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filming in the wilderness


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#1 Sarah Athanas

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:42 PM

I am about to embark on a bike and rafting trip through Northern Patagonia to film a documentary about the impending hydroelectric dams that may destroy the landscape. The problem: we may be out a few days without access to electricity. Any thoughts on how to charge batteries? I'm using the BP-930 batteries that work with a Canon XL2. I'm thinking there must be some sort of hand crank or bicycle-run generator that exists?
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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 07:40 PM

Any thoughts on how to charge batteries? I'm using the BP-930 batteries that work with a Canon XL2. I'm thinking there must be some sort of hand crank or bicycle-run generator that exists?


Taking an abundance of batteries is your best bet and using solar panels to charge batteries during the day is the answer to charging. This is the method I used when filming ALASKA; a twelve day unsupported sea kayaking documentary in the glaciers. That was about five years ago and now there are solar panels that are fairly large and roll up very compact. Just do a search online. Plan on enough batteries to get you through 2-3 days of clouds and also turn down the brightness of the monitor, viewfinder etc. and then budget X amount of batteries a day.

Regarding the bike, you'll never generate enough power for a long enough period on a bike to charge batteries. As an example, I race bicycles and base my training on the amount of power or watts I output to the pedals. The maximum sustained wattage I can average over the course of an hour is around 260 watts and that is with years of training, racing and professional coaching behind me. A professional Tour de France rider will average 360-400 watts an hour... and we're hauling A$$. In a 100 mile training ride or race I'll generate about 3500 - 4000 kilo-joules or enough to light two 100 watt bulbs for 4-5 hours. It sure feels like I'm working harder than that!

Enjoy your trip!

Robert Starling, SOC
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:50 AM

.....As an example, I race bicycles and base my training on the amount of power or watts I output to the pedals.
Robert Starling, SOC
Steadicam Owner Operator

As good a primer as anyone is ever going to need concerning what type of physical shape one needs to be in to operate Steadicams professionally!
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#4 Sarah Athanas

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 11:32 AM

Thanks for the advice, Robert. If anyone is interested, I found the folks at Affordable Solar to be very helpful in finding a good, lightweight solar panel. (www.Affordable-Solar.com) Would be a lot easier to obtain if I wasn't already living in Patagonia...
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