Welcome back to part two of our ‘Gearing Up’ series for small businesses. If you missed It, last week we went over the pre-production basics of a standard shoot with Signature Video Group, which included creative ideation, scripting, and the production planning process. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
This week, we’re going to dive right into shoot day. Providing everything went well in your pre-production process, you should have a pretty clear vision of what you’re hoping to achieve. Whatever that vision may be, this post is designed to help you pick the right gear for your shoot, set up properly, and execute on your creative ideation to the best of your ability. We’re also going to cover what you should do with the footage after you’ve done shooting and give you some tips along the way to make things easier in post-production.
At this point in the process, you’re probably getting pretty anxious. You have an idea in your head, and you’re completely focused on executing by whatever means necessary. While it’s great to have that level of excitement, don’t let it cloud your ability to execute on everything you planned in part one. The smoother your shoot day goes, the easier the post-production process will be. Every decision you make should be with post-production (post) in mind, as it can often be the longest part of a project, so you should take every step necessary to alleviate any issues that may backlog the process.
What you need next, is the proper gear to help you execute your vision.
How experienced are you?
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing the right gear for your project, has to do with your skill level – how comfortable are you with cameras? Do you have any experience using an SLR or cinema-grade camera? If the answer is yes, this section will undoubtedly be redundant, so feel free to skip onto the next section.
If you fall into the group that’s a little less experienced with cameras, that’s totally ok. Don’t let it discourage you or prevent you from making a video. A lot of the newer camera technology does a lot of the work for you. As long you have the required gear and are willing to do a bit of reading, you’ll be just fine.
With that said, it’s important to choose a camera that matches your ability. If you’re experienced, you’ll want to choose a camera with more customization options. If you’re a noobie, then it’ll make more sense to opt for something with more automatic features and less buttons to ensure you’re not overwhelmed. As cool as an expensive camera looks, it’s no good to you if you don’t know how to use it properly.
When it comes to actually choosing a camera or other gear items, there’s really only one important question: how often are you going to be using it? If you’re not sure, renting gear might be the way to go. Rentals come at fairly reasonable costs per day and don’t require you to invest a large chunk of your own money into an item you’re not convinced you a) know how to use, or b) will be using on a regular basis.
There are a ton of rental companies within the Greater Toronto Area that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced camera operator. Henry’s, Vistek, Ontario Camera Rentals, Joe Sutherland and Epic Toronto are all reputable companies that offer new gear at reasonable prices.
Another option to consider is renting or borrowing a camera from a friend. DSLR’s are fairly inexpensive nowadays and it’s more than likely you have a friend that might be willing to lend you their camera for a small fee. Heck, if you’re lucky, maybe you can even convince them to help you shoot.
Choosing your gear
Without trying to reinvent the wheel, there are a ton of “camera bag” breakdowns online that help you pick the best gear out there. Many of the options range in price, with some of the accessories even being mickey-moused or homemade to keep costs down. One of best gear breakdown’s I’ve seen is from Desktop Documentaries, which you can view here. While you won’t need everything on their list, there are a few items you’ll need to make sure you have:
Light reflector (can be homemade)
Recording kit & necessary cables
External hard drive (for back ups)