Full Frame Camera Co.

Extend Camera Battery Life – 5 Ideas

What You Can Do To Extend Camera Battery Life

As cinematographers, photographers and videographers – we love our art, and we love our equipment. While it means lugging around a little bit of extra kit or hire kit to make sure everything lasts for the shoot, you never know what might happen on the day (or night).

Energy and battery life is one of the most important facets of life as a filmmaker – so why should you let a battery fail ruin your shoot?

Of course, you can always look at using high quality battery plates for your Canon camera, for example, to help take care of your camera batteries while they’re in use.

Here are some tips learned over the years by the team at Full Frame Camera Co. as to how you can make your battery last just that little bit longer, when you need to eke out more battery life.

Regularly Charge Your Battery

We all know that bit-charging out your battery continuously won’t get you very far. It’s really important that you keep it charged – and also let them get run down completely to ensure they keep to capacity as much as possible, therefore you can extend camera battery life. Lithium batteries need juicing and draining – think of it like ‘washing’ your battery. If you’re only letting it get to 10% before whacking on the charger again, you’ll eventually start depleting that battery by the same percentage.

It might seem like an annoying thing to do, but regularly discharging and recharging your camera’s battery can extend its life by quite a lot (also assuming you’re always carrying enough spares and you’ve timed battery life and that you’re carrying spares, measured to match your shoot time accurately). 

Not to mention, it will give you plenty of battery to use for other aspects of the shoot, such as any live curating and editing. Be sure to factor these camera battery tasks in when planning your shoot, as they can use more energy than you realise.

Turn Off GPS and Wi-Fi

If your camera has the onboard capability for GPS or WiFi, but you’re forgetting to killswitch it each time you have the camera on – the battery is going to burn down at up to three times the rate as normal if you keep that Camera GPS and Wi-Fi on. Most of the time these things will turn off automatically when your phone is switched off. It might be a pain to take those extra few minutes into your set up time, but making sure that any extraneous functionality that you really don’t need, is switched off.

Turn Off Unnecessary Camera Functions

No, this isn’t the same as turning off Auto ISO, and yes, you can get away with turning off specific functions that won’t affect the camera’s overall performance. However, there are a few that you should think about in terms of not turning off, as it will help extend camera battery life. Here are just a few that we recommend: 

  • Turning off the focus assist during continuous shooting will dramatically increase battery life
  • Use high-quality lenses 
  • Beware of using Vibration Reduction in video mode 
  • Use a Dual Battery System 
  • Use a V Mount Plate or Gold Mount Plate with high quality connectors

Adjust Your Screen or Monitor Brightness

Ideally, we always want to aim to brighten the environment around a camera as much as we can, as this will optimise the amount of backlight that a screen can get from the LCD panel and thus reduce the amount of power required to display the image. However, if a particular shot may require the brightness to drop to ensure that the shot remains high-quality, you can adjust the brightness by up to 30% to ensure that the camera doesn’t run low.

This will make the screen a little less sharp for sure, but it should still be usable for a couple of hours – after which the camera should (hopefully, as long as it’s a battery in good condition!) be able to generate or stave off enough juice to make a new batch of fresh panels or footage.

Avoid Shooting In Low Light

As much as we would all love to have perfect dark conditions on the sets and in our shot lists to shoot in, sometimes that’s just not feasible. When you’re filming on location, a dark environment is a constant, so make sure you’re mindful of this. If possible, set your camera up with higher ISO and key light to avoid over-saturating the scene. Where possible, use manual focus too. Having to manually focus can be one of the biggest problems when shooting in the dark, so if you have focus peaking capability (similar to what you would use with a DSLR camera and in-built with most mirrorless cameras), use this to help you out. Sometimes, all you need is one press of the button to get everything sharp…

Where possible, use long shutter speeds too. Some cameras have a higher default shutter speed than others, and high shutter speeds can often drain your battery quicker so be sure to keep an eye on this. 

Do you have any more tips? Connect with Full Frame Camera Co. on social media, we would love to hear from you!