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Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?

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Stan Timek
Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 3, 2009 at 7:00:26 am

I've searched the site for this type of info and have found posts that say that Panasonic's P2 gear would be good for this type of shoot - but I wanted to ask directly. (so please forgive me)

I have a friend that will be doing a winter shoot where they will be out for at least 1 full day (12 hours shooting) and possibly 2 continuous days completely out in the wild. I believe expected weather conditions will be snow (given) and temps down below 0 degrees F. (I checked the weather for the location today and it was already 24 degrees F)

My thinking is to advise using the 170 (2 or 3 cameras), any "jacket" that can be had for the camera for nominal weather protection, and judicious use of hand warmers in the jackets to help the batteries and lens mechanicals working. (would a heat source be a problem in this cold of an environment lens-wise?)

I believe that the P2 technology is the best way to go for this project (shooting 720P/24) BUT will the LCD screen and the lens mechanicals operate in this very cold environment? I believe/think the screens can get weird at such low temps. The crews will be carrying food and all supplies for this adventure so this small size camera will be critical (can't carry excess weight) P2 cards weight is nothing, extra batteries would be the only concern (weight wise) if they go w/ full size batteries and adapters for the length of shooting day and battery capacity reduction due to the cold.

Sorry for rambling. Thanks for any help/advice you can offer.

Stan Timek

Pollywog Communications
http://www.pollywogcommmunications.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 3, 2009 at 7:52:44 am

Sure- bring something to protect the camera and plenty of batteries.

Noah

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Stan Timek
Re: Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 3, 2009 at 4:00:41 pm

Thanks Noah. I guess my main concern is how the flip out LCD screen would fare in such cold weather (don't the crystals slow down?) Would the shooters just use the traditional viewfinder? Will that be OK in zero/sub-zero weather? Lastly will the zoom mechanism be OK with the cold - if a hand warmer is used underneath, would that mess up the optics?

Sorry for the questions. I just want to make sure that my suggestions don't lead him down the wrong path as I won't be going on this shoot to fix any problems that may arise.


Stan Timek

Pollywog Communications
http://www.pollywogcommmunications.com


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Adam Smith
Re: Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 4, 2009 at 11:08:37 pm

Last time I shot in the snow we didn't have LCDs so not sure there... =) and I dunno if I'd worry much about the lens mechanics. I don't think a hand-warmer would get hot enough to cause issues with condensation inside the lens but I don't think I'd bother with it anyways (unless the camera guy's hands are freezing).

Batteries can certainly be an issue. Useable capacity can drop greatly in the cold and I'd consider some means of protecting the batteries from extreme temperatures.

- - -
Video Photographer / Avid & Final Cut Editor


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Stan Timek
Re: Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 5, 2009 at 2:15:07 am

Adam, Thanks for your help. I'm concerned about the lubricant in the lens gelling up in the cold weather. I don't expect the shooters would use the zoom rocker much during shots - and if it did get sticky they'd be good enough/smart enough to go manual.

I'd like to feel better about the viewfinder/LCD screen but I guess this might be an issue with all the compact rigs out there.

Your point about the batteries is well taken. I'll look into options there for belts or maybe just warming them on the camera. Anyone know of good cables to go from a battery belt to a camera what won't become stiff as a board and crack? For that matter how about audio cables with the same cold weather performance?

Thanks all!

Stan Timek

Pollywog Communications
http://www.pollywogcommmunications.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 6, 2009 at 10:31:14 pm

Panasonic did this as proof of concept:

Idiatod

Jeremy


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Stan Timek
Re: Very cold weather shoot - HPX-170 appropriate?
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:54:09 pm

Jeremy,

Thanks for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race article. Very helpful. I also was directed to a DVXUser thread by Steve Smull that discussed the focus and zoom ring lubricant gelling up and sticking. In that thread there was a general feeling that external controls (LANC, etc) would alleviate the issue.

I feel pretty positive about the Panasonic cameras for this shoot, either the 170 or the 200A. I went on a similar warm weather shoot last year and we didn't zoom all that much in shots, so if things go similarly on this next project they shouldn't have any problems except during initial framing when the rings might be "sticky"

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the help of everyone's collective knowledge and experiences!

Stan Timek

Pollywog Communications
http://www.pollywogcommmunications.com


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