Filming at High Temperatures

Filming at high temperatures

Get it when it’s Hot

When I write this, birds drop dead from the rooftops, people in the streets get stuck to melting tarmac and the only thing i can think of is ice cream, fast! it’s a typical shanghai summer.

Normally you would not think of going out to shoot in these conditions, but sometimes things happen that won’t wait for a more cooler day.
Especially on asian racing circuits hot circumstances are very common. I’m happy when it’s less than 30 degrees. On the tarmac of the grid the temperature can easily reach over 50 degrees, and that’s where much of the job is done.

It’s good to prepare for hot shooting days. The good news is: modern equipment, even the 4K camera’s that generate quite some heat themselves, usually keep working just fine. The real problem here is you, and especially your sweat. When it drips on your nice camera it will get very slippery. This is why I always have a strap connected to the camera around my wrist. If i let the camera slip by accident, the chances of it really dropping are small.

If you applied sun cream lotion, the risk of damaging a lens becomes big. Sun cream is designed to stick on you, but it doesn’t know the difference between you and your lens: it will stick on that too if you touch it. There’s a big chance it leaves an stain on the glass that’s difficult or even impossible to remove. So before a hot shoot, make sure at least your hands are clean from any creams, or better; don’t use it at all. I prefer to keep covered from the burning sun rays by using removable sleeves and neck protection. These will make you drip much less and lotion isn’t needed.

Getting sweat into your eyes can also be a bother with focussing, a solution is to always have an “old men’s towel” in your bag to dry your forehead. (Ignore the comments of people around you!).

One more thing that can influence a hot shoot is temperature and humidity change. your nice air-conditioned heaven inside, where you prepared the equipment, is cool and dry. When you go outside a quite thick damp can block the lens for up to several minutes. wiping often doesn’t help much, the condense comes back or just changes into small drips that make a clear shoot impossible. Even the sensor inside the camera can be affected by damp. so don’t think of jumping out and take your shot right away, plan time for letting your equipment adjust to the temperature and humidity. Wipe it just once or twice to speed it up a bit. it can be a good idea to leave the camera and lenses in the same space (outside, where you shoot), so the temperature and humidity won’t change.

There are other times when you’re happy with a temperature over minus twenty. sweat isn’t a problem then, but other matters are. this i will discuss next time.

happy shooting!