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Old April 4th, 2008, 07:25 AM   #1
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Filming in HOT and dusty climates

We've been commissioned to produce a film where one location happens to be in the deserts of the Middle East.

Temperatures can reach over 40 degrees as we all know.

Anyone have any experience of using an HD200e in such temperatures? One positive side is that humidity is low!

Other obvious considerations are sand and dust ingress into the camera. As I'm well aware most of the body armour available for this camera is very poor. I found the new Portabrace to be badly fitting and the KATA, whilst the better of the two, won't protect it from dust and rain! Any suggestions?

Cheers
Stu
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Old April 4th, 2008, 07:34 AM   #2
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I have been shooting at speedways in aus. Very dusty environment. As the cars come round everything is sprayed with mud and crap. I used a rain cover instead of body armour which proved to be pretty good.

Rob
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Old April 4th, 2008, 08:01 AM   #3
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which rain cover did you use Robert?
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Old April 4th, 2008, 08:07 AM   #4
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Well first up I rigged up my own using a large industrial transparent plastic bag which I gaffered together! It was a bit of an emergency situation. It worked very well and had enough room for me to get in underneath it.

However, I have now bought a Petrol bag from B & H. Very cheap but does the job. You might need something more heavy duty for the extreme conditions you will be in.

Rob
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Old April 4th, 2008, 08:34 AM   #5
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hot and dusty

Hi Stuart

I'm just back from a three week shoot in the Sahara, in Niger. We were working regularly in direct sunlight in the middle of the day when it was 44 degrees in the shade, according to thermometers on the vehicles. My little backpack thermometer stops at 50 degrees C, and it was on the stop for hours on end.

I was shooting to tape, on a HD 111 (the Euro version of the HD 110), using Swit 8080 batteries. The camera had no problems at all with the heat. After one particularly dusty day I had a couple of tape hits, but I ran a JVC head cleaner tape and had no more problems with that. I'm sure you will check tape at the end of each day to monitor for that kind of problem.

Two things to watch out for though: In my experience drivers in the Middle East run their vehicles' aircon at "max plus ten percent". If it's 17 C inside the car, and 50 + outside, your camera will complain. Try to keep the temp inside the vehicles at something closer to the exterior temp, and maybe switch off AC and open the windows ten minutes before you get to a location. That will help you, your crew AND the camera acclimatize.

A plastic bag's a good fall back for dust protection, but again, if there's a temperature differential between inside vehicle, or hotel, or whatever, and your exterior shooting environment, you might well get condensation forming inside the bag. Be careful not to seal your camera into the bag too assiduously.

Most of the risk of dust and sand to getting into the camera, will be when changing tapes. (If you are shooting tape). I would suggest you brush and blow off the area round the tape door before you eject a tape.

And don't be tempted to use "canned air" type dust removers in dry, hot climates. I've had problems with those (in Iraq) forming excessive condensation - again because of the temperature differential between the extreme cold of the gas coming out of the can and the high ambient heat.

Enjoy the shoot!
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Old April 4th, 2008, 08:36 AM   #6
 
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Have you looked for an underwater housing? These provide absolute protection, altho', heat venting would be a problem.
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Old April 4th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #7
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Hi Robert

Thanks for the advice, all good stuff. Good to hear the 111e coped well under the circumstances. I've used our 200e in -18c and it coped fine. Seems it may be a touch little camera after all. Did you not use any covers at all whilst filming?

I'll be taking usual precautions as regards going cold to hot (had tonnes of breakdowns in that department before) but for anyone else reading Roberts advice on 'acclimatising' the camera, it's essential!

I'll probably bung on the KATA body armour but I'd really like a sensible rain cover in case of dust storm. I had a camera completely break down in Chile once due to a dust storm. The lens was completely buggered. All focusing and zooming mega broken! Cost a fortune to get repaired! That's interesting to know the air in a can can cause problems of it's own. I was thinking of taking a couple!

Bill, a water housing did spring to mind, but I foresee the camera cooking in it as most of them are effectively perspex greenhouses! Given lower temperatures it would be a good idea.

