Thread: Travelling to Japan. Carnet?

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  1. #1 Travelling to Japan. Carnet? 
    I've got an upcoming job in Tokyo and am planning on taking my new Red Raven setup.

    I've only ever travelled with A7s & 5D kit, so have never looked in to carnets before. I am wondering how necessary they are and what are the implications if I don't have one.

    Are carnets applied for and issued by one governing body that is accepted worldwide? Do you basically list every piece of kit you travel with, and only ever travel with the kit on that list?

    I plan on taking an A7sii & Raven in my hand luggage, once I find a suitable carry-on to hold it all!

    Also.... could anyone recommend a suitable Red carry-on bag/case? What are you all using?

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  2. #2

    I like this one. It sneaks under the radar as a normal carry on buisness rolling case and is quite roomy but still padded and also take a laptop in the lid. It also comes apart so you can lift out the padded part and make the shell into a seperate case and the padded one turns into a backpack.

    I would avoid pelli cases as they are to heavy and gets too much attention.

    Better to get a carnet offcourse but I often travel without and only had problems like 1/10 or such.

    Big batteries is another thing to avoid.
    Björn Benckert
    Creative Lead & Founder Syndicate Entertainment AB
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  3. #3  
    Junior Member Benjamin Jarvis's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
    Hay Callum - I recently had to travel overseas for a job in the EU (UK & France). We had a two RED cameras and a slew of equipment worth $100,000+ so we proceed to go through the carnet process. I'm assuming you're traveling from the US as well.

    If I were you, get a carnet. Knowing we had one just provided a sigh of relief. If you don't, you could be taxed 30-50% (something really high) of the equipment value. They do this so people don't import goods for sale without paying the appropriate taxes on them.

    In a carnet, you have to list: Make, Model, serial number, Value, Manufacturing country of origin (this was hard for some stuff), weight and quantity. Some people only list the big ticket items, some list everything. We listed everything just to be covered.

    There are some consideration to take when traveling with a carnet such as, ensuring you have all the equipment listed on the carnet, making sure the customs office is open when you leave/return, etc.

    When you leave the US, enter another country and come back - the customs officer will either do a spot check or check everything. In the spot check the choose a random piece of equipment and ask you to show them the item with a matching serial number. If they check everything, then you have to show them everything. We only encountered spot checks.

    We went with ATA Carnet (Boomerang Carnet) . I had never gone through the process and their team was super helpful in guiding me through the carnet application and what to do when our team traveled.

    If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to hop on the phone and talk to you about this. Just send me a PM and we can figure it out.

    Safe travels!
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I shot a doc in Japan over two visits. The first time I had a Carnet. It was more of a hassle than it was worth in piece of mind. I had a lot more gear than you are planning to travel with and ultimately going in and out of Japan I had zero issues even traveling with Pelican cases. The Japanese customs are nothing but polite in Tokyo but they were very confused by the Carnet. It’s more of an issue when you return to the US but even then if you personally own all of your gear then you should not have any issues.

    I would 100% print and travel with receipts for all of your gear showing when you purchased your equipment to prove you owned it before traveling to avoid any confusion with US customs. Even then you are highly unlikely to even be asked with the small amount of gear you will have. On the second trip without a Carnet, the US customs agents in New York were very interested in what I had in all my cases but after a very brief explanation and showing my receipts My crew was waived on.

    Carnets are ultimately generally for commercial imports for product you want to bring in and out of a country that you don’t personally own. If you were carrying a large amount of rental gear from a US rental house... then you might consider it.

    Feel free to DM me with any specific questions.
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  5. #5
    I ended up doing a CBP 4455 and there is a small office for customs near the arrivals exit at Jfk. Went in and showed that the serial from a piece of gear matched the serial in the form and everything was approved and stamped. Took 10 minutes and cost 0. Also printed my receipts and brought those along. That takes care of customs when returning. Customs in the country you are traveling to will want to know that you don't intend to sell the gear you are bringing in and may charge import duty if you are traveling with many pelicans and get stopped.
    If you do get the carnet it's absolutely crucial that customs stamps it at your departure otherwise it is essentially worthless.
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  6. #6  
    I had an Sony A7S II while I was traveling Tokyo. A7sii & Raven are good choices and great value.
    Last edited by Martin Thompson; 07-10-2019 at 09:10 AM.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2007
    I almost always have a Carnet. I did a quick one day trip to Canada. Didn't think anything of it because it was just Canada. Rolled into customs. First words out of the customs agents mouth - "film equipment?" "Yup" "got a Carnet?" shit. Basically we were honest, said we usually do, we just weren't thinking about it for a 1 day job in Canada, totally our fault. The guys was nice, and let us through, but made it very clear that we were wrong, and had he felt like it, he could have fucked us hard.

    So it often just comes down to who's working. If you travel a lot always worth it. At the very least, make a list of all of the serial #s, country of origin of all the parts, value, and check in with the customs office when you leave. They will stamp your list, and you'll have a customs document with you when you get there. That's basically proof that you have to take all the shit back through US customs when you return, which suggests you aren't importing it.

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