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looking for a clod weather tripod


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#1 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 02:53 AM

i am looking to buy a tripod for use with an aaton xtrprod. i will be using the setup in some very remote, extreme environments, namely antarctica and the canadian north. a good solid fluid head that won't freeze up in -20 or -30 degree cold, and also light weight because i'll be carrying the whole setup myself. i have heard good things about the sachtlers. i am on a bit of a budget, but would not be adverse to paying thousands for a good tripod that i can depend on. right now, my budget for this is about 6000. new or used, as long as it works and i don't have to worry about it breaking in the field where it can't be fixed. thanks.
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#2 Logan Schneider

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 03:01 PM

I would suggest a Sachtler video 18 with two stage carbon fiber sticks. Light and effective. It's best if the sticks are wide so that they don't sink in snow.
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#3 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 09:57 PM

I would suggest a Sachtler video 18 with two stage carbon fiber sticks. Light and effective. It's best if the sticks are wide so that they don't sink in snow.



thanks, i have been looking for that very head, used. can anyone recommend a good source of said legs? and if anyone has one or both of these for sale...
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 02:01 AM

thanks, i have been looking for that very head, used. can anyone recommend a good source of said legs? and if anyone has one or both of these for sale...


I can recommend the Sachtler Video 18 in normal temperature situations. I don't know about extreme cold however. One worry I would have is the tripod gets so cold that just touching it could freeze your fingers. I would experiment ahead of time. If you gain access to the tripod find a meat freezer somewhere and leave it in there for a couple of hours and see how it handles when it is really cold. See how it feels to the touch. The Sachtler also has plastic leg locks on it, I don't know if they would become too fragile in the cold. You might have to actually freeze the tripod and then carefully reset the tension on the plastic tightening knobs based on the tripod being cold.

The Sachtler Video 18 also goes by the nickname "Caddy". I wonder which case you should get if you get this tripod. They make the sturdy round circular plastic container and they make the soft case as well (way overpriced at 400 bucks when I got mine several years ago, although mine came as part of a tripod package so I probably got it for less). This might sound crazy but if you get the round sturdy platic case, I could see that sucker falling over and sliding down a long snowy incline with you chasing it. On the other hand, you could store stuff in the plastic case if you decide to carry the tripod outside of the case.

If you get the rectangular soft case, I would add cushions to it. I added the long fed-ex triangular shaped cardboard shipper, and underneath that I put two of those knee cushions you can find at Home Depot. Without any additional support the soft case is a joke that gives the impression the tripod is protected in a fall when it is not and the tripod would dig into the case and cut through in no time. The soft case does come with a rectangular wedge that goes on top of the tripod head and it does its job of protecting the top of the tripod head really well, but not the sides of the tripod head, which why I got the fed ex cardboard and two knee cushions. You might want to also loosen the tripod lever whenever you put it into the case.
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#5 Logan Schneider

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 04:40 PM

A friend of mine has been the main DP on the Warren Miller ski films for the last 15 years. He uses sachtler heads and carbon fiber sticks, and he has never said anything about them freezing up.
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 05:32 PM

A friend of mine has been the main DP on the Warren Miller ski films for the last 15 years. He uses sachtler heads and carbon fiber sticks, and he has never said anything about them freezing up.


Just to be clear I didn't say the head would freeze up. I said the metal gets very cold to the touch. If one has to carry a tripod around for a long time (including being outdoors overnight) that could be a big deal. What would be useful to know is what is the longest your friend has had to use one of these tripods in the cold and if your friend ever has used them two consecutive days without going into a warm environment such as a car or overnight motel during the nighttime.

The point about the plastic locks needing to be readjusted for the cold is something I would look into as well.
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 07:26 PM

i am looking to buy a tripod for use with an aaton xtrprod. i will be using the setup in some very remote, extreme environments, namely antarctica and the canadian north. a good solid fluid head that won't freeze up in -20 or -30 degree cold

If you're talking about degrees fahrenheit, your biggest concern might be the choice of camera, which isn't designed for those extremes.
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#8 Logan Schneider

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 09:11 PM

If you're talking about degrees fahrenheit, your biggest concern might be the choice of camera, which isn't designed for those extremes.


The XTRprod should be fine, so long as it is properly serviced in preparation for the cold. March of the Penguins used them for six months in the arctic and they kept going.

I will ask my friend about having several days in the cold without reheated. I would expect that this is the case during expeditions, though it may have been brought inside the tent.
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:13 PM

The XTRprod should be fine, so long as it is properly serviced in preparation for the cold. March of the Penguins used them for six months in the arctic and they kept going.

I will ask my friend about having several days in the cold without reheated. I would expect that this is the case during expeditions, though it may have been brought inside the tent.

