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Bluefin/Phenom LCD Shade


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#1 peacedog

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 12:06 AM

I know that somewhere amongst these subjects and discussions this was covered because i remember seeing the pictures, but since I'm a new Bluefin user I thought I'd try making a dedicated thread about the issue...

What are you guys using the FX1/Z1U - particularly Phenom and Bluefin users - doing to combat the harsh glare on the LCD screen through the window on top of the housing? In good ambient light conditions I'm finding the need to almost hug the housing, and during the get-acquainted dives I've been doing up here on Cape Cod, I've found that I use the viewfinder way more than the LCD - I can barely make out subjects for the glare.....

I know that adjustment of the brightness of the LCD screen may help, but what else does everyone suggest?

Edited by peacedog, 05 November 2006 - 12:07 AM.

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#2 wagsy

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 02:01 AM

What you need to make is this

FLIP GUARD

Cost me $5 to make. :D
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#3 MikeVeitch

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 04:25 AM

thats the one...

but saying that, i really haven't found glare to be an issue

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#4 Nick Hope

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:57 AM

The problem on the Bluefin FX1 is reflection off the window, not the actual LCD.

I made a shade the other day and it works great. It's a bit like Wagsy's but since I grew up watching Blue Peter, and not on a farm, mine is made with bits of DVD boxes, gaffer tape and sticky-back velcro.

It's not as sh1t as it sounds. I'll take a pic of it tomorrow when I've got some light.

#5 peacedog

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 12:59 PM

The problem on the Bluefin FX1 is reflection off the window, not the actual LCD.


Indeed. Damn that clear plexi. What re you guys setting your LCD screen brightness level to?

Would like to see those pictures.

Wagsy - PM sent.

Many thanks, guys.
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#6 Nick Hope

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:53 PM

Here are some pics for you:

http://www.flickr.co...57594362858937/

The flat bits are made from the matt black plastic of the back of a DVD box. Perfect for the job.

The "hinges" are made from gaffer tape, silver outside, black inside.

There are 2 strips of the loopy side of sticky-back velcro on the housing. On the shade there is one strip of the hooky side of the velcro at the top and bottom and one on each "tab".

If the camera has to be left in the sun the shade can be velcroed closed.

3M Dual Lock is better than standard velcro if you can get it. I can't get it here :(

This has survived 17 dives so far including being towed behind the boat during pickup and it didn't fall off and it still looks like new.

I might stick a mirror on the inside but not sure yet if I need it and that would introduce some reflections again.

The last pic shows it in action. If you look carefully you can see two of those lovely post-coital cuddlefish at the left of the frame ;)

Further Bluefin feedback to follow.

#7 wagsy

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 01:29 AM

Yeh Nick you are HDVing...... ;)

There could be a market in making these things. Nick is there any holes around the LCD area on yours?

LCD brightnest is a few bars under halfway.
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#8 Nick Hope

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 02:09 AM

Yes, at last! Will try to post some bits soon ;) Got some cool footage on a 4 day Simlans trip. Now... to go WMV or MP4???

There are no holes around the LCD area, hence the sticky-back velcro. I didn't think the pillar-drill treatment would do my LMI warranty much good :(

It would be great if the manufacturers could incorporate a shade if future housings (Z2?) have this top window. Mirror to be optional.

Haven't refined my LDC brightness setting yet, but I can confirm that at 4 bars above halfway the image looks crap compared to the viewfinder, even with the shade. All washed out and pinkish. Next time I'll try about 12 bars from the bottom.

#9 wagsy

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 03:07 AM

Nick, Kelly's mum just went and had a look at the clips I did for her and she has one of the latest MAC laptop. She could not watch the QT H.264 ones I made but she could watch the wmv9 ones no problems. I just laughed....

For the masses wmv is the way to go.
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#10 globaldiver

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 03:41 AM

To protect the window from possible scratches, I placed a "non-glare" transparent protective film on it (to protect lcd screens on a PDA). I have not had any problems with glare since then. The sun in Thailand is however very strong and the water so wonderfully clear that it might be more of an issue there. I dove Hin Deng today and boy did I miss my video setup... <_<

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#11 peacedog

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 01:25 PM

To protect the window from possible scratches, I placed a "non-glare" transparent protective film on it (to protect lcd screens on a PDA). I have not had any problems with glare since then.


