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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


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Old July 19th, 2005, 12:16 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Joyce
Hey Jeff,

Good to hear a fellow traveller has been to Madagascar. I was there with a group the day Ranomafana became a National Park. We also ran into a cool group from Duke University Primate Center.

I wish I had something like my XL2 back then. The shots of Diademed Sifakas in the Spiny Forest, chameleons in Mahajanga, Ring-tailed Lemurs in Berenty, and Dwarf Mouse Lemurs in Perinet would have been amazing. That was back in my 35mm still photo days. My macro lens was working overtime. We were even lucky enough to get some great recordings of Indri Lemurs in Perinet.

Did you ever go back? I'm sure the current level of destruction is very sad.


I agree with the comment about parabolic reflectors. I have used the long-discontinued Sony PBR with my DAT for several years. There is nothing better for bird recordings. I would like to try to get the same quality of recordings on my XL2 someday. On my simple home page you can see how I recently rigged my PBR on the shoe of the XL2.

http://www.geocities.com/amjoyce2004/main.html

Hi, Andy:

My wife studied at Duke University under Dr. Pat Wright, the bundle of energy and determination behind the establishment of Ranomafana National Park. In 1989-90, we worked with Pat to help do some final baseline assessments of the flora and fauna of the proposed park area. We have not been back to Madagascar in since then, but we are thinking of doing a grand African expedition to shoot (of course with video and SLRs) wildlife throughout the continent. Perhaps we will revisit our old stomping grounds on the big island then.

We did not have great audio recording equipment at the time, but we did manage to record the Indri's dueting early in the morning. It is still one of the most beautiful yet eerie songs we've recorded. It almost pulls at your heart when you hear them dueting.

I like what you did with your PBR and XL2. It gives me some ideas!
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Old July 19th, 2005, 12:04 PM   #47
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Malaysia/Macaques

Hi,

I'm going to be in Tioman in a couple weeks. I was wondering if any wildlife videographers could give me tips on shooting macaques. I'm using an XL2 with the stock lens and will pick up a CO 1.6x telephoto convertor and possibly also the Canon 1.6 extender before I go. I'll use the stock mic as audio isn't a huge concern for my project.

Thanks!
Alan
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 02:03 PM   #48
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alaskan wilderness preparation

Hello. In a little less than 2 months, i'm going deep into alaska to to film bears, and a bear hunt. I've never done anything of this sort, nor do i have any outdoor equipment. I have an XL1s w/ the ma-100, shot gun mic, and wireless lav. the temp is supposed to range from 20-50 and rain and wind are supposed to be constant. and we will spend all day hiking and searching for bears(5-10 miles a day), or sitting in a lookout. packing light is also essential since we will be flying 2-seater float planes to our destination.

I've put together a list of things I think I'll need for this expedition, here's a link:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/WishList/181403DE6C&BI=28


what I'm looking for is advice as to what I need, and what I don't as far as camera equip, for the weather, cold and wilderness. and what kind of tape, and battery requirements, cleaning/care, and things i don't even know i need yet. i'm also looking at getting the EF adapter and a 75-300mm IS lense. as well as any other hard learned lessons anyone would be willing to share. let me know.

thanks

austin
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 06:51 PM   #49
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I've filmed in Alaska several times with an XL-1/XL-1s using the EF adapter and 75-300 zoom, and found the setup works well. One time, scared by a bear, I tipped my tripod and camera into a stream. Fresh, clean water, no harm done! You will need a tripod with the 75-300. If not your pictures will be unwatchable for the shake. Get a lightweight, but sturdy one (carbon fiber would be best). The head is a problem. None are light, but Bogen's 301 might do. Be sure to take a plastic cover so you can film in the rain. Fancy isn't necessary. A sack with a pull string works nicely. You will record the sound of raindrops on the plastic. Filming in a constant wind with the 75-300 is a big problem. Image stabilization looks good on paper but is pretty worthless in a stiff wind. You will have to improvise. One thing I have done, if your bear is not moving much and you can step away from the camera while the camera is running, is to stand a couple of feet away with an open umbrella, and let that break the wind. (Or cut the cheese, or whatever!). Or get as low to the ground as you can. It makes a difference. For wind noise prevention, Light Wave Systems makes a muffler for the XL series microphone that is really good (you will still have to edit out some wind noise in post). Three of the large 7.2 volt 4400mAh batteries should be more than enough if you can get back to electricity every night. The camcorder works very well in the cold. In Barrow (20 degrees) I took chemical hand warmers to warm the innards, but found them totally unnecessary. Be absolutely sure to take one or even two dry tape head cleaners. I guarantee that after a few days in the field you will get a "dirty head" message. When you are driving on dusty roads, try to keep the camcorder in some kind of a bag. If you plan to do scenery and pan with the standard lens, have a new, clean graduated neutral density filter. Any spot or scratch even teeny, tiny ones will show up in your final product if you are panning sky. Take a can of dry air, because if you inadvertently breathe on the viewfinder in cold wet conditions, it can be several minutes before you can see anything again. I always find a pair of gloves with the finger tips missing (like bike gloves) useful if it really will be in the 20's. If you are south of Denali, it may not be. Finally, take some basic tools, duct tape and lots of rubber bands. I once fixed a short in the EF adapter with a piece of a lid from a McDonald's coffee cup. You never know what will come in handy.

