Are you ready for summer??

Okay, maybe it’s not quite time to break out the flip flops, but if you’ve got a video marketing strategy, chances are you’re gearing up to do some filming this May. While summer shooting might sound like a walk in the park, it has its own unique set of challenges to keep in mind.

What you definitely don’t want is to miss out on the great opportunity to shoot some fantastic summer footage because you didn’t know how to prepare, so here’s what to keep in mind as you scout locations for your first shoot of the season.

There is such a thing as too much ambience

Summer videos offer plenty of latitude for nostalgia: think grassy fields, festivals, the beach, summer sunsets, national parks, drive-in movies, picnics—you get the idea.

When filming on-location, pause to really take in all of the noise surrounding you. Ideally, to evoke “classic” summer ambience, you’ll want to find a place that has a nice hum and air of excitement, but probably not the sounds of a crowded, heavily trafficked recreational area.

Especially if you’re recording for sound, less is more. You can add ocean waves and seagulls in post-production, but it’s hard to get rid of, for example, cars driving by or a noisy ice cream truck.

Scout at a few different times

The look and feel of a location can change significantly on different days of the week and different times of day. Check it out at least two or three times to see when the optimal time to shoot will be. You just might be able to avoid the crowds on a beach, for example, if you shoot on a Monday before 9 am. Check local papers to make sure you’re aware of any events in public spaces that might interfere with your shoot schedule.

Baby your camera

Video cameras don’t respond well to sand, salty beach air, or moisture from the sea or rain, so make sure you keep your camera stowed away when not shooting, and bring cleaning materials with you. Also be careful not to leave your camera lying in the sun, as dark-colored camera bodies can absorb the heat and get overheated pretty quickly. If you’re worried, bring an umbrella for shade.

Lighting should be easy, but it might not be

The usual problem we have is not enough light. If you’re trying to film something at the height of the day in summer, you might actually end up with too much light, so do some test shoots at different times of day to ensure the shots don’t have harsh shadows, or appear overexposed.

If you need or want to film in full sunlight, you can create beautiful effects using the rays of the sun filtered through the leaves of trees, or reflected off of a body of water. Another smart way to take advantage of the full sunlight during the summer months is to use a white foam board as a portable, lightweight fill light. Bonus – it won’t require a power source to operate!

Take care to avoid smooth bright surfaces in full sunlight outdoors, as the reflected light that bounces off of them can cause shots to come out overexposed. Be mindful of backlighting too, such as bright windows, since that can silhouette your subject, obliterating all visual detail in the shot.

Shooting outside? Power up

Most outdoor locations lack power supplies (though there’s no harm in asking). Make sure your kit is all fully charged and ready for a few hours of shooting. If you have a solar charger, get it out of winter storage and bring it along!

What are you planning to film this summer? We’d love to hear about it!