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No Film Crew? Tiny Budget? Be Prepared - Part 1

Video professionals don’t always have the luxury of an entire camera crew on set where each person can focus on their specific tasks (sound recordist for audio, camera operator behind the camera, DP to light the scene, production manager to coordinate the shoot, director, gaffer, assistants, video editor etc…you get the picture).

Heck, nowadays with all the stiff competition and “price dumping” going on, if you’re a videographer trying to make a living it’s almost a luxury to get good quality video production jobs in the first place.

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Unfortunately it’s quite evident that clients are becoming less and less willing to hire a video production crew to shoot their videos the “right way”. There’s a nasty trend going on where companies hire one-man-band videographers to do the job of an entire video crew (at least here in Austria). Budgets are getting smaller, camera teams are shrinking, video shooters are having to take on multiple (too many?) tasks, and at the end of the day our craft and final product is what gets compromised.

….Or does it?

Spoiler alert, YES….yes it does. I don’t care if you’re the most gifted camera operator, the most versatile videographer, or the most talented video all-rounder. There’s something to be said about strength in numbers and collaboration when it comes to planning, filming and editing a professional video for clients. No matter if it’s a corporate interview job, a big conference shoot, a low-budget music video, a product presentation, a company event or what have you. One individual video professional will very rarely be as competent as a well-constructed team of video professionals working in sync. Period, the end…thanks for reading :)

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I’ve done my fair share of one man band video shoots here in Austria for a number of clients over the years (and still do), there’s simply no way around it. Below are a few obvious and some not so obvious things I’ve learned and would like to share which have helped me in these situations:

Plan, Plan, Plan…Then Plan Some More

I can’t stress enough how important planning is for me as a video professional. I’m a firm believer in making your own luck and trying your best to not leave anything up to chance on the day of the shoot. When you’re filming alone, it’s all up to you, the pressure is on your shoulders, and if something goes wrong it’ll be your fault.

Hey, nobody has a gun to your head saying you have to take a one-man-band video job, at the end of the day the client doesn’t (and shouldn’t) care if the poor little videographer has too many hats to wear on set. So make sure to go through every scenario possible with and without the client before you shoot.

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Double and triple check everything the client needs and expects from you. Do as much location scouting as you possibly can for the shoot. Find out where the sun rises, where it sets, and how the light will look at the specific time of day where you’ll be shooting. Where are the power outlets? Where can you store your gear? Where can you set up? Where can you park? Can you possiblly even set up your gear the day before and leave it in a locked and safe room overnight? Where are the toilets? Will you be fed? Etc. Etc. Etc…the more you know and prepare in advance, the less you’ll have to think about those “small” details and be able to focus on what’s actually important: To shoot your client's video! ...Do it, thank me later.

Shoot For the Edit

This is an obvious one but I still find it necessary to briefly mention. Since you won’t have a video crew with multiple cameras at your disposal to film and cover every possible scenario, try your best to shoot with the edit already in mind and how (or if) you could possibly fit that specific shot in the final video.

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It’s not a good idea to simply haphazardly film whatever comes to mind and deal with the footage later in post-production. Shooting for the edit and knowing what you’ll need to film for the video will significantly reduce time spent sitting behind the computer editing.

...There are still a few more points I want to cover regarding all of this, but in order to keep this article brief I'll go through them on my next post. Join our mailing list in order to stay up date.


Posted by Vitor Goncalves

Vitor Goncalves high end video production vienna

Vitor is a filmmaker, cameraman and editor based in Vienna, Austria. He is the owner of Reel Arts Media.


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