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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old July 31st, 2002, 04:25 AM   #1
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Filming Lightning

If any of you are from the UK you'll no noubt have noticed all the storms we've been having. I tried to capture some of the lightning on film the other day with some degree of success.

Has anyone else tried filming lightning and do you have any tips?


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Old July 31st, 2002, 05:46 AM   #2
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I'm based in Holland and we had some storms last night too. I
wanted to try to shoot it as well, but some things got in the way.
I'll have to pospone it until another time. Any tips etc. would be
welcomed indeed.

What settings did you use Nick? Was the footage any good?
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Old July 31st, 2002, 06:39 AM   #3
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My lightning experiences

ummmmm well i'm very new to the whole filming thing but here are the few things i learnt the other night. It was getting quite dark (sun had just gone down) when i started filming so i had my XL1 set to manual and had the shutter speed at its lowest and apature wide open. I was a good 10 miles away from the storm which i think is important. It wasn't raining and most of the action was happening within a 90 degree angle which meant i could point the camera in one place and get most of it. The downside to this is the frequency of the lightning was not that high; i managed to get about 6 stikes in a twenty minute shot.

I was worried at first that the lightning wouldn't show up because it was although it was getting darker the sky was still fairly light so started to fiddle with the settings again. At one point i had the gain down to -3 to darken the sky. All in all none of the setting changes made much difference to recording the lightning but the best shots where the ones where you could see the clouds as they lit up as the lightning struck. In future i'll fiddle with the setting to try and get the clouds visible.

I was also holding the camera both on the shoulder and resting on the hip. I have to say that the camera shake is very distracting so next time i will be using a tripod (i don't think Rodrigez would mind on this occasion).

Also I think i will invest in the 3x wideangle lens because some of the action was just out of the field of view, irritating when you just miss a particularly good one. The downside to this is very impressive lightning strike lose some of there impact as they appear smaller and more distant (also a problem of being about ten miles away from the storm).

Finally a tip i picked up on while reading the XL1 watchdog page is to take a photo just after a lighining strike so that its indexed and you can browse a little easier through the film using advance photo and rewinding a few seconds. I think the XL1s has the ability to do this anyway?!?

Out of the twenty minutes i got about 20 seconds of lightning, i'll see to posting some of the better strikes on my website this weekend and post the link here.

Next time i'd like to jump in the car and get out of the storm but closer to the action, where there are no buildings or trees.

Nick
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Old July 31st, 2002, 08:42 AM   #4
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Be careful when you do not have any surrounds YOU, your CAR
**AND YOUR XL1s** will be the TALLEST thing... Much higher
chance of getting hit by lighting... I'll stay away a couple of miles
if I were you...
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Old July 31st, 2002, 09:01 AM   #5
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Yeah I was worried about that having seen a few TV documentaries about lightning and storm chasers but figured i'd be safe as long as i sit in the car and point the camera out of the window. The car should act like a faraday cage... i hope.

Could do with some recommendations of rain covers for the XL1 if anyone has experience of them.


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Old July 31st, 2002, 05:03 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Nick Glenister :
Could do with some recommendations of rain covers for the XL1 if anyone has experience of them.


Nick -->>>

Although I don't own it, I've done checked out the PortaBrace one in person, and it's very well designed and made. Expensive though, but probably worth it. Check with the site's sponsors.
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Old August 1st, 2002, 10:49 PM   #7
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rain cover

I find the KATA rc-11 to be a very good rain cover. i have taken a peek at them in person, and i ordered mine this week, it will be arriving soon, im so excited!

have a look

http://www.tiffen.com/KataBags_rc-11.htm


hope this helps!
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 07:26 AM   #8
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One of Chris Hurd's recent posts mentioned a possible review of the Kata in the coming weeks. So if your not in a big hurry stay tuned.

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Old August 2nd, 2002, 01:22 PM   #9
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I'll try to get it online sooner than that. Thanks,
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 02:57 PM   #10
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That really looks like a nice bag (good for Vancouver weather) but I could find no buy link on that site.

(I had this drummed into me creating and recreating Clipstream.com. Always have a buy link on every page. You never know what page is the entry point for a site visitor.)
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 03:01 PM   #11
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Tiffen doesn't sell direct. Consider purchasing from Zotz Digital in Oregon, a site sponsor and authorized Tiffen / KATA dealer. Hope this helps,
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Old August 2nd, 2002, 08:40 PM   #12
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i had to buy the rain cover from b and h photo, because zotz didnt carry the rain cover, but i am buying the ccc-10 from zotz
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 08:30 AM   #13
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Filming Lightning

I have been using the PortaBrace rain cover for almost a year, on my XL-1s. It works very well, with plenty of zipper openings to get at the controls. Expensive clothing for my Xl, but, it stands up to a lot of daily abuse. I have completed my camera's clothing, with a winter outfit from them. Nothing to good for my pet.

I have found the use of a small, collapseable umbrella. quite usefull on assignment. Secured to either the tri-pod, or, preferably, to the camera, it is excellent in keeping horizontally driven rain off of the lens, and viewfinder.
Just adjust to the direction of the wind. Shock cords are also very useful, rain, or no rain. Great for keeping the camera cooler in a tropical setting.

A slow shutter, moderate focal length, with a foreground subject, will probable do the trick.

Here in the Adirondacks of New York State, i use the interferometer on the camera, for a time lapse of the storm; and, I hope for the best in capturing the flashes. It tends to work out very well.

One other item. Take off your polarizing filter, if it is on the lens. It will negate many of the lightning flashes, if they are at right angles to the filter. A UV is fine on the lens.

Bob
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Old August 5th, 2002, 02:51 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions, i'll look into all of them.

I just have a couple of questions though:

What is a "Shock cord" and what is an "Interferometer".

Thanks

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Old August 6th, 2002, 08:11 AM   #15
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Filming Lightning

Shock cords are and elastic, flexing cord. used as a tie down. You have probably seen them on motor bikes, etc. Usually, holding a sleeping bag, among other items, to the back of the bike.

The interferometer, is your electronic time lapse shutter speed. For instance: clouds roaring accross the sky via an exposure of lets say, F-8, at 1 frame every 20 seconds.
And so on.

Sorry, I should have made my self clearer.
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