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Old August 29th, 2002, 12:08 AM   #1
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First Wildlife Shoot - any advice...

I had included this bit on my post on 'Wishlist..buying a package'....I guess I should have put these issues here...

I am going to India for a wildlfie shoot..filming leoaprds...any suggestions on technical issues and any other things I need / or should do in the shoot.
Some issues that come to mind:
1. Need a video light with its own power supply or powered by the camera. (there is no electricity in the place I am going to go to shoot)..any ideas for what light I could use?

2. System for charging batteries - a generator or a solar charger? A company in UK makes expedition solar chargers that cost around $750 and output 24W... here is the link:

has anyone here had experience using solar chargers for charging batteries or running a laptop?

3. I plan on using a remote triggering DV set up that will start the video camera if an animal comes in frame. The company that makes these remote triggering unit says it'll work with Sony camcorders that use an 'L control'...would this unit work by using the Varizoom control that has the 'L control' for the XL1? Also would the varizoom control work with some other mini DV Canon camera. (Canon Ultura).. I have posed this question to the rep at the company too (that makes the remote unit)

4. Keeping the kit clean....any suggestions on what I should get, and where? Tape cleaner, or the spray cleaner? Simple things but crucial for any shoot!

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Old August 29th, 2002, 12:21 AM   #2
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
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Re: your number 3. Remote Control

Any VariZoom model, or the Canon ZR-1000, will work with all Sony or Canon Hi-8, Digital8 and DV camcorders. For your shoot, you might need an extension cable (up to 300 ft.) In addition to record start, you can also control zoom and focus.

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Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 29th, 2002, 02:11 AM   #3
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Remote Control

Thanks Chris...

I will not be using an extension cable. The remote unit is a heat/motion sensor so it will trigger the camera using the LANC control if an animal comes within the 150 degress angle of view of the I of course need a wide angle lens.

The scientists will soon set up 4 traps for the I have a unit (camera and remote triggering set up with a light) to cover one trap but thats just 25% of a what say may be interesting...I could then with an extension cable and the Varizoom control sit at a second trap site maybe about a good 200 ft from where the cage is set up....but then I also need another 200 ft of cable and some LCD monitor to be able to see the cage....I could potentially then increase my chances to 50-50....i just don't have the money for all this set up...though trying!

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Old August 29th, 2002, 07:15 AM   #4
Major Player
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Adirondacks of New York
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First Wildlife Shoot…………

While you mention Leopards, you have not included information on the type of terrain that you will be operating in.

If it is forest, jungle, or mountain, would cerrtainly change my equipment plans.

If I was preparing for this trip, I think that determining a source of power, would most probably be my first concern. If you are going to be using vehicle's for tranportation, I would acquire the proper adapter('s). to convert the 12 or 24 volt battery to feed my camara system. For instance. My XL-1s was ordered by me with the ac adapter, and, also, the dc adapter. They are 900 series accessories. For my out door work, they are invaluable. You will also need an international adapter, to adjust to various voltages, that you will encounter in your journeys thru various countries.

If on the other hand, you have access to a generator, make sure that it is surge protected. Other wise, you may connect your camera battery to it, and, then and there, or possibly hours later, BOOM!!!, as your battery blows up.

I have no knowledge on the subject of solar cell useage. I admitt, that I am a little skeptical about their value. But, I am willing to change on a dime. Pun intended.

Purchase a copius amount of extra large to small zip-lock plastic bags. They will keep most of your equipment dry and dust proof.

Remember. You left the super market at home. Tooth picks, for getting at hard core dirt without scratching the lens (Ouch!). A set of minature screwdrivers, both english and metric, are invaluable. Wetnaps: those small foil wrapped towellets, that you get after a meal, are great for cleaning your dirty hands before you touch the equipment. Or your food for that matter.

Hope this message is of some aid to you.

Good luck, and good shooting.

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Old August 29th, 2002, 07:20 AM   #5
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What part of Montana are you from? I lived in Bozeman for about 5 years back in the early '80s. I toyed with solar chargers 7 or 8 years ago. The panels at that time were fairly costly. I would contact the mfgs. and buy their seconds. I figured they didn't have to be perfect for field use. My problem was consistent sunlight. They are only really effective if you can guarantee consistent sunlight day in and day out.

What spray cleaner? Tape cleaners are good if the heads are slightly clogged. Serious clogs will require a solvent and partial disasembly of the camera. This is a case of an ounce of prevention . . . Use a good case for protection and storeage. What type of environment are you going to. Hot, wet, dry, dusty ?

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Old August 29th, 2002, 09:23 AM   #6
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EF adapter

Consider an EF adapter and an EOS lens of 200mm or better.....if you're shooting big cats the extra distance capabilties should be appreciated (not to mention the sharpness when using EOS lenses)..
the hot ticket seems to be the 100-400mm Canon lens....

...maybe you can post some vid clips when you return???

(lots of us have DSL or cable and would probably d/l clips)
Steve Nunez-New York City
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Old August 29th, 2002, 04:42 PM   #7
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Thank you...and more LANC issues

Thanks Steven...100-400mm - price out of range...!

Jeff, I am in Bozeman...I came to the states a year back to join an MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking..the only program of its kind in the world...I am part of the first batch...(the guinea pigs!)

Robert, I am going to a deciduous forest with a lot of hilly terrain. Typically in Indian forests the visibility is not for a great distance but improves in the winters as monsoon vegetation dries up...thats the time when I will be could vary from 10-50 metres...or at palces more than that...

LANC control issues:

I was on the phone for an hour with the rep at the company who builds remote control units...he said that Canon did not build in the XL 1 all the codes for LANC while the focus and zoom do work through the LANC control the switching on and off of the camera doesn't work with a remote unit like theirs.... Chris any idea what one would need to do to then be able to use the LANC control to start and stop the camera? In your reply you mentioned that the Varizoom would start and stop the camera as well...I am not a techie and so don't really understand this all that well....I requested him if he could do a test run by borrwoing an XL 1 but it's unlikely that he will..not in the next couple of days....

Any thoughts on this would be most appreciated!!


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Old August 30th, 2002, 10:58 AM   #8
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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I use this monitor in our remote type field work here in Alaska.

It's not the best monitor, but the ability to use batteries really works for me. When it dies, I just pop in new batteries and we are back to filming.
Dan Holly
Anchorage, Alaska
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