Good Luck
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 07:11 PM   #50
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Austin,

I'll ask this just to get one of the folks that have filmed in cold weather to respond. I ask based on my prior military experience, not because of cold weather filming experience.

Would you be better served in a possibly extreme cold weather environment getting the battery off the camera and into a heated pouch with just a wire from the pouch to the camera. Extreme cold (and heat) are really hard on batteries. I think as long as you give the camera time to acclimatize to the temp and relative humidity, it'll shoot colder than you want to be out in. But batteries will drain much quicker in extreme temps. Just a thought.

Dylan wrote a GREAT article on his Arctic adventure, complete with pics.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 09:13 PM   #51
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alaskan wilderness preparation

ah, thanks for the replies, unfortunately i'll be in the wilderness for 15 days in a tent with nothing but a campfire, so no going home and recharging everynight. . i've read other places where people have taken a car battery and solar panel used the 12v battery charger with some success, the only problem with that is that i can only pack about 80lbs of gear out to the camp.

what kind of usable range do you get using the 75-300mm and the ef adapter?

i'm looking at getting the Bogen / Manfrotto 3221WN (055BWB) Wilderness Tripod Legs with 3433 (501) Pro Video Head

also i'm thinking about getting a polarizing filter, any advice on using one of these?

thanks

austin
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 09:28 PM   #52
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The PBS HD Channel features all of its Alaska footage in high definition only. High Definition is the only format that can capture the breathtaking scenery of Alaska.
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 08:10 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin Meyers
i'm looking at getting the Bogen / Manfrotto 3221WN (055BWB) Wilderness Tripod Legs with 3433 (501) Pro Video Head
Austin:

I would suggest purchasing a Bogen/Manfrotto 441 CarbonOne Video Tripod--or whatever is their current version of this tripod. It weighs less than 4 pounds and can support up to 13 pounds. It is lighter but stronger than the one you are looking at purchasing. The extra weight savings will make a deference. See post #44 in this thread. In that post, I give more detail about what I use in terms of tripods.

By saving the extra three pounds on tripod weight, you can either bring more food or batteries!
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 05:21 PM   #54
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You have some serious problems. Be careful trying to charge a 7 volt battery
with a 12 volt battery without a step-down transformer. Also, sunshine for a solar panel may be in short supply in autumnal Alaska. A polarizer is nice, but probably won't make a big difference. Some polarizers change the color as well as the polarity with the XL 1-s. For something as big as a bear, you can easily shoot at 100 yards with the 300mm zoom, and probably more. It's the equivalent of a 2100mm lens on a 35 mm film camera.
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Old August 17th, 2005, 12:23 PM   #55
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packs

what kind of packs do yall use when hiking with video equip?
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Old September 6th, 2005, 02:02 PM   #56
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new to the xl2

My xl2 comes in the mail on Thursday, I am shooting ducks and geese on Saturday, does anybody have any tips as far as camera settings out of the box to get me ready for the weekend? Thanks.
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Old September 6th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #57
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xl2 settings out of the box are pretty good already, actually. if you are shooting ducks and geese to get footage of ducks and geese, i'd start with the factory settings and play with the shutter, iris, filters, speed, and other manual controls first. if you are shooting ducks and geese to learn the in-menu features, then i would suggest shooting indoors hooked up to a monitor first.

my tips:

if you can set up an external monitor, do so. even if you tweak the settings, it is not that easy to see the results in the viewfinder. in fact, if you don't have a monitor, i would suggest shooting indoors first and hooking it up to a monitor, so that you can see what all the features do.

if you do experiment with the custom features, it helps to crank them all the way up or down to figure out how they adjust the camera. just cranking them up a notch or two does not sufficiently dramatize the differences. you can get subtle after you understand them.

watch the XL2 movie at this link: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...3&page=1&pp=15

watch it again, after you've played with the camera a bit....
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Old September 6th, 2005, 10:57 PM   #58
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new to xl2

What would be the best lens choice for fast flying birds at 20-50 yards?
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Old September 7th, 2005, 09:22 AM   #59
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that's a whole 'nother level of experimentation....try this link.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=47753
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Old September 9th, 2005, 01:51 PM   #60
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Thanks for the info, now I just have to hope that my two 8 hour batteries arrive before my shoot this weekend!
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