Camera covers: how much rainfall can they withstand?
Most outdoor activities carry on whatever the changes in weather. Broadcasters have strong commercial needs to avoid interruption of their coverage. Even if the event is interrupted the equipment must remain at its vantage point, ready to resume. This equipment is sophisticated, sensitive and valuable, hence why a weatherproof camera rain cover is needed. But how much rainfall can they withstand?
How are camera rain covers be graded?
The IP rating system is widely used for the protective performance of equipment enclosures. The first digit indicates the class of protection against physical objects (ranging from hands to dust) and the second digit indicates the degree of water exclusion. In this case, there is a requirement for manual access, so the lowest first digit, excluding hand-sized objects, is not relevant.
Although the second IP digit could be a useful indicator, because it deals with rain from various directions, the effectiveness of the cover is dependent on correct installation on an operation-by-operation level. This is not controlled by the manufacturer and so may not be accurately claimed – however, all stitched seams in the manufacture of rain covers are weather-sealed inside with a heat applied leak prevention polyurethane tape.
Why is a camera rain cover needed?
Rain gets everywhere because, more often than not, it is accompanied by wind. Falling raindrops can be turned horizontally and even upward by gusts deflected over vehicles or terrain. But how much rainfall can camera covers withstand?
Recognising the need for all-over protection there are some compromises to be made. Lenses must remain exposed whilst in use because their hard-won optical performance cannot be compromised. Removable lens covers, for use during ‘downtime’, prevent rain spotting and reduce risk of damage.
Key controls, such as pan and tilt need to be accessed from outside the cover through specially designed weather sealed “tubes” that the camera operator can get his hands and forearms into so that rapid movements of the subject can be tracked.
Secondary controls can be inside the cover so long as there is easy access through zipped or Velcro flaps or flexible areas. Some indicators need to be seen during operation so transparent areas in the cover are needed.
Will a camera rain cover work underwater?
Once these functional requirements are met it is clear that a camera rain cover, however good it may be, will not be submersible – it was not designed to be used underwater.
Cases for full immersion are heavy and cumbersome but are supported when in operation by their buoyancy. Such costly and ponderous cases would be unacceptable onshore where lightness and agility of movement are keys to success.
Furthermore, outside broadcast camerawork often involves set-up on some difficult sites. Last-minute access to the cameras to complete functional checks or make corrections is vital. A light, easy to remove or replace cover fulfils these needs.
What makes a successful rain cover?
- Detailed understanding of the cameraman’s activities, both in preparation and in action.
- Good tailoring of the fit to the particular camera and lens configuration
- High quality, robust materials joined by processes that maintain the weatherproof integrity of the cover.
- Easy deployment and access in operation.
- Easily foldable for storage
- Available in a range of colours for customer choice
- The ability to be silkscreen branded (on the outside) with the Broadcasters name/logo
During the product design process at CP Cases, we practise maintenance of healthy regard, with a team born from long experience. Our camera covers can withstand rainfall as they have accredited an IP65 rating.[ssba]