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Advice for Finland and China

Dane Cody

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Sound brethren, any advice for me on recording sound in Finland and China? any tips at all appreciated. I'll be working on a documentary with a Camera Op and Producer. It's an aerial skiing doco. We'll be travelling throughout Finland (not sure where yet) China - we'll be in and around Beijing.


For background info - I'm running the following kit:


  • 788T + CL8
  • Octopack fully loaded with block 26 and 24
  • LMa (block 24) and R1a's
  • Schoeps CMCMK41 + CMIT5U + Schoeps M/S rig and Sanken CUB and Cos 11's
  • Petrol Bag, Remote Audio BDS, Lithium NP1's
  • K TEK doco pole + other assorted kit.


I'm aware Finland will be around -25 celsius or lower.



Any pitfalls to watch out for in either locale? Any wireless licensing issues? We'll be visiting The Bird's Nest in Beijing.



Thanks in advance!



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Welcome to Finland! I've been working here for the last 13 years and never had problems with professional batteries in the cold weather. I do sometimes use those "chemical" hand warmers attached to a pouch that goes over the battery but only if it gets really cold (-25 C or colder).


Mostly it's the operator that gets cold first, not batteries.


You didn't mention when you will be doing the film shoot and in which parts of the country but generally speaking it isn't always that cold... even in Lapland. I would guess that a typical temperature during the winter months in Finland would be somewhere around -5 to -15 celcius. So it's not that bad.. :)


You will be fine with blocks 24 and 26 here. In theory you should obtain a licence from the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, but no one is going to come after you.. ;) Most professional sound mixers do have a permanent frequency licence for their equipment though.


Since you come from Australia, you (or the production company) should propably get ATA Carnet for your equipment. The customs office at Helsinki airport handles things very fast and smoothly and I wouldn't expect any hassle whatshoever with the carnet or equipment in general. The customs people are friendly and helpful.



Electricity is 230V 50 Hz but most modern power supplies, chargers etc. can handle both 110V and 230V. You'll propably only need the socket adapter. You should bring an adapter for the standard European F (aka. "schuko") socket.


Typically Finnish people in Helsinki and some other big cities and tourist attractions (ski resorts etc) understand and talk English well enough but I wouldn't count on that in rural areas and countryside.


I would recommend getting a local "fixer" / PA that works for the television and movie industry here. He / she might also be useful should you need a translator or backup equipment.


Feel free to send me a PM in case you or your production company have more questions or would need some additional help. I also have alot of experience regarding helicopter companies and aviation in general in Finland.

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Thanks a lot, guys - really appreciate all the tips! If any of you are near Ruka, let me know and I'll buy you a couple of beers. Ruka and Helskinki is where we're shooting in Finland. Tapio, fantastic info. I'll definitely be in touch if we need your assistance or advice.

China - we're shooting in Changcun and Beijing (The Bird's Nest). We are shooting in both countries in December.

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My first job out of college a few months ago was a doc in Finland - I was using G3s (Blocks A, B and G I believe) and never had any problems. People in Helsinki were incredibly friendly and generally spoke great English, making my life much easier when I needed to replace a couple XLRs!


Good luck! Enjoy Helsinki, its a wonderful city!

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