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Old March 9th, 2004, 03:33 AM   #1
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XL-1s on Location Shoot - Forest!!!

Does anyone have experience shooting on location for instance Forest 3 days 2 nights?
What are the requirements if using Xl-1s? How about batteries wise or Lighting(on Camera Light)? Risks and advices...please
We are planning to go film inside the cave and some by boat thru river…
Please advice me on this matter…
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Old March 9th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #2
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Hi Andrew you lucky dog... I don't know where the forest is but the forest I live in is cold right now and the caves stay fairly constant temp. so in the summer not bad, the caves seem cool but right now going from cold to warm (in the cave) condensation in your xl might be a problem. If you can keep your xl in a pelican case (air tight) for example until it aclimates to the temp in the cave you shouldnt have a condensation problem.Caves are usually wet so standard precaution for that would be ok. Have fun!!! TL
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Old March 9th, 2004, 11:01 AM   #3
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Shooting in caves is trickier than you may think. Humidity is a factor, so it’s important to take steps to avoid that water condenses on your video heads. I always enter humid conditions with my camera on – it doesn’t have to be running – but the heads should be spinning. This will prevent condensation from collecting on the heads. But I’m sure that there are a lot of opinions as to how one should acclimate a camera from cold into warm or wet conditions.

I have shot in caves twice. You have to make some preparations as far as having a quick, simple and stable means of securing the camera on your body. Cave exploring is like rock or mountain climbing only 20 x more dirty. I’m speaking from my own experience – I’m sure that there all types of caves. But find out before hand, what kind of caves you are going into, or prepare for the most extreme. In the caves I was shooting in, I had to constantly shift the position I was carrying the camera in, so that I could get through small holes and crevasses. The camera has to be secure even when you are using both hands to climb. At the same time it has to be flexibly attached to your body so that it will move without you having to move it with your hands. Otherwise you will find yourself getting constantly stuck between a rock and a hard place – literally.

Caves of course are very dark. I had to shoot a lot with slow shutter, because we were using flame lights on our helmets. I would suggest taking a good helmet lamp with you. But I would suggest that only the person filming have the brightest light, otherwise the other lamps will blind the camera when they are in frame. There is no front in a cave, people are constantly looking around, for holds, or obstacles, so you will always have a lamp shining in the direction of the camera.

I hope that this is a help. Good luck and have a good time.
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Old March 9th, 2004, 07:23 PM   #4
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Thanks guys...actually this are my first time planning to shoot a documentary in Borneo Rainforest with a group of travelers. What happen if there is dry & wet whether condition like raining, waterfall..etc if there any extra precautions beside preparing rain cover for Xl-1s.

And possible for me to shoot all the time using “on Camera light” during inside the Cave.
Daniel, I wonder how to secure the camcorder if climbing the rock, is there any accessories attach to the Camcorders, please guide me on this, I very new to do the location shooting.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 05:28 AM   #5
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Andrew, I never did caves, but did do situations that require climbing over large objects with the XL-1. One simple suggestion that may save you a lot of grief. Use a good photo vest and ALWAYS take off the viewfinder and put it into an inside pocket when climbing. It is the most vulnerable part of the XL-1 and if snapped could ruin the trip. It takes about 20 seconds to take off and stick in a photo vest pocket. Also, a cover for your eye piece to prevent sweating into the viewfinder and twice as many battaries as you think you need. and, several "trash bags" (kept in the photo vest) to stick the XL-1 into when those sudden rains hit. Have a great trip. Bob ps a 3x would not be a bad idea.
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Old March 10th, 2004, 01:49 PM   #6
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Andrew,

Bob’s suggestions are very good – a photo vest is extremely useful.

To be honest, I didn’t use my XL1 to shoot when I have shot in caves. I used a much compactor 3CCD camera – Sony DCR-TRV900E, so it was easier for me to affix it to my body than an XL1 is. And it was less obtrusive then the XL1 will be. I don’t know if I would remove the view finder though, Bob is right that it is one of the most vulnerable parts of the XL1, but having to assemble the camera before shooting would make it impossible for me to shoot spontaneously.

I affixed my DCR-TRV900 to my chest using straps wrapped over my shoulders and across my chest, like a figure 8. I hung the camera from a loop at the crossing of the strap on my chest with a large carabeaner (a metal hook with a spring loaded closing mechanism, used for rock climbing) that went through the hand strap of the camera. Of course I was wearing a climbing harness and other climbing gear, so there was always a loop to hang a carabeaner through. You could use a good photo vest for this set up as well.

But you don’t have to make things too complicated, especially if you are going to be just taking a hike through the forest. I would warn against simply slinging the XL1 over your shoulder – even when you do it diagonally, where the camera is resting on your back. When you have to bend over forwards, which happens a lot in climbing or boldering situations, the camera will tend to slide forward so that it is hanging at your stomach. By securing the camera in the area where it will tend to slide to, even if it is dangling there, will be safer for your camera than using the camera strap. Securing the camera in a place like that will prevent the swinging action, which can be devastating for your camera when your body is close to the ground or hard rock. It can also be dangerous for you if you try to catch your camera at the wrong moment.

I’m assuming that if you are planning to go into caves where safety equipment is required, you will be going with a guide. If you have such a guide, you should ask them where you can get your hands on climbing or safetying equipment. You will have to experiment around a little to find the set up that is comfortable for you.
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Old March 25th, 2004, 06:06 PM   #7
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Shooting Outdoors & Caves

Below is a documentary that I did for the Georgia Nature Conservancy over a period of 3 days. It was shot with an XL-1. It was totally in the woods and the last day we were in a cave. You can see the cave in the last 10 minutes of the video. The XL body and lens barrel are at great risk of being scratched by even the smallest branches so you always have to be ready to bend those away as you walk and keep your hand out of the shot. Don't use auto focus either because shooting through limbs and leaves is an autofocus nightmare, just do it manual or push to focus for a lock on. You will definitely need a video light in the cave for the best picture quality. This particular cave was not too deep so I didn't really have to worry too much about humidity shutting me down. I don't know what the situation would be in a deeper one. Definitely plan ahead and acclimate the rig for at least 15 minutes. I didn't have to do any rock climbing but I would take the others' advice on breaking down the camera and padding or take a smaller unit like a GL-2 or Sony for that. Oh yes bring plenty of batteries. Good luck!

http://161.58.78.36/asx/dvinfo/nature/ASB500K.asx high speed

http://161.58.78.36/asx/dvinfo/nature/ASB56K.asx dial up
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