Thanks (still searching for that ultimate rain cover)
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Old April 4th, 2008, 11:17 AM   #8
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Very Nasty Camera Situation

Hi Stuart - we did get taken by surprise one time entering a series of mountain caves in the Dead Sea area where you could not see any dust whatsoever, but it hit your lungs very quickly, the camera immediately gave a head clogging warning and took some sorting (An old Panasonic). In Egypt down near Luxor you could see the fine sand in the air at night as it passed the lighting.

Last year we used a JVC101E in a very nasty industrial set up within a large Iron Ore Silo, the camera was lowered in on a crane through a gap in the top cover, and controlled remotely - all we did to protect the camera was put it into a see through polythene bag and sealed it with a skylight filter on the lens. When the camera was finally removed, the bag cover was completely covered in fine Iron Ore dust - you could not see the camera. On removal the camera was perfect with no condensation (in this case) and the resulting footage was fantastic, so much so that it helped to secure a major international contract for that client. We had also placed 4 Dedo Lights at key points within the Silo and when they were removed they needed totally stripped down and left to soak in a detergent.

JVC Highway wanted to run a story on it but we could not get clearance for the pictures to be published.

Regards: Stu
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Old April 4th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #9
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In Egypt 4 weeks ago with a HD-110 and IDX battery pack. No problems
at all, although the heat wasn't as bad as previous posts reported (35C max). The usual dust protection (lens filter, etc.) were sufficient, and the camera peformed beautifully. The suggestions about condensation were very good (air conditioned vehicles & buildings and caves can fog up your whole day).
Ed
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Old April 4th, 2008, 01:04 PM   #10
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I don't know what part of the Middle East you are going to but there's no guarantee about dry heat. Parts of the ME can be extremely humid and temperatures can go way beyond 40C.

It sounds like you're taking the proper precautions though, just make sure you build in enough time into the schedule to allow for acclimatizing the camera and don't forget a hat!
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Old April 4th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #11
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covers

Stuart

I didn't use covers because I reckon the risk of damaging the camera - or at least causing a malfunction - by overheating because of an extra layer of insulation is probably greater than the risk of dust getting in - especially as neither the Portabrace nor the Kata covers seem to provide much protection against dust anyway.

R
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Old April 5th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #12
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That is a good point Robert. My main concern is the lens really. Dust, grit and sand getting in between the parts is bad news.

It seems then that we have uncovered a gap in the market! Anyone out there fancy developing a desert climate camera cover? It has to resist heat, dust and sand!

I reckon I'll just take KATA body armour, a good shade umbrella and some fine paint brushes for brushing off any dust and sand when changing tapes as you recommend. It's probably good practice to do the same with any battery change or lens change. (although I think I'll avoid lens changing outside.

Robert, it must certainly be an interesting time for you in Zimbabwe right now to say the least! I'm watching the reports from undercover BBC reporters with great interest.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #13
 
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It would, actually, be quite simple to modify an underwater housing to include air cooling. It would require 12v DC battery power to drive the thermoelectric coolers, of course of this variety...
http://www.tetech.com/?gclid=CKX_9cjExJICFQ8EIwodK2rKYg

I've used these, in the past, and they work very well, if sized for the heat load from the camera. Since the cooled air is not circulated outside of the camera housing, no air filtration is needed.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #14
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I've been shooting for the last year

in the outback and rural areas of Western Australia, especially when you combine horses, cattle and motocross things get real dusty, no probs, and no protection, but I shoot as smart as I can, for example, if the dust is caused by something, move up wind, stay out of it's way, unless the shot really calls for it.
I bought a cheap rainjacket from www.globalmediapro.com. It cost me $70, but I can't use it with a mattebox, there's a solid ring on the front which interfere's so I'll have to remove it somehow to make it useable. I would be also concerned about using it in middle of the day heat. (I use the 251)

Regards

Adam
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Old April 6th, 2008, 07:03 PM   #15
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Shot for three weeks in the Tamil Nadu region of India in 40+ degree heat. Biggest issue was indeed moving from A/C to hot AND humid. This was with a Sony Z1U about three years ago. Let the camera acclimatize before shooting.
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