Doing film shoot in China can be a challenge, that’s why Shoot In China is here to help, today we are going to share some common tips so you don’t run into last minute panic in here.

Before we start, you might also want to check out our previous post about:

10 things to avoid when you shoot in China

1. Coming to China without a VPN

Chinese internet is limited as the network provider blocks a lot of sites due to the censorship issue, that’s why most of the internet services are not available here, for instance: Google, Facebook, Instagram and Wikipedia are not available, there are some available but they are not stable due to the distance of the network causing the delay of the transmission.

Transfer huge files on internet can be difficult as the upload speed here is not very fast, usually you can get 5M/s to 10M/s if you are lucky, but that’s not a very stable connection and you also need to make sure the servers are close to China, such as Hongkong, Japan, Korea.

Get a VPN for your mobile phone and laptop, and always make sure your roaming network just in case the VPN stops working, a lot of people notice that roaming network from your home country still works, but it’s not stable.

2. Cash Money and Credit Card

Even though the online payment system is so popular in China, it can still be a challenge for a foreigner to use it, the easiest to do now is still bring enough cash with you just in case, most people in China don’t accept USD, so it will take a bit of effort if you want to pay in dollars.

VISA and Master Credit card in China works in big hotels and big restaurant, but not in taxi or other common places, due to the high transaction fee so most small business here don’t bother having the credit card system.

There is no tipping needed here, anywhere you go you only need to pay what’s on the bill. People will get confused if you give them a few changes.

Bring enough cash with you just in case. Prepare at least 500RMB to 1000RMB (200USD), that should be enough for your daily spending unless you buy gold chains all day.

3. Diet habit and Medicine Supplement

If you are a vegan, you should be careful when you eat out, people might cook with animal oil, and the dishes you order can mix with some meats or sea food, there is certainly a few vegan restaurants in big cities, but this is not the case when you travel to small cities.

If you have any physical condition, you should bring enough medicine with you just in case, as they usually are expensive or not available.

4. Documents & Connections;

If you are Vloger, you probably won’t run into trouble as your equipment will likely to be small & travel friendly.

However if you are travel here for a film/video shoot, you should be aware that shooting here will cause the attention of police and government, so you should always prepare the documents that prove your intention.

Further more, if your client has a connection here, you definitely want to keep their contact close to you, just in case you need to clarify things with the authority.

It’s actual quite rare these days you get checked up on commercial shooting, but it’s illegal if you don’t have a J2 visa, so you should be ready for the checking.

5. Logistics

Chinese train system is so great that most big cities are connected, however you can’t buy a ticket yourself with the online ticket system without any help. The airport here also delay the flights sometimes for some emergency, not often but you will get it sometimes, also the rush hours in cities also will make the travel difficult, usually it’s around 7AM to 930AM, 430PM to 730PM.

You should always check your schedule based on your travel just in case you run into some traffic jam.