December 8, 2000

Tips when taking your video camera on a bushwalk

Jay Fraser

Ways To Save Battery Power

  • Fully charge batteries before leaving.
  • Take at least 2 x 3 hr batteries.
  • Only use LCD display if absolutely necessary, try only to use the view finder.
  • Don't leave the camera turned on when you are not recording.
  • Detach the battery from the camera when you have it turned off.
  • Set the camera up before turning it on, ie. set up on tripod before switching the camera on.
  • Keep the batteries as warm as possible, they will loose charge quickly if they get cold, at night I keep mine in my sleeping bag.
  • Only use zoom and other effects where absolutely necessary, these really eat the battery life.
  • Make sure your camera settings are set to go before you go on the hike so you are not using your battery life for this.
  • Rewind all your tapes before you go, this way you will not waste battery life rewinding tapes on the trail.
  • Avoid reviewing the days footage whilst on the trek, wait till you get home and can plug the camera into power.

Looking After The camera.

  • Keep the camera in a waterproof enclosure, I use a waterproof sea-to-summit bag, bright in colour in case I happen to drop it on the track.
  • If filming in wet or snowy weather, keep shoot time to a minimum and always have a cloth handy to wipe down camera before placing back into the waterproof bag.
  • Its a good idea to air the camera out each night (if possible), especially if you have been caught in wet weather. If possible let the camera air in dry warm air (if their is any), don't heat it directly and keep a away from heaters.

Camera Check List

  • Tripod: I have a small (less than 30cm short), robust, plastic tripod with an easily adjustable ball top, I purchased this from Mountain Designs for around $40.
  • Spare Batteries: Make sure you have good sized batteries, at lease 3hr. Don't take more batteries than you will need but on the other hand, don't sell yourself short of battery time.
  • Spare tapes: Take enough tapes that you will need, I work on the estimate of 0.5 hours of footage per day.
  • Waterproof Enclosure: Keep your camera safe from the elements.
  • Cloth: For wiping down camera before placing back into waterproof enclosure.
  • Lense Cloth: So your footage isn't blurry.
  • Spare Waterproof Enclosure: Incase the primary enclosure fails.

Filming Hints

  • create a plan for your footage and stick to it, write down some ideas about what you want the footage to say then plan how you can do it.
  • Rather than always filming freehand, try to use a tripod as often as possible.
  • Try to keep your shots brief, think about what you are going to film before turning the camera on, plan your footage.
  • Do you have any footage from your Tasmanian bushwalks? If so contact - we would love to hear about it! Even if its raw footage we can edit it and include it in our broadband galleries! 

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