Video producing – Day by Day

Like this:

I have a song recorded. I want a live action music video–with dancers, extras, dance hall. Fun shoot, right?

I have a venue in mind, but need to get permission from the owner. He has let us film there before, and seemed enthused about possible future video production events. Still…I hesitate to ask, because I have asked enough places, and people, surprisingly….say NO a lot more than they say YES.

So, I ran into the owner last Saturday, and he was enthused, and happy and said Yes. And he said, “If you shoot this next weekend, we can get a lot of extras in here.”

So, is it possible to turn this around that quickly? I’ve been planning the video for 3 months. I know in July, I talked to my partner about it, and gave him a list of shots that I wanted to do. So, this idea has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now.

Saturday  night, went out to my partner’s house and we had a big production meeting. Made a lot of decisions: legal issues regarding release forms; lead actress; what to shoot/not shoot regarding logos and possible signage on the wall; geography of shots; possible shots; ways to make things ‘funnier’. Make the actual decision: can we pull this together in a week?  So, all in all that meeting was quite productive.

Sunday, I worked on advertising, blogging, poster and release forms–mostly all computer work.

Monday, had a few production phone calls, mainly trying to line out the lead actress. We had 2 possibles, and good choices, but both had conflicts. Compose and choreograph line dance.

Tuesday, I was resigned to not shooting this weekend, when someone suggested we divide the shoot. Get the crowd and extras and dance hall scenes Saturday, and shoot with the lead actress in a few weeks, when she’s available. It took awhile to work my head thru all the shots, of how to fake this out, and make it work, but a lot of it is do-able. So, we make the decision to go for it.  Tuesday night, go to the venue and shoot test footage–mostly concerning angles, light, background, floor, floor noise, conflicts with logos and signage. Run into people we know and start asking them to come to the shoot. “It’ll be a fun fast shoot, and the whole goal of the video is to make your toes tap and make you smile!” Choose leading man wardrobe. Consider options on how to program the camera. Update webpage with info about the shoot. Invite a personal friend to come.

Wednesday, confer with lead actress and choose lead actress wardrobe. Confer with partner regarding computer issues and paperwork issues. Hang posters, inviting people to come out and attend.

Thursday, confer with partner about the actual division of time, within the shooting time. “We start with this shot, from the angle, positioning extras here and here. We make this announcement; we want them to have fun, and be easy going, and hey…did you talk to so and so?” Begin to compose shot list.  Confer with partner about who he has invited. Invite another personal friend to come.

Friday, compose set list for the dance sequence. This music is not used in the video itself, but will be played in order to get dance footage.

Every single day, work on equipment list. Begin to put equipment in the car. Plan my “character” that I’ll utilize as director. Even if I’m not a principal on camera–directing is still quite a “performance”. I need to figure out what “tone” to hit. I need to “entertain”. I need to set the mood and set the tone and get people to have fun. I need to not be soooo serious and focused, or at least appear that way. I’ll still be sooo focused, because that’s what it takes when you direct. There are hundreds of decisions to be made–on the fly, and you’ve got to be at the top of your mental capacity. But…when working with people, motivating, wanting them to have fun, so we can capture that on camera…someone has to set the tone.

Little things: buy new pens. The last package of pens I opened–none of them were good. (Pens purchased- check!) What shoes do I wear? If I go dance, I want boots. But, on a wood floor, I need to wear rubber soled shoes, as the director, so I’m making less noise. (wear running shoes – take boots just in case) Do I need a microphone, or can I project my voice loudly enough? (Yes, I’m loud enough without extra amplification) Boom box or do I take in a sound system? (boom box)  Make a duplicate CD, in case one malfunctions on the day.  (check!)

Still to be done: check over cameras. Make final decision on camera input settings. Will need to download the test footage, and what with working full time on the day job every day this week…haven’t had time for that task yet. Check CDs to make sure they play. Compose sequence of verbal steps for the crew (picture up, Camera A set; B set; roll Camera A; Roll Camera B; Playback; action!) ( you need to call things in the same order every time). Decide which shots are using MOS and which shots use actual camera sound.

….and tons more details that are on my “to do” list, or already “done”.

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