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Shooting in wet, windy and cold conditions

Cold Weather Student HMI RED Scotland

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#1 Daniel Atherton

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

I'm shooting a short period drama in February 2013 in Thurso, Scotland. This is right at the top of the country! I was wondering whether anyone could give me some advice on shooting in such cold conditions. General tips/lessons learned/ dos and donts.

I've never shot anything in sub zero temperatures and gale force winds - the last thing I want is to be losing/ breaking a HMI or camera. Just want to be really prepared so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Dan
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#2 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:25 PM

Two things about cold weather for the camera.

Keep the batteries warm. Try to keep the charged batteries inside a car to keep them warm an cover the battery on the camera with something (aluminum foil or black wrap) you can also ad a hand warmer. Cold batteries deplete faster.

Keep your lens cold. Open your lens case to get the lens to the ambient temperature as soon as possible. Otherwise they they will fog out.

Tips for yourself. Get some cut off gloves to put under your big gloves. Like that you can't weak all the little knobs without freezing your whole hand. Thermals, and a good ski jacket and thick boots (with thick soles to isolate you from the ground). Emember you will be idle in the cold for a long time, be prepared.

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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:10 AM

Extra socks as well!

What i'll often to bot batts is thus:

For block batteries I have a small cooler with a hole cut in it for the power cord to go out, and I throw them in there. Depending on how cold it is I may also throw in a hand warmer or two.

For onboards I try to keep them in my jacket if we are away from cars. and when i throw them on the camera I tap a hand warmer to them sometimes two.

Also btw, use hand warmers!

Extra socks, very important. I also like to keep a change of pants as when it's wet and windy and cold your pants get quickly wet. Normally your top is pretty dry however.

Make sure you get an eye piece defroster!

LCD screens will also be fickle in the cold.

Stay warm!
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#4 Tom Jensen

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:35 AM

The first thing is keep yourself warm and dry. If you don't, the day will go bad fast.
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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

I also like to keep a change of pants as when it's wet and windy and cold your pants get quickly wet.

Stay warm!

I think he means trousers.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

No; I always shoot in a full pants suit. Keepin it gansta, as they say ;)
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#7 Simon Miya

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:15 PM

Keep your lens cold. Open your lens case to get the lens to the ambient temperature as soon as possible. Otherwise they they will fog out.


This is actually the opposite of true - cold lenses will fog up in a warm environment, but warm lenses will not fog up in a cold environment. In fact, if you plan on going back inside at some point, it's best to keep the lenses warm, or at least not make an effort to get them cold. Opening cases to get gear acclimatized is standard operating procedure when going into a warm environment with cold gear, but trying to get warm gear cold is wasted effort.
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#8 Daniel Atherton

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:06 PM

Thank you for the advice. Really helpful and much more confident about the shoot now.

In terms of the lens temperature I think its possible to get fogging from both cold to warm and warm to cold conditions. So I think its best to follow Victor's advice and expose the lens to whatever the ambient temperature is as soon as I approach the set.

Keep the advice coming if you have anything to share :)
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#9 Simon Miya

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:37 AM

In terms of the lens temperature I think its possible to get fogging from both cold to warm and warm to cold conditions.


Nah, warm glass won't fog in cold temperatures. Think about your car defogger and what method it uses to prevent your windows from fogging - that's right, it heats them up.

BTDT in more cold film locations than I can remember.
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#10 Oliver Hadlow Martin

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 06:19 AM

Nah, warm glass won't fog in cold temperatures. Think about your car defogger and what method it uses to prevent your windows from fogging - that's right, it heats them up.

BTDT in more cold film locations than I can remember.



You can still get condensation on the lens. And try keeping a lens at the right warmth would also prove quite tricky.
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#11 Daniel Atherton

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:32 PM

Hi Guys,

Thank you so much for all the advice. Keep it coming. Need as much as I can get!

For those of you interested in the project have a look at the link below.

http://www.kickstart...690/a-war-story
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#12 Samuel Laseke

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 04:05 AM

According to the laws of physics Simon is correct. Condensation or Fog occurs when water vapor is cooled by an object until it becomes a liquid once again. It then condenses on the object. It is impossible for an object that is warmer than the ambient air temperature to have condensation.

Cold batteries actually deplete slower than a hot battery. That is the problem you are seeing with batteries in cold temperatures. The chemical reaction of the batteries is slowed by cold temperatures. The voltage drops due to the cold temperatures and eventually they can't keep up with the demand of the device. The batteries charge is not actually depleted. You can warm them up and the battery will work properly with the remaining charge. So if your batteries die due to cold just put them in your pocket and warm them up. You can put them back in once their warm.

You want to insulate your batteries in the cold. Polypropylene is a good insulator. Aluminum is actually a conductor and it will rapidly remove the heat from your batteries by transferring the heat from the battery over the larger surface of the aluminum. This is why computer Heat sinks are made of aluminum.
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