OT: Shooting in the Mist

wwaag wrote on 9/8/2014, 9:34 PM
I am planning a family trip to Niagara Falls next month and intend to take the ride aboard the Maid of the Mist for a close-up and apparently very "wet" view of the falls. Here's a link to a YouTube video that gives one an idea of the conditions. As you can see, lots of spray from the falls and also lots of wind noise. I plan to use a Sony Handycam for recording video and a Zoom H2n for audio. Any suggestions on how to shoot under these conditions would be appreciated. I've ordered a Manfroto rain cover for the Handycam http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1059559-REG/manfrotto_mb_pl_crc_17_raincover_17_for_sony_handycams.html, but have no idea how to approach the audio recording (lavs perhaps?). Since a misted lens is inevitable, best way to quickly dry (microfiber?) Again, any tips would be appreciated. Thanks.

wwaag

AKA the HappyOtter at https://tools4vegas.com/. System 1: Intel i7-8700k with HD 630 graphics plus an Nvidia 1050ti graphics card. System 2: Intel i7-3770k with HD 4000 graphics plus an AMD RX550 graphics card. System 3: Laptop. Dell Inspiron Plus 16. Intel i7-11800H, Intel Graphics. Current cameras include Panasonic FZ2500, GoPro Hero11 and Hero8 Black plus a myriad of smartPhone, pocket cameras, video cameras and film cameras going back to the original Nikon S.

Comments

Steve Mann wrote on 9/8/2014, 9:39 PM
Forget audio - it's LOUD. Even under the raincoat you will get wet. Maybe you can lave the H2 inside the cabin. Once the lens gets wet, you are inside the fog and wouldn't see anything anyway.

My advice - GoPro.
wwaag wrote on 9/8/2014, 9:57 PM
From your comments, I take it you've done this trip. I'll be talking raingear. I considered a GoPro, but $400 for a one-off is beyond my means. Inside the fog, it would be equally affected and also require drying.

AKA the HappyOtter at https://tools4vegas.com/. System 1: Intel i7-8700k with HD 630 graphics plus an Nvidia 1050ti graphics card. System 2: Intel i7-3770k with HD 4000 graphics plus an AMD RX550 graphics card. System 3: Laptop. Dell Inspiron Plus 16. Intel i7-11800H, Intel Graphics. Current cameras include Panasonic FZ2500, GoPro Hero11 and Hero8 Black plus a myriad of smartPhone, pocket cameras, video cameras and film cameras going back to the original Nikon S.

riredale wrote on 9/8/2014, 11:27 PM
Back in 2002 when I was just getting started and didn't know any better I did one of my first documentaries with my little Sony miniDV camcorder. At one point the group I was following went on a river rafting trip on Oregon's Rogue river. I took a gallon-sized Ziplock bag, cut a hole in one corner, and simply enclosed the camera with the bag with the wide-angle lens poking out of the hole. I then used a rubber band to seal the bag around the wide-angle lens. My hand went up the bag opening and controlled the camera in the usual way (so the bag was upside-down on the camcorder). Water droplets got on the lens but made little difference to the finished product and the lens never fogged. Anyway, it was a cheap wide-angle lens.

Sound from the camcorder was also great. Again, back in those days I never concerned myself with wild sound or higher-quality audio, but really, the results were very usable and I didn't have to go through a great deal of preparation to get them.
TeetimeNC wrote on 9/9/2014, 6:26 AM
You could rent a gopro for a week for $36. I've never used this company but I assume there are lots of similar companies to choose from.

/jerry
vtxrocketeer wrote on 9/9/2014, 8:05 AM
A few years ago I visited Niagra Falls, though I didn't take Maid of the Mist. I hiked down to the foot of the falls on the Canadian side. It is VERY LOUD. I used my GoPro in its water-proof case, mounted to a PVC pipe camera-rig for stability, and I shot very serviceable footage. Forget audio; it was just a constant roar punctuated every now and then by a member of my party trying to shout over it.

wwaag wrote on 9/9/2014, 4:08 PM
Thanks for the replies. A number of you have suggested a GoPro. For this application (standing in a boat), I'm curious as to why other than the waterproof housing? From my understanding, the GoPro doesn't come with a viewfinder (it's an accessory), cannot be continuously zoomed and produces a fisheye image that needs to be corrected (a number of current threads have posed this problem) in post.. Moreover, I suspect the stabilization would not be as good as my Handycam with its Balanced Optical Steady Shot system. If I'm missing something or incorrect, please let me know. My wife wanted to give me a GoPro for my birthday last month and I said No--maybe a big mistake.

