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WEATHER EXTREMES P.2
michael — 4 years ago
Talk about extremes. Just 2 months ago we were up in the Canadian wilderness filming in knee-high snowdrifts and minus 35 Celsius and now here we are in sub-Saharan Africa dealing with temperatures of 46 Celsius in the shade. The equipment, for one, is not enjoying the heat. Like in Haliburton, the extreme conditions are killing our batteries at twice the rate.
We just finished shooting a scene with one of the Malian subjects, Souleymane Berthé, and our secondary camera, the 7D, has just died. The regrettable incident happened while we were filming Mr. Berthé in his house in the town of Kadiolo – in southern Mali. No sooner did we start rolling that he camera just went nuts on us – sputtering and blinking its evil red warning light. We had no choice but to shut it off. It simply had enough with this crushing heat. No wonder when you consider that – with the sun blazing down on Mr. Berthé’s steel corrugated roof – we estimated the temperature inside was probably into the low 50s.
We’re also finding that the heat is making it very hard for us to work more than 4 hours a day – we just get too bloody worn out. And so do our subjects. Given that I’d scheduled our shooting days around a normal workday (8-10 hours), I’ve had to drastically alter my shooting schedule. I just hope I can get what we need in the time we have.
Another problem is the dust. It’s everywhere. Stan and Dave are constantly cleaning their equipment, making sure that the fine red particles don’t wind up inside the inner workings of our equipment. Yesterday, Dave even borrowed a vacuum cleaner from one of the housekeepers at our hotel to suck out any dust from his mixer and wireless receivers.
Out here, any damage to any of our gear would be a disaster. It’s not like we can just drive somewhere nearby to rent new equipment. Last night, out of curiosity, I Googled “West Africa digital film equipment rental.” What came back was mostly “Nigeria” and “South Africa”. If there’s an equivalent in Mali (which there most likely is), none of our guides seem to know about it.
All I know is that Nigeria is more than 1,500 kilometers away. I don’t even want to think about it.