Getting ‘cold feet’ about winter shooting? Warm up with these tips.
Gloves and Boots
Your hands and feet tend to get the least blood circulation in your body, and while winter shooting, they are likely doing the most work. If you're not able to grip your camera, push buttons or scroll with dials then you're going to have a problem.
- Thermal socks are a great purchase and will usually do the job wearing one pair. It doesn't hurt to have a second pair just in case.
- Waterproof boots have inner liners. It's a plus if they have some sort of traction to grip well on ice.
- Thick enough gloves that let you move your fingers freely. Mitts that double as half gloves are also a great choice if you are dealing with anything touch screen. Liners are great too as an extra layer. If you want to spend a little more money, you can find touchscreen gloves/mitts with a high warmth and water repellent rating.
- If all else fails, small hand warmer packs are a great idea to stick inside your boots and gloves.
It’s a good idea to look for something weather resistant; a good rating of heat containment and water resistance. You can always double up with layers if you find a shell that has a good waterproof rating. It’s important to be comfortable with what you’re wearing so you have the most movement flexibility, in case you need to kneel or sit on the ground to get your shot. GORE-TEX products are a great combination of waterproof, windproof and breathability.
- Waterproof or water resistant outerwear will typically have a numbered rating on the product ranging from 0K to 20K+ The way manufacturers determine this number is by placing a piece of the fabric in a tube and filling it with water until it begins to leak through. For example, if the product is rated at “20K” then they would fill up the tube with the fabric at the bottom until the water height reaches 20,000mm or (20K) before the water would begin to leak through.
- Long johns or long underwear a production crew fashion statement here at Cineflair, especially when shooting in Edmonton’s dry winter. Without them, we’d be freezing our “you know what’s” off. Look for a product that is breathable and wicks the sweat away from your body.
Wearing something to protect your face while shooting will help keep that runny nose from dripping onto your gear, and prevent your mouth from getting too cold and losing the functionality to form a coherent sentence and sounding like Elmer Fudd.
- Balaclavas cover your whole face so you don’t have to worry about your ears, nose and mouth getting cold. If you wear glasses this might be a problem since you are breathing out warm air and your nose and mouth are covered. The heat comes up towards your eyes, causing your glasses to fog up. If possible, look for products that have a hole for your nose or mouth so that the warm air has somewhere else to go besides up towards your eyes.
- If you’re not down with covering your whole face and looking like a bank robber, then you might be interested in a toque, ear muffs/covers, or a scarf. Whichever you choose, just know that one of those features on your face will eventually get cold.
At this point your body is probably thanking you for how warm it is, and that there is nothing dripping out of your nose. You scroll around and try to set your F-Stop, shutter speed, ISO, or even access your menu to try and get your shot, but you notice there is a delay. After you scroll left or right, your settings are trying to catch up with what you just told it to do...and you also notice your battery just dropped from 75% to 25% faster than you could blink. Your gear is cold.
- Be prepared for batteries to deplete. Carry chargers and have extra batteries with you at all times if you aren’t running off of a power station such as the Atomos Power Station.
- You’re going to need some sort of power solution to charge batteries after they have been drained. Here at Cineflair we lug around a power source designed to protect PC’s and all their data from power surges, and fluctuations. The CyberPower 1500AVRLCD has a backup battery incase there is a power failure and will run on its internal battery lasting up to 1000 minutes (this is what we use on location) or depending on what you have plugged in, some products might drain the power quicker than others. It’s not the most portable power source out there but it does the trick!
- Your cameras should be kept in a warm camera bag with thick lining or a weather resistant bag. If your gear is still cold, we just drop in a couple handwarmers here and there.
Edmonton is one of Canada’s coldest cities to live in, let alone work outside in. This winter, our team here at Cineflair had the pleasure of embracing mother nature doing what we love to do. We shot on one of the coldest days of the year covering a festival that takes place outside, and to see Edmontonians getting out and taking in the cold was remarkable to see . It made us realize how we embrace the cold in our city and get out to explore the plethora of winter activities that our city has to offer.
If you you know of other tips and tricks of keeping yourself and your gear warm in the cold, let us know in the comments section.