If you’re venturing to the great outdoors for your next movie shoot, you’ll need to bring along more than just a camera and spare battery. As you should already know, this environment requires a different type of planning than filming at a studio location. Here are just a few items you’ll need to be prepared for an outdoor shoot:
First things first. You need to be able to get to your location with all of your equipment — and this means having the right vehicle. If you plan to go off-roading or travel on bumpy paths, make sure your tires are up to the challenge.
Outfit your truck or van with tires that have a high void ratio to deal with mud, as well as a good sidewall construction to prevent punctures. You should also bring jumper cables in case your vehicle experiences a dead battery as well as detailed maps to scout your location or to prevent you from getting lost.
To keep your equipment protected, invest in ratchet straps to keep everything secure and in place. You may also want to pack furniture pads, dollies and other moving equipment to make sure your film equipment, art and other supplies don’t get damaged and are easily mobile upon arriving at your location.
Because you’ll be set up in the middle of nowhere, you need to come prepared with enough supplies for your entire crew. This means you need to pack enough water — each person working in the elements will need to drink four cups per hour — and food to keep everyone healthy.
You should also consider investing in umbrellas and shade structures, sunscreen and jackets to protect your talent and crew from the hot conditions. If you have the budget and room in your truck, rent a generator to power your lights and charge your batteries.
The sun is a major factor you need to consider when you’re preparing for your shoot. Invest in reflectors to help direct and diffuse sunlight on your subjects. PetaPixel recommends Westcott’s Omega 360 Reflector, because it’s a 15-in-1 reflector, so you don’t need to buy, pack or carry multiple types of reflectors.
This reflector can pop out at the center, allowing you to create a ring of light and use it as both your key and backlight. It also comes with black, white, silver and sunlight covers, a diffusion panel and a suction cup to help control your lighting.
Don’t forget to plan your shots well to make sure you have enough sunlight. If you need a shot during the golden hour, be sure to plan your other scenes accordingly so you have enough time to set up and capture the shot.
In addition to lighting the scene, you need to control how much light is coming through your lens. Many outdoor photographers and videographers use ND filters to showcase more natural light. SLRLounge.com explains that landscape photographers, for example, use ND filters to reduce the intensity of all wavelengths or colors of light in an equal fashion.
Experts say ND filters can also help with shutter drag, high dynamic range and other techniques, because they help you manipulate the light any way you decide. Additionally, SLRLounge.com recommends purchasing high-quality ND filters, such as Tiffen filters, so you don’t degrade your image quality with tint defects or other imperfections.