Filming in general can be a lot of work under the most controlled conditions. You have to account for lighting, sound, composition and be able to react to changes on the fly. Combine this with the challenge of being in the wilderness where you are the mercy of the elements and the word “overwhelming” seems to come to mind. You have to deal with wind disrupting your audio, you have to protect your gear, deal with changing lighting conditions, all while still trying to capture tremendous once in a lifetime footage. Challenge accepted.

Dealing With Outdoor Lighting

Filming outdoors often means constant changes in lighting conditions. Working with a DSLR camera helps with this sometimes because you can set the camera to Auto ISO to help compensate and transition. A lack of light can also be an issue, but the right lenses for a DSLR can certainly help, they are pricey but worth every penny. DSLR cameras are ideal for low light situations specifically because of the ability to adjust the aperture and use interchangeable lenses.

Filming and Outdoor Audio

Outdoor audio is the bane of most filmmakers, but it is a problem that can be solved with a bit of planning and the right gear. A shotgun microphone with a wind muff usually is what you need to get the job done. If you are using a lapel mic you should also consider a wind muff for it to keep the audio clean. Because of the need to adapt a change to situations as they arise, wired mics in the wild can be a disaster, if at all possible you should go for a wireless solution.

Filming Action in the Wild

The need to move at a moments notice is a big part of outdoor filming. To avoid sloppy, jerky camera work that comes out like “found footage” you want to prioritize some type of stabilization rig. This usually is a shoulder rig but a camera cage can work just as well if not better in some circumstances. Monopods are great for getting high angles and things you can’t reach. In terms of cameras, DSLRs can be great but sometimes you do want a more action oriented look and for that there is nothing better than a GoPro camera.

Filming From a Kayak

Filming from a Kayak (the group we were in, were using the advanced elements straitedge just like this one) was a whole other level in terms of challenge. You have to consider everything that can go wrong, and that is a long list. Safety is the most important thing, and in the end if you are too focused on the camera equipment you can find yourself in a very difficult and unsafe situation. For this specific reason the GoPro is literally a life safer. It eliminates the compromise between capturing amazing once in a lifetime footage and being in the moment and paying attention to safety.