Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I plan to film in a steam room this weekend for a cover shoot.

However, I know for a fact there may be difficulties regarding the "steam."

Any tips for filming in a steam room?

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Hi, and welcome to the site. Please don't spam links to websites unless there is something relevant to your question. You can put the website in your profile –  MikeW Mar 25 '13 at 17:41
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And to help clarify, what facts or difficulties are you referring to? –  MikeW Mar 25 '13 at 17:42
    
Depending on the amount of equipment (cameras, lights, modifiers, etc) you need to take into the room you might want to consider filming in a 'steamless' room and applying apropriate steaminess in post. –  BobT Mar 25 '13 at 18:09
    
You used the word "filming" and the "film" tag. Do you mean you are shooting film rather than digital, or do you mean video? –  mattdm Mar 25 '13 at 19:34
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'll go one step further than MikeW and suggest that you heat your lenses. As an astronomer I know that dew is a major headache. I use a http://www.dewbuster.com controller and some brand of dew heater strips to keep my objective lens warmer than ambient.

Now you won't need a dew controller (I put the link in just because it is a cool piece of hardware) since one big problem with astronomy is power management, if you're in a steam room just run some extension cords (and plug them into GFI outlets!)

But the heater strips should keep your lens(es) warm and moisture free. Heat tape, which is used to keep pipes from freezing may work, but they might not get warm enough.

Now, you might also want to heat the camera body, you'll probably have to build a DIY system for that.

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Thank you so much for you help. –  Makeda Mar 27 '13 at 16:14
    
I must be a bit sleepy. When I first read your post I thought you said "as an astronaut"! –  thomasrutter Mar 28 '13 at 1:47
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  • There indeed is steam in the Turkish sauna, and in variations of that, but in a Scandinavian sauna there is most of the time no visible steam, especially in a Finnish type of sauna (which I consider the only real thing, being a Finn myself).
  • Taking photographic equipment into a heated sauna, steam or no steam, is not advisable. Keep the sauna cool, use fake steam (fog) if steam has to show.
  • Spray the models with fake sweat to create an image of hot sauna. Mixture of glyserin and water sprayed on skin looks good enough.
  • Before you go take your photos, you might want to visit the place and have yourself a bath in the heated sauna, so that you'll know how it should look like in the photograph session, and how you need to employ the fake steam.
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Thank you so much,great tips! –  Makeda Mar 27 '13 at 16:11
    
@Makeda - have you done your photosession? Would be nice to have your experience as an answer to your own question. I took my camera to a Finnish style sauna yesterday, a heated sauna, and decided never to do that again. Too hot, too humid. –  Esa Paulasto May 25 '13 at 9:49
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First, keep your equipment in a moisture-proof container, and allow it to warm to the temperature of the room before your shoot. Otherwise all that moisture will instantly condense on your gear and fog your lenses

If you want the steam to be really visible, you'll want to try to light it from behind, or from the sides at least. More here - Capturing vapour or faint steam.

And you may also want to have a fan to blow the steam around: to blow it away from your subjects so you can see them clearly, and to mix up the steam and make it more interesting than an even fog. Ok that's three things.

With your lighting, you may want barn doors, or some other modifier, to concentrate the light on your models, so the light doesn't spill onto the steam around them, which could become very bright and turn into a blown out mess.

Show up early, or the day before, and do some test shots.

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Wow!Thank you for advice of equipment and how to work around the steam. Perfect! –  Makeda Mar 27 '13 at 16:12
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