Preparing to Film

Tomorrow, we’re going to be filming a spec commercial, and while it may seem obvious, preparation is key. We’re considering tomorrow’s shoot to be just as important as if we had a paying client, and so we’ve planned and prepared just as we would if we had a paying client.

Brainstorm/Planning Stage

Normally, when you have a client, or you’re pitching to a prospective client, you know their brand identity, and their product or product line, and you have to plan accordingly. It’s your job to come up with an idea to make them realize your vision while remaining within their brand identity (unless your plan is to shed that brand identity).

In the case of spec commercials, or specifically the spec commercial that we’re shooting, we came up with the idea, and then found the product. This isn’t the ideal way of working, but we’re not necessarily making a spec commercial in order to sell it to the maker of our product (in this case it’s going to be an ad for Cheerwine). What we’re hoping, is that we’ll have a sample piece something a little different than our current videos in order to showcase our range, and to show how we can work with a more traditional ‘ad style’ video.

Preparing Equipment

For preparing, there are a lot of things that need to be considered. For our shoot, we decided that we would be hiring a pair of actors, shooting outside on location, and wanting to know we have every shot set up so that we can get them all in the time allotted. These aren’t huge obstacles to overcome, but scheduling actors for an outside shoot with some of our recent weather has been difficult. To be honest, the hardest part about delaying the shoot due to weather, has been the delayed gratification of shooting, so the world’s smallest violin is playing for us.

In addition to those preparations, it’s important that we prep all of our equipment. This means that we need to know that we have everything needed for the particular shoot, not necessarily that we have everything we own. This shoot is going to be an outdoor shoot, so we likely don’t need our indoor lighting kit. Hopefully it’ll be bright outside, so we do need our ND filters.

In this planning, it’s best to have a checklist. Check off all the steps you need to do to prepare your equipment, and make sure that you make it as thorough as possible. You don’t want to get to a shoot, realize that even though you charged your shotgun mic, and cleared your memory cards, that you left them at home. So on my checklist, I’m thorough.

Last Minute Prep

Alright, you’ve got your actors, and your location secured. You’ve got your equipment all ready to go. You’re all set and ready to shoot right? Hopefully, but there are probably last minute details, things that you want to put into your video that you cannot prepare too early, you can’t pack up ahead of time.

For our shoot, I want the Cheerwine to be sweating, I want that feel of an ice cold refreshing soda on a hot summer’s day. I cannot just have them packed in the car the night before (not that I should have my equipment out in the car either), and so I pack everything, and I add ‘grab Cheerwine’ to the checklist, and do not check it off until I have my keys in hand and am ready to head off to shoot.

Go Out and Film

All the prep is to make your shooting experience easier, and more successful. For most of us in this line of work, the shoot is the fun part, and we have to prep to make the fun part as fun as possible. If I realize an hour in that I don’t have something I needed or that I have to adjust my shooting setup to fix some lack of planning, it’s time and effort spent in the wrong place.

Prepare, and have fun filming!

Published by Michael Christopher Cole

Michael, is a highly motivated, filmmaker and video professional. Coming from a marketing background, Michael knows not only the ins and outs of a quality video, but also how to make the most impact across various media platforms. In addition to his work with Chocolate Diamond Media, Mike enjoys family time with his wife and son, traveling, and reading.

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