same issues our crew did.
    NZ Customs can be super anal about food because of NZ's focus on strict biosecurity (which kinda makes sense, when you consider we're a small isolated island, heavily reliant upon our farming industries).

    Is very sad to hear however that they gave you so much hassle over camera equipment.
    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
    https://www.youtube.com/c/SoundSpeeding
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Josh Birch's Avatar
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    Nice stuff. Shame about the difficulties you encountered at customs as it really is a beautiful country. Never had any issues when I went over in 2014, but I did have a very small kit bag then.
    Cinematographer, London
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