Filming in Mountainous Environments

Depending upon the type of movie you’re filming, a mountainous environment may be the perfect setting.

Wild and remote, mountainous areas offer a peaceful atmosphere with dramatics vistas. As with any shoot location, though, mountainous areas can pose specific problems for film crews.

Filming in mountainous terrain

Tips to Filming in Mountainous Terrain

1. Understand that no matter how thoroughly you investigate what the weather will be like while you’re filming, it’s really not possible to figure out the weather forecast more than five days in advance. Prepare for the worst!

2. Remain flexible, since weather fluctuations can drastically change where you’re able to film for days at a time. For example, when it rains, river levels can quickly rise, making certain locations far too dangerous for filming.

3. Pack the proper clothing to stay warm and dry. Changes of clothing, warm coats made for spending an extended period of time outside, and waterproof boots should be on your packing list. See below for a more thorough packing list.

4. Wear sunblock daily, even if the weather’s cold and overcast. Some people think that they only need to wear sunblock during the summertime, but if the suns in the sky, you need sunblock to protect your skin.

5. While the crew can wear the proper clothing for filming in chilly locations, the cast usually is stuck with their wardrobe, which probably isn’t warm enough for the elements. Make sure to have a warm and dry place that cast members can head to in between scenes.

6. Never access land that you don’t have permission to shoot on. Make sure to have a good relationship with the landowner or location manager before filming begins.

7. You’ll only be able to take cars, trucks and SUVs so far before specific off-roading vehicles have to be used. Often, the crew has to carry equipment to the location where they’ll be shooting. If this is the case, make sure that you have the right transportation options available for safely moving equipment without a vehicle. You can also opt to use off-roading vehicles or helicopters, but both options are not always realistic for certain settings.

8. The more remote your location is, the more important it is to have a safety team along with you. It’s also necessary to hire a safety team that has experience working with productions. Make sure that the team has the correct insurance for working with TV and movie productions. While the safety team should have First Aid training, you should also have a paramedic on hand who has First Aid experience in mountainous areas.

9. For scenes that are shot close to cliff ledges, make sure to have the fewest number of people near the ledge as possible. Things like camera checks and costume checks should be done far from the ledge; then essential people only can be moved into the location.

10. If certain shots require cast or crew members to be set up in ropes, rock climbing equipment, boats or canoes, block out extra time. These arrangements usually take more time than you’d expect.

Packing List

You’ll need the following items of clothing when preparing for a shoot in the mountains: Tight-fitting thermals that are designed to wick away sweat work well as base layers. Micro-fleeces for insulation. Soft shell jackets to block the wind. Waterproof jackets. Waterproof pants. Waterproof hiking boots. Synthetic jackets will provide extra warmth. Winter hat. Warm gloves.


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