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Old June 25th, 2008, 10:34 AM   #1
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Camera needs to survive Iraq dust--suggestions needed

Hi all.

We have 2 people shooting with A1's going to Iraq. The fine sand that blows through the air is likely to stop both cameras in their tracks--anybody know of a good bag to use (underwater or otherwise) that will seal the camera from all the dust and allow the cameramen to operate without a large & bulky housing ? I am thinking about sending them with a few rolls of gaffer tape to seal up the camera and hope for the best if I can't come up with a solution, but I don't think that will do the job.

Thanks !
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Old June 25th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #2
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What we've done in the past with Betacam shoulder mounts is wrap them in Saran Wrap after loading them, but this was for noxious odour that would otherwise permeate the soft materials used on the camera. This may not work at all in your situation as most of the newer cameras use the body as a heat sink to dissipate heat.

Any chance of using a solid state or hard drive external recorder to eliminate the tape housing being exposed?
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #3
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no chance on a new camera.
A wrap or 2 of saran sounds like a good idea.
Thanks for the suggestion Shaun.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 09:04 AM   #4
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Wasn't suggesting a new camera, just wondering if a Firestore or similar external recorder rental or purchase may help.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 04:54 AM   #5
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gotcha.
We do own firestores. Unfortunately they are quircky even without the dust !
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Old June 27th, 2008, 06:35 AM   #6
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Just like the old days of photography when we used to change film in "dark bags", is there an opportunity to ONLY open the tape compartment in a "sterile" environment (a vehicle kept PARTICULARLY clean, a room with no open windows to the outside)?

Change tape more frequently (don't run it down to one minute and change it mid-interview)? Change tape before every major location change?

I'm sure you've thought of all this but a discussion out loud sometimes helps.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 06:54 AM   #7
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Jeff, two things I did on a trip to Africa was to cut the leg off an old pair of jeans, stitch the bottom of the leg and use it as a "bag" that you stick the cam into when not actually shooting, the other was to take the blue painters tape, the kind they use for putting around moldings when painting. I cut strips of this and sealed around the tape door and battary chamber. It actually worked. Also, wipe the cam down often with a soft cloth, DO NOT USE COMPRESSED AIR as it will drive sand and grit into the cam. Good luck and be safe. Bob
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Old June 27th, 2008, 08:53 AM   #8
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Good suggestions. We figured of gaffing up the tape doors. Changing tapes in a clean environment will be a must. The thing I have heard about the dust in Iraq is that it is so fine that is just gets into everything no matter what the precautions are.
Every little bit will help though.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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I've been back from Iraq for six months and still have Baghdad in all of my stuff. Bob is right about the compressed air - you won't find a "sterile" area anywhere. If you're going as a contractor or with the military you will have a trailer or something like that but EVERYTHING is coated in talcum-like dust. I would recommend sending them to Canon upon return for disassembly/cleaning - the drive mechanism and heads are going to take a beating.

I sometimes had the undesirable task of taking media with me on patrol - some of them do some pretty dumb things, like trying to roll down the windows in the vehicle to get clean shots or wandering outside the compound to shoot exterior shots and the local neighborhoods - don't be that person! The majority had a lot of experience and were an absolute pleasure to be around, although everyone only remembers the boneheads. Good luck and stay safe - remember, no footage is worth your life.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 02:11 PM   #10
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I hope this is common sense but make sure you have a UV or other protective filter in front of your lens as well. Sand blasted glass makes for a great EFFECT but...
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