Filmmaking isn't cheap. Ruin a take and it could potentially cost thousands of dollars. Ensuring everything is running smoothly and efficiently isn't easy, especially when you're battling intense heat radiating from lighting and other electrical equipment.
Air conditioning is a crucial aspect of any film studio. Not only does it keep the crew and talent comfortable, it prevents electrical equipment from overheating. Even if you're shooting on location as opposed to a studio, air conditioning should be at the top of your list of priorities.
The following three components are crucial when choosing an air conditioner for filmmaking.
It Must Be Silent
"Quiet On Set!" This common phase shouted by assistant directors is pointless unless the background noise is in check. Your air conditioning system must be virtually silent—quieter than a whisper—in order to provide a suitable filmmaking environment. Shotgun microphones used on most films are highly sensitive and poor sound can render footage useless, especially on budget productions that don't have the luxury of re-recording dialogue in a studio. The humming of an air conditioner can ruin an otherwise perfect take.
It Must Provide Adequate Power
Unless you're shooting outside, film studios are often closed locations that are completely cut off from the rest of the world. Filmmakers need as much control over the sound and picture as possible, therefore, it's not uncommon for windows, doors and even curtains to be closed shut in order to block out exterior interferences. With the excessive amount of electrical equipment and no natural cooling, things can get hot. Your air conditioning system must be powerful enough to combat this intense heat.
It Should Control Allergens
When working in a closed studio with tens – maybe even hundreds – of crew members, actors and extras, the risk of contracting an illness is increased tenfold. In addition, smoke machines, set building, pyrotechnics and other filmmaking processes can cause the air to be riddled with contaminants. When a key crew member gets ill during production, the entire filmmaking process could become problematic very quickly. A good air filtration system can reduce dust and allergens, leaving a more comfortable, less hazardous working environment.
A good air conditioning system could make or break your movie. While it may not be seen, it could certainly be heard. If you're building a film studio or planning a shoot somewhere that's hasn't been designed with filmmaking in mind, contact a specialist before you make any purchasing decisions.