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Filming During Bad Weather: Advice for Film Directors and Producers

17th Feb 2020

Top Advice For Film Directors and Producers To Film During Bad Weather

Film directors and producers are taking advantage of the UK’s impressive landscape and architecture more than ever before. Official figures (provided by BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit) reveal that 188 feature films were put into production in 2019; the highest spend on film and television production in the UK to date ( bfi.org.uk).

One of the many challenges film directors and producers face is the UK’s famously unpredictable weather. As an example, Met Office Climate data shows that last year's annual rainfall in the UK was 1229.3 mm, with the majority of it falling in the Summer and Autumn months.

Scouting the best locations for filming is hard work at the best of times; requiring lots of time, planning and resources. The UK’s ever-changing weather conditions throughout the year make the already difficult task even more challenging.

Preparing for adverse weather in the UK is a constant battle that film directors and producers need to be ready for all year round.

Work With The Weather, Not Against It.

Knowing how to work with the weather is vital when filming in the UK. “Time is money” is never truer than on a film set and if you aren’t prepared, you’ll quickly find yourself behind schedule.

Your ability to adapt to changing weather conditions will make or break your project. The best way to do this is knowing how and when to protect your equipment. Learning how to do this will save you time and money.

You’ll know that electronic equipment does not mix with wet weather. The potential risks are very serious if the proper steps are not taken to ensure the safety of all crew members.

With this in mind, we have prepared some essential tips for you to show you how to protect your equipment from bad weather, meaning you can stay on schedule and get the job done safely. 

How To Set Up Your Equipment 

In his book "Cinematography Theory and Practice", Blain Brown teaches us six ways to expertly organise your equipment:

  1. Raise all connectors off the ground: This is especially important for distribution connectors. Whilst filming in the rain (natural or a rain rig), floors are going to get very wet, so it is important to raise your connectors off the ground. Blaine Brown suggests using apple boxes to do this. To provide extra protection, wrap the connectors in plastic and seal them with electrical tape; avoid using gaffer tape as it is not waterproof. This will properly protect your equipment and make your set safer. 
  2. Ground everything you can. Electricity looks for the shortest path down to earth, so grounding your wires means that in the event of a short-circuit, electricity is safely re-routed back into the earth and away from harm. 
  3. Put rain hats on all lights: Water will shatter a hot lens, so you must protect the lenses of all your large lights. Broken glass brings a safety concern of its own. 
  4. Cover equipment racks and other spare equipment with heavy plastic. 
  5. Insulated shoes should be worn by all crew members. Anyone working directly with electrical equipment should also stand on a rubber mat. This ensures everyone is protected from electrical currents. 
  6. Finally, all crew members must be trained and adhere to the most up to date electrical safety rules.

Electrical safety is a serious matter and the potential risk to life is very high. 

How To Protect Your Equipment

As well as the safety concerns that wet weather brings, you need to protect your expensive equipment from damage. Based on our experience with outdoor events, such as film productions, these are the four best ways to protect your equipment.

  1. A rain cover: This is one of the most basic ways to protect your camera from water. There are many professional options for you to choose from. It's advisable to always have one handy in your kit bag and to ensure the filters are also protected. Go for a rain cover with an adjustable tie so that it fits snugly around your camera. This will provide maximum protection from the rain. 
  2. A trusty gazebo: Gazebos are excellent to have on set. They are useful to either cover static equipment, or to cover you if you need shelter. Gazebos come in all different shapes, sizes and materials. Plus, if you want to promote your business, you can even have one custom printed to feature your logo. 
  3. Lens hoods and rain deflectors: Both may be necessary if you are filming during heavy rain. If you require further protection, you can buy devices that keep water off your lens by blowing compressed air or nitrogen. 
  4. Wipe your gear: After finishing filming for the day, always clean your equipment. Even though most professional gear is waterproof, it’s good to get in the habit of taking good care of it after a day in the rain. After all, why risk even the smallest chance of water getting into the internal electronics of your camera?

We hope we’ve given you some good ideas that you can use to improve your next film production in the UK. If you have more tips about how to film in challenging weather conditions, please do get in touch with our team to share them today.

Finally, if you have any requirements for tv and film sets products such as Pop Up GazebosLights & Heaters, Flooring, or any other accessories, we offer discounted rates for bulk orders and repeat customers. Get in touch with us now and learn more how we build relationships with other businesses.

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