Camera rain 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.
How are camera rain covers graded?
The IP rating system is widely used for protective performance of equipment enclosures. The first digit indicates class of protection against physical objects (ranging from hands to dust) and the second digit indicates 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.
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 ‘down time’, 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 ziped 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 under water.
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 on shore where lightness and agility of movement are keys to success.
Furthermore, outside broadcast camera work 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 silk screen branded on the outside with the Broadcasters name / logo
During the product design process, maintenance of a healthy regard, born of long experience, for the idea that water can get everywhere – if you let it.[ssba]