I'm about to embark on a two month trip to Sicily, where I'll be shooting a feature. As I've never traveled to an EU country with a full camera kit, I'm trying to make sure I know what to expect when dealing with customs, as I'd like to avoid any and all avoidable customs delays and duties that I may encounter along the way. Any insight/advice from those of you who have made these kinds of trips before (especially people who dwell in the US, have taken delivery of their camera in the US, and who have brought their own equipment abroad for short term projects < 90 days) is greatly appreciated...Ketch?
To further complicate matters, I may not be able to fly with all my camera equipment...I've been crossing my fingers that I'd take delivery of my Epic-X in time for this feature, as it will be a tiny crew (camera department comprised solely of yours truly), and will require shooting in locations where being small, lightweight and discrete will be a supreme advantage. Of course, there's also a certain emotional draw to the notion of bonding with my Epic while shooting my first feature in a place like Sicily that shouldn't be dismissed ()...
Ideally my Epic-X would arrive prior to departure, but as I leave on Oct. 31st and still haven't received the email, my contingency planning is now in full effect.
Scenario #1 - A miracle happens and I get my Epic-X by the end of this month. Long-shot, I know, but I have visions of Red pulling off yet another miracle (beyond what they've accomplished with the Epic, and what I imagine they'll accomplish with the soon to be re-announced Scarlet). Took delivery late September 2008 (#2842)...
Scenario #2 - I travel with my beloved Red One, while somebody in the U.S. receives my Epic, puts it together in shooting form, and ships it to me in Sicily. Principle photography doesn't begin until the second week in November and will be spread out until Christmas time, so maybe I can squeak by for the first few days shooting MX, and make the jump to Epic, where the smaller form factor will be a huge benefit to the style of shooting this feature requires.
I'm nervous about shipping anything, not just in terms of items getting lost or delayed (though FedEx would likely be the method, so that's less of a concern), but more in terms of getting taxed with large duty fees. As mentioned, I would have a friend sending the camera, so my hope is that Italian customs won't be as scrutinizing, but what have others encountered when this is the case? Are there ways of explaining the purpose of the camera that is being shipped on customs forms that (i.e. a rental or personally owned equipment, for personal use, not to be sold or left in Italy)?
Scenario #3 - I take a gracious friend's Epic-M with me, and have my Epic-X shipped to him for use while we film in Italy...at the end of the shoot, we trade back. This becomes a stickier situation as I'd feel far more comfortable traveling with my own insured gear versus someone else's (this feature's budget is so minuscule that they couldn't afford to cover rented gear, so my own insurance that covers my personal equipment is what I have...risky, I know, but it's what I've got to work with).
Regardless of the scenario:
- what kind of paperwork do I need to submit/have prepared ahead of time?
- what paperwork should I travel with?
- what paperwork/documentation should travel with checked and/or shipped equipment?
I'll have a letter from the director/production company stating what we're doing, but are there official forms/documents that I need to take care of before I depart?
Any and all thoughts on this matter will be incredibly helpful, so thank you in advance for all your contributions!