Preparing For a Video Shoot

I’ve heard it said that video production is 75% furniture moving. There’s a lot of truth in that statement. Shooting on location can be a very intrusive process. There’s a lot of people, a lot of gear, and a lot of commotion. A lot of re-adjusting takes place while on location to make room for the camera, the lights, the crew, etc. Many times I will arrive on location to shoot a corporate video and my client can’t believe the amount of gear my crew and I have brought with us. If your company has hired a video production company to come out and profile your business, it’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare.

In previous articles I have gone over important tips for mapping out your entire production project and scheduling individual shooting days. In this article, I would like to give some advice on how to prepare your office before the production company arrives.

Coordinate

If you work for a large corporation, more than likely you will have to reserve areas of your office in advance. Talk to your office manager. Make sure he/she has the video shoot written on the calendar. Find out which rooms in the building are available and which are not. There have been moments when my crew and I spent valuable time just walking around with my contact trying to find available rooms in which to shoot.

Communicate

Make sure other employees in the office know about the shoot well in advance. Let them know what’s expected of them. Let them know which areas of the office the production company will be using. Make sure that everyone comes to work that particular day dressed appropriately. There have been days when my crew and I have arrived on location, only to discover that no one else other than my contact knew we were coming.

Think Aesthetically

When conducting employee interviews or client testimonials, a video production company will seek out those places in your office that look the best. Usually, a producer and/or director will scout your offices before the shoot, but budget constraints can sometimes prevent a tech scout. So that means it’s up to you to have areas in your office prepared before the production company arrives. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Look for areas in your office that have character and color. Conference rooms are usually bland and therefore not a great option for conducting on-camera interviews.
  2. If you have to use a room without much color, can you bring items in from other areas in your office to dress up the set? Artwork, plants, pictures, books? Look for anything that can support the look and the subject matter of your video.
  3. Remove any unwanted posters, etc. from the room. Look out for anything in the background that advertises someone else’s brand.

Think Spatially

As mentioned previously, video production can be intrusive. The crew will need furniture and other items moved in order to make room for equipment. Find those areas in your office that provide the most space in which to work. Find out what furniture can and cannot be moved. Also, make note of the most convenient elevators, service ramps, loading docks, etc. to help the crew maintain efficiency as they move in and out of the office.

The most important part of the video production process happens well before the camera starts rolling. A well executed pre-production ensures a more enjoyable and efficient production experience for all involved.

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2 Responses to “Preparing For a Video Shoot”

  1. George Porgie Allison says:

    Oh man! Locations dept. screwed our shoot big time last week. It took aprox. 4 hours to load in on Friday. Lots of overtime, lots of meal penalties for the unions. Peoples cars were getting towed, because the proper permits were not issued. We had to protect three floors of an office building, because of a miscommunication about where grippage was going to live that day. Holes in walls. It's utterly INSANE how few people pre-pro any more. For some reason, these big corporate clients think we can do more with less, (which means not hiring dept. coordinators) and they're getting burned every shoot. An art dept. shopper told me that the client will have to pay the same amount by not hiring the professional with the higher day rate, because errors made by the non-pro likely add up in the end. Pre-production was the first method we learned in college. My professors hammered it into our brains. I think more people would adhere to this step if their own monies were involved…

  2. [...] For articles on the importance of pre-production, you can browse through these articles, “Preparing for a Video Shoot,” “Scheduling Your Production,” and “If Only the Flux Capacitor Was [...]

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