Best place to pick those up? This might be a good temporary solution.
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#12 globaldiver

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 11:22 PM

Best place to pick those up? This might be a good temporary solution.


I got mine from Best Buy.

Anders
Sony HVR-Z1U, Light & Motion Bluefin HD, L&M Bluefin HD wide angle lens/wide angle flip macro lens, Halcyon Apollo Dual 50W HID/13.5A, ULCS light arms,
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#13 nickdiver

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 12:05 AM

Hi Everybody.

Nick (Hope), thanks so much for telling us about the shade you made for your Bluefin HD housing.

I just got this housing a few weeks ago, and the first thing I did (after noticing lots of glare when used in shallow water) I grabbed your brilliant idea and made a shade myself following your excellent instructions.

I used one piece of material, i.e., black semi-bendable plastic sheet (of the kind sometimes used for file folders), some velcro, and black waterproof tape (available at West Marine and similar places).

Here's a picture with some relevant shots and the final result. The shade feels solid and couldn't live without it already.

I also used a piece of transparent film (of the kind used to protect PDA screens) to further protect the Bluefin LCD window from glare and scratches. We'll see how many dives it'll last before I'll need to replace it. Seems to be solid now after about 10 dives.

The shade works wonderfully! Amazed that the L&M guys didn't think of it when designing this rig.
Oh well, we've got you Nick....

Thanks again,

NickBluefinHD_Shade.jpg
Nick Martorano - Ocean Wonders Underwater Video Productions
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#14 wagsy

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 04:07 AM

Well done Nick looks great, what did that cost you to make, $1.95 :)

I think quite a few top mounted LCD housings folks out there would buy them for sure if someone went into making them.

I'm too busy....
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#15 Nick Hope

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 06:05 AM

Nice one Nick, glad to be of assistance. Royalty invoice in the post :)

Perhaps the housing manufacturers will give us something like this next time if there are future generations of cameras with a top LCD.

#16 shawnh

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 11:59 AM

Hey folks,
Great work on the shades. I have not yet tried one of these yet. For the most part, i haven't had as much issues with the glare...perhaps i have moved my viewing angle closer. That being said, if i have an issue, I now know hot to fix it in a jiffy.

Nick,
Welcome to Wetpixel. I noticed in your last picture, an interesting battery configuration. What are you running (are they the std baterry pods with tape on them?)?
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#17 nickdiver

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 02:28 PM

...Nick,
Welcome to Wetpixel. I noticed in your last picture, an interesting battery configuration. What are you running (are they the std baterry pods with tape on them?)?
Shawn


Thanks for the welcome Shawn.
I've been following and posting on WP for a while now, after I came back from Palau several months ago. I was there working as a pro uw videographer with Mark (Thorpe). I'm actually one of his contact persons here in California, for whenever he needs to get stuff for his current rig (say through B&H, Gates, RED, etc. ).
I love WP, there's so much knowledge around here, and it's nice to be among colleagues. You guys are great!

Re: my battery configurations for my new Bluefin HD, well those are the pods that I used to have on my Bluefin 900. They fit perfectly under the new Bluefin HD housing; I have the front part of he pods flush with the front of the housing, this way the pods' blukheads are a bit recessed from the back of the housing. (I never use the handles's light buttons anyway, so it's not a problem for me not to have the pods flush with the back of the housing).

Re: the tape, yes, I always put a bit of duct tape on the pods' front, for extra safety; I also do the same for the latches that hold the back plate of the housing in place. L&M says they're safe, but I want it safe-ER. I often dive California waters, and the last thing I need is for some kelp to get snagged around the the pods' or back plate's latches.. and there goes the housing (and cam!).

Also, you never know when you pass the rig on to some absent-minded divemaster on a boat, they just grab onto whatever comes first...

So I've used this little tape trick in the past 6 years, and I've never, ever flooded a housing or lights so for. Of course, I know I'm overdue... hehe :-)

Oh hey Shawn, I've a question for you and the other folks using the Bluefin HD. I shoot a lot of macro, and with my previous rig (PD100 in a Bluefin 900) due to its much smaller size it was relatively easy to do, even super macro when using a tripod. I actually made one myself using bendable arms, with Locline materials, same as those used to hold the l&M lights, following Steven Fish's advice.

