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Don’t Do the DEW (if you can possibly avoid it!)

You can beat the humidity, but your cameras can't. Let CTV-21 show you how to avoid this scenario. Have a question about your camera? We can help.

In these times of unpredictable weather the temperature can swing 40 degrees or so from day to night. While some of you may find that a relief from the spring/summer’s humidity, most electronics would prefer to avoid these extremes, which causes dew to form.  Face it; water and electronics just do not mix. 

How does this moisture form? 

Dew is water that condenses on cool objects from the water vapor in warm air, particularly the condensation formed during cool nights in warm seasons of the year. Air at a given temperature can contain only a certain amount of water vapor. This amount increases as the temperature rises and decreases as the temperature falls. In the evening after a warm day, air that is nearly saturated with vapor cools and drops below the temperature at which it is fully saturated. As the air cools further, the excess water vapor condenses on any surface, such as a blade of grass or a windowpane. In air containing a given amount of water vapor, the temperature at which dew begins to form is known as the dew point. If the dew point is below the freezing temperature of water, frost is formed.

[Excerpted from "Dew," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia]

When you borrow one of the CTV-21 portable cameras we understand that you may be keeping it overnight for a shoot the next day, however, there is a certain amount of care that you need to provide while it is in your possession.   We like to recommend keeping the camera with you at all times.  Locking it out of sight and staying away from areas where car theft or vandalism can occur (e.g. parking lots) is only common sense.  But what you may not have thought of is that pieces of equipment are susceptible to the collection of moisture (dew) when moved from a cold environment to a warm one.

 This can happen in some very uncommon ways, for example, moving from a cold room in your home to a room that is fully heated.  Basement to kitchen, garage to family room, it can happen immediately and the first indication, though not always, is when you look through the lens.  If it fogs up, you may have a problem.  This one of the reasons we ask producers not to store the camera in their cars, even if the shoot is early the next morning. 

 All right.You’ve done it, you not only fogged up the lens, you turned on the camera and 10 seconds later it shuts down and does this every time you try to power up.  Don’t panic.  Most cameras have an auto dew sensor in order to keep you from making a bad situation worse.  For starters, don’t immediately grab a cloth and wipe the lens (and don’t use your shirt, and for corn sake do not use your finger!!) If the temperature change was drastic enough more dew could be replaced with the dew you just removed.  The solution is the same for the inside of the camera as well as the lens.  Keep the camera in the environment in which you plan to use it.  In about 20-25 minutes the metal and/or plastic (which retains cold longer) will come up to temperature and the dew will disappear.  The lens should dry on its own, but if it does not, or leaves a noticeable residue take a lint-less cloth or paper towel with a little bit of Windex or a little water and gently clean it. Go easy, a single scuff or scratch ruins the lens and that camera is out of commission for good.

 Most of the year there is no need to worry about this scenario, but this is New England weather and anything can happen (or just wait 15 minutes.)  We want you to have a successful stress-free shoot. The important thing to remember is that when something goes wrong out in the field you can call us (203) 304-4050 and we can find a way to get you out of your predicament.  

 CTV-21 is the community access channel for residents of the Charter service area. Anyone who lives within Charter’s 14-town coverage area may produce or provide a program to CTV-21. We provide a range of opportunities for anyone who wants to produce from quick and simple custom training to a comprehensive production workshop. All these services are provided free. Please call the department (203) 304-4050, visit us online – either facebook/CTV21, or at www.communityvision21.com – for more information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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