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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old November 1st, 2007, 02:12 PM   #1
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Tour To Africa

Hi guys just wanted to get an opinion of what you guys would take to a trip to africa if you had to shoot there..
a tripod, monopod, or a steadycam
of course your xhal and a lots of tapes what sort of shotgun mic
what else ?
just wanted to know as i might have to start getting things ready if God Wishes i might go there very soon....
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Old November 1st, 2007, 02:28 PM   #2
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It really just depends on where you're going. I went a year ago for a month and part of the time I could feel free to use anything I felt like and other times I could only film from inside a moving car for security reasons. Definitely try to pack as light as possible. From my experience there was a lot of moving around and to have a lot of equipment means just more things to keep track of and worry about. Good luck.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 05:16 PM   #3
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I agree

I just got back from West Africa about 3 weeks ago and I felt the same way... at times you dont feel as if you can get out of your car and others you can shoot til your hearts content..if your trip was anything like mine you will be traveling a lot I was moving everyday, Take dust covers for everything and plenty if tapes, I took my tripod but may have only used it 2 times ...take a quad band phone so you can buy the local pre-paid cards and a small laptop if you have it most Cafes will have a station for that ...
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Old November 1st, 2007, 05:39 PM   #4
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I took a small, inexpensive tripod and a Novaflex Pistock chest/shoulder pod.

There were occasions when I could get out the vehicle and the tripod was a boon - very easy to use as a monopod, too. When standing up in the vehicle, I simple used the roof itself as a stabilizer. Oh, and I used the cam's optical stabilizer. Quite often though, the wildlife was so close there was no need to worry. When you are 10 feet from a pair of mating lions you need a wide angle lens!

More importantly, though, I took a Portabrace to help protect the camcorder from the elements and to see the LCD display - it is VERY bright near the equator! Didn't really have a dust problem except on some of the roads where it was like fog due to oncoming traffic.

I also took my laptop. My camcorder has a memory stick for still images. I was able to download all of the day's images each evening and watch the video on a large screen, too.

Enjoy it!
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 01:37 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys.... this will help me a lot
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Old November 6th, 2007, 05:44 PM   #6
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Where will you be going?

Hi:

Africa is a biig continent, where will you be going? Savana? Desert? Tropical rain forest? How will you travel? Guided tours? Hire a 4WD? Backpacking? What will you film? Nature? Culture? Day? Night?

I am in Costa Rica, doesn't compare to Africa, backpacking with my A1(!) I have a packsafe wire mesh to wrap my gear bag in, works fine.

The tripod is essential if you want to film wildlife - even the most steady hand shake visibly at full zoom. A monopod may be better though, it is just much easier to follow monkeys jumping around.

A hot shoe mic mount seems a good idea, the Canon mount is too clumpsy to use and you need to be relatively fast to rig the gear before wildlife is gone. You can't always travel with it ready to shoot.

I did not bring an extra battery, I have had luck staying places with electricity, but even then, I don't think it would have mattered too much, I don't get to record that many hours a day, most of the day is simply moving. You may find you need one depending on how/where you travel.

Otherwise, I just brought what I got, which isn't much anyway.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
Hi:
I am in Costa Rica, doesn't compare to Africa, backpacking with my A1(!) I have a packsafe wire mesh to wrap my gear bag in, works fine.
Hey, I just got back a few months ago from touring around Costa Rica filming with my Z1 and a Sony A1. Good stuff!

Where are you at? I went mainly to Turrialba, Jaco, and Playa Hermosa.... had a blast!

Carl
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Old November 7th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #8
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Thanks erik
I will be mainly going to savan and if possible go see the rain forest so mainly i would be shooting wildlife, i would like to shoot day and night if possible but depends on circumstances, i will have a guided tour as thats the best way i think as i have never been there before.
I am opting for a Audio Technica 4073a mic and also am buying a rode ntg1 or 2 (one of them) i think the 4073a should be good for wildlife, what are your views ??
I will cary a few batteries and a lots and lots of tapes i have decided to take atleast 40-50 tapes just incase i dont get the same brand am using.. also i am thinking of just taking the monopod and dvmulti rig instead of the tripod
Thanks again for the advice..i still have a long wait before this dream comes true.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 01:13 AM   #9
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Silica Gel

