Filming a Welder – Need Filters???

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    • #37628

      Howdy, a friend of mine is a welder, and he’s going to build a steady-tracker type unit in exchange for a short business profile video for his website.

      My question is about shooting the actual welding. I know the arc is so bright it will damage your eye to look at. Does anyone know anything about pointing a video camera at it?
      Is there a certain filter you need?
      I would think if the arc was bright enough to hurt a human eye it could potentially damage the fragile circuitry of a modern camcorder.

      I don’t want to ruin my camera in exchange for a steady-tracker…

    • #166825
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Filming it is hard only because of exposure challenges. If shooting video, throwing it in auto aint nuttin’ but a thang. You can play with different shutter settings to your liking and you’ll have no problem watching this all through the LCD screen in real time.
      …assuming you’re not shooting with an old tube camera, anyway. πŸ˜‰

    • #166826


      Looks like you’re using a semi-pro camera so you should have a couple of ND filters on it. I rarely if ever use auto exposure. With autoex, you’re completely at the mercy of the cam’s exposure response time. If you use the ND filters, you’ll have far more control over the scene. I’ve shot torch welding, arc and foundry furnaces in action and have used ND filters every time with great results. However, there’s nothing stopping you from running test footage to see which method will get the results you can live with.

    • #166827

      Heh, thanks again. I figured I would be able to dial it in altering exposure, and or ND filter if I needed to. I do a lot of weddings so I’m used to flipping ND filters on and off on the fly. I was just concerned about the arc damaging the CCDs. Which, it sounds like you guys have experience with that, and it should be good to go!

      Thanks for the info Grinner and Composite!

    • #166828

      As a frequent welder I must caution you not so much about the intense light but about weld spatter. welds will frequently “explode” and throw molten metal around. The spatter can hit your lens and it will stick to the surface. There is a substantial chance of cratering under the blob. You only have to examine the average welding hood (that the welder wears) to see plenty of spatter. A UV or other expendable protective filter would be a real good idea.

    • #166829

      Interestingly enough, I just shot the video in question earlier today. Imagine my surprise to find it at the top of the forums quick list. I was worried about pitting the lens. I used a clear face shield the welder had in the shop. I zip tied it on to the front of the camera and was good to go.

    • #207144

      As a successive welder I should alert you less about the compelling light however about weld splash. Welds will every now and again "blast" and hurl liquid metal around. The splash can hit your lens and it will adhere to the surface. There is a significant risk of cratering under the blob. Laser Welding Systems

    • #207145

      Actually – I've also been concerned about the potential damage to the sensor. Does it actually happen, or does the CCD or CMOS element just saturate, produced full RGB levels but have sufficient design protection? I've not been able to find anybody who says they've lost pixels through overloading, but the ratio between the average light level and the hot spot must be huge. It could damage the phosphors on an old fashioned tube (both in the camera and on a display screen if left there for a while) and of course our eyes.


      I'm not sure about ND – obviously it cuts down the light passing through the lense, but surely the result is the exposure has to be adjusted by opening the iris – meaning the hot spot level will be as high as before, or are we talking about deliberately under exposing then using gain to recover the image?


      With tube technology there were always dire warnings because burn did happen. Is there any proper evidence that solid state sensors are immune from damage. There is also the issue of UV light on the camermans skin. They may be fine looking in the viewfinder, but is there any other protection needed?

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