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Ever shoot welding and what are your experiences?


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 07:22 PM

I've got some shots coming up that I'd like to get with both 16MM color negative and also
with an HVX-200 at 720 24PN.

I've already shot some footage, the safer type of shots in which the actual welding
(mostly stick, some MIG and TIG) has been behind a piece of metal so that there's this great light on the person welding and reflection in the mask but no direct shot of the arc.

I'm pretty sure that any kind of shot of a welding arc would not be good for digital sensors
and the tighter and longer the shot the more so.

Has anybody any experience with these situations?

Thanks.
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 08:39 PM

I've shot arc welding on 16 but never on video. Thing one, get an old beat up expendable UV filter or two or three to protect your front element. Or even use window glass if you think you'll want to do lots of real close shots. What I did was meter with no welding happening, and set the exposure two stops down. Then let the sparks fall where they may. The image will vary between two down and way over.

These were just beauty shots, so having the actual arc and molten metal burned way out was fine. If this is something instructional, where you need to see those details, that's a lot harder.




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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 08:58 PM

Ask the welder if they have an extra mask you can rig to a C-stand and shoot through. They are usually small, so you might have to zoom to get the coverage. The mask will give you the UV filtration you need and the ND needed to be able to see the bead, without being at an f/16 -closed split. depending on the mask you may be able to also expose for the subject and let the arch blow out. I have shot wide shots of welders with nothing more than an ND filter and a UV filter. Wides and mediums work without much filtration, but I avoid the close ups of course unless I have heavy ND or a welders mask to put over the camera lens.

Edited by Michael Collier, 11 April 2008 - 09:00 PM.

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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 10:55 PM

I've shot welding on video several times, with no special precautions to the camera other than keeping a safe distance. No problems to the camera (Beta & Digibeta). In my case I had to ride the iris between spark and no spark, because we needed to shoot the whole process.

It's not hard to operate through an ENG camera viewfinder, but the HVX viewfinder might leave a little to be desired. You HAVE TO protect your non-operating eye while shooting; it's actually easy to "forget" and open your eye momentarily.

On film, looking through the viewfinder of course is not an option, without a mask. You may just have to frame up the shot and roll it as a lock-off if you can't get adequate eye protection.
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#5 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 02:10 AM

Thanks for all the tips and help!


I'm doing shots for a story, not instructional, so I'll do some tests to see how much detail I can get, although of course
the more you see the puddle and the bead the darker everything else will get.

I can get masks pretty readily and ones with bigger views, like in the attached picture, so that might be a bit easier than
shooting through some of the older style helmets with the narrower slits for viewing.

I've looked through some masks of different grades. I don't know how some people use the lighter grades; they seem too blinding but might be good on a c-stand to get some more detail while still protecting the chips. They still offer a lot of darkening and protection although to wear the lighter grade masks would I think not suit the average person. Some people use them though. (Not talking about auto-darkening masks.)

I always wear safety glasses because although you wouldn't want to stare at somebody welding, they will protect you,
particularly your non-viewfinder eye, from getting flashed with UV rays if you do look up or glance. If you're walking through a shop you can't have a helmet and mask on all the time or you'll trip and smash into something but if people are welding in every direction you've got to have safety glasses on all the time.

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