How to Prepare for Remote and Volatile Shooting Conditions

The Director and DP of Viceland and History’s ‘Hunting ISIS’ shares what to pack and plan for in challenging shoot environments.

[No Film School invited Sebastiano Tomada to contribute this story based on his experience covering conflict zones.]

I come from a photography background and would have never thought that, years later, I would find myself covering war zones across the Middle East and Africa. In 2015, I slowly began transitioning to video mainly due to increase in demand from the news/editorial world. It was a positive transition but it came at a cost, a physical one and of course a financial one.

Have you ever lugged pounds on pounds of expensive video equipment? Cameras, batteries, tripods, lenses, and hard drives along with medical gear, a helmet, and a bulletproof vest? Have you ever had to deal with crazy temperatures or lack of electricity where you found yourself rigging car batteries to give some juice to your batteries? If you have, you know the pain and the frustration that comes with working on documentary projects in harsh, remote, and often volatile areas.

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