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How does one go about keeping a camera from overheating?

filmmaking short film production camera operating cameras bmpcc blackmagic pocket cinema camera

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#1 John W. King

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 04:08 PM

Hello all,

 

So I film on the Blackmagic Pocket Cam, which is infamous for how fast it heats up. Now I've never had a problem with it overheating, I have generally been filming in A/C cooled indoor areas. However, I'm beginning production for an upcoming film, and most of the filming will be done outside... oh, and lest I forget, I happen to live in the great state of Texas where the average Summer temp. is around 96 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm a little worried about it overheating in the outdoor temperatures.

So my question is: how do you keep a camera cooled down without damaging it with ice/water?


Edited by John W. King, 25 July 2015 - 04:09 PM.

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#2 Carl Looper

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 07:20 PM

Yes, they can heat up quite a bit.

 

I was using one in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the tropical heat there is unbearable (for me anyway), but the camera itself had no problem in the heat. It's the internal heating of the camera that's somewhat disconcerting. But it didn't produce any problems. Just turn the camera off in between takes. You want to conserve power anyway.

 

But our main problem is that the camera was actually for a telecine we were building - where the camera would be turned on for hours on end. Forget the camera - even my body couldn't work in the tropical heat for more than a few minutes. However there was a cool room (refrigerator) in the lab where were were working (set up for film storage) so we decided to build the set up in there - not for the camera, but for ourselves! But it also solved the camera heating problem.

 

C


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#3 JD Hartman

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 08:25 PM

Utilize all the same techniques used for the early Red cameras.  Search will turn up the answers.


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#4 Larry DeGala

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 10:48 AM

I remember when the 3-chip camera roommate would poke fun about keeping film cans next to the beer and sauerkraut. Nowadays, RED in ziploc baggies take breaks next to the egg salad inside the large ice cooler. Karma doesn't joke around.

Edited by Larry DeGala, 09 August 2015 - 10:54 AM.

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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 09:04 PM

I would avoid direct sunlight on the camera, perhaps a small umbrella that you can rig to your tripod if you don't have a grip dept able to set up courtesy flags for you. You could also try a small fan for air flow, cold gel packs in a cooler, and probably most helpful a backup camera body.

Sometimes when a camera overheats, the electronics just need to cool down for a few minutes but other times you may have actually fried a circuit board inside. If the former, you can leapfrog the cameras between setups to avoid keeping them on too long. If the latter, then you still have something to keep shooting your project.
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#6 Mark Dunn

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 05:01 AM

I would avoid direct sunlight on the camera, perhaps a small umbrella

This is something I want to see.. Perhaps it should go in the clapper/loader's job description.


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#7 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 08:45 AM

I used to do this all the time.. set up on a century stand.. with sand bags .. for the camera and operator ..very much part of the loaders job description..sometimes gaffers would do it but usually they were reading the SUN or having a bacon sarnie .. also over any field monitors for the suits.. 


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 10 August 2015 - 08:49 AM.

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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 11:07 AM

I've run my pocket cameras in direct sun for hours (in So Cal 112 degree heat) without any over heating. They do heat up, but not to the point of being unable to touch them. The RED's heat up A LOT more, they're almost untouchable after only a few minutes of use in the sun.

You've gotta be very careful and not shock the cameras by reducing the temps greatly all at once. That's how you damage electronics and in some cases, put a layer of condensation on the elements when you go back to shooting due to the temp differential. Texas is also humid, so it's far better to just work with what you've got and not worry about it.
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#9 John E Clark

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 02:27 PM

Texas is also humid, so it's far better to just work with what you've got and not worry about it.

 

The Wife and I shot a wedding in Huston in the summer... we had to have  'indoor cameras', acclimated to the air conditioning, and 'outdoor' cameras, acclimated to the outside.

 

That didn't help our eye glasses though... Should have bought an additional pair for the same reasons...

 

So Cal never has that sort of humidity, although I've felt and also read others that there is a rise in humidity along the So Cal coast...


Edited by John E Clark, 10 August 2015 - 02:28 PM.

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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 11:57 PM

I spent most of my life shooting films on the east coast, so I'm use to the humidity, you can cut it with a knife some days. :(

I've not done the indoor and outdoor rigs, we'd just shoot one day outdoors and another day indoors.
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#11 Larry DeGala

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 12:31 AM

On set for episodic television, we'd have three F-55 cameras. They never ran as multi-camera typical of television drama. One shot all the scenes until the backup camera was needed to give the first camera a rest. The third camera was a backup for the backup camera. Camera Department could not stop filming as there were almost a hundred cast and crew, from PAs to extras, waiting and staged to do their part. Episodic television scheduling is very tight.
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#12 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 11:53 AM

needed to give the first camera a rest. 

What do you mean by 'a rest'? I've shot plenty of episodic TV and single camera drama, and never had two spare bodies just sitting around.


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#13 Larry DeGala

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 12:10 PM

What do you mean by 'a rest'? I've shot plenty of episodic TV and single camera drama, and never had two spare bodies just sitting around.

You're absolutely right. In the six months of shooting, I've never seen main camera take "a rest." But the backup rental sat there day after day. As well as the backup of the backup. Probably a DP who only shoots film neg and somehow convinced the producer back in 2012 this was the safest way for digital film acquisition.  In "Paul Blart: Mall Cop II" they didn't have a hickup except for the dust shadow that threatened to take down main camera and freeze up the week of shoot.  Oh, wait. There was no backup camera in Las Vegas.  Not even a backup of a backup. Sh!t


Edited by Larry DeGala, 16 August 2015 - 12:10 PM.

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#14 Akos Baranya

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 02:25 AM

Hey John I have a BMPCC too and the only times I've had trouble with overheating where when I recorded long (>2hours) continous takes into one of the lower  bitrate prores codecs. I usually use an external power source and one thing I've noticed is that the battery gets quite hot when you do this. The workaround (as posted on the bmcuser forum) is that you can remove the battery if you use external power and that seems to help with the overheating.


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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 05:16 PM

I've noticed that as the BMPCC does heat up, if you are doing limited light stuff, you may run into issues with hot pixels here or there. So far, it's only cropped up on me once or twice and was quite visible on my monitor. The solution was to power down for a few moments while i tweaked some lighting. I find too it best to turn the pocket off when i'll be away from it for prolonged periods of time. It boots so quickly this is not much of an issue.


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#16 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 21 August 2015 - 07:51 PM

On set for episodic television, we'd have three F-55 cameras. They never ran as multi-camera typical of television drama. One shot all the scenes until the backup camera was needed

 

 

For the benfit of Larry,  Stuart,  and common sense,  lets move this forward.

 

Larry DeGala ....post #11

"..On set for episodic television, we'd have three F-55 cameras. They never ran as multi-camera typical of television drama. One shot all the scenes until the backup camera was needed to give the first camera a rest..."

Larry DeGala ....post #13
"..You're absolutely right. In the six months of shooting, I've never seen main camera take "a rest." ...."

 

I can't reconcile those comments.  IE fit to a coherent sense of reality.


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