For example, just making sure batteries work properly is a big problem. As they get colder, the voltage drops, the camera detects it as flat and shuts down. To circumvent this, Powell uses a “fake” camera battery wired up to a 12V lead-acid one, which can handle the lower temperatures.
The cold can also play havoc with the physics of the electronics. According to Powell, the cameras can usually withstand -40°C, but any lower and they start to act weird. That said, heating is only necessary if the temperatures are going to hit -50°C or more.
Then there’s the cold itself causing certain materials to simply snap — something Powell demonstrates by sticking a power cable outside at the start of the clip and retrieving it halfway through. It breaks like a twig.
Powell has a number of videos dealing with his Antarctic antics — check them out on his Vimeo channel.