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Safety is the main concern in all types of filming, and this is especially true in extreme locations. At the same time, the right knowledge and planning is very important when shooting in areas with difficult conditions.
There are a number of factors that people should take into consideration while filming in these kinds of environments.
Being physically fit may not completely protect an individual from the effects of harsh weather environments found in a filming location. However, it will help them cope with the physical exertion of carrying kit bags and walking in a freezing or humid weather conditions. If any member of the team has medical issues such as sleeping problems or asthma, this should be taken into consideration before including them on the trip. Medical problems that may not seem very serious in normal conditions could be a significant threat in an extreme weather environment.
Prior to shooting in a particular filming location, it is always important to perform a thorough risk assessment. This will help adequately ensure the safety of both the equipment and crew when filming in an extreme setting. They should also make sure that the location manager or scout has adequate knowledge of the different risks that are involved in filming in a chosen location. This includes evacuation routes and access to basic medical facilities. At the same time, it is useful to have a team member who is trained in basic first aid. All members of the crew should be thoroughly briefed on how to keep themselves healthy and safe during filming. It is also much better to be adequately prepared for possible worst case scenarios when filming in extreme locations. Many production teams rarely follow the time table given, so it is very important that extra care is taken in extreme conditions. With this, a team will know how to take immediate and effective action in order to keep people safe and put things right if something goes wrong.
Electronic and camera equipment can be badly affected by harsh weather conditions found in many shooting locations. Cables can become brittle, and lenses can freeze over in the extreme cold. At the same time, any type of extreme weather conditions can cause batteries to empty much faster than normal. Additionally, equipment such as satellite or mobile phones, generators and radios may not perform at peak capacity. This should be taken into consideration before a team sets off. Taking spare equipment is vital as an entire filming session could be ruined if a camera were to fail and there is no backup.
When filming in an extreme location, there will often be a conflict between the need to capture high-quality material that requires more kit and the need to travel light. As with any other filming location, the larger the budget, the higher the production value will be. If a crew can afford it, it is always advisable to hire local guides and porters that are used to operating in a particular region. These professionals are in a good position to carry heavy equipment when filming in high altitudes, the hot desert and other adverse weather conditions.
Employing these people will also help reduce the possibility that the crew will suffer from illness and exhaustion. At the same time, local knowledge can be important in formulating a plan for the shooting schedule. Their advice can also be crucial in helping to maintain the filming crew’s comfort and safety. It may also be important to employ specialists team leaders and safety teams to deal with treacherous conditions in situations where filming is very complicated or takes place in a particularly difficult location. Additionally, it is vital to make a proper risk assessment before the shoot to make sure that the crew is kept safe all the time.