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.
If you do not know what a spelunker is, it
is advisable to explore safer tourist caves,
rather than unexplored or challenging ones.