Friday, October 30, 2015

How to Weather the Storm: Preparing for Winter Shoots

As House of Stark so adequately puts it, winter is coming. So be prepared.

It’s no secret that #Canada has what some might call “extreme” cold #winter #temperatures. We, the North, (see what we did there?) have been the butt of the world’s winter jokes for decades. #Snowstorms. Moose. Maple Syrup. Beavers. And Tim Horton’s. Not to mention Ontario’s crippling ice storm two years back.  These are, what we’ve been told, make up our Canadian identity. So it would come naturally that we would have adjusted by now, right?

Many Canadians opt for weathering the storms – literally. We can’t count how many times we’ve seen individuals outside in shorts during below zero #weather. Though admirable, it does lead one to wonder: have we, as a nation, truly evolved to become immune to the #cold? Or are we just old-fashioned crazy?

For Canadian media professionals, our #weather forces us to take extra precautions to ensure our #equipment stays safe. Unlike our mutant body temperatures that might keep us hot-blooded during the winter season, our equipment is simply not as sturdy.How to Weather the Storm: Preparing for Canadian Shoots

Whether you’re on-air talent, camera-operator or production assistant, here are some things to keep in mind while you happily trudge through the snow for the next 6 months.

Pay attention to your camera specificities.

Most camera manufacturers have some sort of specification for the lowest operable temperatures. This is essential when filming in remote areas with below freezing weather. Of course, depending on the type of camera you own, operability may vary.

Another reason why camera model matters is because modern day cameras don’t need much internal lubrication as older models.

Keeping cameras warm is essential for outdoor winter-weather shoots. Though digital cameras are efficient and may generate less heat than older cameras, it’s imperative to keep them warm in a pocket or camera bag outside of the ambient temperature. This is not to say that your camera should be shoved into an overcoat with high body heat; a quick transition from hot to cold could cause condensation in the lens. Instead, try to keep your camera a moderate temperature and let it gradually adjust to its surroundings before shooting. Some recommend the plastic bag method.

The same can be applied to your SD card. It’s a well known fact that electronics and moisture of any sort don’t go very well. You wouldn’t want to lose precious footage from an SD card ruined by condensation.

How to Weather the Storm: Preparing for Winter Shoots

One of the third most important things to take note of is your battery supply. A 10 degree drop in weather can half your battery life. Make sure to pack extras.

Be mindful when opening plastics. In cold weather, plastic tends to harden, making it difficult to open. Battery compartments are especially vulnerable and prone to accidental damage.

Some photographers note that hand warmers are an ideal way to keep your equipment safe. Since they are meant to adjust to your body’s natural hand temperature, they are just warm enough to keep batteries intact.

What are some other ways to protect your camera gear in the winter? Comment below!


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