REPEAT AFTER ME!
“This is my camera! There are many like it, but this one is mine! My camera is my best friend! It is my life! I must master it as I master my life! Without me, my camera is useless! Without my camera, I am useless!”
You can immediately spot a true Professional from a wannabe by the way they treat gear; whether it’s their own or hired, it makes NO difference. A true Professional relies upon their gear; without it they can’t do their job – their gear is their livelihood.
DIRT, DUST and WATER are a camera’s Kryptonite, and a true Professional will always put their camera’s welfare before their own.
I’ve also suffered heat stroke and sunburn after donating my trusty baseball cap to ‘the cause’.
Of course, a water cover and umbrella are preferable, but sometimes the rain and heat can be so intense you just have to take one for the team.
We recently posted about the TOP 10 MUST-HAVES for any Camera Assistant Support Bag, and the importance of maintaining your gear.
Today we’re going to specifically focus on keeping your camera clean… and while we were filming in the heat of Africa for the LUCIA Documentary, dirt and dust were Enemy No.1!
So here are my TOP 5 TIPS for Pro Camera Care to make sure you don’t get left in the dust!
1. BAG IT!
If you’re not rehearsing or shooting, then your camera should be in it’s bag! Simple as that. No excuses. There will be exceptions but as a rule of thumb this is the easiest way to protect your weapon of choice from water, dust, dirt or any other damage.
If you’re filming in the rain or a very dusty environment, use a rain cover. Protect that camera as if your life depended upon it; your livelihood certainly does!
Never forget that cameras and lenses are delicate tools; engineered for precision work and the slightest bash or bump can wreak havoc with their internal electronics and mechanical tolerances. If you’re transporting your camera in a car, make sure it’s safely protected and not being pummelled by heavy tripods and lamp stands. A true Pro even secures their camera with the seatbelt!
2. CAP IT!
Always use lens caps! No excuses. Your lenses are as important as your camera, so protect them. If you’re swapping lenses, choose an appropriate time and place.
DO NOT do it GODZILLA-style in a downpour! Find shelter and keep your gear dry – water and electronics don’t mix.
3. DUST IT!
Get a 1-inch brush and a can of ‘Dust-off’ (compressed air) and get rid of ALL dust and dirt. No excuses. Anyone worth working with will keep that camera body so clean you’ll see your reflection in it!
Believe it or not, the movement of the glass elements inside a lens creates an inward pressure that can suck in dust, and once it’s in there you won’t get it out. So keep that lens barrel clean, Soldier!
4. CLEAN IT!
If you must clean the lens glass, be gentle but DO NOT use the 1-inch brush or Dust-off; any dust caught up in the brush (from general camera body cleaning) will scratch and then you’re in biiiiig trouble! And Dust-off is too intense, so instead use a squeeze hand-pump to gently remove any fine dust flecks.
If you must use a brush, use a specifically designed lens-brush which is very fine and will not scratch the glass.
If you have a fingerprint or water mark on your lens (noob!), use a micro fibre, static-free lens cloth with lens cleaning fluid (read the instructions thoroughly!) but be sure to have removed any dust first using the hand-pump (or your cloth with catch the dust and scratch it into the glass!)
But DO NOT touch the sensor… with anything… EVER! If your sensor needs cleaning and you’re not 100% certain what you’re supposed to do, get your camera serviced by a professional camera company.
5. STARVE IT!
A camera does NOT need to eat. A camera does NOT need to drink. SO KEEP FOOD AND LIQUIDS AWAY FROM THE CAMERA!
I see this worrying lack of standards more and more often (even with seasoned crew members!). Why do people do this? Because they’re bloody amateurs with low standards, thats why! I don’t care if you’ve got bloody Kung-Fu Death-Grip, if you come near my camera with a drink I’ll slap you so hard you’ll wake up in 1973!
So be a pro and insist on a NO FOOD OR DRINK perimeter around your gear. There’s no point protecting from rain and dust to then shower your prized possessions with cookie crumbs and orange juice!
Remember, just because you get paid doesn’t make you a Professional; anyone who believes otherwise is deluded. Being a Professional is a state-of-mind; many people get paid to do the job but have NO professional standards.
Raise your standards and people who know what they’re doing will immediately respect you, and those that don’t will immediately look up to you.
So don’t be a wannabe, BE A PRO!
Here’s a video of Zander cleaning our camera in Africa.