I tried to use the same tripod with my new rig, but as I expected given its much larger size, when I'm shooting in even minor surge, it's a bit tricky because the bulkiness of the housing makes it prone to movements back/forth or side to side, even with the tripod in place. I may need to add extra weights to the legs of the tripod or something. Right now my rig is a bout 2 lbs negative, may make it a bit more negative so it stays down better.

Any suggestions on tripods for this new baby?

Btw, I've looked at the new tripod by Gates; it seems nice an solid, however it may need to have a few pounds added to it; and those articulated legs/feet take a while to be repositioned (unlike my Locline bendable arms on my tripod, which can be repositioned in a flash). Plus it may be tricky to mount on our Bluefins ( I have the Blufin HD tripod mount, that can be secured in the grove between the battery pods, but the Gates tripod can't really be screwed into this mount, unless one starts modifying things..)

I wonder if we should start a separate "tripod" topic for this question, what do you and other people (Mark, Mike, Steve, Wagsy, Nick, Dan, etc.) think?

Nick

Edited by nickdiver, 27 November 2006 - 02:32 PM.

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#18 shawnh

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 09:43 PM

Nick,
I am also running my old 900 battery pods. Actually works out quite nice.
I am running into similar tripod issues with my FX1 housing. My Bluefin 950 housing was much more forgiving. I have been shooting iwth a large heavy tripod but even that rocks with modest swell. I am now about to experiment with a fixed smaller tripod (Vanguard) that sits much lower. I am hoping that lower center of gravity and less exposure to swell will do the trick. If not, we will be talking a seriously heavy tripod set up. that is ok for "park and dive" but not so hot for more challenging conditions and entries. I'll keep you updated.

I gave the gates a serious look at DEMA. I like the streamlined nature and easy configuration. It wouldn't take much to set it up with a std tripod mount for the Bluefin. However, I fear regardless, that the legs are pretty flimsy and don't offer much of a base for sand and the like. They seem fine for rock and coral. Finally the price tag is steep (srp 550). Anyway, i'll wait for some folks iwth big boy housings to be the guinea pigs on this one before i seriously consider:)

Shawn
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#19 nickdiver

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 12:54 AM

Shawnh,

Thanks for your info on your tripod setup for the Bluefin HD.
I share your concerns about the Gates tripod; perhaps a few "ankle weights" may get that sucker to sit steadier in the sand or on coral. My feeling/hope is that considering that it was meant to work with the Gates housing (which is a bit bulkier than the Bluefin HD), you would think the Gates guys have properly tested it with their housing, and that it "passed" their tests. But we all know how sometimes these "gizmos" are designed more at the computer table than in the field, and may not be tested long enough in real conditions, with surge, swell, etc.

Re: the guinea pigs, Mark (in Palau) will be one of the first ones; in fact, the Gates tripod I've ordered for him is sitting here on my desk, ready to be shipped to him in a couple of days, after his Expodisc from B&H also arrives. I can already see his face when he'll unwrap that contraption...

If all else fails, there's two options for me:

1) Shlepp another heavy piece of gear (= big tripod, a la Imax; comes with hot blonde as assistant), or

2) Buy myself a Sony HC1, throw it in my Bluefin 900 housing (it's doable, with minor modification to the tray), and keep using my current tripod while shooting macro in full Auto, perhaps with automatic -1 AE shift (since the back plate buttons on the Bluefin 900 would not be able to control any of the shutter/iris dials on the Sony HC1 inside)

Since I was considering getting anyway an HC1 as a "backup" HDV camera / playback deck, plan 2) may not be so bad afterall. It'll just mean that I'll bring "only" two housings with me on the boat every time I get in the water... :-)

Man I should have chosen soccer as my passion... A ball and a pair of shoes.

nick
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#20 shawnh

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 11:02 AM

Nick,
I look forward to hearing how things work out for Mark with the tripod...fingers crossed.
Here's another random idea. Pick up 2 tripod mounts from L&M. Screw two ($30) mini tripods to the bottom having removed a leg from each tripod. Now you have a very compact 4 leg "tripod" (actually "quadpod" ala gates) for about $100. Worth a try?
Shawn
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