How to shoot with a Weather Alert - Today's Chapter: Wind


On todays production guidebook let´s talk about wind.
There are different kinds of wind - the soft breeze, sudden squalls and strong storm. Shootable? They all are.

Imagine you are two days before a shoot and the weather forecast changes from happy sunshine to a wind alert situation - highest level, of course. Your clients have already arrived, after a journey of around 4.800 kilometres to shoot in your perfect location.
This is the moment where you have to decide to either wave the white feather or just to rock the storm.

OK, so let´s rock!

Step 1- A must at pre production stage: double check the list:
Extra wind jackets - check
Blankets - check
Towels - check
Safety glasses - check
Eyedrops - check
Hand and face cream- check
Extra sand bags - check
Hairdryers - check
Force your location manager to do his special weather dance. Check.

Is there anything else…..this late night brain wracking is taking it´s toll.
Oh Yes, toilets, toilets, toilets……check where the nearest open toilets will be!

Maximum alert and the town hall lock everything down!
A search of the area is required – OK, toilets located ….not our first choice but a quick perusal confirms cleanliness and of course, plenty of available paper.
High winds and the chance of safely erecting easy ups is at an all time low…. We´ll take them with us but I can see it now: Beach-goers  and clients scattering across the sand avoiding the path of  AWOL awnings. I really don´t fancy facing a hoard of angry tourists waving their sand filled sandwiches at me!!!

Phew! First light was gorgeous soft, winter sun across the pale sand of the beach. Virtually the same the director and DOP had witnessed the previous day. Precious pink and gold hues. The wind was blowing with a soft breeze giving us beautiful waves as a gladly welcomed side effect.
So far so good, the images of a happy family jumping the waves as they lapped on the shore were beautifully shot…the weather stayed with us, holding back the impending storm, it seemed, especially for us. Maybe there is something in that weather dancing after all, note to self – investigate enrolling in classes.

Mid morning, the hotel terrace location and as quick as start as possible making the best of the time available as the bad stuff was closing in on us ….like an unwelcome stalker at the office Christmas Party.

Step 2: Hold back the hunger
An early start and an eternally ravenous crew of big strong guys to keep going, doubly difficult as our setting, a nostril tantalising buffet restaurant scene, with decadent amounts of food and our actors and extras looking as if they were enjoying it.  Time is of the essence, that storm is coming in and no matter how much dancing the location manager can do it just isn´t going to stay away, so imperative we keep going– just for a bit longer….pleeeaaassseee!

Step 3: Keep your actors and extras from turning blue…. Hot drinks, food and all important …blankets. Blue is a lovely colour but just somehow doesn´t adequately replace a nice healthy golden tan…

Meanwhile the food stylists continue to cook up the most delicious looking foods for the film buffet. On this occasion it´s not possible to use the hotels kitchen to prepare our film food but all has been prepared using our in-house catering mobile instead. It smells so good too but it´s prepared specially to look good only, the spread was fit for a King, but totally uneatable!

Step 4: Creativity in adversity
As the wind picked up the table clothes of our outdoor buffet fluttered then flapped in the rising wind, with tablecloth holders pinging off left, right and centre. Not to be deterred the set dressers rummage through their box of tricks and rush to the rescue, corners are anchored down with fine fishing line.  Yeah - Problem solved!


Step 5: Avoid Accidents.
Oh my! The gentle breeze of the morning is whipping up to storm level – action stations…. Add extra, extra sand bags to lighting tripods, keep an eye out for any random flying palm tree leaves, or for that matter any random flying objects. 

Oops there goes our production assistant again, kerplunk – no damage done but smooth soled sneakers are maybe not the right footwear for today.

With the last shot taken the wind finally picked up to full force. The following day Tenerife experienced the worse storm in goodness knows how many years. But by this time everything we had set out to achieve was achieved.

The moral of the story: have no fear and let nothing, but nothing stop you from producing the very best.