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Interference in an aluminum smelter...

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#1 Frederic Chamberland

Frederic Chamberland

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 05:15 PM

hi all,

As always, the kind of shooting problems we encounter are sometimes very hard to pinpoint. For once, I knew exactly what the trouble was. We shot a corporate commercial three weeks ago for one of the largest aluminum company in the world, ALCAN. We were granted entrance into a state of the art multi billion dollars complex where they produce primary metal in Alma , Quebec.
The first danger sign we read said something about such electric interference that your car airbag might go off without warning... And they told us any electronic or electric devices might just stop working and never work again... Nice. I should have asked for a bigger insurance premium. So I got my stuff out and prayed. Here are my observations:
Tube monitors or TV's are USELESS, the electric fields are so strong, no images ever, just color smears and pay-per-view scrambling stuff look-alike. No video village at all while in there, I actually have to open up my KV-9 to straighten up the image since it is now all crooked and have no "degauss" on that monitor. I wonder what a green screen would have looked like since I don't own one, but I am pretty positive it would have been a mess too. That is why I kissed my LCD screen when I realised it was not affected by the electric fields, the colors were off but I had a crystal clear image.
Scorpio remote worked 5/10, the thing would calibrate and respond but had "hiccups" meaning I had to get the link cable between remote and MDR to continue (I kissed that cable too since it was the first time I used it...).

Canatrans worked flawlessly with the only LCD monitor with tuner , my little 7" for the director. That one is strange, the monitor worked all day under these conditions with no flaw, I then turned it off at the end of the day, next morning, it was dead, never came back on. (quick note, I ordered Cramped Attic's little Camos monitor and it really is nice and crisp) The Canatrans got me a 10/10 image and was crisp and clean (minus the color changes still but I suspect the video tap from the Arri 435 (ARRi IVS) to be responsible for the color shifting).

The 435 was OK but reseted it's counter every time we powered down the camera, so we also checked the speed and shutter angle before each take. Just as a precaution. The rushes look great, the DP is a happy man, I can rest now.

This is probably the only time in my life I had to shoot in an aluminum smelter and casting complex but if I do go back there, I have now a couple of hints of what to expect and if one day an operator searches the forum for key words like " aluminum " " smelter " or " primary metal " ... this will appear as a "tip of the day" post.

Fly safe and recycle aluminum, you can not believe how much energy it takes to make some....
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#2 TJ Williams

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:59 PM

We did a shoot in an aluminum smelter a few years ago. They wanted to shoot video but the cameras cannot work. We had problems with a crystal motor expecially close to the furnaces.

The magnetic field was so powerful there that a ring of keys could be made to hang sideways! and so we ended up shooting with a bolex spring driven camera.

How did the film turn out?

Hoping all was well
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