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Old March 16th, 2006, 07:40 AM   #1
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Kilimanjaro climbing equipment

I'm climbing Kilimanjaro over the summer, and I would love to film it. I really can't bring up that much equipment, so I really need suggestions for the best way to do this (minimum tape changing, charging batteries, light camera/best quality, best wired/wireless lav, etc.).

I also want to bring a helmet cam (but don't know really where to start with this).


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Old March 17th, 2006, 12:20 AM   #2
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Hi Jason,
It would be good to have some more details on the kind of quality you want to record this trip at. If you are making a home video then a Sony Palmcorder set on long play will do you fine but I am guessing that you want something a little more than that.
There are masses of possibilities for that kind of trip so let us know your expectations for the footage and it will be easier to give some pointers.
Regards a helmet camera the same goes. All these cameras need a deck to record on and many need a 12V power source so they are generally a bit of a lump. You can buy very cheap board mounted and sealed units from electronics stores, then you need a powersource and a recording unit; this could be a palmcorder with video in or a video walkman. Again, what quality do you want to record at as there are many options.

Natural History Cameraman
Earthmedia Film, Oslo, Norway
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Old March 17th, 2006, 09:26 AM   #3
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i second what james give you helpful suggestions, we would need to know what your purposes are for the footage you shoot. if it is just for personal use, probably any single-chip DV camera would do. or a 3-chipper, like a PD150 or GL2, if you want better quality for personal use.

i think the best backpacking camera currently out there is probably the little Sony HDV model:

for information on the helmet cam, you should do a site search under "helmet cam" because this has been discussed pretty extensively.
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Old March 18th, 2006, 07:57 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions.

I currently own a GL2, but I feel that it would be too bulky to carry up Kili. I'm really hoping to get the best quality footage out of a small (palmcorder) type camera, as I'd like to use some of the footage in my demo.

Does that Sony HD camera do compressed HD or is it true HD? Also, I read about some of these harddrive cameras. Are they any good because that would probably solve the tape issue?

Do you have any suggestions on the best way to deal with tapes and batteries? Should I buy a solar battery charger, or should I just plan on buying 10-20 batteries?

Also with tapes, what is the longest length i can get on high quality? I really don't want to have to worry about changing tapes every hour or two while climbing.

Thanks so much for you help!

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Old March 18th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #5
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check on ebay for helmet cams.. i have some friends that have bought them to make their crotch rocket movies and are pleased with them. pretty cheap too.
video : xl2 / letus35xl / bogen 503
photo- canon 1dmkII - bronica etrsi
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Old April 11th, 2006, 06:03 AM   #6
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Hi Jason, I am also climbing Mt. Kilimajaro in June 07, it is part of a one month trip my friends are taking with there grandfather and I have been invited to tag along, I have many of the same questions as your self, I have a thread on the same topic in the Open DV Discussion section called "I'm new and I'd like help" If you get any more information I'd really appreciate it if you share it with me and also if you could keep in contact after the trip and let me know what to expect. Thanks alot...
Cameras: Sony HDR FX1, Canon EOS 20D.

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Old April 23rd, 2006, 01:52 PM   #7
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dont they have porters as well?
i lived in tanzania for 8 months, did safaries, but stayed mostly on the beach.
i just came back from nepal and traveled around with a xl2 and one smaller camera. it went fine. just make sure you have a good backpack for your equipment, xtra batteries, and youŽll be fine. i been up to almost 6000 meters. plan a few more days just if you have to stop due to weather.
have fun
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 02:27 PM   #8
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"Sony Professional HDV Camcorder Reaches New Heights On Expedition To Mt. Kilimanjaro":
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Old April 26th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #9
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Well, I actually climbed it with both an Xl1s and Gl2 around my neck. Don't be too worried as porters are cheap, so carry what you need, and pay someone to carry the rest. I had around 40 pounds in my day pack, and summit day I had both cameras with me.

If you want specific details about the climb email me. michaelds@ (get the rest from my signiture below)

Make sure you have proper rain covers and something to draw out moisture. I took 7 batteries with me as there is no way to charge. I film often in Tanzania and can give you some ins and outs on filming there. Permits etc, cost. I'm talking gourillia style not on the budget of Nat Geo.

If you look at my company site you can see 8 minute segment from my climb.

Beware my camera took one heck of a beating.

documentary filmmaker/screen writer
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Old April 26th, 2006, 04:24 PM   #10
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I climbed Kili with a Canon XL1 a few years back. I had six batteries and that was enough for the amount of footage I shot. Keep those batteries close to your skin at night, they hate the cold. Keep in mind that if you take additional equipment that porters need to carry that you should tip them more or even ask up front for one extra porter. They already work very hard for what they make. I highly suggest the Machame route over the Marangu route. Much more scenic and less crowded. I didn't see any other climbers until we were at the summit. I used a Canon on camera light. This is important as you reach the summit with a 6 hour night climb to be at the top at sunrise. Here are a few links:

DVINFO link out my trip and climb:


Solar Trickle Charger:

Kili Forum:
Land of Enchantment, New Mexico
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Old August 29th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #11
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Edit: meant to send PM
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