Mastering Cold Weather Video Shoots: Essential Prep for Freezing Temperatures

As winter is around the corner, the allure of cold weather video shoots becomes undeniable. Capturing stunning snowy landscapes or creating gripping winter scenes can add an extra layer of magic to your productions. 

However, shooting in freezing temperatures requires careful preparation to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. In this blog post, I’ll guide you through essential prepping steps for cold weather video shoots, so you can stay warm, focused, and ready to create cinematic wonders in the frosty outdoors.

1. Dress Like an Arctic Explorer (Layers, Layers, Layers!)

When the mercury drops, it’s essential to keep yourself warm and comfortable to maintain peak performance. Layering is your best friend in cold weather conditions. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. Add an insulating layer like fleece or down for warmth and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer shell to protect against the elements. Don’t forget to wear thermal socks, insulated gloves, a cozy hat, and (in extreme wind & low temps) a face mask or balaclava to protect exposed skin from freezing winds.

2. Keep Your Gear Toasty (but not too toasty)

Cameras and batteries don’t like the cold any more than we do! Cold temperatures can significantly reduce battery life and affect your camera’s performance. To counter this, keep your gear insulated by using hand warmers, camera covers, or heat packs. Keep extra batteries warm in your pockets and swap them out frequently. Also, avoid sudden temperature changes by letting your gear acclimate before shooting.

Big thing though - allow your camera & lenses to adjust to the cold temps. Don’t jump in & out of a vehicle with your lenses. You risk fogging up the sensor & the glass.

3. Plan for Shorter Shoots

Cold weather can be harsh on both humans and equipment. Be realistic about how long you can endure the cold and plan accordingly. Shorter, focused shooting sessions can help maintain your creative edge and ensure you don’t overexert yourself or your gear.

4. Keep Hydrated and Snack Smart

The cold weather might fool you into thinking you’re not sweating, but your body is still working hard to keep warm. Hydration and nourishment are essential to maintain energy levels. Bring along a thermos with hot drinks, like tea or soup, and pack high-energy snacks like nuts, trail mix, or protein bars.

5. Prepare for Snowy Footwork

Walking and setting up equipment in snowy terrain can be challenging. Make sure to wear sturdy, waterproof footwear with good traction. Bring along gaiters to keep snow out of your shoes and pants. Consider using a sled or snowshoes to transport your gear through deep snow if necessary.

6. Pack Smart and Light

You might be tempted to bring all the gear you own, but in cold weather, it’s better to prioritize what’s essential. Minimize your load to maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of damaging or losing equipment in freezing conditions.

7. Stay Safe and Informed

Before heading out, check the weather forecast, be aware of potential hazards, and inform someone of your shooting location and expected return time. Especially in the back country & mountains - Always carry a fully charged phone and an emergency kit with you.

Prepping for cold weather video shoots in freezing temperatures might seem like a challenge, but with the right preparation and gear, it can be a truly rewarding experience. Dress warmly, keep your equipment cozy, and plan your shoots smartly to ensure smooth operations and exceptional results.