vp1-5. Successful scouting
The best way to save time is to scout the location and create a shot list. Do this even if you'll be shooting right afterward. Here's a summary of items to look for. We'll cover them in more detail in Production.
What you will learn
You will learn the benefits of scouting before a shoot and specific issues to watch for.
This includes knowing the subject's workflow, checking shot angles, studying lighting, understanding sound and electricity needs, preventing interference, and avoiding social conflicts.
You should thoroughly understand what you want to show in the video. For example, review with the artist their work process. Then shoot it step-by-step. If you can't show details, explain them or leave them out.
Be careful not to overwhelm the viewer with too much information. What about the subjects speaking skills? Can they narrate, or should you? If you will narrate, record the creator explaining each step, then transcribe it.
As a cameraman, make sure you have clean shots.
Luminate with Light
Study the light in the area. If extra light is needed, where would you put it? Lighting can 'clean up' the subject and remove distracting shadows.
Adding light to a specific detail can make it easier for the viewer to see. If shooting outdoors, note the light and if there's an ideal time of day to shoot. For example, it helps to know when the sun sets if you want a shot at sunset.
"Gee, I thought it would still be light," said the cameraman.
If there's street noise, can windows or doors be shut? If there's a noisy air conditioner, can it be turned off? Some problems are easy to fix.
You don't want interference when working. So ask about any possible 'surprises.'
Maybe the subject forgets to tell you that the movers are coming today. Double check. Got Electricity? Will you need electricity for lights or to recharge batteries? Check the socket locations to know if you need extension cords and a power strip.
Avoid Social Issues
Find out if anything is off-limits. You don't want the subject panicking because you're shooting inside an unkempt closet.
Make sure all involved know that you're shooting. Check that the word got out. You don't want to be surrounded by security guards who don't know you're cleared.
In some places, a stranger - you - wandering around makes some locals nervous. Walk around with a local to show everyone you're connected to their community.
There's plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong on a shoot. We covered a number of them in this chapter.
The more potential problems you're aware of in preproduction, the more problems you can hopefully avoid during production.
Make a 1:00-2:00 video tell about a scouting story you had. It can be a story about how you did not scout and wish you did. Or a time you are glad you did scouting first.
Sometimes when you do scouting you decide it is not a good place to amok video. Better to know before making the video, right?
Tell a story about scouting.