How to Stay Cool Working on Set of a Major Motion Picture


Ralph Benko

By Zachary Dunn 

Hey, I’m writing this from the set of a major motion picture. I’m required to be vague about certain things in order to protect the privacy of the shoot--hope you understand.

I recently discovered Qore Performance’s IceVents. Wearing them while working has been a game changer! I connected with you guys to let you in on why.

So, here I am on set in the Mojave Desert. I’m a fixtures technician (IATSE Local 728). If that doesn’t sound familiar to you, don’t worry--my job isn’t exactly in the spotlight. Fixtures is a branch of the lighting department, specifically Rigging. Our work starts long before the cameras are rolling. We are one of the first departments on set because we help to build it. Our work involves fabricating lights and installing them into the set as it’s being constructed. We work closely with the “set dec” (set decorators) and construction departments, sometimes months before the company (director, actors, hair and makeup artists, camera crew, etc.) arrives. Most of the time, we work at major Hollywood studios on sound stages: They’re cool, comfortable, and close to home. Other times, our work takes us “on location,’ like to the middle of the Mojave Desert… in summer.  

Bottom line? We’re working in 100+ degree heat. (Lucky me!) Also, July is monsoon season in the high desert, with pockets of rain blowing across the landscape. So, on top of it already being hot, it can be humid as well. Fortunately, we have two AC units on set. They’re the first things we turn on when we arrive and the last things we turn off before we leave. They work full time--just like us. However, when we are more than a few feet from the vents, it can feel like it’s 20 degrees hotter. Kind of like a sauna, but much less pleasant.

So, I’m two weeks into this five-week job. Like most guys in my field, I wear a chest rig. It keeps all of my specialized tools easily accessible when working on ladders or in confined spaces. As a fixtures technician, I need multiple tools to perform even simple tasks. I found that the Haley Strategic Micro Chest Rig offers me the right combination of size and storage in a simple and intuitive layout. Me being me (a total gear nerd), I have augmented the Haley rig with additional components from the Spiritus Systems Micro Fight System in order to make the perfect chest rig to meet my specific needs. To me, that means a system that’s low profile, modular, offers easy access to my tools, and is both lightweight and rugged. A great system, but at the end of the day, it’s on me for 12+ hours and it’s hot--with or without the desert heat. 

This is where discovering Qore Performance IceVents comes in, like the Koolaid man crashing through the wall to save the day. Oh yeah! This product is perfect.

It solves the biggest issue with wearing a chest rig or tools in general. The IceVents integrate seamlessly into my system.  Oriented vertically behind the chest rig like a plate carrier, the IceVents create a separation for air flow which keeps me from sweating my actual ass off. Now, I can wear my rig for 12+ hours a day and be comfortable. Like Lebowski’s rug, they tie everything together.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Because my rig is not the only system that can benefit from using IceVents! I want to get the word out to other tool-wearing film industry professionals--especially my fellow IATSE brothers and sisters in camera, lighting, grip, and set dec--that this product exists and can drastically improve working conditions… on any location. But honestly, someone in every department could find a use for IceVents or other Qore Performance products! And outside of the film industry? I’d even go as far as to say that the In-N-Out Burger chain, for instance, could benefit from using Qore products to keep their outdoor drive-thru employees cool in this unforgivingly hot, southwestern climate.

Most movie-goers have no idea the amount of literal blood, sweat, and tears that go into creating a major motion picture. It takes hundreds of people working thousands of hours as cogs in the same wheel to create the final art that makes it to the silver screen. As professionals in the industry, we rely on our gear to get our jobs done. I believe having the right gear for the task is crucial and can even help reduce the amount of blood, sweat (in this case!) and tears that go into our work. For me, incorporating IceVents into my gear, like I said before, has simply been a game changer. They allow me to wear my chest rig for longer hours, keeping my tools readily at hand, so I can work more efficiently with less fatigue.

With all that said, go ahead and check out the pictures I’ve included of my chest rig, now comfortably outfitted with IceVents! You can bet wherever I’m working, IceVents are working with me, keeping me nice and cool, even in the 100+ degree Mojave Desert heat. Thanks, Qore Performance!

P.S. I can’t wait to get my hands on the IcePlate 3. I’ll fill you in on that next time... after they arrive! 

Update: 29JUL 2019

"So I am back in the desert. It’s is a cool 100 degrees outside, 6% humidity light breeze. We got hand held radios today so I put mine in the spiritus systems expander wing (a pouch that Velcro’s into the back of the chest rig and sits on the right side. It fits 2x AR magazines a radio or similar sized items). 

Three and a half hours later we were getting ready to go to lunch. I took off my rig and the only spot that’s sweaty is where the pouch and walkie was up against my body. The IceVents do such a good job of creating airflow and promoting evaporation that the rest of my shirt was completely dry. I never want to work without these things. I would have been drenched without them.  They are absolutely amazing."  


1 comment


  • KJD

    Thanks Zak and Qore Performance,
    This product looks like it would work under the tactical vest that wildland firefighters use also. Spreading the word…Thank you!


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published