By Simon Forrester (Freelance)
Cold cables can snap - upgrade your kit
Great care needs to be taken with equipment. Below –15C or so cables become brittle and will easily snap, so always take plenty of spares for things that you can’t do without such as headphone leads etc.
If you are going to be away for an extended period of time I would recommend investing in weather proof mic cables which remain flexible even at very low temperatures, also consider heavy duty XLR and BNC connectors which when mated together are sealed against the elements.
Moisture is your enemy
It is important to keep everything as dry as possible when going outside as anything that has moisture on or in it will turn to ice instantly on contact with the freezing air. This is a real problem with the front and rear elements of lenses but can also cause major headaches with the ends of connectors and phantom powered mics.
I generally try and keep my kit in a cool dry room overnight to keep the moisture risk down to a minimum.
Of course the reverse is also true. When bringing very cold equipment indoors to film it can take a long time to acclimatise and will produce a lot of moisture as it does so which condenses on the kit, with all the problems that entails.
A towel or small cloth is always a handy thing to carry with you for occasions such as these as is a screwdriver for opening up the sides of cameras/mixers to let the innards dry.
Reduced battery life
Excessive cold also has a massive draining effect on batteries, Lithium cells should be used wherever possible – if alkaline cells have to be used try and keep them out of the cold for as long as possible and expect them to have half to one third of the life that you would normally expect.
Putting some hand warmers into your battery box to raise the ambient temperature a few degrees will help alleviate this problem.