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ENG Gear in Freezing Temperatures.


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#1 Neal Bryant

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 05:42 PM

Hello,

I've 2nd A.C.ed work in freezing weather, so I understand with film you must take care to juice up the camera with different lube, handle the film carefully, ect.

But what about electronic ENG gear? I'm going to DP a corporate video in North Dakota next month. Everything that I've ever shot personally has been in very comfortable-to hot weather. How do I protect my electronic camera and accessories? Aside from watching out for condensation when going from cold to warm, is there anything else I can do? We shouldn't be shooting outside for more than two hours at a time, but I am still very nervous.
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#2 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 05:57 PM

I shot a documentary in Norway last January on the HVX-200. The temp was never too far below freezing for very long but one thing to keep in mind is to keep your spare batteries warm. Once they start getting too cold the juice falls out of them extremely fast. Once thing I used was those little chemical hand warmers you can find for hunters at sporting goods shops. Drop a few wrapped in a sock in a backpack with your batteries and that should help. Also, like you said, climate acclimation of the camera is primary and have plenty of dry lens cloths on hand. In Norway it had been raining for 80 days straight and condensation was more of an issue than the temp. Another problem you could run into is the eyepiece fogging up when you place your warm/moist eye to it. You wont be able to see anything in no time at all. I dont have a good solution around that problem, I would appreciate anyone who could help solve that as I will be shooting in Colorado in March under similar conditions possibly.

There are heated camera enclosures from Porta Brace that help keep the camera at a decent temperature. Its just depends how cold an environment you will be in to warrant those enclosures.

Mike
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 06:21 PM

I've shot in wx that was -45 without windchill, on betacam without anything more than a portabrace (not the best plan, but the company didn't want to provide protection gear) everything worked fine, there was no adverse affect, and that was several hours a day for many days on end.

I wouldn't worry about tempature too much. the portabrace with the heaters is a good idea. Keeping the batteries in inner pockets, or somewhere thats warm is a great idea.

to prevent fog on the VF, tilt the unit up or down, so theres a slight crack around your eye, that will allow airflow and keep it from fogging. If it gets too cold though, fog isn't really a problem. If condensation forms around the lens going inside, remove the UV filter if your camera has one, that is usually the longest to defog, since most condensation forms there and theres no airflow.
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#4 Mike Washlesky

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 06:59 PM

Yeah, thats generally what I do with the VF. I was hoping someone had a miracle fix like an anti-fog spray. I actually have the same problem on the opposite end when shooting here in Texas in the dead of summer where temps hit 105 +. The lens fogs up from the heat and sweat from my face.
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#5 David Auner aac

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 04:25 AM

Hi Mike,

One thing you can do is wrap the camera body in clear plastic, the stuff used in shrink wrap packaging. A couple of years ago we shot several TV docos in freezer storage facilities on BetaIMX. It was -35° C in there, at around 3% or something humidity. We wrapped the camera body in plastic and left only the controls bare. It kept the camera's own generated heat in there and worked well. The battery packs were kept in a warmer room outside and I had the spare pack in my pocket.
One thing to be really careful about is moving the camera from very cold to warm. Don't expect to be shooting any interiors in a heated room for a couple of hours after bringing the camera inside!

Cheers, Dave
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#6 Neal Bryant

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 09:35 PM

Thanks for the helpful replies, everyone.

As far as the fogged eyepiece goes, one of the first 1st AC's I worked under told me to keep a hairdryer in my ditty bag just for that. If you're ever on set (around electricity) and the camera doesn't have an eyepiece heater, have an electric run you a stinger to keep near camera and just hit the eyepiece with the hairdryer between takes. I don't recommend it, but this same A.C. used it to defog lenses as well.
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#7 Denise Woods

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 02:45 PM

Hi Neal,

Another fix for the eye piece fogging is to get a couple of the hand warmers and tape them to the barrel of the eye piece. I focus pulled on a film where the eyepiece heater was broke and this worked very well.

Denise
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#8 Neal Bryant

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:35 PM

Aaah, nice. I'll have to try that. That sounds more convenient than the hairdryer. Thanks.
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