Shooting In The Wild: What You Need for an Outdoor Shoot

Shooting your next creative film outdoors can be a pain, and if you’re not prepared for it then it can be the worst thing ever. Thankfully you have this handy-dandy guide to shooting out in the wild elements.

Here’s everything you need to know and prep for to make your outdoor shoot run as smoothly as possible.

WATER

I know, obvious right? It should be obvious, but I’ve been on more than one set where the Assistant Director underestimated how much water we needed and we didn’t have access to water out in the middle of the woods, forcing us to send craft services back a half hour each way to fill up the coolers.

Buy a couple cases of water bottles as well as bringing a couple of coolers of water. Ideally you want enough water to last the day, but if you have a long shoot and you can’t get around sending someone back at least you’ll be able to buy yourself more time before you do.

SHADE

Another no brainer, but shade cannot be a last minute thought. Don’t rely on your environment to provide shade, bring a pop up for your actors to sit in between takes and for people to eat lunch under.

Bring some small umbrellas too for shading the cameras, if you’re using a camera cage, you can just clamp the umbrellas right to the cage and have hands free shade.

See if you can get a folding table to put under the pop up, nothing’s worse than it being hot outside and not having something for your cast and crew to eat on.

DRESS CODE

Imagine you’re on set filming in the blistering heat, or the dead of winter and suddenly Mike passes out because he told you, “Oh, I don’t get bothered by the heat.” or Keith gets frostbite because he “always wear shorts in January.”

At very best you’re delayed an hour and you’re down a person, at the very worst you have a trip to the hospital on your hands and your shoots cancelled for the day.

Make sure your crew is dressed appropriately and don’t take no for an answer. Also, having things like extra sunscreen, aloe vera, or hand warmers on hand is a great way to keep people safe and energized.

SNACKS

Be smart about what kind of snacks you have, pack mainly an assortment of things like fruit, nuts and beef jerky.

One thing I always try to have on my sets is a large bag of gummy worms. It might sound counter productive, but as long as you have a good assortment of high energy and healthy foods bringing out a bag of gummy worms in the middle of the day is a great way to boost morale when you’re feeling drained by the 2:00 pm sun.

Take everyone out for a freezie at the end of the shoot, or if it’s cold out bring something hot for people to drink (personally unless it’s a night shoot I try not to have coffee on set, but something like hot chocolate is great.) Have fun and get creative with it.

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  • While a great many would see him as a hero, there are some that would prefer the term vigilante. Gregory is an aspiring filmmaker who loves writing, directing, coffee and long walks on the beach.

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