AG - DVX100 Crash Housing
– Plus Updated filming post information.
Published : 27th January 2004
I have a couple of days coming up where I will be shooting people skiing, sledging, climbing, etc using my DVX100.
The shots include a moving/ handheld camera ie. I will be shooting while skiing, probably backwards (it' those things that productions usually ask for and expect you to be perfect)
Obviously I will have the prod. company insure the camera and myself.
Can anyone suggest a lightweight and not too boxy way of guarding theDVX100 from minor crashes resulting from the above. (I'm a good skier and I am looking forward to this challenge)
All The Best
Director of Photography
Daniel Loher asks :
>Can anyone suggest a lightweight and not too boxy way of guarding the DVX100 from minor crashes resulting from the above.
Your fricking nuts!
OK, got that out of the way.
In my film days doing second unit work we had "crash boxes" which were metal box housings an Eymo would fit in. Then if a car hit it the box just bounced around and usually didn't harm the camera. That was well and good
except there was no cushioning in the box so there was sometimes camera damage done.
I believe I would try wrapping the camera in bubble wrap, leaving an opening for the eye piece and lens. It should just bounce around if it were dropped or you spilled.
As for skiing backwards, couldn't you just flip the viewfinder and point the camera backwards? Or course the viewfinder would be sticking out and if you fell there goes the viewfinder...but if you ski halfway decently then you would be less apt to fall going forwards than backwards...ya think?
Allen S. Face mire
SaltRun Productions inc.
>As for skiing backwards, couldn't you just flip the viewfinder and point the camera backwards?
Yeah, but what fun is that?
> Your fricking nuts!
Thanks for the support.
The bubble wrap is a good alternative to the BOX. I'll try that and hope the camera wont slip through one end.
Using the eyepiece really is a bit "nuts" when on skis. I think I'll cut a hole for the LCD.
I haven't really ever made use of the viewfinder as I find myself squeezing my head into it to see the image (Hint hint - Panasonic).
Skiing forward- shooting backwards is very clever... I wonder why I didn't think of that myself.
I guess, try and not to fall is the best way after all. Once I've survived those days I will certainly report back.
Thanks for all the advice
Director of Photography
Daniel Loher writes:
>Can anyone suggest a lightweight and not too boxy way of guarding the DVX100 from minor crashes resulting from the above…
The bubble wrap approach is probably the most practical... But here's another method, which I (almost) used years ago: Connect two intersecting hoops of 1.5" wide, 1/8" thick flat aluminium stripping (forming a "sphere" about 2 ft in diameter) and add a bar across the middle to mount the camera. This gives you lots of protection, plenty of stable ways to hold the rig, the ability to leave the LCD sticking out with minimal risk of damage, minimal wind resistance, etc. Use three hoops intersecting at 120-degree intervals for even more protection (though a narrower shooting window).
Caveat: The crossbar holding the camera should be rigid enough to eliminate vibrations, but soft enough to cushion any bad hits.
I once prepared such a rig with a 16mm B&H 50'-cartridge camera (w/a 10mm Switars) for a circus show -- The plan was to wind up the camera, start it running, and toss it down from a high trapeze perch into the huge safety net.
Unfortunately our scheduling (and that of the circus rehearsals) precluded our being able to do it.... so I can't vouch for the sturdiness of my particular rig!
And I can't accept responsibility for what anyone does with the above information!
Marin County, CA
Dan Drasin writes :
>Connect two intersecting hoops of 1.5" wide, 1/8" thick flat aluminium stripping (forming a "sphere" about 2 ft in diameter) and add a bar across the middle to mount the camera."
What a cool idea!
I wonder if you could use PVC...maybe heat it a bit with a heat gun to give it some bend. Then you could attach the ends with couples and cement.
It would take a bit of engineering but the device would certainly have lots of "grab" spots and would facilitate the use of the LCD finder.
Great idea Dan!
At least it sounds great to me sitting here in Atlanta with no bloody intention of attempting to ski backwards while trying to shoot another skier!
Allen S. Facemire
SaltRun Productions inc.
Allen S. Facemire writes :
>I wonder if you could use PVC...maybe heat it a bit with a heat gun to give it some bend.
