This is my first in a series of posts on shooting video in the backcountry. The purpose of this series is to bring you along my journey of a winter video shoot. My goal is to reveal the ins and outs of planning, preparing, and executing not only a video shoot but also a video shoot in the wilderness with harsh conditions at hand. The level of preparation that goes into something like this is high. Winter backpacking is very gear intensive. Throw a large handful of camera equipment on top of that and you immediately have a logistical nightmare.
I am by no means an expert in this area. I have much to learn but my hope is that I can help some out there who are considering these kinds of trips. Or maybe just entertain you as you come along for the ride. Let’s get into it.
Entry #1: After deciding to go into the mountains to shoot some video I sent out my feelers and gathered my team. This time my good friends Jonathan “lumberjack” Welin and Daniel “IceAxe” Sanchez gave me the thumbs up (yes I just made those nicknames up). These are guys I trust who are competent in the woods. It was crucial in this case to have a team for the video shots we want to come away with. This also allows me to haul mainly camera gear up the mountain while allowing the guys to haul the essentials like: tent, stove, etc.
With a team nailed down it was time to focus on gathering gear. Lists are your friend here. I have a backpacking list and a camera gear list. Let me first talk about backpacking in the winter. Don’t screw this up! The right gear is of critical importance while backpacking in the winter. We are expecting lows of 20 degrees on this trip but preparing for zero degree lows. With those temperatures comes a set of gear that each person needs. Sleeping bag, proper clothing, gloves, etc. Since it is unrealistic for each person to own every piece of equipment it was time to beg, borrow, or steal (I mean rent) gear. So the gathering begins.
The camera gear is a little harder to borrow. I have my core set of equipment that will come along with me and then made a list of all the items I was missing to pull off this shoot. From there I purchased some and rented others. Rentals included things like a slider, video head, extra camera batteries, etc. Things that I can’t afford to own right now or I just won’t use all the time (like extra camera batteries). One of the things about shooting in the cold is that batteries do not operate properly. You must always keep a set warm in your jacket and swap them out regularly.
Next time I will go into a little more detail on the gear involved.