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. After that, we’re going to go into a little detail on the best winter photography tips. Keep reading!
Equipment damage and cold weather
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. This is called cold soaking; where a camera is left out long enough for it to take on the same temperature as its surroundings. 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
2. Brittle components
Most camera components consist of plastic and glass, two materials that can be weakened by colder climates. As the cold temperature finds its way into your camera, the camera components can become 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 had 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.
Condensation can damage to cameras, too. If a camera has been out in a cold environment for prolonged amounts of time, and is then brought indoors to a much warmer setting, condensation will set in. As increased moisture attacks the inner workings of your camera, you will soon find faults with how it works (or doesn’t work).
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 being exposed to two extreme environments too quickly. It’s wise to remove your battery during this time, too.
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.
Tips for filming in cold climates
Now that you can protect your gear from the perils of cold weather, we thought we would leave you with some general tips to help you get the best shots in autumn and winter. Here goes!
Carry a small air blower with you
You want to keep your camera free from snow when you’re out and about, so you’ll need something like a lens air blower so you can keep your camera away from moisture damage. You can’t exactly blow the snow off of the camera, and you’ll smudge the snow into the camera if you try to brush them off with your fingers. This is just the ticket.
Experiment with exposure on your camera
Winter is known for bright, very light daytime scenes, and with dazzling white snow you can get some really beautiful shots. However, all this stark white imagery can confuse a lot of cameras and produce under-exposed shots. By contrast, winter scenes can also be very shadowy and dark. Play with the exposure on your camera’s settings to compensate for light and bright environments, as well as darker.
Take spare batteries
Like we mentioned earlier, very cold weather has a dwindling effect on batteries. Take some spares and keep them warm! Stash them in an inside pocket where your body heat will keep them warm.
Protect your camera
If your film trip is going to be particularly rocky (maybe you’re going off-road, or perhaps you’re scaling a mountain), then you’re going to need protection for your cameras. Our vast range of camera cases are built to withstand the trials of outdoor adventures.
Wear warm clothes
And, last but not least… wrap up! This should go without saying but there are hardcore photographers who suffer winter weather for the end result. There’s no need to do this! Wrap up warm and you might not spend the rest of winter with a cold.
We believe that there’s no reason that you shouldn’t get 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!