At the moment of writing this, it's 35 degrees celsius in Belgium.
How do you keep yourself staying "fresh" in the blistering heat?
And how do you protect your gear from overheating when no sunshade is possible?
Being based in Madrid, I work often in southern Spain and you don’t have to forget that Madrid is technically in the middle of a desert so imagin how are summer exterior shooting in here. I also shot in turkey, morocco, Palestine and southern Italy so I did find myself in those kind of situation. Here are my tips:
YOU: of course is important to look after the gear, but never forget that the most important and hardly replaceable piece of gear is your body.
Dehydration can slow your thinking and responsiveness, while sun burns can compromise your agility and make your day really bad so:
Sun cream: the production usually buys some, but is kind “one for all” so my advice is that you buy your own with the protection you need and keep it close. Remember that when you sweat the cream slips away, so it is important to put it back on 2 or 3 times per day at least.
Hat: I had a lot of baseball style hats, but when it comes to shooting in very hot environments, I suggest more “desert-kind” hats, better if with something to protect your neck. You’ll look like Lawrence of Arabia but your neck and face will thank you for that.
Sunglasses: is not a matter of style: sun beams are as harmful for your skin than for your eyes, and sunglasses are the “suncream for eyes”. And I’m sure your sight is not something you want to put in danger. Also, everybody that has been on set knows that every piece of gear needs to be battle tested and can be broken. So, don’t bring your 300$ glasses, but try to find some there are not too expensive but not too cheap neither. Cheap sunglasses don’t protect enough so yours need to be at least fairly good.
Stay in the shadow: even with all kind of protection on, is always better to keep away from direct sun, specially in the central hours of the day. Make sure production is going to provide at least one big umbrella for each cart plus one for each camera.
Hydration: water of course is the best solution to dehydration, but when the heat get to certain levels you may need an integrator of minerals. Make sure production has some or put it in the expendable list.
Gloves: strange as it may sound, I have gloves for heat. When the temperature is raising, the camera, the cage and every accessory can get really really hot. I have a pair of glove similar to the kind sparks use to handle their gear, the only difference is that I cut away the last part of the finger so I’m more operative
heat and precision electronics don’t get along well as we all know. Make sure you have enough space blankets for every camera and cart, but also remind the production that the camera department will need AT LEAST an easy-up tent, better if they are two. In general do with the camera what you do with yourself: stay in the shadow every time is possible, better in a place where there is some air moving.
Also, during prep put the fan settings according to the situation you are going to find yourself in and search online or with colleagues what’s the behavior of the camera in high temperature situations. As far as my experience goes, red and Sony usually have more trouble with heat, while Arri usually don’t. I have been shooting with an Alexa mini in a factory that produced gin, and at one point of the production there is a room where the temperature gets around 60° Celsius. We have been shooting in there for 3 hours straight and the camera hadn’t a single issue.
Also: keep in mind that certain devices such as on board monitor or RF have tendency to overheat so, to avoid issues try to switch them on and off whenever it’s possible.
For personal protection the Sunhat is the most important, full stop. The wider the brim the better (if it’s wide enough it can even be a sun shade for your monitor), the long and short is the more ridiculous you look the better - those hats thAt have the cloth that drapes down the back over your neck is huge.
For camera: a tent is great, courtesy flags from your grips, and of course space blankets (reflective side out!), same goes for the cart
As for keeping myself fresh, sun protection and water is a must even though it's easy to forget. A hat and a sun shirt (Columbia omni-shade) go a long way. It was 32 C today and I almost sweat to death.
For camera, it's a bit tougher. We usually try to keep space blankets with the reflective side up for gear, carts, monitors. But that can screw with the shot if put on camera. Minis seem to stay a good temp in my experience but at 35c it's pretty hard to keep Reds out of the red (no pun intended.) What have you been working with?
I'd be interested in any insights into avoiding overheating as well.