If you’ve ever been on the set of a film shoot, you’ve seen and know firsthand of the chaos that accompanies the crew throughout the day. When hiring a production company, being aware of all the different variables and possible issues goes a long way. Getting in and out with location shooting is no easy feat for a video production company, but following a simple guide to help you and the film crew stay organized keeps the chaos at bay. In all reality, one or more things will go wrong on location, but this guide will help you weather the storm and keep you and the crew above water.
Location Scouting: First and foremost, making sure you know where you want the shooting to be done and having at least a layout of how you want a company to film at the specified location can go a long way. Knowing the environment of your location can show you its advantages and limitations as you try to get all the shots you want. Knowing your location also helps you with the next steps of the shooting process, knowing exactly what you’ll need from crew down to equipment.
Logistics of Location: This doesn’t actually have anything to do with the filming process, but it’s just as important as the rest, this is all about the necessities of the crew and keeping them nourished and hydrated. Whether it’s food, water, or simply a bathroom, the logistics of a location play an important role to the functionality of your shoot. Whether the location has an on-site cafeteria or a restaurant nearby, arranging some kind of option for food is key to maintaining a happy and hard-working crew. Keeping a snack and drink area is important throughout the shooting of a given day, but making sure there is some kind of meal being provided or time to go to those nearby restaurants is a necessity for a smooth running production. So keep in mind to find a specific area where you can accommodate these needs while keeping it out of the way your business as it goes through its daily routine.
Non-disruptive Setups on Location: This is where knowing your location helps the most. The layout of your locations as well as its real-life function can help determine how you can go about your filming. It also helps if you’ve run through the setup and location aspects with the production company you hire, when everyone understands and is on the same page, it makes everything run smoother and more efficiently. If you’re in an office building for instance, allowing the crew to use the loading dock is key to getting their equipment in and out efficiently without disturbing employees in the building. This make moving equipment easier for you as well because it gives them a space and area where they won’t disturb anyone while being provided with enough room to get everything they need in one place. Locating an area like this makes it easier to film for both you as a client and the crew, as it allows you to remain out of the way while the crew gets their equipment out and ready for use. When setting up for individual shots, it’s always important keep yourself in mind, trying to keep the location and set as natural as possible can help make you and your employees more comfortable because everything may still look the way they had it before the cameras came into the room.
As for some last minute things you should know and remember as the production crew comes in and does their thing is represented in two checklists that can be a great benefit to the smoothness of a day of shooting:
Client Guide for Location Filming:
- What to Wear on Camera: Make sure you’re aware of yourself and how to present yourself through your outfit on film. If you’re hiring a company to do a professional corporate video, you should dress the part, don’t come in with everyday casual clothes on. Help represent the message you’re trying to express, if your video is professional, your outfit should be too. Muted colors work best and it’s a good tip to avoid fine lines and checks such as herringbone cloth.
- Building Entry and Parking: Make sure the crew knows where they need to go and that they have a specified area where they can park and enter the building, as well as an area to unload equipment as mentioned above.
- Electricity: It may seem obvious, but it should be mentioned, a production crew uses a lot of electricity as their professional lighting equipment demands a lot electrical output and they don’t want to blow any circuit breakers. So make sure you can provide the necessary electrical output for all their equipment and be aware of the use of long extension cords being used by the crew.
- Microphones: If you’re going to be interviewed or anyone else is, microphones are going to be needed. They should be placed up by your collar and out of view; the microphone cord should never be seen and it looks unprofessional if it’s hanging outside your shirt.
- Setup Time: This is not just important for the crew, but also for you. Being aware of the time needed to setup and breakdown a set is important, the producer will relay all the necessary information to you, but being aware of what their plan is and the time needed to execute it makes it all the more efficient for all parties and allows you to plan what you and your employees do while setup is taking place.
- Ambient Sound and Additional Visuals: Both these things can be crucial to a video, keeping noises to a minimum helps make sure that the audio in the video is as crisp as possible, so make sure the producer is aware of any possible noises that could or would conflict with filming. Things like nearby construction and things like machines in a building are important to know about. Additional visuals are just as important as the ambient sound of a production as every video uses b-roll in some sense. Allowing the crew to go around and film people at work and anything else interesting that would enhance your video is important to the final product, but to make it easier you can provide your own photos, logos, signs, or anything else that you feel would benefit the final product.
Site Survey Checklist:
- Contact: Include the necessary information for a person to contact on site, but remember to include an alternate phone number as well as an alternate contact if the first can’t be reached.
- Facility: Make sure the crew knows the address and how to get to the location.
- Parking: Make sure you provide and identify an area for the production vehicles, cast and crew to park.
- Equipment Loading: Provide a specified area for production equipment to be loaded and unloaded from vehicles.
- Security: Make sure your security personnel, if you have them, are aware of the crew and provide a contact name and phone number of a member of your security to the production crew.
- Equipment Storage: Make sure the crew is aware of a place where equipment that is not being used can be stored, a room that can be locked.
- Furniture and Electricity: Make sure all crew members know whether or not they can move things around and where circuit breakers are as well as what else is on circuits they are going to use.
- Noise: What noises are present at your location? Are any of them overbearing to the point where they would distract and create conflict with shooting?
- Location Personnel: Make sure you have a list of everyone who needs to be on set and why they’re there. Also know who the decision makers are as they are the ones you should direct any questions to.
- Other: Restrooms, drinking water, snack area, etc., make sure there are places where the little things will be available, production will run much smoother with a happy and hard-working crew, your location needs to be able to provide for their basic human needs.
By being aware of these simple yet sometimes overlooked tips, you can save your company a lot of time and give you a greater understanding of what to expect when having a video production company and crew film at your organization’s location.
Article by Joe Forte.