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Sony ENG / EFP Shoulder Mounts
Sony PDW-F800, PDW-700, PDW-850, PXW-X500 (XDCAM HD) and PMW-400, PMW-320 (XDCAM EX).


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Old September 1st, 2008, 01:49 PM   #1
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Filming smoke and fire

Hi all,

I'm in need of some advice for the following;

I've been assigned a job to film a firemen drill. There will be, ofcourse, a lot of (controlled)smoke and fire.
I'm wondering if my PDW-F335 will do a good job filming this kind of action? As there will be lot of busy scenes, is the MPEG codec robust enough to handle it? I always record at 35Mb/sec.

I'm also looking for some good protection for the camera. I'm considering the Kata CG-13 glove. Does anyone have experience with it?

Richard
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Old September 1st, 2008, 02:20 PM   #2
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I have the CG-13. It's not the best fit in the world but it does a good job of preventing damage from the odd bump. Most of the camera controls are easy to get at, the biggest issue is that the filter wheel and rotary control knob are difficult to get at.

The codec should be OK with fire. Fine smoke will show up the limitations of an 8 bit codec, as you might see some stair stepping but that would apply to most HD cameras.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 04:41 PM   #3
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Richard, don't forget the heat. Depending on the kind of fire you are shooting you risk melting your lens hood and/or viewfinder. You may want to consider a temporary shield made of black wrap or heavy tinfoil and make sure you have a spare clear/UV lens.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:24 AM   #4
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Fire & Thick smoke

Hi Richard - We used an F350 in a burning building and here is what we experienced.

1: In the UK - You need to have a certificate to wear breathing apparatus, but despite having used professional respirators in other situations I was told by the Fire Commander that they were not happy for me to be in the building with them, without proper certification. So we taught a fireman what to do.

2: The fire commander is not going to let you near any open flames, and there is no need to - you have a zoom.

3: Usually, it's not the fire that gets people, it's the smoke... even though we were monitoring outside the burning building, we were close to the smoke, and it was very unpleasant because items inside the house were toxic - this was unknown to the fire commander ... long story.

4: In terms of camera protection within our situation, I simply used a lightweight rain cover, poly sheeting around the tripod (lots of water about) and a UV screw on filter - quality cable to outside monitor (covered also).

5: In regard to the codec handling the smoke and flames - no real problem, it looks very nice on a large hi def screen - our clients were over the moon with the footage, and all our fire scenes have also just recently been purchased by Bafsa (UK Association).

6:To aid the smoke and low interor lighting we put a bank of waterproof halogen work lamps into the building - this helped tremendously because the fire soon went from flames to thick black smoke. For this we had a generator. This enabled me to keep the camera gain setting at -3

7: You can read / see pics about that job on our web diary page - you can also see a little bit of fire/smoke footage on one showreel - it is only quicktime though.

http://www.studioscotland.com/Diary.htm Diary

http://www.studioscotland.com/indus.htm Second Movie


Regards, Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 06:49 AM   #5
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I did training videos for 2 fire departments for about 3 years. At burn downs (training fires in real buildings) they will NOT let you into the building PERIOD! You can get in close IF you have the proper bunker gear. Safety for you and THEM!
As for the gear, I used a Portabrace rain cover for whatever camera I was using and it worked fine. I really would NOT recommend wrapping the camera in tin foil to reflect the heat away. It then becomes much like a baked potato. Use a good raincover be it PB or Kata and close it off to keep the camera dry-if the heat becomes too much then back off another 10 feet. Watch out for the smoke stay up wind as much as possible and most of all stay out of the firefighters way. Training or not these are real buildings with real fire and they can get out of hand in a flash. My son is a FF and he always said when the thing goes it goes FAST and it does, real fast.
Do not be a hinderance.

Don
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:04 PM   #6
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Thank you all for such great information! This is very helpful.

I've looked at your behind the scenes Stewart. Very nice to see. Liked the footage also. Although it was short it gave me a good impression what to expect.

