I have a shoot coming up and where I live the heat wave is still goin’ strong and we’re doing 2 days of interiors and 1 day of exteriors and I’m just wondering if anyone has advice for not dying but also still being efficient!
I’ve bought little electric/battery powered hand fans before that were popular! Makes people feel like they’re kinda in control instead of being at the whim of someone remembering to open the window between set ups
Bring umbrellas, sunscreen and have plenty of water on hand. If you can film in the shade opt for that. We used the umbrella for equipment and talent. You’ll also need them in case it rains.
Any indoor tips? tbh that’s really what I’m worried about- everyone trapped in a hot room for 8+ hours
Is there no AC where you’re filming? Get a cooler with ice and put beverages in it so people aren’t traveling back and forth to a kitchen/fridge. Spray bottles with cold water is good too but you have to be careful around lighting/equipment, makeup etc.
I feel your pain! We ALWAYS film OSTSG in the summer for scheduling around school for the teens. When sound forces you to shut off the ACs and fans for takes it can get pretty brutal. There’s sadly only SO much you can do but…
- Take ample breaks. In extreme heat you can run into many problems with cast and crew getting overheated, exhausted or just plain cranky. However, equipment will also need breaks in the heat. Especially your camera!
- Take opportunities to cool down. Flip on fans, a/c etc every chance you get (just make sure someone is in charge of remembering to turn them OFF before takes). The hand held fans idea is genius!
- Have plenty of water on set. It’s insanely important to stay hydrated for your cast AND crew when filming in the heat.
- Be honest with people ahead of time so they can prepare. A prepared crew member can dress for the weather and also take any other precautions needed. Your cast may have no choice in wardrobe, but if they know ahead of time, they can make sure to bring something cool to change into after scenes. It’s also a good idea to let them wait until 100% needed to get into warmer wardrobe. If you are capable of putting them in something cooler for wardrobe on hot days, it’s a supr helpful idea. (I’m pretty sure my wardrobe has included pants and a jacket EVERY season of OSTSG which is a KILLER in the summer… why did I do that to myself? lol. ).
Lots of water. Light clothing. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty; you’re already dehydrated by that point. Drink water all day long. Eat energizing foods (fruits, nuts, etc.) Basic things that’ll help you in the long run.
For the exterior shoot we just finished, I jumped around in the shot list so one actor wouldn’t always be on. So if there were 3 angles of Character A and 3 of Character B, I’d do one A, then one B, then back to A. That way the actors could take some shade between their sets.
We filmed during a heat wave a few years ago - in colonial clothing!
Make sure the actors/crew tank up on water the night before & have plenty available on set. As much as we love our coffee, it’s a diuretic. Those drinking coffee or soda will need even more water. Raw veggies as part of craft services will get more water to them as well.
Keep an eye on your cast & crew - you may need to take extra breaks for their health and safety. Don’t let them push themselves to the point of illness or passing out.
If the location has AC, have it cranked as you’re setting up, makeup/costuming, rehearsing & between takes. Put 1-2 people in charge of making sure everything’s off when you’re ready to film. If there’s no AC, maybe bring a box fan & have it blow toward a metal bowl full of ice (I haven’t tested this, but a friend used to do this with a block of ice & it worked)!
If possible, set up lights the night before, when it’s cooler. After making sure you’re properly lit, kill unnecessary lighting until you’re about ready to shoot.
Put some damp towels or facecloths in the fridge/freezer/cooler. If cast are careful with costuming/makeup they can apply them to cool off. Freezing socks may be an option for anyone whose footwear isn’t costumed.
If possible, have holding in a room they can run a fan/AC. At the very least, try not to keep everyone in the same room. It will help keep down the body heat addition to the temperature.
Would love to hear what you end up using & its effectiveness!
Shooting in summer is almost like training for an athletic event. Being fully hydrated days before with proper nutrition in advance of the shoot has worked. Shorter shooting sessions with longer breaks on the days of the shoot helped. More patience from the director helps. Best of luck and please share what works.
Thank you all!! Will definitely be using all your tips
There’s a lot of replies so IDK if anyone has said this, but if you’re doing any shooting at night, BUG SPRAY! I had one shoot outside at night last summer, and me and my poor actors almost got eaten alive. Also good for daytime outside shooting I assume!
Oh man this reminds me of the first shoot I ever did, on my little brother’s short film called Manhunter at the ripe age of 16. We were shooting in the middle of summer in the middle of a desert that had just had an unseasonable amount of rain and you can literally see the bugs swarming us in some of the later scenes- it was all we could do to say our (very good) lines and get through the day.
For the curious:
WHAT WAS UP WITH THAT JERRY GUY BRI?
A lot of good advice here, so I recommend taking all of it. I’d also add that you should factor more time into your summer shoots to compensate for having to cool people off between takes or scenes. If you have extra budget, there are better, more modern fans you can get that can do more good than the cheaper box fans. While not as effective you can always get a bunch of ice cubes or bags of ice and set them in front of box fans to get some of that cooler water dispersed into the air.
Popsicles and cups of ice that cast and crew can consume are also good ideas if you can swing 'em. Cheapo freezepops, while not the most healthy, can also be a useful add to the craft services.
I rent an EZ-up tent with sidewalls (or if you want to be crafty, buy & return it from a Sporting Goods store). Also two Gatoradors. I fill one with ice & water, the other with ice coffee or ice tea. A small cooler for the set with more cool drinks.
I also recommend bringing a big bottle of kid’s sunscreen. No matter how many times you ask folks to bring sunscreen, someone will forget.
You can also buy & return a box/standing fan from Home Depot (90 day return policy, go Home Depot!) Turn 'em on between takes.
If possible, keep as many people off set as possible. More people in an enclosed space = more heat + more BO + more noise (which is somehow worse when ti’s hot). If you can set up a separate room for holding/staging, that will help a lot.
You should talk to the cast & crew about this beforehand, but sometimes I’ve opted for cold lunches instead of hot. A hot meal is considered the standard, but in horrible weather a lot of folks would rather eat something cold (I’ve done Mediterranean platters, sandwich platters, cobb salads with chicken or vegan protein, etc.)
If you have a big crew or cast, you can get ice delivered in NYC (in bags or blocks)!
We shot on the hottest day of the year last year and it was a Christmas scene LOL! Actors in jackets, Christmas jumpers etc, green screening too. Lots of water, make sure windows are open if you’re not recording sound, fans on full blast if you’re not recording sound, if you have AC, on after every take, have a runner standing by to switch it on after cut is yelled, then switch it off when the camera person rolls. The make-up person standing by to make sure the actors are not shiny or sweaty, runners on standby with bottles of water to give to the cast and crew, buy loads of ice to chill drinks and always apologize to cast and crew for the horrendous heat, yeah I know it’s no one’s fault but it always helps.
A related topic is what happens when one part of a movie is filmed during cold weather, and another part is filmed during hot weather. If the entire story is supposed to take place during a short period of time, then weather continuity becomes an issue.
The seven-minute short film that my brother and I made when we were kids was filmed entirely outdoors. I thought we could finish all of the filming during our winter break from school, but we filmed only the first half. There was no snow on the ground, but it was cold and we wore our winter coats.
We filmed the second half during our spring break. It was not extremely hot, but hot enough to make the winter coats uncomfortable. Since the weather was irrelevant to the story, and the look of the scenery did not noticeably change, I had my brother simply remove his winter coat onscreen during a lull in the action, to maintain some clothing continuity.
You can see the short film below. At 1:50, it is so cold outside that my breath is visible. My brother removes his coat at 4:25.