View Full Version : 'Climatizing' the XL1?
David L. Fisher
July 2nd, 2003, 09:19 PM
I ahve just started a project here using an XL1S. As I usually use a DigiBeta camera, I have been thrown by the cameras sensitivity to moisture and perhaps heat and humidity.
I went from an air-conditioned room onto the roof of a building. It was already warm and added to that is the incredible amount of moisture on the roof, partly due to atmosphere and also due to all the chilling equipment they use here to keep the air-conditioners working well. It is a damned hot country.
I had no more than turned the camera on than it went into F-U mode and wouldn't work.
I read a bit here, but just wanted to confirm or get a bit more information on the following ideas/protocols.
1. tape out from the beginning
2. camera off and ten or so minutes before I fire it up once outdoors.
3. a plastic bag to prevent moisture
Any other ideas or suggestions?
It rebooted just fine this morning, so nothing was permanently weird, but I tested this camera before using it and going from indoors to outdoors wasn't an issue then. That said, I was at ground level, not atop a building and as humid as it was, it wasn't added to by the additonal moisture being kicked off by all the machinery.
Anyway, I'm sure there's a lot I'm leaving out. Using an XL1 in California near the beach and in fog was never an issue, so I wasn't prepared properly and didn't research it ahead of time.
July 2nd, 2003, 09:50 PM
Ran into the same problem with my GL2 in Jamaica. Bottom line is that if the camera and tape are at a temperature below the outdoor temperature (going outside from an airconditioned space) moisture will condense on it. I got around this problem by using the hotel blow dryer. I would remove the tape and gentle warm the drive/heads, lens/viewfinder and the tape with the blow dryer. Then when I went outside, it was slightly above ambient and therefore did not have any condensation issues. It would gradually cool to ambient with no problems. I'm sure that you could over heat the camera if you got carried away but it worked fine for me. Good Luck!
David L. Fisher
July 2nd, 2003, 10:04 PM
Thanks for the input. So just letting the camera become adjusted by itself doesn't worrk for you? Am I reading that right? Or do you jumpstart the process the way you are doing it to save time?
July 2nd, 2003, 10:17 PM
If these are must have shots and your under a time limit, I would start taping before the camera was exposed to the adverse conditions. In other words, start taping 10 minutes before you leave the A/C and go to the roof. Don't stop taping until you've been back in the A/C for at least 5 minutes. I used to do that in the Philippines and I rarely had any trouble.
David L. Fisher
July 2nd, 2003, 10:26 PM
Interesting thought. I'll try it. Nothing to lose but tape really. Well, mostly at least. What were the worst conditions you were ever out in there, as it has such a similar climate to Thailand?
Just curious, and much thanks also
July 2nd, 2003, 10:46 PM
Worst conditions, huh. Walk outside and every pore on you body opens up and sweat pours and doesn't stop. Just your average day in the Philippines.
David L. Fisher
July 2nd, 2003, 10:50 PM
Pretty much sounds like Bangkok too. Too bad the camera doesn't like the conditions as much as I do.
I will try your suggestion and let you know.
July 3rd, 2003, 10:53 AM
Its exactly the same for me in Mexico....humidity is extremely high as where I live is on coast, and surrounded by lagunas...so a heap of humidity in the air.
Do you get problems with a kind of mould or fungus on metallic equipment over there due to the humid conditions. Like small little spots on things. The buttons and metallic bits on my minidisc got them formed on it, and even after being away from Mexico for a year or more the mini-disc still has the little patches. That seem to rub off, but come back again. Has done it no harm, but still a bit wierd to see.
What tips have you for storage in high humid areas? As indoors you always seem to have the climate machine blasting away. How and where do you store your machine? And do you use lots of silica gels in your bags/cases for mosture...or other techniques?????
July 3rd, 2003, 11:02 AM
Anytime you take the camera from a cooler environment to a warmer more humid area, condensation will form. You can take the camera/tape out well in advance of the shoot and it will climatize. In doing so, first the condensation forms, then gradually evaporates. By warming the camera in a low humidity environment, you avoid the condensation completely. Disclaimer: This is just something that has worked for me and could have some consequences (especially if you got carried away with the heat) that I'm unaware of. The objective is to get the camera/tape just a degree or two above the outside air temp. I have only done this a few times since the average humidity where I live/work is rarely above 30%.
