Skip to main content

The History Channel shoots “Ice Road Truckers” with Sony’s XDCAM HD

The second season of the series “Ice Road Truckers,” currently airing on The History Channel, is once again being shot with Sony’s XDCAM HD system.

In the first season, the show documented two months in the lives of truckers hauling supplies over frozen lakes in the Northwest. In season two, the challenge is getting equipment and supplies to natural gas exploration sites and remote villages in and around the Arctic Circle.

The History Channel uses XDCAM HD because it consistently performs well in extreme environments, according to Gavin Brennan, the series’ director of photography.

“Tape-based systems would not be practical for us at all,” he said. “Tape can get too brittle in the extreme cold and clog up the heads. The more moving parts you have, the more problems you can run into. The XDCAM system gives us no problems related to the weather or the conditions.”

During the production, the XDCAM HD camcorders are encased in protective rubberized tape and still continue to perform flawlessly, shot to shot, he said.

The system also allows users to review footage on-the-fly as thumbnails on the camcorder’s LCD screen, enabling the crew to make decisions about the footage immediately without having to carry around a separate playback monitor, and then be ready to record instantly as soon as live action is ready to be captured.

The entire production crew from “Ice Road Truckers” also regularly makes full use of many of the system’s in-camera features, such as time lapse to produce effective mood-setting scenes.

For more information, visit