To shoot a recent National Geographic special, Oceanus, with Bob Ballard, (the oceanographer that discovered the Titanic and other famous ships), director of photography David Linstrom knew he would be shooting in difficult waters. As he put his camera package together, two Sony PDWF800s, Fujinon 13X4.5 lenses, a Tyler nose mount and a camera-mounted gyro stabilizer, he realized his additional challenge would be to keep the lenses clean of debris while shooting in rain or over water.
“Then I discovered the new Spintec rain deflector from Innovision Optics,” says Linstrom. “We were following the Bar Pilots who guide the big container ships that enter Oregon’s Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean. They have to cross over a sand bar that’s about six miles wide. The river channel is only 50 feet deep and the ships often draw 45 feet of water. Add to this waves of up to 40 feet, and you get an incredibly dangerous scenario. Not the greatest conditions for shooting video on the ocean – spray, rain, even sand hitting the lens.
“By using the Spintec on the camera, we could keep the front of the lens clean and dry. The Spintec is lightweight and draws very little power. It literally flings away any moisture that hits the front of the lens. And, any bugs that might get in the way, as well. It worked great with the Tyler mount on the nose of the helicopter.”
Linstrom and crew managed to get incredible images in the springtime weather that is typical in the Pacific North West. “It rains one minute and then the sun is shining the next,” he says. “You have to be prepared for it. On this shoot we were filming Bob Ballard being lowered onto a container ship from a helicopter. Since we had only one chance to get the shot, the Spintec insured that we would have a clean lens even if it rained.
Spintec keeps rain, snow and other particles away from the lens without needing to stop the camera. Regardless of weather conditions, it allows for shooting without a gyro effect when panning and tilting. It employs a specially produced glass filter that rotates 3000 times a minute. The spinning glass creates both a centrifugal effect, which instantly removes raindrops and water splashes, and a vacuum effect that removes lighter particles that may not have been removed by the centrifugal effect. The unit easily mounts on both internal focus lenses and external focus lenses with external diameters of 75-105mm. For internal focus lenses the Spintec RD simply snaps on. External focus lenses are mounted via special bracketry that mounts onto standard 15mm rods.
“I often shoot National Geographic footage in adverse conditions and I’m always worried about protecting my lenses. Not anymore,” said Linstrom.
Oceanus will air on the National Geographic Channel later this year.