Field shoots are always hectic. A lot has to go on at the same time in order capture the best footage to make the best show possible. The audio, visuals, crew, talent, paperwork, set pieces, wardrobes, scripts, equipment and any number of other things all need attention. It is easy to forget to do something small that could have a big impact on the production.
I asked some of my production buddies for their most important dos and don’ts while in the field. Here is what we came up with:
- Use a checklist to help keep track of what needs to get done.
- Label the tapes (with the date) as soon as you are done with each tape.
- Pay equal attention to the audio as you do the video.
- Turn off your cell phone while the cameras are on. You don’t want to be the one person whose phone rings or vibrates during the shoot. Even phones on silent mode and affect audio quality.
- Always record “one more” for safety. It is sometimes hard to tell if a take is good during the intensity of a shoot. An extra take will increase your changes for getting just what you need.
- Don’t forget bars and tone. Yes, your editor really does use these things to help ensure that the color and sound of your footage is legal.
- Don’t forget room tone. Your editor will love you.
- Bring water and healthy snacks.
- Put a lunch break in the schedule. Crews like to see that. Yes, schedules are tight but if your crew sees that you are considering their food and hydration needs, they will work that much harder for you.
- Be on time. Promptness is the first thing to consider if you want to be hired back again.
- Bring extra copies of every document. Scripts, schedules, releases and log sheets often get lost in the shuffle.
- Bring pens. You can never have enough.
- Come with more tapes or hard drive space than needed.
- Be prepared. The most important field work starts before you hit the field.
- Relax and have fun! This is TV not brain surgery.