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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #1
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Climbing with the EX1

I'm planning to shoot a big, multi-pitch rock climb in the California Sierras this summer and wondering if anyone out here has any suggestions. The EX1 is not small, or that light. I'll have to find a way to secure it while I'm climbing yet have it accessible to pull out and shoot when I need it. We'll be climbing in two rope teams: one for the climbing "talent" and the other for photography and video which will climb ahead to be able to shoot down. I've taken a GL1 climbing, which is much smaller, and found it to be a pain. I need to plan better this time and get it completely wired. I'm also concerned about protecting my EX since the mountains are not a friendly place for delicate camera equipment.

I'm considering these two, very different possibilities for carrying the camera:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...orso_Pack.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...a_Support.html

This second option is especially intriguing, but it's expensive for something that can't be returned.

Of course, films like this have been done before, but there is surprisingly little information about how. I've bumbled about with a camcorder a couple of times, but I want this project to rise to a new level (pardon the pun). Any suggestions from you adventure shooters out there? I'm interested not only in kit suggestions, but techniques and settings (for bright sun, high altitude, etc.).
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Old May 7th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #2
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Certainly it can be done, but on a near vertical climb, it's got to be a real challenge with a camera the size and complexity of the EX1.
Frankly, I always take the low road myself, with something more managable like the 1/3" chip Sony A1 with a wide angle lens adapter.
In deference to Murphy's law, whatever you decide to do/use, I would suggest you get on a rope, on a similar slope (local climbing gym ??), and test it out carefully before heading out to the actual climb.
Michael Brown & Team are real experts at adventure/climbing shooting. You might check them out @ http://www.seracfilms.com/ . Maybe an email or phone call could put you in touch with some useful advice.
Good luck!!
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Old May 8th, 2008, 12:15 AM   #3
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You may want to check the "official dealers" for the EasyRig here in the US to see if they have the same no-return policy (there are 2 and B&H is not one of them). You can find them on EasyRig's site. Looks like an interesting option, but I wonder about your center of balance being off. Obviously some testing of equipment is in your future. Sounds like an exciting shoot!
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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:52 AM   #4
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the boys at serac are very nice fellas and would be great to contact -- they are always on the road, though, so can be a little tough to pin down. it can take them several weeks to answer an e-mail, just because of their travel schedule.

also shoot an e-mail to peter mortimer at sender films -- his films are more trad climbing oriented than mountaineering, so he may have a lot of advice for the type of shooting you'll be doing.

there's also a much lesser known climbing cinematographer named ken sauls -- his deal is shooting big wall climbing, so he would be a great resource for what you're describing.

if you go to some of the smaller film festivals like telluride mountainfilm (coming up this month) or the boulder adventure film festival (here in november), it is very easy to talk with a lot of these guys all at once and get tons of advice on this style of shooting.

our uwol #7 judge, jonny copp, is the director of BAFF and friends with all of these guys and, although he is more of a photographer than a video guy, i'm sure he could put you in touch with all of them. google boulder adventure film and you can get a direct line.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:45 AM   #5
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Mark,

By the way your not the music director at Spencerville are you?

Back to your question. The EX1 might be a hard camera for you to shoot with. I am saying this because you stated that the GL1 was hard to use. The EX1 is more of a professional camera, meaning that it has more controls to watch to make sure that you have a good image. It also weighs about 6.5 lbs, which is much more than the GL1.

The Kata bag looks interesting, though I wonder if it will fit the EX1.

I wouldn't even try to use the Easy Rig on a climb. It is made to use when standing on flat ground!!!

Good luck,

Daniel Weber
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Old May 8th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #6
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Dan,

Funny meeting you here. Actually, I AM the music director at Spencerville. One and the same. Just yesterday I put two and two together when I saw your location as Silver Spring and visited your website. Funny meeting out here. Your site has some beautiful footage. Seeing your recent Yosemite trip really made me jealous. Also, I think you should copyright your running shoe ad concept...right away. Now I know where to find a second EX1 in Silver Spring if mine needs company. :)

The GL1 was hard to work with because I didn't have a proper bag in which to stow it. It was just in my climbing bullet pack, wrapped in a jacket. Every time I wanted to pull it out, I had to unwrap it, being careful not to drop it 1000 feet to the bottom of the mountain. I ended up using it very little. This next trip will be a more involved endeavor and I'm hoping that, if I plan better with a proper method for storage and a secure way to keep it from falling, I'll be able to get some spectacular footage.

