Video Camera Work

in the Field

Handling a camcorder well in a less than ideal environment

requires preparation and planning. Specialized equipment

alone is not sufficient. Imagine the potential challenges.

An important key to being well prepared to videotape

in the field, is in knowing the most likely problems

that are likely to come up at the location and traveling

to and from the location. Some people may feel that

it is negative thinking to imagine problems that have

not yet arisen. If the problem is realistic, however, it

is positive thinking to imagine it ahead of time and to

prepare for it.


The first step is in being prepared for an outing as if

there would be no camcorder. Desert hiking or moun-

tain climbing requires proper foot gear as well as the

physical health necessary. A tropical rain forest will

very likely be warm and humid. Can you work well

in the environment, considering how you’ve done in

a similar situation previously?


Next, think of the equipment. What does a desert

have in common with a jungle? (besides a higher

temperature than is usually comfortable) Both of

these environments are out to jinx your camcorder!

Desert dust can get into your camcorder. Humidity

of a tropical rain forest can cause problems as well.

Both of these problems can be solved by keeping

the camcorder in a plastic bag until it is needed for

videotaping. Some situations require protection of

the camera even while videotaping.


In difficult terrain, at least one assistant is of great

value while you are videotaping. Another pair of

eyes or two can not only spot potential danger or

challenges, but potential opportunity as well.


If you are far from home for many days, and the

video footage is important to you, take duplicate

equipment. A second camcorder could save the

day should something unpleasant prevent you

from using your primary camera.

Opai Village on Umboi Island in Papua

New Guinea: These people love to be on

camera. The humid environment was not

friendly to the cameras, however. The explorer who took this video footage had

one of his two camcorders malfunction.

If you do not know what a spelunker is, it

is advisable to explore safer tourist caves,

rather than unexplored or challenging ones.