Italy is without question place to shoot high definition video. Nearly everything in this sun-drenched part of world cries out for a
photo or video capture. My feelings about country have never wavered from this opinion.
Having said that, I must also admit that Italy - particularly in metropolitan areas - is a problematic country for videographers. Rome,
among other Italian cities, has some of toughest regulations and laws limiting commercial photography.
My husband, Wayne, and I formed our company - VITA Digital Productions - 5 years ago to shoot European video footage - both for
our own specialty-market treadmill virtual walks ( www.treadmillwalks.com ) and to sell as stock footage to TV networks around
world ( www.hdeuropeanstockfootage.com ). We made decision last year to switch over to HD (High Definition) footage after
getting our first request for HD footage.
Our biggest concerns, in planning our recent three-week shoot in May 2005, were 1. safe transport of our video equipment (all in
carry-on bags, for obvious reasons!), 2. ability to shoot in and around tourist-laden locations, and 3. finding ways to get video
footage in spite of stringent regulations enforced in Rome.
Wayne and I have done this several times over past five years - researching a picture-worthy destination in Europe, making our
own travel plans, and packing up like two serendipitous vagabonds to go forth and shoot (you’d just have to know me to appreciate
how foreign this is - no pun intended - to my accustomed, orderly way of life). When I look back to first part of 2001 (pre 9-11) and
our two trips to Italy in spring and summer of that year, I realize now how easy it was to get through customs with unusual looking video
When two of us travel on a video shoot, we have slowly learned to take bare minimum of clothing so that we can
accommodate camera, tripods, SteadiCam apparatus, batteries, filters, wide-angle lens, fluid heads, and tape in addition to
spare parts for repairs.
This trip, anticipating problems with airport security, we took pictures of Wayne wearing SteadiCam vest and showing camera
mounted on articulated arm. We then tucked pictures inside luggage for quick and easy retrieval. When security
agents x-rayed our bags, they never failed to have us open our luggage and inspect equipment contained. It expedited
process when we were able to produce pictures showing how every piece of equipment fit together. Wayne also mailed a small and
inexpensive packet of tools (a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and an Allen wrench) to each of our two hotels so that we would not have
those little forbidden items confiscated in airports. And for some reason, an Allen wrench is an absolute no-no with security
agents! I suppose that all of items could have been purchased in Italy, but time is money on a shoot and we didn’t want to waste
time searching for a source in a strange city.
Safely arriving with all of our equipment in Italy, we were ready to begin shooting. We had an itinerary and a shooting agenda for
each day, but we knew we would have to build in some flexibility to allow for both weather and unexpected. We have been