Shooting a Solar Eclipse... at

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Old November 19th, 2002, 05:23 PM   #1
Mike Kay
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Shooting a Solar Eclipse...

We're travelling 1500 miles through Southern Africa to view the total solar eclipse occuring on December 4th at 8.19AM. From our coordinates, according to NASA, the eclipse will be visible for 84 seconds. We obviously have no room for error:)

We're going to be shooting on a Canon XL1, and we'd like any advice you can give on what settings to use.

We've been told we should shoot through mylar, anybody have any experience with this?

Should we use a filter, perhaps ND, or will the on-lens ND be enough?

What about gain, aperture, shutter speeds, etc?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old November 19th, 2002, 06:45 PM   #2
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I did it once in 35mm. I used the 4 x 4 glass from a welders mask, worked great
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Old November 19th, 2002, 10:57 PM   #3
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Sounds like fun! As Bruce suggested, you'll need something nearly as dense as a welders' glass to use as a filter. The onboard ND filter definitely will not adequately handle the shot. You might want to look into what amateur astronomers use on their telecropes for such shots. CAUTION Since the viewfinder on the XL1 is not a direct refractor you'll be in no danger from that end. But the ccd block on the camera can be permanently damaged by direct unmitigated solar exposure.
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Old November 20th, 2002, 03:48 AM   #4
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some years ago, in Sicily, I shoot some minutes of a partial solar eclipse (the entire evolution), I use a welders glass, but (My mistake) it was not fixed on the lens of a Sony SC100 (mono CCD DV) and the glass fall down,in a bit of time the pixel of the CCD was burn and I have my next images with a scythe.
I must change the ccd about US$ 400$ and 2 months of time.

make attention

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Old November 20th, 2002, 04:03 AM   #5
Mike Kay
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Thanks for the replies guys! We will certainly be protecting the lense. We've been advised to use mylar, which is the stuff that potato crisps are sealed into (without the printing), but we're also looking into which stock astronomy filters are available.

Does anyone have an idea of the ideal settings to use?

FYI, We have a backup 3CCD cam (Panasonic DX-1), and we're using a LHD Jeep Cherokee V8i to drive the 1500 miles to 'Punda Maria Gate', which is one of the entrances to the Kruger National Game Park.

Seeing as tho we have two cams, we will use one on the people looking up, and the other on the sun. Besides the eclipse, we're hoping to produce a genuine African art road movie for either NatGeo or Discovery. Any tips are welcome....


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Old November 20th, 2002, 09:47 AM   #6
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My tip.
Use both cameras on the sun, JUST IN CASE.
Then ask people to look up just for the camera and film that after.
Unless there are hundreds of people there. I dunno.
Just a thought.
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Old November 21st, 2002, 02:25 PM   #7
Mike Kay
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Thanks for all your replies. Here is some interesting info, with a few sprinkled questions.

According to NASA, the totality, will reign for 82 seconds (not 84) from 8:19:44 AM We will be situated near dead center in the zone of totality, at Punda Maria Gate.

We've got a door-mounted brace for the Canon Xl-1, so we'll be getting some great outside-the-car shots of the way up...any tips?

We're using 2/3 layers of mylar over the lense to prevent the sun from frying the cam..

Prof Dries Bester from Levubu has signed on as our solipse guide for the morning of the 4th....

The Alien Safari Rave, also taking place inside the totality, didn't
want us to film the solipse there because they've sold the 'rights' to an oversees company who're trucking up 300 'auditioned' ravers @R100/day and making a film about international rave culture, or thus I was told by a 'model' at the main tourist center in Cape Town.

Tommorow we consider our options regarding cordless lapel mikes. The senheissers are too expensive. A kit with one lapel mike costs $800 here. We are also looking at a portable LCD. The local 4 inch LCD with battery, charger and pouch goes for about $250, while a 7.5 inch goes for $350. The cordless remote
unit for the LCD is an extra $150, but works like a dream. (600m range)

Finally, we'll film the sun behind a few layers of mylar, then when the eclipse is full we'll whip off a layer or two...or thats the plan at the mo....the Panasonic will get the wide angle semi-fish eye lense and the shot will include the peeps looking up....also with mylar filter layers...

As above, ny technical suggestions, advice, or creative ideas regarding this shoot are very welcome..


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