wwaag

AKA the HappyOtter at https://tools4vegas.com/. System 1: Intel i7-8700k with HD 630 graphics plus an Nvidia 1050ti graphics card. System 2: Intel i7-3770k with HD 4000 graphics plus an AMD RX550 graphics card. System 3: Laptop. Dell Inspiron Plus 16. Intel i7-11800H, Intel Graphics. Current cameras include Panasonic FZ2500, GoPro Hero11 and Hero8 Black plus a myriad of smartPhone, pocket cameras, video cameras and film cameras going back to the original Nikon S.

vtxrocketeer wrote on 9/9/2014, 8:59 PM
Hey, whoa! Your wife wanted to give you tech and you declined? Big mistake, fella. ;) Hand in your man card at the next window, please.

Concerning the GoPro's fisheye, that is present on the two widest angle settings. When shooting on "narrow," which is still pretty danged wide, the image exhibits no distortion.

Yeah, the viewfinder is extra. Will your wife buy you one of those, too? :)

You can make, as I did, a very simple and dirt cheap PVC pipe rig held with two hands. The GoPro sits in the middle of it. Anything to get your hands away from the camera's center of mass. The shots are surprisingly stable, and the FOV is so wide anyway that small hand shakes or bobbles are truly minimized.

I also toted along my previous camera, a Canon XH-A1, and shot the Falls from above. Even so, I had a bag over the camera. That mist even above the falls is drenching. Hence, I'd suggest nothing less than a total waterproof case at the foot of the falls.
johnmeyer wrote on 9/9/2014, 9:20 PM
Why use an action camera? One word:

Space.

I just watched a few seconds from half a dozen YouTube "Maid of the Mist" videos. One thing they all have in common: they pack passengers on those boats like sardines. You are going to have at least 20-30 people on deck with you at all times, many of them getting into your shot, and all of them jostling you. A small, lightweight camera, possibly with a pole to get everyone out of the field of view might be a real advantage. Also, a smaller camera might be easier to grip. And, a $300 camera is less of a problem should it go overboard. (Whatever you do, rig a tether to the camera).

FWIW, I have the Sony AS100V. While I have been trashing that camera in these forums the past week, and while I do not like the Live View remote monitor that mounts on your wrist, that monitor IS waterproof, and could be used to give you an image in these conditions. Unlike the GoPro, the AS100V does have stabilization, and for non-optical stabilization, it is actually pretty good.

One last pitch for why an action camera might be better, and that has to do with the thing that is putting you off: focal length. Yes, it is true you won't be able to zoom with a GoPro or Sony Action Cam, but most of what you want is going to be better captured with a wide angle. In fact, while I don't know what the wide setting might be on your camera, I'll bet it doesn't come close to either the GoPro or AS100V, even when they are set for "narrow" field of view. I think super wide is going to be an asset.

If you add "GoPro" or "Sony Action Cam" to your YouTube "Maid of the Mist" search, you can get examples of what each camera can do on this particular trip.

You may also find that when your enclosure is all wet, that the telephoto view doesn't look too good.

I recommend experimenting in the back yard while someone mists you with a garden hose while you film with your existing camera inside its waterproof enclosure. My point is that filming underwater, and filming in a steady downpour are two different things, and your waterproof housing may, or may not, perform as expected.

You definitely should bring some sort of rag to wipe off the lens portion of the enclosure. I'm sure that at certain points of the journey that will be a pointless exercise, but at other times, you may be out of the mist for awhile, and you'll want a way to get rid of the droplets. I noticed that a lot of the YouTube videos are obscured by water droplets even when the boat is not in the mist.

Rory Cooper wrote on 9/10/2014, 2:59 AM
First congratulations are in order. Your wife knows that a GoPro is a camera and not a golf bag.

But as for you! You don’t deserve to go an any family trips. when you turn down a camera from the wife you make it very hard for the rest of us guys out there. Hopefully gossip of this offense will not get out, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Yes totally agree with the comments of a GoPro on a pole and with the WIFY remote very convenient. = that’s why it’s called WIFY = like a WIFE it too can control from a distance.

Go back to your wife and apologies for being so selfish and accept the gopro with humility and ask her to throw in some windscreen rain repellent.

