Show Us Your Shot: Shooting in High Heat


In this segment of Show Us Your Shot, filmmaker Jillian Bullock filmed a scene in Fairmount Park, in Philadelphia, in the summer: “We headed out early to beat the heat, but we had a problem with the DJI Ronin Gimbal, which wasn’t cooperating. This meant we had to do more takes of the scene. I made sure we had plenty of water bottles available for cast and crew. More care was given to the lead female actor, Tamara Woods, who was pregnant at the time. We kept taking breaks in order for her to hydrate and get a little rest. I told her to stand in the shade as much as possible.”

Jillian Bullock’s Bio

As an award-winning filmmaker, Bullock wrote and directed the documentary, A Filmmaker’s Personal Journey. She went on to write, direct, and produce the drama, Spirit. Bullock recently completed A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives, a feature film that focuses on veterans, PTSD, and sexual assault in the military. She has won several awards for the film, including best film, at the 2018 Validate Yourself Film Festival and 2018 Ocktober Film Festival. Bullock's new film, a psychological thriller called A Cup Full of Crazy, was scheduled to begin production, in Philadelphia, Summer 2019.


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One of my favorite tricks I ever learned when filming a live wedding in the heat, with my iphone and other equipment forced to be in the direct sun, was to bring room temperature freezer gel packs that would normally be used in a cooler for food (when frozen)… Wrapped around the equipment, they acted like heatsinks and kept the equipment that was otherwise failing running properly!:)

Cool trick (pun intended), thanks for sharing the tip. I'm curious as to why not freeze or at least refrigerate the gel packs? Is it because they would become stiff, or are you concerned about condensation? Please let us know, and thanks for sharing, I'm sure we'd love to see how you pull off some of the shots you take for the wedding videos. Best

This is a great example of the kinds of issues that come up in production and how to overcome them.  When we were filming DEADLY REVISIONS, we also had the "luck" of the hottest day on record in the Los Angeles area.  Our camera overheated, but we fortunately had a back-up.  And we kept our cast and crew hydrated as well because safety is number one. Nice to see how Bullock handled similar obstacles and achieved her goal of some excellent footage.  

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, shooting in high-heat is no laughing matter and if you've reached the point where you can't tell whether you are overheated or not, you are probably overheated and should take a safety break. For more tips on keeping yourself, your crew, and your gear cool when shooting in extreme heat, check out this excellent article by Mary Latvis on Keeping Your Cool During a Summer Video Shoot.