Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Sandy Environments

Dear All, Do you remember earlier this year the true story of a certain young cameraman who took himself and his crew onto a sandy beach in a howling gale?? He you may remember caused over £30k of damage and then complained when he was blamed. Well. WE assisted the producer with time to pay. We tried to be helpfull in every way BUT it apparently was the hire companies fault. Because we charged when his former employer would have not! So claimed! Rubbish I say!.

Anyway; The cameraman sued the producer b,cos they would not pay his fee due to the losses caused by his incompetance. The producer then was caused to countersue for damages.

Now to the good bit.

The cameraman lost and the producer was awarded £10k plus all costs.

WHO says there aint no justice.

The names are with held to protect the innocent.This is a work of fiction and is all my own work. No company is involved with my story.


OHHHHH!! Thanks for the laugh Tony ... especialy as I know who you are talking about. Never worked with him but heard very amusing stories of the aftermath of thet incident from a record commisioner


This weekend I'll be working as a Loader in a comercial that will be shot mainly on the beach. We'll use an Arri III and a 16mm Beaulie with an underwater housing that I haven't been able to check yet. I wonder if you have any special advise for this sort of situation. The beach we'll shoot at is quite windy so I'm specially concerned about the sand problem.

Thanks for your help.

Julian Apezteguia

Sand is a huge problem, wind or no. The best advice I can muster is for you to have your own zipper fly tent, with floor, for you to work in.

The only hope of working in a sand free environment is if you bring one along with you.

Cliff Hancuff

Last year I shot a commercial on a sand volleyball court on a somewhat windy day. Even though I was able to take the camera inside a building to re-load, by the end of the day sand was everywhere. It just seems to have a nasty habit of sneaking in. If I were in your shoes I would bring a tent with a floor, bring a vacuum cleaner to go over the outside of the camera before opening, and tape off the door and mag/body connecting surfaces. Oh....did I mention something in front of the lens. You might try a Scubacam bag. I saw one at Showbiz specifically designed for the Arri 35III. And it might come in handy when the director suddenly thinks the shot would look fab if you were in the waves.

Good Luck

All my best, Chet Simmons

you may want to buy a couple boxes of large green garbage bags- keep everything wrapped. keep throwing them away and using new ones. Ziploc bags may also be handy for tools.


Perhaps TC would like to comment on this.

Sorry Tony I couldn't resist


Geoff Boyle


TC will LOVE you for asking that question. First off it ain't easy. If you have lots of flying sand life becomes a little dificult. My personal idea is to treat sand like horizontal rain. Put one of those clear Polythene bags over the camera taped up around the mattbox (drop an optical flat in as well just in case.) and taped up around the V/F. The poly bags that get sent out here in the UK are big enough that if you want to you can actually get inside to do things (which is usefull). Another aproach I heard (this was in the desert in africa so obviously no salt water here) was to black tak every orafice. When the mag needed changing the camera was put into the camera truck brushed down, unblacktaked, changed then reset and taken out again.

In the unfortuanate event of something landing on the camera then BRUSH it off don't use Kenair (which will blow the sand into places it never dreamed of going before)

Hope this helps


Very good advice, not thought off by my former not experienced ex deskman who became a DoP overnight by picking up a meter and having a name that sounded like a Swiss cheese. NOT A PLASTIC BAG IN SIGHT. Stated that his former employer would not have made such a fuss!! YEH ! , RIGHT!!!!!

That Red African dust is a killer. Always tape around the case sides before trekking out into the bush. It gets even thro' the case lids just by being there. Regards TC.

All the forementioned ideas of a tent are great and in addition I would like to add, Don't even think of opening the camera for a load or gate check in the outdoors on the beach. It is imperative to be in a tent or vehicle without the wind. I saw a Panaflex need to be rebuilt because of a day on the beach and the need to hurry. All it took was once even with the grips holding flags and plastic all to no avail. Be insistant!

Best of Luck, Jim Sofranko

Dear Geoff, I took a deep breath.........................and blew the sand away!!!!!!!!!! love TC.

Re sand & salt

My most successful approach was to have an additional (and obsessive) camera assistant dedicated solely to keeping airborne nasties away from the camera and all associated areas. A dust assistant if you like. This applies equally to video.


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