As of June 21st, spring is over, and summer is officially here! We can't wait to soak up the sun and get into some of our favorite summertime activities. Surprise surprise, one of those favorites is outdoor filming! Obviously, you need to be prepared (or over-prepared, if you're like us) for any and all shoots, regardless of where they are. However, outdoor shoots require some unique prep. Read on for expert tips on filming in the summer!
1) Film Early Or Late
While you might think to film midday for the brightest outdoor lighting, it's actually best to film in the early morning or late afternoon. In the middle of the day, the sun is directly above your shoot. The resulting lighting angles cast weird shadows that drastically stand out. Instead, earlier or later in the day, the sun is lower in the sky, creating lighting at softer angles. With far fewer shadows that are much easier to correct, this lighting is much more agreeable to work with than midday sun. Check out our blog post about utilizing Magic Hour to film with the perfect outside lighting!
2) Use An ND Filter
A neutral density (ND) filter is an absolute must-have for outdoor shoots. It easily attaches to your camera's lens and controls the amount of light that passes through it. It's the perfect tool for combating the harsh and unpredictable lighting for outdoor filming. Using ND filters literally just limit the light levels that reach the camera's sensor. It's the best way to prevent the shot from getting overexposed in the summer sun, without losing the shallow depth of focus by increasing your F stops. With the ND filter, we can use a wider aperture to capture depth of images, which is great for portrait shots. The subject is at the forefront, in focus, and the background is soft and out of focus. We also use our ND filter with a slower shutter speed for long exposures and motion blur during a photo session. This allows us to capture the movement of one subject while keeping the rest of the scene static (think waterfalls, waves, clouds, etc.). The ND filter allows us to tame harsh lighting, creating drama and depth without overexposure.
3) Avoid Overheating
This one probably sounds super obvious, but we mean it. Shooting early morning/late afternoon allows for the coolest possible working conditions. Even so, outdoor shoots come with the risk of overheating. To stay cool, start hydrating before you get on set. From there, make sure you're drinking consistently throughout the day. It's also important to listen to your body and know the signs of dehydration (dry, irritated skin; headache or dizziness; fatigue; rapid breathing, etc). Make sure you're not only staying hydrated, but also getting enough electrolytes and sodium. Adding LiquidIV or other over-the-counter hydration boosters to your water can go a long way. You also need to make sure that you're wearing light, loose-fitting clothing in light colors. This is crucial, especially considering the amount of gear you'll have to carry. And of course, make sure your camera doesn't overheat either! Film in the shade (or use an umbrella) to keep your camera out of direct sunlight. Have extra batteries on hand to swap out when the old batteries start to heat up. Stick to filming in 1080p - shooting in 4k can overheat your camera quicker.
Filming in the summer can be fun, but make sure to stay safe!
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