Sony makes TV goggles that show the image: it is analog so plugs directly into the camera. Make it so you only see with your right eye. There are even translucent type goggles so you see where you're going while seeing the camera image. It can be a bit confusing though but you'll have both your hands free.
A good pencil camera is even better : you can carry the body under your jacket and place the pencil anywhere.
Google has a massive amount of info on the subject 'Lipstick Camera'
Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland
I plan to live forever. So far, so good.
Allen Facemire writes :
>I wonder if you could use PVC...maybe heat it a bit with a heat gun to give it some bend. Then you could attach the ends with couples and cement.
I think PVC would be too prone to flexing (making the camera a bit wobbly on its mount) --and to cracking if the frame really got whacked.
Actually, I think Rob's recommendation -- a lipstick camera -- is the best approach. But I'm not at all sure I'd want to try skiing with even half-transparent video goggles on -- least of all with the camera looking to the rear.
That would surely give a new meaning to the term " dizzying experience."
Marin County, CA
>But I'm not at all sure I'd want to try skiing with even half-transparent video goggles on -- least of all with the camera looking to the rear.
You know, much as I'm Gung-ho, lets go get the shot. there are sometimes when it is a better idea to get a specialist. There are those who know how to ski backwards and shoot, and they do it professionally. I Can't imagine how they learned, but they must be darn good skiers in the first place.
Bet they are expensive too.
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.
( Additional posts dealing with a similar shoot on the same type of camera )
I realize this was recently discussed somewhere on the CML recently in the discussion for skiing with the DVX100.
I am involved in a shoot with the same camera where we may be shooting on an ice boat that will reach speeds up to 60-70mph. I am interested in building some type of cage to protect the camera. I am thinking of hand holding it and maybe rigging it for a few shots.
Jim Sofranko writes:
[[ we may be shooting on an ice boat that will reach speeds up to 60-70mph. I am interested in building some type of cage to protect the camera. I am thinking of hand holding it and maybe rigging it for a few shots. ]]
IMHO the most important things you'll need are:
- A tether of some kind (neck cord or strap) that will absolutely guarantee that the camera can't be dropped (and while you're at it, make sure that if it's tethered to *you*, you can't be snagged overboard).
- A UV or clear glass filter over the lens -- attached as closely as possible to the front element. (Make sure you've got a brush and some lens tissue handy to keep the filter clean. You'll tend to be stopped down and shooting at wide-angle, so every jot and tittle on the filter surface will show.)
- High-friction, thin gloves (using fingerless gloves may be asking for frostbite at those speeds! -- check with the iceboat people about this).
- Possibly a remote battery -- or a second battery so you can keep one under your coat and swap them frequently, to prevent voltage drop and capacity loss from the cold.
- Possibly a balaclava hood (open only at the eyes). You could also tape some moderately dense foam around the lens hood -- that's the part that'd be most likely to contact other solid objects in a less-than-graceful way
Remove the external mic, and put a fat windscreen on the built-in mic, mainly for physical protection. You might check out various off-the-shelf flash brackets you could screw to the bottom, which would stick out on the left side and protect the LCD when it's extended... and maybe also give you an extra-stable (wide baseline) handhold.
While I've worked in extreme cold and wind, and on all kinds of vehicles, I've never been aboard an iceboat. But I imagine it can be brutally jarring when it hits rough spots.
Ergo you might wish to avoid using the VF (which could take an eye out) in favor of the LCD....and/or go wide-angle and shoot blind/automatic where necessary and possible.
Keep the image stabilizer switched on, of course.
When at extreme wide-angle, consider locking focus at infinity, to avoid accidental focus shifts.
An external monitor, VF goggles, etc., might all be worth thinking about, but I imagine you'd want to keep things VERY simple and compact, with as few cables dangling (...snagging/choking?) as possible.
You might also want to take along a lightweight, single-chip camera with a WA adaptor and/or fisheye, for "creative" shots that would put the DVX100 at inordinate risk. (i.e., down-close-to the-ice shots, clamped-to-the mast shots,
and so forth.)
This sounds like a hazardous undertaking. I accept no responsibility for the use or misuse of the above suggestions. Nuthin' personal, of course...
Good luck, Jim... and let us know how it goes.
Marin County, CA