Here are a few production pointers for dealing with extreme weather shoots.
Make the strong case for at least one production motorhome. If budget and location allows, allocate one for Wardrobe/Vanities/Talent and one for Clients/Agency/Tech. Box trucks are not insulated and just won’t cut it!
If you have a smaller budget, or need a lighter production footprint, go with EZ-Up tents and mobile heaters. Keep in mind that you often have to order the tent sides separately - make sure to do so or you’ll be blowing in the blustery breeze!
These heaters from Hot Zone are great because they are infrared heaters, which warm your body rather than just the air around the unit. They are slim, very portable and silent, unlike some of the larger heater options. Silence is golden!
Ground cloths or heavy-duty tarps - Taken from my camping trip experiences, this will keep people’s feet dry in the tents, or cases of gear more protected from the elements or moisture that might otherwise seep through.
Self-explanatory! I buy these in bulk and keep them in my travel kit throughout the winter.
*AAA Membership - for when that crew member’s locks freeze or the production van won’t start. I don’t even own a car in NYC but have kept my AAA membership for 8+ years and it comes in handy every single year.
Extra large windproof golf umbrellas - to hold over talent should it be snowing or to block wind.
Although I tend to have healthy production catering, when the weather is brutal, I find that crew & clients alike tend to appreciate comfort foods. You want something that sticks to your bones! Make sure to have tons of warm beverages - hot water, tea, hot chocolate and coffee. Even having a cup of something hot to warm your hands on can be a mood-lifter. I swear by the Japanese brand Zojirushi for their insulated containers that truly do keep drinks hot for hours.
Consider renting snowshoes, a sled with a cargo net or even hiring a snowmobile for hauling gear (and talent) in especially remote or snowy locations.
2-way radios or walkie talkies -
When temperatures are freezing, communication is key - no one wants to be running around needlessly.
The cold drains energy in more ways than one!
Snow shovel & bag of gravel or sand.
Keep this in the production van. You never know when you’ll need to clear a walkway, snowdrift, or dig out a production vehicle!
The night before the shoot, I’ll also email the crew and clients with the weather reports reminding everyone of the temperature. I usually throw together a few extra pairs of socks, gloves, hats, scarves and even a coat or two into my kit, because inevitably someone will forget or lose an item, or simply not be dressed adequately for the weather. But that only happens once a season as a chilly reminder to be prepared for the weather!
Words by Annika Howe
Landscape Images by Adrian Alston