The challenges of recording video outside

I now have 84 videos on my YouTube channel, the majority of which were recorded in my ‘studio.’

Having a quiet area where you can control the lighting and have the camera and background fixed makes things much easier, particularly if you are a business owner and just looking to record a quick video.

I have shot several videos outside myself, but suddenly you find there are a lot of additional items to consider such as:

1) Lighting – I found several good locations and returned to them to shoot some video when it was quieter… only to find the lighting was wrong and the sun was either behind me or right in my face.

2) Sound – it’s amazing how the human brain can filter out sounds that are not ones we are concentrating on. What might appear to be a good location suddenly becomes very noisy when we stop and listen to the sounds around us.
I was in a city recently, planning to shoot on a rooftop, but the building utilities were there, as well as the noise of nearby construction sites too.
It was something that affected my last professional shoot also, we arrived at 8am when the location was empty only to find a council worker watering the plants nearby using a generator powered water jet!

3) Weather – you may find a great location that’s quiet and has good lighting, only to find out that it’s pouring with rain when you get there. If you are shooting a stylish music video it could work, but for a business video it might not.
Wind is another factor, one that’s affected me several times – you need to record the audio for your video but wind over the microphone makes a lot of noise. Some of it can be removed during editing, but you could find that the audio track isn’t usable.
I have a separate audio recorder and lapel mic, but even that is affected by strong wind despite having a wind shield. You may need to find a sheltered location to minimise this, but it could compromise the impressive backdrop you had planned to use.

4) Camera shake – in the studio you will have the camera set on a tripod so it’s fixed in position and won’t move. When you are on location though it may not be possible to use one.
I have a pocket tripod, that I can use in some situations but when shooting on rooftops I wouldn’t want to entrust an expensive camcorder to this, particularly if it’s also windy.
You may try hand holding the camera, depending on the model you have this could work for short periods – my current one has optical image stabilisation so it removes the normal hand movements and gives you a much better picture.
On some of my earlier videos I was using a very small pocket-sized camera that unfortunately suffered quite badly from camera shake as small movements were greatly magnified on the video.
I do have a steadicam type stabiliser now as well, but holding this at arms length while you film yourself will get tiring very quickly.

When shooting video for business you may actually choose to shoot most of them in the studio as I am doing – it has certainly given me a much greater understanding and appreciation for those shooting outside.