I'm going to the testsite tomorrow morning to have a look at the different scenario's as they are rehearsing them. I will also get them on paper.
I've been told that they have build different situations like a hotel which is on fire, a plane crash, a car who has made a collision with a truck with explosive material, so I'm excited to see it. I will also be told what the guidelines are for each drill. They already assigned me 2 different people who will guide me during each drill. I don't think I have to go inside buildings.

I've ordered the kata CG-13 glove with raincover.

Richard
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 02:43 PM   #7
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You might take a look at: Fire Helmet Cam

I've been doing a doc on my local volunteer fire company and have been at many fire and accident sites over the last several months and also have attended a number of training sessions. Don is right, live fire is no joke.

I've been using my XH-A1 and haven't any kind of codec/motion problems. Focus is another issue. Smoke plays havoc with auto focus. Here's an example:

Car Fire on Vimeo

Last edited by Peter Wiley; September 2nd, 2008 at 02:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old September 5th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Raaijmakers View Post
Hi all,

I'm in need of some advice for the following;

I've been assigned a job to film a firemen drill. There will be, ofcourse, a lot of (controlled)smoke and fire.
I'm wondering if my PDW-F335 will do a good job filming this kind of action? As there will be lot of busy scenes, is the MPEG codec robust enough to handle it? I always record at 35Mb/sec.

I'm also looking for some good protection for the camera. I'm considering the Kata CG-13 glove. Does anyone have experience with it?

Richard
Hello Richard-Im new to this site.

I just bought a Sony EX-1 for fire and Police video. Please allow me to give you some backround on my experience and make some suguestions.

I have been a still photog for over 35 yrs. I recently retired as a Police Officer in the NYC area,with 29 yrs on the job, and have been an active Volunteer fireman since 1971. So -- Here goes.

FIRST-THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CONTROLLED FIRE UNTIL IT IS OUT !!! Professionals don't take chances, they minimize the risk.

Your using a fine camera. It will work great-But run test exposures for conditions due to all the refelective clothing and vehicle warning lights.

No matter what you use in a fire situation, Interior or Exterior, the chances are high you will have equipment damage over time. I have fought many a interior fire, Its no place for ANY cameras, video or otherwise. The smoke is so thick, you can't see your nose. For outside shots use a long, fast lens with a protective filter, and keep the camera dry. A good video light is a must. A stated by other members on this site, unless you are a Certified Firefighter or Law Enforcement. I know of no fire chief that will let you inside. Not only is safety a factor, the liability to the Chief & Department is HUGE. OSHA will OWN them !!
In addition, if the fire is of questionable origin, now your film has the potential of being evidence for both Criminal and civil action. Several Fire Chiefs have been criminally charged over command decisions made when a injury took place both at fires and drills. Same at Auto accidents, photogs have been sued if the victims image is used.
The only reason I am able to do this is my backround allows me to testify, as I was a crime photog for a federal agengy prior to being a cop.
To keep the equipment dry, see if you can find a cover with a breathable material, like gortex. It lets the moisture out from the camera heat, but keeps it dry from the elements. A car "Shammy" works well to dry the equipment. No lint or dust

For safety, carry a flashlight, and reflective clothing or vest. If the smoke starts to pump out and get very dark or black, its likely a "Flashover" is imminent. Stay back and get good shots. If the smoke has multicolors, ie green and reds, GET AWAY. That's a chemical fire and is no joke.

Also, raidient heat can burn you and damage your equipment before you know it.

With good sense, you can get AMAZING shots.

Good Luck & Be safe !!


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Old September 30th, 2008, 08:22 AM   #9
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Hi All,

Shot the training last week, and all went well.
Thanks again for all the great input!

Attached a couple of photos of me with my sound guy Rene and of some of the scenes.

Richard
Attached Thumbnails
Filming smoke and fire-1_rbgz.jpg   Filming smoke and fire-2_rbgz.jpg  

Filming smoke and fire-3_rbgz.jpg   Filming smoke and fire-4_rbgz.jpg  

Filming smoke and fire-5_rbgz.jpg   Filming smoke and fire-6_rbgz.jpg  

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