July 3rd, 2003, 11:32 AM
Really the only solution is to keep the camera somewhat warm. Probably a 10 watt bulb in a plasitc bag with the cam would be more than warm enough.
July 15th, 2003, 05:34 AM
<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Wilson : David,
Bottom line is that if the camera and tape are at a temperature below the outdoor temperature (going outside from an airconditioned space) moisture will condense on it. -->>>
Not something I normally have to worry about in Scotland! My problems happen the opposite way when I take the kit from the car into a heated hospital. I carry a travel hairdryer with me for this reason and gently heat the mechanism - having liitle hair it serves no other purpose....
Having said this I was caught out a couple of weeks ago when attending a medical conference in New Orleans (video went down very well thankyou) and the domestic camera I took with me packed up having just walked out of the hotel :-) For a laddie from a country used to calling 23c 'damn hot' it was a real shock to find my self in 34c+ and 80 percent odd humidity!!
Obviously had a sheltered life as the immagration officer at Newark was astonished to find out that at the ripe old age of 46 this was my first visit to the States.....
July 15th, 2003, 02:01 PM
Och aye the noo!
Having lived in the USA for a couple of years...I can tell you some funny stories about how americans perceive the UK to be like.
You wouldnt believe half of what some of the things they came up with. :)
August 4th, 2003, 05:56 AM
I've read this thread with great interest...seems the powers that be are intent on sending me to Bangalore, India, for a corporate video shoot (4-5 days on location). And then on to Beijing for more of the same...
Most of it's going to be interiors I think...all nice and airconditioned, but with the obligatory exteriors and establishing shots...
Apart from the condensation issue (which now has me a trifle worried), does anyone else have any tips to share on filming in India and China (or similar climates) with the XL1s?
Any advice gratefully received...needless to say I'm using my own equipment, there's no way this corporation's going to buy stuff for me to use!
David L. Fisher
August 4th, 2003, 06:18 AM
After my initial pissing and moaning, I have had no other problems at all, and I live and work in Bangkok. I am not a techie, but I think my initial issue was due to unwittingly walking through a fiine mist and being so close to so much wet machinery, and I mean just a few inches as I was crawling up to my location.
Since then, I have been inside, outside, everything without so much as a sniffle from the camera. I have tried to avoid over cooling it, yes. Other than that, I've done nothing special and it has worked like a champ.
So perhaps, short of being outdoors when its 100% humidity, or close, or being caught in Antartica, you might be okay. Eject the tape after working. Like others have said, maybe power up and start rolling before you fit go outside.
Best of luck and happy shooting
August 4th, 2003, 06:32 AM
That's a relief...I was beginning to suffer nightmare visions of pin-mould growing on the lens and the tape dissolving in the mech!
I'm going to have to put together some form of checklist I think...for example, I'll be doing most of the work (if not all of it) with the standard kit EVF and the last thing I need is to forget to switch it to 'far' or rotate it down between exterior shots, and thus fry the display...things like that.
Do you use the zebra-patterns? I'm wondering if I need to change the IRE setting to compensate for the fact that I'll be filming talent with Asian complexions, rather than caucasian... the more I think about it, the more questions I come up with...but perhaps I'm just in a pre-production nerves phase! Needless to say, this is pretty much like a wedding video in one respect: no chance of going back to do a re-shoot if I make a hash of it!
David L. Fisher
August 4th, 2003, 06:42 AM
I use the zebras, but that's just me in general. Complexions, now there on the other hand is a good subject. Don't know what you'll be shooting, indoor/outdoor, etc.. Have a nice set of Tiffen filters. I like using the Black Pro Mist with these guys.
As far as outdoors goes, you'll be happy with a good reflector in hand. That piss-ant little light you can pick up for on-boad stuff is usually useless and you'll certainly be 'faced with losing their faces' if you aren't careful.
Best of luck