Skip to main content

XDCAM HD conquers Arctic chill for ‘Ice Road Truckers’

The second season of “Ice Road Truckers” currently airing on The History Channel is again relying on Sony’s XDCAM HD system to shoot the show in the extreme cold of the Arctic Circle.

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

According to Gavin Brennan, director of photography of the series, the Sony optical recording system has consistently performed well in extreme environments.

Tape-based systems would not be practical because it can get too brittle in extreme cold and clog up recording heads, he said. The XDCAM system has not experienced any problems because of the weather. During the production, the XDCAM HD camcorders are encased in protective rubberized tape and still continue to perform flawlessly, he said.

The XDCAM HD system also lets Brennan and the production crew review footage on the fly as thumbnails on the camcorder’s LCD screen. Doing so lets the crew make decisions about the footage immediately without having to carry around a separate playback monitor.

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

For more information, visit