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any Desert shooters


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#1 Aaron Medick

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 09:21 AM

I heading to the Sahara Desert in Sept. Shooting 35mm feature for 2 weeks and 4 weeks in a City. If any one has worked in similar conditions can you please let me know what you learned, what you brought with you. This can be anything from equipment to clothes, medicines, shoes. Any advise is greatly appreciated.
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#2 Aaron Medick

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 02:49 PM

no body? Please forgive the miss spellings. I tried to go back and edit it but couldn't figure out how. Anyway, I've read the archive most of which I was knew already. My interest is in tricks like has anyone used/made a white cotton Barney for the camera to keep it cool? It is necessary? I was going to shoot with an 85b and polarizer. I want a warm image with a deep blue sky. Does any one have any recommendation other than this combo for this type of look? If I add an antique suede how much can I add before I kill the blue sky? I will shoot test in a few weeks, so I'm just getting my thought together on what to test. I believe that I'm shooting 5248. I love this stock. The 5201 was my first choice, but it is too expensive.

Also if anyone has any recommendations about clothes for the desert or Hot humid cities with mosquitoes. Think of anything that you thought thank god I brought this or I wish I had brought that.

Thanks in advance
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#3 Oron Cohen

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 05:36 PM

Hello Aaron

I shoot in the desert allot and you just need to think in logic.
You ask about put something on the camera, of curse you need to put something its 45-50 degrees Celsius!(I personally like to put a 4*4 duble or something on a grip stand to make some shade on the camera in all time and when I know that is going to be long period of time that the camera is not use, let say 20 minutes or more so I cover it)
But If I need to tell you an advice is to bring people to work with you that now how to live and work in such heat that are used to it, because you need to be foxed on the cinematography?
If you have some other questions ask and I try to help if you be specific..
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#4 Tim J Durham

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:38 AM

I heading to the Sahara Desert in Sept. Shooting 35mm feature for 2 weeks and 4 weeks in a City. If any one has worked in similar conditions can you please let me know what you learned, what you brought with you. This can be anything from equipment to clothes, medicines, shoes. Any advise is greatly appreciated.


If you can get ahold of "Writing with Light", Vittorio Storaro goes into detail about how he shot the film "The Sheltering Sky" which was shot in Morocco and Mali among other hot, sandy places. Very interesting, as I recall.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0127979/
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#5 Aaron Medick

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 03:55 PM

Thanks for the response.
Yes, my crew has all shot in the desert before. I'll be doing some steadicam so the 4x4 is not going to work to cover the camera I'm thinking about either wrapping the camera in Canvas or white plastic to reflect the sun. In your opinion which is better? Also I'd like to set up 60 ft. of dolly track with a riding crane on it. Can this be done safely or should I simplify the shot for safety. I am hoping that plywood under the dolly track would sure up the ground.

Thanks for the Storaro lead. I found it for $650, is that right? I also found the trilogy at the ASC store for $500. Is this the book you were recommending?
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#6 Chris Clarke

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 04:17 PM

Buy some Space Blankets (silver on one side and red or blue on the other). Have the wardrobe department sew several of them to fit your 1000' and 400' mags with elastic in them to hold them in place.

Keep your stock and rushes in large cooler boxes.

Take it easy!! Work slower than you want to as the sun in the sahara can be dangerous. If possible try to split the day with a 3-4 hour break for the midday sun. It might be obvious but don't forget to drink water as often as possible. Sipping often not gulping occasionaly.

When you get back to the hotel in the evenings, have a Dioralite rehydration sachet to replace the lost fluids.

Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets B)
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#7 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 05:47 PM

Always use sunscreen and wear a hat. When shooting in deserts i usually wear white, thin shirts with long sleeves i don't roll up to protect myself from the sun. Be prepared that the sand will get EVERYWHERE so it might be a good idea to wrap your steadycam in plasticbags.
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#8 Bob Hayes

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 08:35 PM

Surround yourself with skilled desert people and listen to them. Drink lots of water before you get thirsty. Keep your eyes open for crew people who start to look over heated. On desert shows I?ve done it wasn?t uncommon to have one person a day hit with heat stroke. Make sure you have portable tents available. Space blanket over camera. A 4 x 4 solid or umbrella to cover camera and camera crew. A shady area for your Steadicam op to sit and rest between takes. Here is a great trick. Pick up a roll of the plastic mesh style fencing. It is usually orange. I think it is available in Africa to be used as light weight temporary fencing. Lay it on the ground to make a walkway for your Steadicam guy in the soft sand. Get some small 6 wheel ATV?s with trailers to carry your gear around the sets. I think portable tables for camera gear to keep it off the sand. We use ice chests to carry film. Not for ice just for insulation.
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:36 PM

You should read the article in this months AC magazine 'house of sand' they talk about some of the difficulties they faced photography-wise. Not much on desert saftey, but a lot of good insight to working in a desert situation. Its not online or I would send a link.
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#10 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:48 PM

You should read the article in this months AC magazine 'house of sand' they talk about some of the difficulties they faced photography-wise. Not much on desert saftey, but a lot of good insight to working in a desert situation. Its not online or I would send a link.


Last year I DP'ed for a day on a 35mm film in Las Vegas. The official high that day was 116 - one degree below the all-time high. The mags got so hot you couldn't even touch them without buring your fingers. We were out in the sun for 12 hours.

The thing that worked the best for me was 1 bottle of Gatorade, then 1 bottle of water. REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT - even when you don't think you are thirsty. In other words, keep drinking constantly.

And try to get into the shade as much as possible.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.

B)
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#11 Drew Hoffman

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 02:53 AM

I heading to the Sahara Desert in Sept. Shooting 35mm feature for 2 weeks and 4 weeks in a City. If any one has worked in similar conditions can you please let me know what you learned, what you brought with you. This can be anything from equipment to clothes, medicines, shoes. Any advise is greatly appreciated.


Working out here in Arizona, killer exteriors are pretty much expected... I've even been in studios where equipment malfunctions from the heat. From an AC point of view... you can't have enough canned air. Always have a courtesy on standby for the camera... assign a grip to making sure the camera is covered in between takes. On one show, the G&E guys made a great little rig that had a basket of dry ice in front of a handheld fan directed through a snoot of black wrap. I'm not sure how practical that is in the middle of the Sahara, but it really helped the camera in the heat. Keep the film in the coldest place you can... put it in a cooler if necessary. Drink a TON of water and keep as much of yourself covered as possible... make sure it's something breathable like cotton. Apply and reapply sunscreen all day and have the occasional salty snack, it'll help retain the water. Space blankets are great to cover the camera if the camera is on standby for a while. As far as any kind of permanent covering for the camera dust, heat, or otherwise... I've never been fully satisfied with anything I've seen. I think that unless it's water... your best bet is to just keep it uncovered while shooting and get it into safety when you're not.
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