Lighting for video footage

Techniques and equipment.

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Lighting for video footage

Postby Vertigo » Jan 4, 2007 3:12 pm

I would like to create caving movies. What kind of lighting is good for video? what have you used, and is there anything not too expensive? :caver:
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jan 4, 2007 3:22 pm

On the video trips that I've been on (in Utah) we used anything from bright (focused) halogen bulbs mounted on top of the camera that had it's own battery pack to using those 1-3 million candle power spots one can find at sporting goods stores or camping supplies at Walmart.
For a cave like Camp's Gulf then I would definitely recommend two or three cavers armed with a powerful spot light to help illuminate the huge rooms. For something like Byers maybe only one and a camera mounted light.

You want inexpensive then the hand-held rechargable lights are probably going to be the cheapest you can get for the amount of light they produce. Sadly they can't go hours upon hours but you should be able to get at least a half hour's worth of decent footage each time.

Thing is you can't be too stingy with the light if you want a good quality video. I've seen the video-cavers spotlight two or three seconds on something before shutting off the lamp just so they can conserve battery power. This makes for a brief video presentation. Well, this is why you bring two or three of them fully charged and two or three other cavers who'd be willing to tote one in their packs, until needed.
Also your own sense of cinematography is very important to a successful/popular (caving) video. Being willing to go into a crawl way and turn around and crawl half way back out then crawl back out the way you came BACKWARDS to get someone in the crawl working their way through... That takes practice... and patience.
Likewise on rope, we've talked about this enroute to CG; being ambidextrious with your rappelling device helps to be able to get footage of someone going down. Having two ropes so you can rap down part way and lock off then capture someone as they come down (or up) is another good (SAFE) technique. Having a wrist lanyard while holding a camera during rappel will at least allow you to suddenly "drop" the device in case you need to use both hands all of the sudden. Your life is a hellva lot more valuable than a digital camera.
I plan on buying another million-plus candlepower spot-light myself and honestly I don't mind the extra weight. Heck, I'm finding out around here the hikes aren't that bad (compared to alpine hiking/caving) and so I'm having to carry less.
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


http://ralph.rigidtech.com/albums.php
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Postby Vertigo » Jan 4, 2007 4:44 pm

Yes, I am right-handed, and I rap with the left at least half the time now. It just feels better when using 5 bars. So I'm working on that. :caver:
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Postby barcelonacvr » Jan 4, 2007 6:00 pm

I am using these with decent results

http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... hidgi4.jpg

Trailtech 10 watt HID,they come in 30 watt versions as well.They retail around $400 and the burn time is average 2/2.5 or so hours.
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jan 4, 2007 11:20 pm

eramosakarst wrote:I am using these with decent results

http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?imag ... hidgi4.jpg

Trailtech 10 watt HID,they come in 30 watt versions as well.They retail around $400 and the burn time is average 2/2.5 or so hours.
There's a worthwhile investment to be sure!
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


http://ralph.rigidtech.com/albums.php
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Postby barcelonacvr » Jan 5, 2007 9:45 am

Ralph E. Powers wrote:
eramosakarst wrote:
There's a worthwhile investment to be sure!




Well it seems to be working well enough and standing up to cave abuse.Not the end all to be all but a workable system.With batteries increasingly getting smaller with longer duration,the HID's may be even more cave trip worthy.


On the subject

Has anyone used a NEVTEC fluorescent? If so how was it and has anyone seen any around for sale?
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Postby BrianC » Jan 5, 2007 10:55 am

Hey Ralph, when we went down South Pitsburgh pit I was shooting video down the rope and had my head a little to close to the rack, received a free hair cut!
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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jan 5, 2007 4:47 pm

BrianC wrote:Hey Ralph, when we went down South Pitsburgh pit I was shooting video down the rope and had my head a little to close to the rack, received a free hair cut!

You got lucky to be sure that you didn't end up stuck on rope that way, with your hair short to begin with (relatively speaking). There are helmet mounted video cameras available now-a-days ... expensive to be sure but it makes taking rappelling videos a lot safer. Glad you got out of that alright and with just a hair-cut. Imagine trying to get your hair out while on rope mid-way down a pit. Not fun ... happened to me before... ow!
:hairpull:
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


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