The XTRProd used on March of the Penguins was customized (along with a 2nd backup) for extreme cold at the Aaton factory. I don't know the details of what was done, but at -20 to-30 degrees fahrenheit, you would be well outside the operating range of the stock camera. It would be improper to send a cinematographer off on such an undertaking without suggesting he first get the technical mods necessary to ensure his shoot will be successful. That's especially true in this case, where the original poster has indicated he will be a one-man crew in a remote location, under extreme weather conditions.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 03:32 PM

Kind of a science question I guess. Is there a difference in how "cold to the touch" wooden sticks gets versus carbon fiber sticks. Could you imagine burning your wooden sticks for warmth. :ph34r:
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#11 Marc Alucard

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 04:37 PM

In addition to the camera mods, how about the lens kit? I have had trouble with focus ring getting a little stiff to turn up in the mountains in the cold on stills cameras. Are there special lubricants for low temps for lenses?
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#12 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:05 PM

The XTRProd used on March of the Penguins was customized (along with a 2nd backup) for extreme cold at the Aaton factory. I don't know the details of what was done, but at -20 to-30 degrees fahrenheit, you would be well outside the operating range of the stock camera. It would be improper to send a cinematographer off on such an undertaking without suggesting he first get the technical mods necessary to ensure his shoot will be successful. That's especially true in this case, where the original poster has indicated he will be a one-man crew in a remote location, under extreme weather conditions.



we are well aware of the march of the penguins shoot, and their preparations. we plan on going through the same process they did before going to antarctica. and these temperatures (-40 F) are the extremes, not all that common in the summer, when we would be there. i will essentially be a one-man crew, with a second person available to help transport equipment. i imagine the winterization process includes lubes in both the camera and the lenses. you might ask your friend if he has a preference for a set of legs. and of course, there will be ample tests run before we actually undertake this adventure (it is at least a year away, probably two).

something else to throw out there: condensation issues with lenses and temperature changes? i've heard that the camera should be transitioned very slowly between indoors/outdoors with very cold temps, or else you get massive condensation. any advice/experiences?
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#13 Marc Alucard

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 10:43 PM

Ziploc bags do wonders and will control condensation when you move into the warmer environment .

At 40 below there isn't a humidity issue.

The best answer may be to keep everything except you, and your batteries cold for the duration.
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#14 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 11:12 PM

Ziploc bags do wonders and will control condensation when you move into the warmer environment .

At 40 below there isn't a humidity issue.

The best answer may be to keep everything except you, and your batteries cold for the duration.

thanks, that's a big help. so the camera goes into a bag before coming inside, then let it acclimatize, then remove?
also, can i change the name of this forum? i meant to type cold, not clod...
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#15 Matt Irwin

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 12:32 AM

Benjamin,
Fluid head aside, I recommend you take a look at Miller's Solo 100mm legs. They are 3-stage carbon/speaderless with a bowl height range of about 9" to 7' and a carry weight of about 4lbs. I bought a set not too long ago and took it on a shoot that involved heat, cold, rain, mud, and heavy dust-- just beat the poop out of them. They are very easy to clean in the field, not that I needed to... no grit in the locking rings, very stable, angle locks are very durable. I should have left the babys and hi-hat at home. Haven't taken them to the arctic, but I've been told by other shooters that they perform very well in extreme cold. I actually just finished a shoot with an XTR Prod and my Solos handled the camera and an OConnor 1030HD beautifully. Compared to other carbon legs, US$900 doesn't suck either.
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#16 Marc Alucard

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 01:44 AM

thanks, that's a big help. so the camera goes into a bag before coming inside, then let it acclimatize, then remove?
also, can i change the name of this forum? i meant to type cold, not clod...


Put the piece of equipment in the Ziploc outside and squeeze out as much air as possible. You can even use something like a soft cooler to put the gear
in the Ziplocs in to slow the temperature rise when you first bring it inside.

The Ziplocs are available in sizes that would hold the whole Aaton ready to shoot.
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#17 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 03:02 AM

Benjamin,
Fluid head aside, I recommend you take a look at Miller's Solo 100mm legs. They are 3-stage carbon/speaderless with a bowl height range of about 9" to 7' and a carry weight of about 4lbs. I bought a set not too long ago and took it on a shoot that involved heat, cold, rain, mud, and heavy dust-- just beat the poop out of them. They are very easy to clean in the field, not that I needed to... no grit in the locking rings, very stable, angle locks are very durable. I should have left the babys and hi-hat at home. Haven't taken them to the arctic, but I've been told by other shooters that they perform very well in extreme cold. I actually just finished a shoot with an XTR Prod and my Solos handled the camera and an OConnor 1030HD beautifully. Compared to other carbon legs, US$900 doesn't suck either.

Matt,
thanks, that's a big help. i'll look into those legs. the large height range sounds very attractive as well.
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#18 Ben Ruffell

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 04:54 PM

Carbon legs work great in the cold. Don't worry about metal surfaces... if you think that you will have a problem with them just wrap some tape over them. Tennis racquet handle tape is great to wrap over exposed metal handles for example.

Ben Ruffell
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#19 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 04:43 AM

Carbon legs work great in the cold. Don't worry about metal surfaces... if you think that you will have a problem with them just wrap some tape over them. Tennis racquet handle tape is great to wrap over exposed metal handles for example.

Ben Ruffell
www.ruff.co.nz


thanks to all who have posted. here is what i have in mind as a set-up: xtrprod, sachtler video18, on miller solo carbonfiber legs. my questions about this that still remain: will the legs reliably support the load, and of course the big question, where's a good place to get this, minus the camera? i would prefer to buy lightly used, especially the head. the cosmetics of the tripod do not matter to me, as long as the components are reliable.

am i headed in the wrong direction with this tripod setup, or does this make sense?
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#20 Benjamin Cameron

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 03:15 AM

has anyone heard anything about the miller speraderless legs "winding up" during a pan, causing jitter at the end of the pan? something i heard mention of, but other than this, i really like the look of these legs.
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