Taking an AG-DVX100B up Mt. Fuji, Japan. at DVinfo.net

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Old August 5th, 2007, 11:11 PM   #1
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Taking an AG-DVX100B up Mt. Fuji, Japan.

I will have a chance to take a Panasonic AG-DVX100B up Mt. Fuji, Japan, next summer--but this coming year will be my first time shooting outside (I've only worked live performances indoors up to this point).

Though there is usually little to no snow on the mountain during the months I will be there (July and August), it is said that temperatures can easily drop below zero at night--especially on the summit. Throw in the relatively high probability of being hit by very strong winds, pounding rain and omnipresent volcanic, dusty conditions and I begin to fear for the life of my camera!

It has been suggested to me that I buy a PortaBrace rain slicker and polar mitten, but the very same expert whom I am relying on has admitted that his company has never tried to send a camera and crew into such extreme conditions before.

On one hand, I am tempted just to go with rather sturdy, translucent plastic bags and gaffer's tape for rain protection during shootable periods--and then my VidPro Vid200, water-resistant bag for hunkering down during the bad spells and general storage while hiking. My hope is that maybe plastic sealed by tape will hold up better against rain driven by gale-force wind than a proper, manufactured rain slicker with it's Velcro closings and open bottom for easy access to focus rings--but I don't know.

To be specific, I'm picturing the clear sort of plastic used for throw tarps in the United States--not bin liners or anything that can be so easily torn by hand as that.

As for the polar mitten--as I've said before, the temperatures during climbing season drop to around freezing for sure--but to nowhere near as cold as in arctic regions like Alaska or Northern Canada. I know for a fact that thousands upon thousands of people climb Fuji every year--very few of them with any climbing experience whatsoever and even fewer of them with any cold-weather gear at all. Surely, it gets cold--but it is still possible to grit it out in a windbreaker and jogging pants if you're crazy (a couple acquaintances of mine did this once just as a typhoon hit the volcano--they survived easily, but would never, ever set foot on the cone again, they said.)

Given that, would keeping the camera close to my body serve as heat protection enough and keep my camera functioning? I've seen a lot of people taking photos and little video clips with their cell phones on the summit at sunrise--but never anyone with a proper camcorder (or film, for that matter).

And what about the dust? Should the openings at the bottom of a rain slicker make me worried? Would a polar mitten solve all that? Does it make sense to use both a polar mitten and a rain slicker at the same time?

So many questions. Any advice or tales of related experience would be greatly appreciated!

--Luke
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Old August 11th, 2007, 03:52 AM   #2
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Get yourself prepared!

Luke,
I don't think there should be any problem with the camcorder on the summit of Mt. Fuji. 12000ft + shouldn't cause any harm to the camcorder as far as I know. But there are some precautions you should think about before you start.
The most important is to prepare yourself for this trip. If you ain't fit you gonna struggle with your own body in these hights and with low temperatures. You will experience that everything takes more time, when your body and especially your fingers are cold. My advise will be to practice at home before you leave. Go out in the worst weather you got (rain, wind, snow), try to protect your camcorder, change tapes, shoot as much as possible, learn by your fingertips how to manually operate your camcorder. You should practise to all this outdoor under bad weather conditions.

Get zip-lock bags (waterproof) for your gear, tapes, batteries etc. A rain slicker for your camcorder will also be nice.

In cold temperature wear your batteries into your body to keep them warm. Buy spare batteries, in cold temperatures the batteries are drained very quickly.

Note also to take precautions when you move from a warm to a cold invironment. Dew problems to the camcorder can ruin your footage!

There are certainly much more to think about, but for me this is the most important factors when I'm out in the wild.


Good luck!
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Old August 11th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #3
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UWOL-Challenge nr 1

I just saw my first footage from your website and--wholly crap! This is fantastic!
( http://www.video-film.no/snutter/uwol1.html )

How did you get the slow-motion shot of the seagulls flying in flock around the middle third of the movie? Did you have to pan at all to get that? Were they flying into the wind enough to hold them in place so that you didn't have to pan much?

One of my big disappointments with my camera is that I am under the impression that it can not film stop motion or with a high enough shutter speed to get really spectacular slow-motion footage like this.

From the looks of the snow, you were definitely out in sub-zero weather. Were you using a polar mitten or just keeping the batteries in close to your body like you've suggested to me?

Great stuff, man! Great stuff.

--Luke
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Old August 13th, 2007, 05:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Stoneburner View Post
How did you get the slow-motion shot of the seagulls flying in flock around the middle third of the movie? Did you have to pan at all to get that? Were they flying into the wind enough to hold them in place so that you didn't have to pan much?
Luke, the wind was so high that the gulls didn't move relatively to the ground. A friend of mine was throwing bread in the air to attract them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Stoneburner View Post
One of my big disappointments with my camera is that I am under the impression that it can not film stop motion or with a high enough shutter speed to get really spectacular slow-motion footage like this.
The footage of the gulls was filmed at 50i (PAL) with a shutter speed of 1/240, then in post slowed down to 50%.
The time-laps of the clouds was filmed over a period of 30-60 minutes by putting the camcorder to a tripod. Then in post accelerate the footage by 3000-4000%!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Stoneburner View Post
From the looks of the snow, you were definitely out in sub-zero weather. Were you using a polar mitten or just keeping the batteries in close to your body like you've suggested to me?
No polar mitten used, just a regular rain-slicker. In winter time I use to wear the batteries inside my jacket where my body hold them warm. Plus I have many spare batteries with me. During night I keep them into my sleeping bag.
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