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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 June 20th, 2008, 09:10 PM   #1
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Shooting In The Artic

Hi,
My subject line sort of asks my question. This fall I'll be shooting with my XH A1 in the Arctic. While I've been shooting with my XL2 successfully for several years now, it's all been in "normal" light and situations with good contrast. I'm hoping that any of the pros here who have experience shooting in Arctic-type conditions could share some thoughts here or maybe point me to articles or publications which might help better approach the unique lighting conditions I'll be dealing with and how best to prepare for them.
Many thanks in advance,
ST
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Old June 25th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #2
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I know on the show Ice Road Truckers they are using the Sony XDCAM system for the cold weather benefits and stability of the media... If you have been using the XL series with success I wouldn't think there would be too many issues since the A1 made several improvements over the XL's...

The only thing I would suggest is a flash based or drive based recording device as a good back up... You might look at the HVX200 or the EX1 or the Z7U if the tape mechanism scares you... : )
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Old June 25th, 2008, 02:17 PM   #3
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A few things to be aware of:
1. Batteries are less effective when cold, keep a spare (or two) in an inside jacket pocket
2. When shooting bright objects such as icebergs, snow fields, etc...the camera will want to make everything grey. Practice your manual exposure and learn to use the zebras effectively. You might want to set your zebras to 100% for that trip.
3. Condensation can shut down the camera. Avoid going from a cold to warm environment repeatedly...or allow time for the camera to acclimate.

Have fun.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 06:05 AM   #4
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Many thanks for the feedback! Zebra striping seems to generate lots of opinions around here. I normally use around 90% and let just a few stripes show on highlights such as foreheads and noses. It's my understanding that at 100% I reduce the iris until that aperture where the stripes first disapear?
Thanks again,
Sprague
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Old June 27th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #5
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Zebras at 100% are good when there's lots of white in the scene, since white should zebra at 100%.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 07:18 PM   #6
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allow time for the camera to acclimate

I went the other way (the islands) and my camera was in an air conditioned room all night. When I went out to shoot, I had to wait nearly an hour to have the camera get rid of the condensation inside and on the tape before I could start shooting.

Warm to cold, I'm not sure how long it might take.
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Old June 28th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #7
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I've not shot sub-zero (F), but I've shot for many hours in sub-freezing conditions with my A1 and it's a trooper. The operating temp spec sets the low limit at 32 degrees (F) but I, and others who've commented here and elsewhere say you can go much lower. The worst thing to happen is that the LCD will get sluggish in deeper sub-freezing temps. That works OK for me since I get sluggish when it's that cold too.

I'd agree with all of the comments posted thus far. You should pay particular attention to temperature cycling, and try to avoid it. When shooting in the cold, I keep the camera in my padded Petrol bag which I suspect provides some insulation. So when I come in from the cold, I immediately put it in the bag which will help keep the camera's temperature down even while I have the car heater on high to help mitigate my teeth chattering. I'd recommend that procedure for both temperature extremes.

When I once just came in from 15F and put the camera on the front seat of a warmish car, then went out to shoot about 15 minutes later, I ended up with a visual rippling effect for the first shot which rather ruined it. So even if you don't get condensation, there are other reasons why you want to keep the camera temperature fairly constant.

As an aside, I'm really pleased with my Petrol bag. It protects, there's lots of room and has held up really well after six months of semi-constant use.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 11:20 AM   #8
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Thanks Trip, Gregg and Bill. This is all very good to read and file in the "Forewarned" folder! Would any of you suggest a polarizing filter? Might it do well with all the various shades of white?
Sprague

Last edited by Sprague Theobald; July 3rd, 2008 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Mispelled name
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