Planning is key in making sure the
video shoot goes smoothly.
PREPARING YOUR FACILITY.
It's a good idea to scout each location prior to the arrival of our crew to make sure things are in order, and that they look the way you want them to look. You may need to ask fellow employees to clean their work area. Look for items that you may not want to catch a glimpse of in the final product, such as logos of other companies, proprietary information or signage and equipment in need of repair or replacement. You might want to paint or do other "touch ups" beforehand to get things to look their best. This is your image and you want to present the best one possible, right? Our cameras are fairly forgiving, and we can simply avoid some of these problems if necessary, but it's still a good idea to do as much as you can before we get there to alleviate any big issues beforehand. Many times we will have conducted a site-survey with you prior to shooting and will have identified some of these issues for you.
EMPLOYEES AND CO-WORKERS.
If your employees have been informed of the video shoot and the overall goals of the project, it will save a lot of time spent explaining those things while we are there. Employees generally react well to a video crew showing up (it's something out of the ordinary for them, and many times they find it somewhat fun). But if our crew shows up with lights and cameras without their prior knowledge and it interrupts their ability to complete a task they may not be too happy. If talent release forms are necessary for your company's records, be sure to either have employees sign these beforehand, or bring them along the day of the shoot.
For every employee or customer you show in your video, be sure they are dressed appropriately. Your Vice President of Operations probably doesn't come to work in jeans and a t-shirt, so he or she probably shouldn't appear that way in your video. However, that person also shouldn't wear something out of the ordinary that they don't feel comfortable in. We've found that colors and clothing without tight patterns are more favorable on-camera. See the What to Wear area of Interview Preparation for more info on this subject. And pay special attention to OSHA requirements regarding safety attire if an employee is shown out in a work environment with safety rules and regulations.
REDUCING THE "GOTCHYAS".
A few things can cause problems on any video shoot. There are safety issues with some of our equipment, for example. By being aware of just a few important items, things will go much more smoothly.
Lighting issues. We'll likely need to light just about every scene while we are at your facility. Newer LED lights have helped to reduce some of the typical lighting issues relating to heat and power requirements, but we still have a fair amount of traditional lights in our equipment package. So we will likely need power outlets nearby, and often more than one. We need to make sure we don't blow any circuit breakers and that means we try to get power from different places for any given scene. This in turn means there will likely be power cables strewn about. And lights get hot and can be tipped over easily if bumped into. It's a good idea to make sure your employees are aware of these issues so that undue traffic can be averted and so that employees in general are aware of the safety issues.
Time commitment. It's good for everyone involved to know the time commitment it will take for a particular shoot. If your co-workers are made aware of even a general idea for how long it will take, they can plan accordingly. Be sure to try to plan the shoot for times that will not cause undue stress for those involved. We'll let you know how much time it might take, and trying to shorten this amount of time just means that everyone will be under more stress overall. We're aware that your time is valuable too, so we'll work as fast as we can. Some flexibility is also often required, as things don't always go as planned and schedules for shoots that take all-day can sometimes get backed up somewhat.
Contact person. It is a good idea for your organization to designate someone who can be with us during the shoot. It doesn't have to be the Vice President of Marketing, just someone who can get us to the various locations, handle issues that may pop up, and who can coordinate the shoot at your facility. It's helpful if that person is familiar with the project and has all the contact information for various individuals involved. For example this comes in handy in a situation where here he or she can call ahead to those who might need to know we are running behind or ahead of schedule for the next scene.
Review the Shot List or Script. We will have discussed most of the details prior to the shoot. Many times we will have created a shot list that itemizes each shot and provides details for what we will need on the day of the shoot. The script will also provide a good indication of what exactly we are trying to accomplish and in some cases we will provide a storyboard. It's still a good idea to thoroughly review those items before the day of the shoot to make sure everything is in order. Also, check things like production schedules and employee schedules. You'd hate to plan a shoot of a production line for a particular day only to find it is scheduled for maintenance that day.
Don't forget about props! Many times the talent or your employees who appear in the video will need things to interact with: products, laptops, equipment, etc. If we are planning a conference room scene, for example, what items would we likely need? Each employee would likely have some personal items, such as a phone, maybe laptop or notebook, beverages. Are they involved in a planning meeting and possibly looking at a large monitor with last month's sales figures? Can we show those on the screen? These are all things that will need to be planned in advance, and making these decisions prior to the shoot is very important. Coming up with props as-we-go on the day of the shoot will add unnecessarily to the time it takes to shoot the scene (and to your overall cost). Without advanced planning you are left with "what's available at the time" and lose control of what the viewer sees in the final product, something you don't want to happen.
Change in the weather. If we are attempting an outdoor shoot that calls for a sunny day, and it's pouring rain, it might be obvious that we will have to re-schedule. Try as you might, you just can't predict Mother Nature. We will do our best to schedule shoots for good weather days based on the forecast, but often these shoots need to be planned far enough in advance that the forecast is inaccurate. Our goal is always the optimum visual image, and there are times where we feel we can shoot in less than perfect weather to achieve this, and there are times where we will advise you that the weather is non-conducive to the desired image. Many times it comes down to deadlines: can we wait for a better day and still get the video completed in time? Other unforeseen events can and do "pop up". We are well-versed in being able to go with the flow, adapt and overcome when these unexpected curve-balls are thrown our way. It's a good idea to enter any video shoot situation with the mindset that if we have to we can change the plan a bit to accommodate the changing circumstances. But we will only do this if we also feel we can keep the integrity of the final product intact, and not degrade the overall quality of the finished video.