View Full Version : Filming someone welding
March 5th, 2008, 12:48 PM
At the end of this month I will be traveling out to begin filming for my current project, which will require me to film people working in several different trades, one of them being welding. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with filming this. I know you shouldnt watch someone welding without wearing the protective equipment for your eyes, so is there anything I need to do to protect the camera lense? Any tips on settings to use to best capture the action? I wont end up using a very long clip (maybe a 2-3 different clips a couple seconds each) of the trade, but will film more than I plan to use. I use a Canon XL1s.
March 5th, 2008, 03:57 PM
Haven't done it (video of welding, although I've done some welding!), but common sense would say if the weld point would fry your retinas, it would do some serious damage to your camera... I doubt it could stop down enough or react quickly enough, so plan to give it some help.
I'd expect you'd want to avoid the actual weld area, OR stack a couple ND8 filters or whatever the equivalent would be to the darkened eye protectors on welding helmets if you must get footage of the actual weld (which seems like the thing that would be most interesting!!)
March 5th, 2008, 05:54 PM
I've recorded some, with an HVX at DVCPRO50 to a P2 card, all indoors, and used only a Tiffen UV Protector filter. It was with with an electric welder (arc?) not acetylene. I don't recall the exact camera settings, but I'm positive I did not use any special glass other than that filter.
I did this more than a year ago. I know that I usually kept some distance, maybe 10 feet, and would zoom to get close. If I can find the clip, I'll try to post a link, though it may take a day or 2. (In case you're concerned about any kind of burn-in, I've put about 40+ hrs since shooting that, and I can't detect any kind of failure. Neither have any recent clients).
Now, to show my ignorance, I suspect there must be some way to check the metadata that would tell me the settings I used. If someone can tell me how/where I can find that, I'll even let you know what cam settings were used.
March 5th, 2008, 06:10 PM
There are no camera burn out problems filming welding. Just be careful about sparks flying into your lens if you get too close and don't look directly at the weld arc when operating. You can hide the actual arc behind suitable in shot props if you're getting ugly vertical smearing.
You can get some nice lighting effects from the welding arc.
March 5th, 2008, 09:04 PM
I found the footage, and realized I had lots more than I remembered.
(My choices of what to do tonight were more work on my taxes, or find that footage. You can guess which one I consider more fun and worthwhile).
You can see about 18 secs. of one brief Flash clip, up close, here:
While shooting that, I was no more than 5 feet away.
Be aware that you may need a decently fast machine to download it.
Hope it helps.
March 6th, 2008, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the responses. I do have a couple Tiffen UV Protection Filters, and figured i'd probably need to use one for this shot, but it's always good to get some opinions from those who have aquired the shot your looking to capture.
March 6th, 2008, 11:56 AM
As was mentioned, be sure to put a glass filter over the lens. Be it a plain blank, or UV filter. This will protect the front element of the lens from flying molten metal. You could also mount Plexiglass to a wooden frame and put this between the camera and the welding. You will probably have to clip some duvetyne to the frame, to make a hood to cut the reflections off the inside of the plexi.
Most importantly: Protect your eyes. Be sure to wear adequate eye protection. Looking at the welding arc without eye protection can cause welder's flash which is a very painful reaction to the intense UV. It doesn't happen right away, but a few hours later and clears up within about 36 hours. I've heard that it feels like having sand dumped into your eyes.
March 6th, 2008, 02:59 PM
Just a suggestion, but after you shoot the raw welding, you might try to grab an extra welding helmet and shoot some of the action THROUGH the welders safety glass.
I bet you'd get properly exposed shot of the actual point of the work, rather than just the blown out shots of all the resulting bright light.
March 6th, 2008, 03:39 PM
I would think that the best option might be to shoot through one of the auto darkening welding lenses. they react much much faster than the camera could react, and could possibly allow you to capture all aspects of the welding without losing a few seconds of adjustment time while the welder starts and stops the arc. I have not used one of the helmets with a video camera, but I love using them when I weld
March 6th, 2008, 10:58 PM
I have shot stick welding(arc),oxy-acetylene and mig.
I was producing a tutoeial series for a manufacturing company.
As others have said before use a filter and I cut out a piece of cardboard with a hole for the lense.(to protect the camera).I used an external field monitor to verify exposure,etc.Not sure of exposure but it was not crazy.Maybe several stops.Using a XL1s, start exposure by flipping on the ND filter,stop the lense down all the way (F16),set to -3 gain,then change fstop to suit. I did some very tight shots with no ill effects.Have a crew member keep an eye out on the cameraman so he doesn't get any burns coming his way.If you can move back and zoom in, rather than close up.
Really, the biggest problem will be flying molten metal.