While we’re only halfway through the coldest season in the Northern Hemisphere (and we envy those of you who are experiencing summer on the other side of the globe), the days are getting longer, which means we’re tempted to go out more (with our cameras), so we’ve compiled a basic list of winter video tips.
What are winter conditions, anyway?
To give some context of what we’re talking about when we say “winter” (and we realize that there are probably many, many readers who have very little experience with the concept of “snow”), first of all, winter is cold, and when we say cold, we mean below freezing – frostbite weather. Winter can also be wet. In some places, such as the skihill, it can turn from rain to sleet, to snow – and back to rain again, very quickly. Cold and wet can be very hard on your camera.
Beautiful winter light
But winter can also be beautiful. Depending on how far north (or south) you are, the sun is typically lower in the sky, providing beautiful light with plenty of contrast and plenty deep, beautiful colors. Snow is also beautiful in its own right, and sunlight reflected off of snow can help add warmth and vibrancy to videos and photos.
Winter shooting tips
Here are a few tips for shooting in winter:
1. Stay dry
Possibly the single biggest challenge when shooting in winter is to keep your equipment dry. While rain is the obvious enemy, so is snow: snow will melt once you move your equipment indoors, with serious consequences for your camera’s electronics.
One solution is to use a ziplock bag (sturdier than a regular plastic bag) to protect your camera – cut one end out of it for your camera’s lens
2. Keep your equipment at a constant temperature
As mentioned, if it’s snowing, snow will end up on your camera, and it will melt. But if you’re shooting in colder weather, sudden changes from warm to cold can wreak havoc on your camera’s innards. For example, changes in humidity can cause condensation within your camera. Try gradually warming up or cooling down your camera in an external jacket pocket.
The moisture, believe it or not, is likely going to be caused by your own breath, and the closer you are to your camera or camcorder (say, if you use a viewfinder rather than the LCD panel to set up a shot) the more moisture will accumulate on or in your camera.
3. Watch your exposure
Shooting in snow can be very difficult. While many cameras have automatic “snow” settings that take the guesswork out of exposure, it’s not going to help you if your shoot with the sun in front of you – the sun and reflection off the snow will provide some truly overpowering backlighting. Of course, if you can, use a polarizing filter or a lens hood.
That’s all for now. If you have any awesome winter shots, send them our way!
Nevin Thompson frequently blogs about video tips on the muvee blog.