Sports photography is one part art, one part science and one part timing. Throw in a little bit of luck, a little bit of the right placement and you have the makings of a potentially earth shattering photo at any given second in the game. There could be no better example than the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the quest for the oldest trophy of all major sports. Imagine being the person who gets to document that moment in photos and what that would mean to your career. You would also have to think of all the things around you that could potentially kill those photos by making your camera move too much.
Vibration is all around you, threatening that golden, career solidifying shot. It is important for you to know about camera vibration, but more importantly you must know how to stop it from ruining your camera and your shot.
The Vibration Is All around You
The game is fast and intense; there are no second takes and absolutely no room for error. Any shot can be “the” shot, the one that will win you prizes, the shot that gets blown up into posters to adorn the walls of hockey fans all around the world. But there are vibrations from dozens of different sources all around you, just waiting to blur the shot, to make it less than perfect.
First, there is the pounding of your own heart, the nervousness inside of your own body that is creating vibrations that make it difficult to hold the camera still. Even if you can fight back your excitement at the game and the moment, you are still going to be faced with the thousands of screaming, jumping and otherwise moving fans around you.
Human borne vibration is only part of the problem.
The building that you are sitting inside is also alive with vibration. There are mechanisms under the ice to keep it at the perfect temperature. The hotter the weather outside, the harder those mechanisms have to work to keep the ice chilled down. In addition, there are air conditioning units in the stands to prevent the exhalations of thousands of screaming people from making it extremely hot and uncomfortable. There is music – in some arenas it is broadcast, while in others it is created by a giant organ and a live person playing it.
During a hockey game, there are huge machines called Zambonis that come out to clear and re-smooth the ice between periods, ensuring a flat and level playing surface for the puck to glide across. There are other mechanical creations within the building as well from the mundane escalators to the more exotic. Some buildings have specially designed sound effects for celebrations – every goal brings about a loud announcement and the jumping, fist pumping glee of the fans in the stands. For the person behind the camera, those goal moments are the ones to watch out for but become the most tricky because of the increase in vibration.
But, it is also important to note that camera vibration does not just have the potential to ruin a shot, but also to ruin the camera itself. The camera is a very sensitive and precise mechanism that can be destroyed in an instant. Using vibration control or vibration deadening mounts protects the camera and can save these important shots.
Camera Stabilization and Anti-Vibration Camera Mounts
One of the ways that professional photographers manage to get the better shots is of course with a good camera. Some cameras already account for vibration in and around the hand or the mount that is holding it. But that does not mean that you cannot increase the vibration control with a few simple camera mounts of your own. The more important the potential shot, the more important the anti-vibration camera mount becomes.
When you see a live hockey game, whether on television or in person, look at the dasher boards and the glass that surrounds the ice surface. At certain points in the ice, you will see circular holes cut out, near the bottom of each pane of glass. Those holes are for cameras so that the action on the ice can get captured by professional photographers with high speed cameras.
The fact that the cameras are inserted into those holes presents another vibration challenge. Every time the players come near the glass in that area, they bump and push each other, sometimes hard enough to break the glass. Even when the players are at the other end of the ice, there is the possibility that the puck will hit the glass near the camera or even hit the camera itself.
Using a mount, especially one that allows for movement, can protect the camera as well as reduce the amount of vibration that actually gets to the camera itself.
How an Anti-Vibration Camera Mount Works
Like other types of anti-vibration systems, the camera mount absorbs much of the vibration before it affects the camera and the resulting photographs. The material that is used to do this has to be small enough to keep the camera from becoming bulky, thick enough to be effective and compact enough to fit into small spots. If it is too thick, it can stop the camera’s internal mechanisms from working correctly and become as much of a problem as vibration in the first place. In some situations, especially those front line cameras, there is some risk of being exposed to water (or sweat or beer), which must not affect the vibration system.
Sorbothane® has a number of different types of anti-vibration camera mounts that can be used, no matter what type of camera you have or what kind of shots you are trying to get. If you have a unique type of need, however, you can also customize your order so that you are getting exactly what you need. Contact us today.