John_Cline wrote on 9/10/2014, 3:25 AM
For what it's worth, I have applied a little Rain-X (which is a hydrophobic glass treatment) to the outside glass lens on the GoPro housing (not the camera lens itself) and it has shed the water off the lens rather effectively. I just applied it using one of those yellow cotton microfiber cloths from Costco. Clean the lens of the housing thoroughly and then apply a couple of drops of Rain-X to the cloth and apply it to the lens firmly using a circular, overlapping pattern, let it dry to a haze and then polish it with a dry part of the microfiber cloth until there are no streaks on the lens. Water will then just bead up and roll right off. I would definitely NOT apply it directly to the lens of any camera, if the camera has provisions for a screw-in filter, maybe you could treat a filter.

Rain-X description from the Rain-X web site

1.6 fl. oz. bottle of Rain-X original formula on Amazon

TeetimeNC wrote on 9/10/2014, 7:44 AM
>Your wife knows that a GoPro is a camera and not a golf bag.

Now Rory, let's not trash golf bags ;-).

/jerry
johnmeyer wrote on 9/10/2014, 11:56 AM
For what it's worth, I have applied a little Rain-X (which is a hydrophobic glass treatment) to the outside glass lens on the GoPro housing (not the camera lens itself) and it has shed the water off the lens rather effectively. Fantastic tip!! I'm hitting myself upside the head, saying "Why didn't I think of that?"

Having watched a bunch of Maid of the Mist YouTube videos, this advice will do more than any other tip offered here to avoid the biggest problem you'll see in all these videos: all you can see in most shots are water droplets.
vtxrocketeer wrote on 9/10/2014, 12:38 PM
Depending on what you do to the camera and water-proof housing before sealing it, you could benefit from inserting dessicant strips inside the housing. I even go so far as to treat the inside of the housing lens cover with Rain-X.

The reason is that a GoPro when operated for long(er) periods of time tends to heat up and thereby liberate moisture adsorbed to its surface or 'hiding' in crevices. That moisture can and will fog the inside of the housing unless one takes steps to get rid of it beforehand.

To that end, I store my GoPro and its waterproof housing in a Ziploc bag that contains a cheesecloth sack of dried rice, which is a handy and cheap dessicant. Just before I intend to shoot, preferably while I'm still in a dry room or air-conditioned car, I seal the camera in the case treated as I described above. Never have had a moisture problem inside or out. Yes, it's a bit obsessive, but I don't argue with success...
Steve Mann wrote on 9/11/2014, 1:00 PM
Now Rory, let's not trash golf bags ;-).

They make great carry bags for light stands.

[r]Evolution wrote on 9/11/2014, 2:19 PM
GoPro Alternative

Picked one up a day before going on a Scuba/Snorkel Family Vacation a couple of months ago. Viewfinder, Many Accessories (FREE), 1080p Quality on par with GoPro.
wwaag wrote on 9/12/2014, 10:39 AM
Thanks for MOST of the comments. Guess I deserved those digs about the GoPro.

My takeaway from the discussion:

-Most important--having a watertight enclosure to protect the camera. I received the raincover yesterday and am awaiting a couple more items. Will try it in the rain (hopefully) next week and post results.
-Need wide field of view. The GoPro has a focal length of 28mm in its narrow setting. The Handycam I'll be using (CX-430) has a focal length of 26.8mm. I could use a wide angle lens that would bring it to 21.4mm, but the surface area (and weight) would be increased greatly and it has no hood.
-Water droplets on the lens will be the main problem. The use of Rain-X is a great idea. I'll try it on a cheap UV filter that I have.
-Audio is probably not that important given the overwhelming "roar" of the falls. I could have an H2 in my pocket, but have no idea where to put an external mic.

Again thanks for the useful suggestions.

wwaag

AKA the HappyOtter at https://tools4vegas.com/. System 1: Intel i7-8700k with HD 630 graphics plus an Nvidia 1050ti graphics card. System 2: Intel i7-3770k with HD 4000 graphics plus an AMD RX550 graphics card. System 3: Laptop. Dell Inspiron Plus 16. Intel i7-11800H, Intel Graphics. Current cameras include Panasonic FZ2500, GoPro Hero11 and Hero8 Black plus a myriad of smartPhone, pocket cameras, video cameras and film cameras going back to the original Nikon S.

John_Cline wrote on 9/12/2014, 3:15 PM
"1080p Quality on par with GoPro."

Uh, no, it's not, not even close. Nevertheless, for $85 it might be useful for some situations. Also, the market is flooded with SJ4000 clones, so you need to be careful that you don't end up with a cheap knockoff of a cheap knockoff of a GoPro camera.

Here is a rather lengthy review of the SJ4000 by my favorite dashcam/actioncam reviewer: