10 Tips for Shooting Video in Europe

Posted by Rebekah Toth Burns on 03 13, 2014 & filed
under Technical.
9 3 16

Crews Control has been managing video productions in
Europe for 20 years. Over that time we have gained a lot of
video production experience and have collected some funny
stories along the way. We worked with our Crews Control
represented Directors of Photography from all over Europe
to compile our Top 10 List.
TEN: Flicker. The technical tip that was mentioned more
than any other was correct frame rates. “Why is the b-roll
footage of the factory flickering?” If is important to note that
European countries are PAL. You may say “why does that
matter for an HD, 2K, or 4K shoot? It’s all about the Hertz
baby. European countries main frequency is 50 Hz so the
native frame rates that correspond are 50 or 25 fps.
America line frequency is 60 Hz so our corresponding frame
rates are 23.98, 24, 29.97, 30, 59.94, and 60fps. Most high
definition and digital cinema cameras are capable of
shooting all the frame rates above. It is important to have a
conversation with the local crew to discuss locations and if
the frame rate needs to be changed accordingly.
Here is an extremely concise answer and solution from
Steve Mahrer, Senior Technologist from Panasonic North
America. “ Shooting with any camera in a "non" native
frame rate environment is not uncommon, this is especially

it is necessary to use the camera's Synchroscan shutter (fine shutter) to null out any strobing caused by the local lighting power frequency. they will set the shutter to 25/60 x 360 = 150 degrees. TV frame rate divided by the Power frequency x 360 = required shutter angle. Shops are closed for siesta from 2:30PM – 5:30PM during the work week. this may cause flicker! If you're in a tough position and still see flicker. in the US.97) is being used in London where the power is 50Hz. the shutter is adjusted to 215. or if for example a US news crew is shooting in Europe or vice versa. simply adjust the Synchroscan shutter SLOWLY and look at an WFM. the shutter angle is calculated as 24 / 60. adjust until the flicker is minimized. . Bloomberg has a resource that lists countries by currency.” NINE: Siesta. Troubles may arise if the lighting is of many different frequencies. The basic formula is simple. As you cannot change Video Format.00 x 360 = 144 degrees. • If an EU crew is shooting 1080 25p in New York. to stop flicker or strobing.g.true of 24p "film" style shooting.. e. they close at 3PM on Saturday and don’t open again until Monday morning. AC power and HMI film slights. and the lighting is 60Hz. and time frame. For example. volume. also some of the new LED lighting use PWM to change the brightness. The average cost of gas in the EU is $8/ gallon. If you are planning to pick up a hard drive or XQD card in the European south at 3PM you probably will not get very far.8 degrees to stop flicker. EIGHT: Mileage. Stores tend to have abbreviated hours on the weekend as well. • If a US camera (running at 1080i 29. It is good to be mindful of travel distance to and from a location as well as during the shoot to capture b-roll of landmarks. if a camera is being shot at 24fps..


I know you have a lot of Italians in the states but I guess their culture hasn't spread to the mid-west. SIX: Meal time. He went for sausages.” Keith Surridge shared this entertaining anecdote.” FIVE: Language Apps. It is always appreciated to put forth a little effort. pork etc.. Anyway we were shooting in a one horse town in the back end of nowhere in Germany and it was time for lunch. 100s of acres. then I told him there was spaghetti Bolognese on the menu. He had never heard of it! I wasn't too sure if he was having me on but he was most sincere. which for us Europeans is almost inconceivable because here everything is much smaller. sauerkraut. Unlike a toll booth the car’s license plates are recognized by cameras and the owner is sent a bill. There are many foreign language apps available on iTunes that will help you navigate each European country. I had lunch time described from a European crew once as a “one hour sit down break.SEVEN: Congestion charge. Cities like London and Stockholm have congestion taxes. The client lived on a huge farm/ranch there. Americans tend to understand lunch as a sandwich while we drive to the next location. It is important to familiarize yourself with local customs that may affect your shoot schedule. FOUR: Holidays aren’t just for Americans. know a couple key phrases in the native language to ease the interviewee.. As always with overseas clients I translated the menu. This is a fee that vehicles are charged to drive into a city to reduce overcrowding and pollution. It seems like a simple tip but it is important to discuss your chosen date and time with the shoot subject and the crew. All of our DP’s speak English and often translate for Producers on location.German stuff like sausages. “Back in the 80s I shot for a large agricultural outfit from the midwest. . he looked at me and seriously asked what that was.

Even if permits are needed they can be organized in less than a week and do not cost much. dolly or any other major grip device. but those events can still affect your project. Public transportation may be unavailable and streets and businesses could be closed.. then Monday might not be enough time to file if there are national holidays. If you need three days to get the permits cleared and your shoot is on a Thursday.“Surprisingly. Where some European countries are hard to get the paperwork in place is seems that Spain isn’t one of them. you won’t be able to do your shoot unless you’ve requested the necessary paperwork the week prior. people forget that other nations have different holiday schedules and traditions! Find out what days a city is closed for national holidays or even major sporting events. We do not need any shooting permit to shoot on public spaces with a crew under 8 people and if not using a crane. unless you plan to completely shut down traffic in Madrid’s 5th Ave. Depending on the country and the landmark it may takes weeks to get the paperwork sorted through the correct channels. Spain is one of the easiest countries to shoot in the EU. Even with crew and gear ready to go. This is especially important when you need visas or permits to shoot in public areas. “Although Spain is fully integrated in the European Union and between all EU members the Schengen borderless area applies. Calle Gran Vía.” Says Crews Control Production Manager Becky Holzman THREE: Get permission. which we have done for a new Toyota . Nothing shuts down your video production faster than the police. When shooting in and around landmarks you will need to have permits. Your shoot might have nothing to do with the event or holiday. if it comes to shooting film or video every European country has its’ own rules and customs in terms of permits and what can be done or what not.

S. You must have a carnet for that production gear. Passport & International Travel website also has other important information like the number of blank pages needed to entry each country. You will need a valid passport to enter every country in Europe.” Says Crews Control represented DP Peter Specht TWO: Passport and other travel information. Don’t glaze over this tip. we would love to hear more from European crews working with American clients. Likewise. Of course.TV commercial a few months ago. Visas may be required for Producers to be able to enter into a country and Carnets are for any equipment that the Producer is carrying with them. Sometimes Producers like to carry specific support video production equipment or cameras with them. and tourist visa information. It is also important to note that many countries require passport validity past your stay. or Greece you will need a valid passport 3 months after the end of your trip to enter the country…check those dates! The U. Finland. ONE: Don’t get stopped at customs. we suggest that you keep your luggage light and allow the local crew to supply all of the gear.See more at: http://crewscontrol. When in Rome. For example if you are going to Demark.php/blogcentral/10-tips-for-shooting-video-ineurope#When:14:30:01Z . . currency restrictions.com/index. vaccination requirements. right! Please share your best tips and stories of producing or capturing footage in European countries.