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It’s one thing to please your client, but another thing to please a fellow colleague in your industry. Especially when that somebody happens to have been in business five times longer than you have…and if that somebody has big name coorporate clients…and if that somebody has the latest and greatest equipment that filmmakers swoon after.
That somebody I refer to is our very own Brad of Berad Studio.
So, when Brad calls and asks you to capture some footage of an upcoming workshop, you say “sure, I’d love to”. You then proceed to hang up the phone and second guess yourself. I am not good enough. My equipment isn’t fancy enough. I haven’t been in this industry long enough. I don’t know as much. What if I do a horrible job. Then, after about five minutes of self loathing, your thoughts shift to excitement.
Hi, I’m Noelle. As the owner/shooter/editor of a small video production company, I typically work solo and don’t often get a chance to collaborate on projects within the industry. This was exciting. This was my time to show the predominately male-driven video industry in Hawaii that women make rockstar filmmakers too and they are a force to be reconned with.
“Its a workshop about How to Shoot a Marketing Video” he said. “Just capture some behind the scenes footage” he said. No big deal right. I got this. I have filmed a bunch of films. No big deal. So I went into the evening of the workshop feeling like a rockstar female filmmaker. But, by the end of the evening, well, lets just say I walked away learning some really valuable lessons.
As Brad mentioned in a recent post http://hawaiishoots.wpengine.com/blog/cb-hawaii/, shooting as a one-man-band has its challenges. This behind the scenes film of “How to Shoot a Marketing Video” was no exception. As a one-woman-band myself I often wear many hats in my business and in doing so have created a very stream-lined system when it comes to booking a paid client and preparing for a shoot. This is why after the workshop was over, I uploaded the footage that evening and began kicking myself for all the rookie mistakes that were made.
Here are some rookie mistakes I made that are literally Filmmaker 101 concepts, but for some reason completely slipped my mind that evening. Please tell me I am not alone in making such colossal mistakes. Ok, maybe you have made 1 or 2 on any given shoot, but hopefully not ALL of the following.
8 THINGS I FAILED TO DO BEFORE AND DURING THE SHOOT
1. RESEARCH YOUR CLIENT
In this case, my “client” was Hawaii Shoots. Now this one should have been a no-brainer for me since Brad and I are friends. When we spoke on the phone, I failed to ask him very specific questions (as I do to my clients) and in turn he didn’t give much direction other than he wanted me to capture some footage of the workshop that we could share on the Hawaii Shoots website. In hindsight, I should have asked him very specific questions about why he wanted the film and what message he wanted conveyed in the film. Had I done that, I would have shot much different footage.
2. WHAT’S THE STORY?
My assumption going into the evening was that Brad wanted me to capture him instructing the workshop, so most of all my footage was of him instructing the workshop. What I didnt do was capture much footage of the attendees and their reactions to him and/or their interactions with the equipment and one another. When I showed Brad a rough cut of the edit, he mentioned the film was very “Brad-heavy” and that it would have been nice to have more footage of the workshop attendees and some b-roll. Which bring me so the next point, the importance of b-roll.
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF B-ROLL
As I began to edit the footage, I realized I completely forgot to caputure any b-roll, and I do mean ANY, I literally had NO B-ROLL. What was I thinking? I know the importance of b-roll, and I completley captured NONE of it.
4. HAVE A SHOT LIST AND/OR STORYBOARD
I prepare a shot list and/or storyboard for all of my shoots. Behind the scenes films are no exception. Well, I went into this film without a shot-list or storyboard. And boy oh boy did it show when I started editing in post.
5. RESEARCH THE VENUE
Brad mentioend on the phone that the venue was “tight”. He texted me a snapshot of the office we would be in and explained it might be a bit difficult to move around so I would have to get creative to get any shots. Not only was the room less than 200 square feet, but there were 15 attendees and a slew of camera and lighting equipment. This made for very tight quarters. Had I really thought thru how I would be able to capture the entire scene, I should have used a wide angle lens.
6. HIRE A SECOND SHOOTER OR HAVE A CAMERA-B
Because the venue was small, having a second shooter seemed overkill. However, in hindsight I should have set up my second camera on a tripod with a wide angle lens and had it run continuously so I could cut between cameras in post. This camera could’ve captured the overall scene while I moved around the room with my main camera on a monopod.
Normally I would put a microphone on my client to capture good clean audio. Well, in this case, I figured since the venue was small, my on-camera Rode mic would be sufficient. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because I didn’t research the venue, I didn’t know the room was very oblong and that Brad would primarily be on the opposite end of where I found space to shoot, therefor me not being able to capture clean audio of him.
8. ELIMINATE ALL DISTRACTING AMBIENT NOISE
There was a very loud piece of machinery running during the workshop. On two occasions I asked if the machine could be shut off for the purpose of getting clean audio but my request wasn’t heard amongst the chatter of the attendees. I later realized that I should have been more assertive and requested that it be shut off. Because I neglected to do so, there is a buzzing sound during the entire film that could have been avoided.
For several days after the shoot I beat myself up for all the mistakes made. Well my friends, its a good thing I learn best by making colossal mistakes because i will never repeat those 8 mistakes again and I hope you don’t either.
Happy filming. -Noelle