As a video production person I get to work with all kinds of production folks from all walks of production life. Some are highly-skilled contractors or employees and most come from very different Television production backgrounds. I’ve decided to make a list of a few best practices I’d like our partners to know. It’s all about the story when it’s all said and done so let’s move past the weeds and get to the meat of the story no matter what we’re shooting. I consider these weeds and wasting time, however you wouldn’t believe how much time I spend in the weeds. These are the nuts and bolts of the multi-camera production world. This is just the beginning!
I would really love to hear your best practices too!
For Camera operators:
- Lock or ‘pin’ your pan and tilt head before you walk away from your camera.
- By contrast, please unlock the camera head before panning and tilting during the show.
- Please balance your camera based on its position and role in the show.
- Ask your person in charge (EIC, etc.) how they want to handle the set-up and strike.
- Please don’t drag connectors (fiber, video,) while wrapping cable.
- Handheld operators please strain-relief your cable.
- Please pull extra cable in case you’re asked to move your camera position.
- Be early for your call time.
For directors/technical directors responsible for content:
- Based on what you know right now, please discuss the specific shots you’ll want in person with each camera operator before the shoot. Even go to the camera and demonstrate your expectations and ability if necessary. Consider naming each shot so you can request it quickly during the ‘live’ show. Each camera should play a different role, right? Explain the story you want to tell before the show. (Hint: it might be a bit different for rock and roll concerts and church services)
- Explain your basic philosophy to each position before you ‘Go Live.’ For camera ops make sure they understand your ‘cutting and shot change style’, zoom styles, etc.
- Help your audio guy be ready for tight shots of drums so they can bump those shots in the mix. There’s nothing more frustrating than not hearing what’s being shown. Also discuss timing and verbiage with your camera positions.
- If you miss a shot, move on and don’t look in the rearview mirror. It’s gone and doesn’t help to chide yourself or your crew.
I’m assuming most people know how to wrap cables and care for connectors, cameras, tripods, controls, lenses, etc.
These are the nuts and bolts of what we do. I call them weeds, however these take the most time explaining and costs the most money to repair.
I invite your kind comments!
Let’s get out of the weeds and move to the Story!