Crane Digital just got back from a major video and photo shoot for a client and we had a great time. After doing a handful of video shoots and seeing a few problems come up (as they seem to always do) at these big productions, we thought we would share our 9 big takeaways of how to minimize issues the day prior of the set:
(1) Transfer and Empty your SD Cards
Oh, what an easy one to forget! Nothing can feel more mortifying than your camera stopping because there’s no room left on your SD card mid filming. Whether you’re confident there’s enough space or not, we highly recommend giving your SD cards a clear slate so there’s no space (pun intended) to worry. We also recommend transferring the old files the day before, just make sure you don’t delete anything from before that you may need later.
(2) Charge Your Camera’s Batteries – And the Spare
We’ve been at a shoot where the videographer was constantly charging one battery for a few minutes, just to pause the interview, and swap out another in order for the camera to keep rolling. Although his camera was partially or mostly charged earlier that day for shooting, it would have saved a lot of embarrassment to make sure the camera battery and all spares are at 100% the day prior so you also don’t have to question how much space you have.
(3) Charge Your Laptop
Laptops may be a supplementary piece for a shoot, but we’ve found ourselves pulling it out at the last shoot and it was invaluable to have ready. The team wanted to go through the shot-list, the interview questions, and other materials related to the project on a projected screen to make sure they didn’t have anything else to add. You may or may not need your laptop for the day of the shoot, but having it prepped and charged makes it easy to whip out in case you do.
(4) Test All New Equipment
Although our last shoot included a lot of new equipment and almost worked 100% smoothly (thankfully) without inspecting it carefully, we highly advise not trying this at home. We encountered one sound issue that probably could have been prevented if we had tested the sound equipment out in different ways – I.E. what happens when two people are being interviewed at once instead of one?
(5) Clean Your Lenses
Does this one need a description why we recommend it? It will save you a lot of grief when you look at the footage later as well as keep your camera focusing better, that’s all we’ll say about it.
(6) Have Shot List / Interview Questions Somewhere Accessible, Not Dependent on WiFi
We would just say print it out, but if you can have it downloaded on a mobile device, that might work just as well and be environmentally-friendly. Either way, you will probably move through several locations or rooms in a video/ photo shoot, so have all reference materials in-hand and not dependent on an internet connection to work.
(7) Pack Your Equipment in an Easily-Transportable Case
This may not apply if you’re hiking up to some remote location, but man, a rolling-suitcase was so nice in our last video/photo shoot. Our team and client drove around to three to four different sites for our latest video/photo shoot, and it was so much easier to load and unload equipment. No matter where you’re going, make sure it’s easy to carry all your sound, lighting, and camera equipment around, it makes the day less physically exhausting.
(8) Pack some Extra Make-up for Your Interview Subjects
By all means, do advise interviewees in advance to come with any major zits covered up or an extra coat of paint on the face as it translates on camera better, but you’re sure to have at least one person come who will need a little extra help with it the day of. It doesn’t hurt to have cover-up or cheap lipstick handy.
(9) Confirm start time and location with client
A quick email, text, or call will help you to make sure all the key players are at the right place at the right time. This also helps if changes to the shooting schedule are needed last minute.
What else do you do right before a big video/ photo shoot to help the day go more smoothly?