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Old March 26th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #1
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protection from the elements


This is actually going to turn into a series of questions as I am shooting a documentary in June in Uganda. Having never filmed anything outside of the states I am going to have a slew of questions. But my first one is this:

My friend is from Southern Uganda and she says that the summer is extremely dry- hence extremely dusty. Im worried about protecting the HD100 from the elements. How does it hold up in dry, hot, dusty environments. Can anyone offer any advice on how to care for it or what to be aware of/look for? I'm also wondering if this is the right camera to bring on the trip. Im worried that it will attract too much attention. If so, are there any other cameras in this price range (that I could trade for) that would suit a documentary like this better?

And how about the FS4-Pro HD? Oh, and getting power for it? I laugh because I was considering bringing my Brevis with me but the more I think about it...the less I want to bring it. How about it? Any advice?

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Old March 26th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #2
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I've shot in egypt and bolivia, and dealt with helicopters landing on dirt pads - dust can be a major concern (this was betacam & 16mm, but it's the same). Much is obvious - keep stuff in your bags as much as possible, put your lenscap on asap. Use a clear (UV) filter on your lens.
I found having a cloth to cover the camera if the wind picks up is handy.
What we did every night was carefully brush everything. We had a wide range of brushes - from 4" paintbrushes to clean bag exteriors and tripods, to a makeup brush kit (no joke) with a dedicated lens brush, and others to deal with switch etc. A can of compressed air is also handy, along with simple rubber bulbs (an ear syringe works well!). Lots ziplock and clean plastic bags are good to have too.
You might find one of those camera "glove" systems hyandy - but I never used one. It might overheat the camera in these conditions.
It is just simple methodical care, which is time-consuming, and easy to ignore (especially it isn't YOUR camera).
These cameras are hard to hide as valuable items, but any camcorder could be a target for theft or just attract attention. It will be great to have a high performance camera like this in an unusual locale. Shoot lots!
Extra batterries might be needed, but that will depend on the exact conditions and needs. An inverter to charge from a car lighter is handy - in fact, you can run directly off 12v power with the right cables. The smart chargers can deal with all kinds of funky power, and I've juiced up from small generators no prob. If it's 220, check to see if you can get 220 bulbs for any of your lights (tota/inky no prob). Plug converters. Transformers for non-adaptable power supplies 7 chargers.

Hehe- could be worse - imagine dealing with a stack of P2 cards szhooting long form in the sticks...
The FS4-pro might be dispensible here, unless you plan to edit on location.
I think the brevis can definitely be left behind. Limiting DOF will be the least of your concerns, and you'll probably have space to move back much of the time) I'd go for the 13x fujinon, and leave it on all the time if you can make that happen!
Sean Adair - NYC -
JVC GY-HM-700 with 17x5 lens, MacPro 3.2ghz 8-core, 18gb. (JVC HD200 4 sale soon)
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Old March 27th, 2007, 07:28 AM   #3
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what i would do

We are shooting in Indonesia, in poor and remore places, mines, with lots of dust and really hot, jungles with high humidity etc etc. I suggest that you use a white cloth to cover the body of your camera. Shoot early morning late afternoon as a princimple and use a small volt stabilizer to your charger. Keep your camera clean. Every 6-7 tapes run a cleaning tape and preview often your footage to check for dirty heads. Keep your tapes in airconditioned environment.
Normally you will not have any problem if you pay attention.
The volt stabilizer is very important. Without it you can destroy really fast your charger and have no power!! A small volt stabilizer cost nothing and better buy it there, everybody uses one in the third world.
Good luck.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!

Yeah I dont think I feel like trashing my Brevis on the second day of my shoot because dirt got into the elements. The towel idea seems like a winner. Is it hard to find power in Uganda? Do you think I should tape the seams up anywhere in particular on the HD100? Im also worried about checking my camera on the plane. I really dont want it to leave my sight during the duration of the trip. I'll be selling my camera in late summer since Ill be graduating from the university and heading off to officer basic course for the army. I want to recoup as much value from the cam as I can.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #5
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As for traveling with the camera, I suggest you take it on the plane with you as a carry on.

I'm a die hard, check it if you can, kind of guy. But the location determines this. If it's travel in the states, I always check it. If it's travel outside the country then I consider the country. I think it would be best in your case to keep it in sight at all times.

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Old March 29th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #6
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there are small generators that put out 1000/2000w often called breifcase models. might be something to consider.

I'd say be sure you charger is 220 capable *without* a voltage converter. just get a couple sets of edison to whateever adaptors. whats weird is if you stay in a hotel that caters to north american people, you'll often find 120.... a power conditioner would be a good idea. you will most likely do better to buy a unit locally than to ship it in due to 120/220 stuff. sometimes its way cheaper to buy or rent locally then to bring it in.

get 220 bulbs for your lights.

another thing to consider, don't count on power being on 24/7. I've run into things where they shut the power off between midnight and maybe 5am.

as for taping up the camera, the only real area is the tape transport, and it has a very healthy fat wide rubber gasket. so as long as you aren't changing tapes in clouds of dust, you should be ok.

some other thoughts - if you must place you camera into a case, use a pelican, and then put that into some very plain beat up looking regular suitcase. nothing says "steal me" better than a good case !

sunblock! and yes I've always tried to cover the camera with a light covered towel when working in the carribean sun.
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