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Old December 29th, 2006, 04:31 AM   #1
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Location: Helsinki, Finland
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Humidity - no tape, less problems?

Thank you all for keeping up this excellent forum.

Imagine a misty early morning in a rainforest, water condensing to droplets on leaves and dripping down. Your guide's cheap snapshot camera, recording on a flash card, keeps on taking pictures while your camcorder has ejected its tape (place your favourite error message here) as a protest against the working conditions. Silica gel and an air-tight plastic bag will eventually cure the camcorder, but the ocelots and tapirs have long gone hiding for the day.

How much less sensitive to humidity would a tapeless HD-range camcorder be? I would guess that an AG-HVX200 (DVCPRO HD) using P2 memory sticks was the least sensitive, and that the disk based solutions were more prone to the problem but better than tape, like HDR-SR1 (AVCHD) recording to an internal hard disk, and F330 (XDCAM HD) writing onto removable discs? Would these differences be noticeable? Does anybody have experience about this?

Would Sony's HVR-V1 be less sensitive to humidity with the external hard disk HVR-DR60 plugged in, to an extent that matters? The camera is supposed to send a record signal to HVR-DR60 without the presence of an inserted tape. Would the humidity-measuring alarm system be aware if the tape was in or not?

Does FX7 also have this ability to record onto HVR-DR60 without an inserted tape?
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Old December 29th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #2
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Location: Flagstaff, AZ
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Most of the problems I've experienced shooting in humid locations can be combatted by controlling the temperature of your gear. In the example you mentioned, in order for humidity to condense on you heads/tape, they must be cooler than the outdoor air. If your camera and tapes are above outside air temperature, the humidity won't condense and everything should work as planned. One trick I've used first thing in the morning before I leave my air conditioned hotel room is to use a blow dryer to gently warm the open tape compartment and a couple of tapes. You can also use the defroster function of your car/truck to do the same (though running the defroster when it's 110 degrees doesnt' make that a fun place to be for long!
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip Rob. Yes, by keeping the camera warmer than the surrounding air prevents water from condensing onto it. A cold camera cools the air around it, this cooler air holds less water, and the excess condenses to droplets. Another way to warm up the camera (if only slightly) is to start it inside an air-tight plastic bag, and keep it running for a while before taking it out.

In my case, I typically spend a month in the woods, long periods without electricity. An air-conditioned hotel room would be nice but is not an option, so the camera is close to the environmental temperature all the time. Maybe a small battery operated heater could be of help. However, it just is a fact that everything gets wet and keeps that way in a primary rainforest during the rainy season.

Obviously most of you don't have it as bad, but I would expect you wedding video pros spend half of your time at Niagara Falls, it is a damp humid place, right :-)

So, I would be interested to hear if tapeless solutions have proved themselves less sensitive to humidity.
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