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Dealing With Wind When Filming Digital Video

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/30/2010

Here are some tips for filming out in windy situations.

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    Wind Beneath My Wings

    Video production is an imperfect creative and technical form at its heart. You can write out a script, engage in a comprehensive pre-production, have every crew position preparing your production day, and things will still not go exactly as you envisioned and planned. This is especially true when you are filming outdoors as nature tends to have plans of its own and you were not involved in the decision making process. Weather can interfere with a production in a number of ways, but simply canceling or postponing a production day is usually not an option. One of the most common types of interferences that can take place from the weather is excessive wind, which can create an incredible amount of noise and disrupt still shots. Here are some tips for dealing with wind when filming outdoors.

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    Microphone Cover

    Sound is going to be the most interrupted aspect of filming in the wind. The wind can essentially render your sound almost completely unusable, or at the very least very disruptive. The first course of action if there is any wind at all is to cover the microphone with approved microphone covers. This means putting your boom microphone into a zepplin, and making sure it has several layers of cover. These types of equipment should be standard whenever you are filming outdoors. In extreme wind situations even these will not suffice usually so you will have to be creative. Try constructing large blocking agents to control the wind as best you can and create an oasis of calm around your audio recording equipment. Either way you are likely going to have to use a low pass filter during audio post-production.

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    Cannot Replicate

    If you are shooting a narrative film you will find that wind can almost completely ruin your coverage if you are planning on shooting the same situation at another time. The wind can be strong and very temperamental, which means you have a few choices when you need several angles of a narrative scene. First, you can simply wait until another time when the wind is not present. Second, you can shoot your scenes quickly so that you can get all of them in the wind before the wind stops. You will not be able to replicate strong wind later on, so if you want it in the shot then you have to work quickly and limit the amount of coverage you will get. You may want to use a master shot in this situation just to be safe.

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    Choose the Angle Well

    You can position the camera in a few different ways, and all of them are going to be affected by the wind. If you point into the wind you are going to allow the subjects to look at you and they will not be disturbed by the wind in their face. This is only going to work if you can stabilize the cameraman enough as he is pointed into the wind, but you will have to do the same in the reverse position. If you position the camera to the side of the subject's stance then you will likely accent the motion of the wind, which is fine if you want to draw attention to it. What you really have to work out is the position of the subject relative to the wind, and the camera relative to the subject.