There are so many reasons to get outside and spend some time filming in autumn and winter. From the amber hues of the fallen leaves that signal the arrival of autumn, to capturing the stunning scenery in the crisp white winter wonderland.
The two seasons offer unique settings that no other time of year can compare to, however with this scenery comes some worries for filmmakers and their equipment. Here are 5 common risks associated with filmmaking at the end of the year and how you can protect your video equipment.
1. Cold soaking
Modern day cameras tend to produce their own heat when they are being used. When you’re out filming in cold temperatures, your camera is often standing out in the cold for long periods of time.
Cold soaking is the term used to describe leaving a camera out in cold temperatures, for as long as it take for the camera’s own temperature to be the same as the surrounding environment. This can often lead to a number of problems with your camera’s functionality.
If you can, try to store your camera in your bag or case as much as possible whilst shooting scenes in the cold outdoors. Your camera will take a while to reach ambient temperatures, especially if you are storing it in a warmer environment every now and again. This will reduce the likelihood of cold soaking occurring.
2. Brittle components
Most camera’s components consist of plastic and glass, two materials that can be weakened by colder climates. As the cold temperature latches onto your camera, the materials can become much more brittle and are therefore more likely to break from a knock or fall.
Invest in some padded custom foam inserts to take on your filming trip with you. They are specially designed to fit in your protective case and keep your camera and accessories protected in a safe and snug environment. This could help to reduce the chance of breaks when your camera is feeling a little brittle.
3. Losing power
In very cold climates, your battery can lose around half of its usual life, which can cause problems if you’d planned on staying out filming for the whole day.
To combat this, look at any unnecessary features that are switched on and turn them off until you actually need them. This might include your flash, the image stabiliser and the LCD screen, for example. You could even turn the whole camera off when you’re taking a break from filming, to maximise the filming time your battery will allow.
Many are often too worried about the cold weather outdoors, that they forget about what damage could be done when they head indoors. If you spend time in a cold environment then bring your camera into a much warmer environment, condensation can occur and it can wreak havoc with your camera and lenses.
Condensation can enter your camera and its mechanisms, as well as leaving marks on the inside of your lenses. This natural event can prove costly if you end up having to replace your equipment as a result, however a simple solution can prevent your camera from being attacked by condensation.
Try to make the transition from cold to warm as slow as possible. Perhaps you could leave your equipment in a middle ground for an hour or so, such as a car, garage or porch? This will stop your camera from entering two extreme environments too quickly. It’s wise to remove your battery during this time.
You should also keep your camera in a ziploc bag, along with a sachet of silica gel. The two together will protect your camera from condensation and keep it nice and dry, ready for next time you head outdoors.
5. Harsh weather
Of course, this time of year brings plenty of rain, sleet and snow to many areas, something that could cause your camera a whole host of problems if neglected. A protective waterproof camera case will help you to keep the elements away from your camera and accessories, when you’re travelling between shots or when they aren’t in use.
However, it makes sense to invest in some waterproof camera and lens covers, too, to further protect your camera when your actually filming.
There’s no reason for these fears to get in the way of you filming some truly fantastic shots at this time of year. With careful planning and protection, your camera will be safe from harm, leaving you to focus your mind on capturing your best film yet!