Hi Mickey
I work on the west coast of Africa on oil rigs and I take my camera when ever I can. I work between rain forest / Jungle and offshore and I find one of the best things to bring with me is some small pouches of silica gel. The same type that are in the packaging when you buy new electronic gear. During the rainy season the humidity can go to 100% and if you are spending time in air conditioned buildings and then going outside your equipment can become water saturated very quickly until they climatise. The silica gel works a treat to keep the moisture at bay. Just leave two or three packets in your case with your gear and if possiable, when going from one extreme to another, leave your gear for 20 mins before using it to let the camera get used to the new conditions.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 07:54 AM   #10
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Martin first of all thanks, you are one lucky person to work there i am so anxious to come to africa but with each day passes i feel its not gonna happen but i have left it on Gods hand and hope that one day soon i will be in the Land of Africa :). i appreciate and will keep in mind of what you said. thanks again .
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Old November 14th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #11
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While it is a little bulky (but fortunately very light), I would recommend a Cine Saddle.
When in Africa, I take a tripod for interviews and long lens shots, but the rest of the time I just use the Cine Saddle and get rock solid footage, assuming you have something to sit it on. I also will hang it from my neck and place the camera on the saddle allowing for pretty solid footage when on the move. The only problem is that at times, the aperture or focus can get bumped.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 02:12 PM   #12
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Mickey:

You didn't say where you were going, but it is hot, dry and nasty compared to the US everywhere in Africa. I had a short trip to Djibouti and didn't expect it to be so hot. Im going back in a few weeks, but will be prepared. A good bag to protect against dust and rough roads is essential.

50%+ unemployement, don't take too much stuff, and don't leave it unattended.

You could run into trouble filming/photographing in cities, ask someone first.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #13
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Animals in Africa

If you are shooting animals from a vehicle(s), the vehicle configuration becomes very important. I would recommend you check in to the kind of vehicle(s) you will be shooting from.

I found that for the open top vehicles a bean bag is probably best in most circumstances. However your pan angle will be limited with a bean bag. You can use a vehicle mount platform like groofpow (http://www.rue.com/index.php?main_pa...d=6%5B/url%5D), but the setup time is much longer, so you miss a lot of shots. But the big advantage is if you put a big head on the groofpod you can get long smooth pans from the vehicle, even at maximum zoom- like the close up of the lion on a dead run, ending in a kill.

If you are in one of the open sided vehicles, I found a tripod the best solution. You can wedge it so it has 2 legs on the floor and one on the side of the vehicle. Great stability, but you can only shoot from one side of the vehicle, so you have to get the driver to always set you up properly.

Because of so many long shots, i often used a tel-extender, but either way I found a monopod useless because of the long distances.

Also, if you are going to be shooting with any support attached to the camera, consider always having a second camera at the ready for those unexpected closeup shots.


Rick
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Old November 16th, 2007, 08:00 AM   #14
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Thanks nate, thanks jeff
I am planning of going to Tanzania
Thanks Rick I might be getting dvmultirig pro which I think is easy to use and good if it needs to be setup on a tripod which I think might be of minimum use, groofpow also looks promising , I am no pro so for me even if the filmed video is a bit shaky would do I just wanna remember my trip and save it for my kids when they grow up as I donít think I would be able to make a trip like that again.
Thanks a lot guys
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Old November 16th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #15
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I spent 30 days all around Botswana, including the Kalahari Dessert and the Chobe river areas this summer(their tail end of winter). I used an A1 handheld. If you are filming game on foot by tracking them forget anything other than a simple monopod. You will be ducking in and out of brush and you need to be as unencumbered as you can...even a mono pod gets in the way. From a vehicle is easy as all of them will be set-up for a good rest.

The biggest concern is keeping the camera clean...it is very dusty in most places so make sure you have a good bag, camera cover and lots of cleaning wipes. A tripod is great for when you are not moving and bring one that is small and light. Don't expect game to sit around for you to set it up but it will work fine at a water hole or other place you plan to stay at.

On the mics the fact is outdoors do not expect good audio because it is after all outdoors and usually windy...get a good wind cover for the mic.

Before you go practice holding steady with full zoom and practice manual focus...to get the animals in focus you will have to punch through lots of bush and manual is the only way to go.
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