Posts Tagged ‘tech scout’

Potential Problems For Your Video

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Red Fox Media - Video Production - Birmingham, AL - Collection BTS 009You’re set. You’ve hired a video production company to come into your place of business to shoot footage that will eventually be used in an online marketing piece. Everything is good to go. You and the Director have hammered out all the details. You have the talent scheduled. You have the script prepared and memorized. The shot list is ready. All that’s left is to shoot the video.

But have you really thought of everything? Could there be something that you overlooked?

If you work in a location with constant activity (i.e. a retail store, restaurant, salon, etc.), there are two main items on your pre-production checklist that need to be handled before the video production company arrives to set up.

  • Audio – If you plan to record live audio while on set, background noise will be a major concern. You need to take proper steps to ensure that you can capture good, clean audio. Ideally, you will want to shoot the video on a day when your business is not open to the public. This will eliminate sounds like customer chatter, footsteps, doors opening/closing, etc. If you are forced to shoot during a normal business day, try to select non-peak hours in which to shoot. This way, customer traffic should be at a minimum. To help reduce the amount of background noise, try hanging sound blankets around your talent. You can also post a public notice to all customers that filming is in progress and that all chatter should be kept to a whisper. Also look for places within your location that may not have quite as much foot traffic.
  • Release Forms – It’s important to lock down the area directly behind your talent, so that no one wanders into the background of your shot. If that isn’t possible, bear in mind that any customer that wanders into frame will need to give you his/her consent to be in the video. You will need to have release forms ready, in case this happens. If your business has a lot of foot traffic, it may not be feasible to stop every single customer and have each one sign a release form. In that case, you will need to place a public notice at the entrances to your business and around the camera crew which indicates that you are in the process of shooting a video. It will also need to clearly state to your customers that by walking throughout the store, their likeness may be captured on video.

Details are so important when it comes to producing a video for your business. Things that you normally take for granted (i.e. door chimes, customer traffic, electric appliances, chatter) can become distractions when trying to shoot. Talk with your video producer/director about your location and any potential logistical/legal problems you may face. Budget in the time for a tech scout with your video production team. The best way to handle these issues is to take care of them before they become bigger problems.

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What the Video Production Co. Doesn’t Know Can Hurt You

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

checklistWhat your video production doesn’t know can hurt you. Many people who have little experience working with video production companies usually feel a bit overwhelmed. They understand that they need to produce a video for their company, non-profit, school, etc. but beyond some basic generalities about the project, they aren’t sure what the video production company needs or needs to know. If the entire process is to run smoothly, you need to provide the video production company with some logistical details. A good producer or director will know to ask you these questions, but it’s still a good idea to have this information in-hand when you discuss the project with your video production company. Here are some details that need to be hammered out:

Project Overview

  • What/Who the video is for
  • The goals/objectives of the video
  • The desired length of the video
  • Where the final video will be shown (website, public event, seminar, trade show, in-house communication, sales meetings, etc.
  • The deadline (Read this post regarding video production deadlines and how to schedule your video project accordingly.)

Technical Details About the Project


  • Script-writing responsibilities (will the video production company be required to conceptualize and write the script, or will your department handle that task?)
  • On-camera talent (will the project require professional talent to be provided by the video production company, or will your company provide employees for the video?)
  • Voice-over talent (will the production company need to provide this, or do you have someone available that you have used before?)

The Video Shoot (this will help the video production company determine how many shooting days are necessary)

  • The amount of material that needs to be shot
  • The specific people/places/products/etc. that needs to be shot
  • The number of different locations
  • The number of people that need to be interviewed
  • The amount of archival footage, stock footage, and/or stills that will be needed

On Location Considerations

  • Addresses and directions to all locations
  • Contact person for each location
  • Loading/Unloading zones
  • Specific location protocol (security concerns, where to sign in, where the video production company can and cannot go while at the locaton)
  • Staging area (an out-of-the-way place at the location where the video production company can store their gear)

I recommend taking the video production company representatives on a tech scout of each location before the shoot, so you can go over these details and clarify any unresolved issues. A good tech scout will catch potential problems before the shoot begins.

Clear, consistent communication between yourself and the video production company will be of enormous benefit when the shoot begins. Take the time to conduct thorough pre-production planning. Provide the video production company with everything they need. Your finished video will be a lot better because of it.


*Don’t let the higher number – 1080 make you think that it’s better, or has a higher resolution that 720. Both are official high-definition formats. The difference is mainly in how the two formats record an image. The “i” in 1080i stands for “interlaced,” and the “p” in 720p stands for “progressive.” An interlaced image is created by breaking the image you see on your screen into two separate “fields” – upper and lower. Scan lines reproduce the image on the screen by scanning horizontally, top to bottom. On the first pass, the scan lines recreate every even line. On the second pass, the odd lines are recreated. The horizontal lines are interlaced to show you the complete picture. In HD video, there are 1080 horizontal scan lines. A progressive image is created by scanning the entire image in order, all at once, much like a single frame of film.

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Preparing For a Video Shoot

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

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.


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.


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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The Importance of Coverage

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Editors are happy when they have plenty of footage to work with in post-production. Shooting multiple angles of a particular scene is called coverage, and whether you are producing your own film, or shooting a long-format marketing video, getting good coverage has many benefits:

  1. Flexibility - Ample amounts of raw footage gives your editor many options for structuring the story.
  2. Variety - Staring at the same shot for too long can bore some viewers. You want your video or film project to engage and entertain and the right amount of coverage will offer fresh perspectives to your audience.
  3. Control – In your narrative film project, your main character picks up the newspaper and stares in horror at the headline. The information in the article is a vital part of your plot. So, did you remember to get a cutaway shot of the headline? Shooting the right amount of coverage gives you control over the story. It allows you to direct your audience’s attention to what you want them to see or to understand.

Here are some things to keep in mind about shooting coverage:

  1. Scout – Go to the location where you will be filming. Look around. Start blocking the scene. Figure out where you would like to place your camera. How many set-ups will you need? Once you have done your initial scout, make some time closer to the shooting date when you can conduct a tech scout. This is when you and your production team do a final walk-through of the location to discuss each set-up.
  2. Utilize Set-Ups – Consider how you can combine multiple coverage shots with one camera set up. For example, if the camera has been set up for a wide dolly shot, can you keep the camera where it is and shoot a lock-down close up as well? How about a pick-up shot of that file folder in your actor’s hand? Can you raise the camera up more on the tripod and get a high-angle establishing shot? Combining coverage shots into one set up will save a lot of time.
  3. Start Wide & Work In – It’s always a good idea to get the establishing shots first. Then you can push in and reset the camera for your close-ups and cutaways. That way, if your day runs too long and you lose the location, you will at least have establishing shots in the can. Imagine losing the location and all you have are extreme close-ups and cutaways. The viewer will be disoriented and won’t know the location, the characters in the scene, the time of day, etc.

Taking the time to prepare by scouting and creating a detailed shot list will ensure that you get the coverage you need for each scene. That will make you editor very happy. And it will give you a much better product.

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