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Does cold temp affect footage stored onto camera drives?

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Jay Huubs
Does cold temp affect footage stored onto camera drives?
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:02:12 pm

I posted this in another forum a few days ago, but have not received any replies. Does anyone here have any input?

I have been hired to shoot a High School Senior's football games for college recruitment. I have talked to the College coach so I know what he is expecting, but my question is more from a technical standpoint. I know cold temps effect battery life by shortening them, but does cold temperatures effect the data being stored onto the camera's internal HD and onto SD cards? We will be shooting into October so I am most concerned about September and October. I thought about using heat packs to keep the camera warm, but am more concerned that too much heat will be worse than cold weather. Any thoughts?

"Life's a pitch and then you buy."
-Billy Mays


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Mark Suszko
Re: Does cold temp affect footage stored onto camera drives?
on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:33:37 pm

On the SD cards, almost certainly no effect, that's one of their selling points. A hard drive is supposed to be sealed with very low humidity air inside it (preferably even inert nitrogen, I'm thinking). While condensation inside the hard drive mechanism is I guess remotely possible, the drive motor's bearings may be more affected by cold if deeply cold-soaked, then the platters. If you leave the camera int he cold all day and night maybe it could cause a problem, but I think yuor chances are slight. Problems with the lens going from warm and humid, to deep cold and back again, are the most likely problem area. Also LCD screens can be damaged by deep cold. I'd worry more about the LCD and lens than the drive. Keep a hand held hair dryer handy, preferably one that can also run on 12 volts. Use it to help rapidly air-dry (not HEAT) the unit if you ever get into trouble with condensation.

Ironically, cold can be a GOOD thing for some hard drives: When one of mine went bad in my mac, I followed advice on the internet, put the drive in a ziplock bag and kept it in the freezer overnight. I had everything else ready in the mornign to copy files off, , yanked the frozen drive out of the freezer, plugged it in and turned it on. It booted right up as soon as I powered it that next morning, and I was able to transfer off my important files one last time. Just an hour or two of cold won't "fix" a dead drive, but overnight cold-soaking seems to actually work in this "voodoo method". Once the drive warms up, it won't boot again if you power cycle it. But I did the cold start thing three times and by cracky, something I read on the internet is actually TRUE in this case. Go figure.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Does cold temp affect footage stored onto camera drives?
on Aug 11, 2011 at 3:17:11 am

Slightly OT, but I think the reason the cold soak works is the bearings have worn and minute metal 'wear particles' have taken up the clearance in the bearings where they are acting as a 'brake', making them too tight for the motor to spin up. The cold must contract the parts enough to allow free spinning. After the drive is warm, and long as it stays spinning, there is probably enough inertia to overcome the tightness, but once it stops the motor probably doesn't have enough torque.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Jay Huubs
Re: Does cold temp affect footage stored onto camera drives?
on Aug 11, 2011 at 6:31:42 pm

Thank you both for taking the time to respond. You gave me the answer I was hoping for. Hopfully all goes well. I have back-up measure just in case. Fail to plan, plan to fail.

"Life's a pitch and then you buy."
-Billy Mays


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