Tips for Setting up a Video Shoot

Film and video production sets come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common, they can be a hectic place with a lot of things to consider to keep under control. To avoid any disruptions to the shoot, there are some important tips that you can use when you first arrive on set to make sure you’re in the best position for a safe and productive day.

Gear, There and Everywhere

This step really starts before you arrive on set. You should make sure your gear and cameras are packed securely to avoid any damage in transit. We use Pelican cases which are an industry staple and are tough enough to pretty much withstand any you throw at, or on them.

Look at Your Sources of Light

When you evaluate your set for the first time (after you have safely stored your gear), lighting is your main concern. Unless you’re working on a soundstage or a green screen, natural lighting like windows, skylights and doors will be your biggest hurdle to controlling the light on set. You may need to do a full walkthrough of the environment, close any blinds or windows that may give unwanted light.  Lighting setups are often be the most time consuming aspect of production, so it’s best to focus your attention on this first before all else. Don’t be afraid to use the natural light in the space to your advantage. For instance, of there is a large window, you can place silks or white sheeting over the window to diffuse the light and give the whole room a soft glow.  The best way you can get a light source to look the way you want it for filming is to use a diffuser or some sort of white reflector to bounce light back at your talent.

Find the Power

Power sources and outlets are another pressing matter, as is making sure that there is enough power load to run all your lights without blowing a circuit. Big halogen lights can be extremely power hungry, and one 2K Blondie can use up to 2000w of power. This means having knowledge of the different circuits in the area, so check the switchboard. Do not under any circumstances run more than 2400W through a single circuit. It will most likely trip the circuit and you’ll have to reset. With LED lights now becoming commonplace, this won’t be as much of an issue in the future, but sourcing power for batteries will still be an issue. Depending on your camera and gear, you may run through dozens of batteries or need dedicated generators if you are on location. For locations with power, finding safe spaces for power cords and adapters is a crucial first step. Make sure the cables are taped to the ground to prevent tripping. For outdoor and remote locations, finding the safest spot for your generator is your first concern.

Safety First, Shoot Later

shoot safety

Finally, while everything else may help ensure an efficient shoot, this will ensure your safety. Check out the facilities on your shoot, and also how many people will be present on shoot day. Consider things like fire extinguishers, hardhats, high visibility vests, and emergency exits. If you notice shortages early enough, you can arrange for things like fire extinguishers, first aid kits and other necessary precautions before you start shooting.