June 13, 2015 at 6:33PM


First Music Video: Overheating Camera?

I literally just got back from my first music video shoot and my my was that interesting. I learned a few things and I need some advice.

First thing I learned was that I definitely need a better tripod. This is a fair warning to any entry level guy like me. When you are buying a tripod do not buy cheap. I personally thought that I could go cheap for the moment until I can get me a really good one. ABSOLUTELY NOT! The tripod was almost useless. The pivot wasn't smooth at all so panning was pretty much out of the question. And it cant hold the weight of the camera when I put on my Bower prime lens. You have to balance it just right to get it to hold. So if any one knows the a good price on a decent tripod please let me know before I overspend on a tripod I probably do not need yet.

Second thing I learned was to take into account the weather when shooting. I live in Atlanta so as you can imagine it is blazing hot right now. And I found out that my camera is heat sensitive. Which is not surprising but I was not prepared for it. I kept having to stop production because the camera was getting to hot. Now Im doing the video for free so it wasn't a big deal. But obviously if Im getting paid later down the line my subject will get a little impatient with having to keep stopping. I tried using an umbrella to shade the camera, sometimes it worked most times it didnt. And shooting in the shade worked a little but it still overheated a lot. Any suggestions?

Other than those 2 I learned how well worth buying that $400 bower wide prime lens was. Some of the takes came out beautiful because of that lens. So to any entry level guys like me, do not hesitate to get that lens, it is worth it!

Thanks for the advice as always guys.


What camera were you shooting with ?

As for a tripod, if you can afford it I would go for the Sachtler ACE M tripod which costs a little over $600 US. ( I shoot with a Sachtler FSB-4 tripod most of the time, but this is roughly double the price of the ACE M tripod )

If the ACE M is out of your budget range, then I would recommend the Benro S6 tripod kit that costs about $300 US. It's not as good as the Sachtler tripods, but for the price it's not bad.

June 13, 2015 at 10:48PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

im using the Nikon D3100 ,

Trae Dukes

June 14, 2015 at 1:25AM

Since cameras are mostly black, it indeed helps to keep them out of direct sunlight. (Black surfaces collect more heat) Although that will not always prevent the problem, keeping the camera in the shade (which doesn't mean the shoot has to tae place in the shade) from the start really makes a difference.
Most DSLRs use heatsinks instead of fans to handle heat. And there is only so much heat they can get rid off.

June 15, 2015 at 8:00AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

so pretty much shade is my only option, so i pretty much need lights

Trae Dukes

June 15, 2015 at 6:57PM

>>>so pretty much shade is my only option, so i pretty much need lights

I don't think Walter is saying that shade is your only option, but there are things you can do like mounting a "flag" or a small umbrella to block the sun from your camera. Black objects heat up so fast in direct sunlight.

June 15, 2015 at 7:56PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Indeed I didn't say that at all: having the camera in the shade doesn't mean shooting in the shade. I wrote it in my reply: "(which doesn't mean the shoot has to take place in the shade)" An umbrella can do this perfectly.
I sometimes makes timelapses with a DSLR (I use a remote to trigger the shutter, so overheating is not as likely as with shooting video, which heats up the processor continuously) and when it is very sunny I fold alumium foil to make it 4 layers thick and then I tape it to the camera in such a way it keeps the camera in the shade.
This is perfect when you don't have to move and touch the camera.

In your case mounting a small embrella/flag on a flexible arm can be a 1-man-solution. Or just have someone help you keeping it in the shade by holding an umbrella, flag, reflector, piece of cardboard or whatever to create a shadow on the camera.


June 16, 2015 at 5:28AM

Starting out as an owner/operator puts you at the bottom of an expensive mountain to climb, which might never have an end. Quality production kit doesn't come cheap (though much of it is cheaper than it was even five years ago). There's an old adage that "he who buys cheap, buys twice". I've found this more than once, and you've found that with your tripod already, so while you won't always be able to buy the best, get the best you can.

Specifically on tripods, I can second the Sachtler Ace. They're a decent entry-level tripod with a proper fluid head, unlike the Manfrotto/Vinten and similar tripods at that price (which use friction plate heads). You'll still find eventually it's not good for high-level work with heavy cameras, but it'll still be worth hanging on to down the years.

Importantly, if you're serious about being an owner/operator, make sure that you make your kit pay for itself. Doing free work is sometimes necessary, but that doesn't mean you should have to be paying to work for other people by providing kit at your expense.

June 16, 2015 at 5:31AM

Adrian Graham-Smith
Camera Operator/Editor

I'll second (or third) the Benro suggestion. Their heads are pretty inexpensive but should be better than what you have. The S4 head works for my SLR pretty well, and tripods seem to hold their value pretty nicely; you should be able to sell it later if you want to upgrade.
Also, I'm a huge fan of a monopod with a fluid head for anything moving. You can simulate slider/crane/jib shots without the cost and setup, but it's so much steadier than handheld. Personally, I use a cheap photo-style tripod for locked-off interviews, and a monopod for pretty much everything else.

June 16, 2015 at 5:24PM


The Benro S4 head is an AMAZING value. Performance v. Cost has to be the best I've seen in a tripod head. The sticks, however, are total shit. Buy the set to have a scrap set of legs if you want, but I would recommend replacing them ASAP. I went with Miller carbon fiber legs, but if you aren't doing anything run and gun, you can get by with the aluminum set http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/407389-REG/Miller_1630_Solo_DV_Alu...

June 17, 2015 at 3:08PM

Joshua Bowen

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