So, small world. Let's get together and talk sometime. I'm sure you can teach me a lot about this great camera.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #7
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Sounds like fun. Let me know your schedule. You can get my home number from Carol. I don't want to post it here!!!

I think that you could work out a way to put the camera in a harness or something. I would just want to make sure that you are secure on the rock before you pull it out and start filming.

When did you get your camera?


Dan
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Old May 8th, 2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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Mark
Another approach to the problem is to put the EX1 in a haul bag. While on the wall use a small HDV cam (like the Sony A1) that's easy to get at, can be shot on full auto, and is not a catastrophe if you do drop it. Whenever you get to a stable perch, drag out the EX1 and shoot with it. My experience has always been the same as yours with the GL1, if the camera is hard to get at, hard to use, I just don't shoot as much.
When it comes time to edit, all of the extra footage will be priceless, even if it is "only" HDV rather than 1080HQ.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 04:35 AM   #9
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This is an interesting thread. Please share what you decide on and possibly a follow up on how everything worked out. I have a tree climbing project I'm considering doing and will be interested to see what you come up with.

Mick Haensler
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Old May 10th, 2008, 11:01 AM   #10
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I've just been reading Normal Clyde's classic about Sierra climbing and I'll be shooting there in June. Will someone please post a link to Mark Wiley's site with the Yosemite footage.

I'm not a real climber, just a rock rambler, but once in the New Hampshire White Mountains I fell down a bank onto a ledge while carrying a Canon VHS camera and I landed on top of it. I fractured three ribs and the camera was just fine.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 11:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Stevens View Post
I Will someone please post a link to Mark Wiley's site with the Yosemite footage.
Actually it is my site. Here is the link.

http://web.mac.com/sencom/Frame_The_..._Yosemite.html

Daniel Weber
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Weber View Post
Actually it is my site. Here is the link.

http://web.mac.com/sencom/Frame_The_..._Yosemite.html

Daniel Weber
I saw the HS CC version but the original did not play for me. I would have liked to compare. Anyway great footage and anyone who wants a film look need go no further. I noticed you tagged Magic Bullet so what settings. Did you use it and if so what settings?
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #13
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I used Magic Bullet Looks. I mainly added a spot focus effect and raised the saturation a little. nothing else.

I like this new version better. It is much easier to use and play with the settings.

Daniel Weber
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Old May 11th, 2008, 11:24 AM   #14
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I used Magic Bullet Looks. I mainly added a spot focus effect and raised the saturation a little. nothing else.

I like this new version better. It is much easier to use and play with the settings.

Daniel Weber
OK Daniel I got the original to play now. A couple of questions so I may crib your style:

1) Looks like you had the blacks pretty well crushed. Did you keep the master black setting cranked down to maximize dynamic range.
2) How did you expose the highlights? Zebra setting was? Any Zebras showing in water falls?
3)Did you use polarizer to darken and tame the skies?
4) Looks like Cine1 with cinema matrix. Is this so?
Mike
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Old May 11th, 2008, 11:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mike Stevens View Post
OK Daniel I got the original to play now. A couple of questions so I may crib your style:

1) Looks like you had the blacks pretty well crushed. Did you keep the master black setting cranked down to maximize dynamic range.
2) How did you expose the highlights? Zebra setting was? Any Zebras showing in water falls?
3)Did you use polarizer to darken and tame the skies?
4) Looks like Cine1 with cinema matrix. Is this so?
Mike
I shot the footage with pretty much the stock settings on the camera. The footage was nice and flat with lots of detail that I could then CC.

I used the zebras on the falls. I have them set at 95%. I exposed so that there was no zebras on the falls. Sometimes I would let a little bit show so that I could pull in some more shadow detail.

I did use a polarizer. You really can't shoot landscapes without one. I also wished that I had a graduated split ND as well, but I didn't.

The only adjustment I used was to shoot with a Picture Profile that had the stock settings except for the fact that I set the preset color balance to 5600K.

All of it was shot at HQ 108030p.

Daniel Weber
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