In part 1 of this guide we saw that much of what will be produced will have been organised and agreed during the planning and pre-production stage. Filming should therefore be a relatively simple process with the production team working from scripts and storyboards.
Production should be the fun bit. In this episode we will look at location, the team and their roles and also the kit that will be used during the filming process.
Filming on location can sometimes require permits and permission (though certainly not always), location adds a richer quality to a shoot than filming in a studio but you are also open to the elements. Planning will include an eye to the weather forecast and background noise. For example, is the council going to be drilling roads 2 feet from where you planned to film? Are you under a flight path? Studios give sound and light quality guarantee and can be ‘dressed’ to add life to the shoot. There are also studios that are pre-planned. Want a hospital environment? Country kitchen? State-of-the-art offices? If you’ve got the budget, they’re all available to hire.
The production crew will include some or all of the following:-
The Producer makes sure that the shoot follows the plan and that the filming doesn’t run over. The Producer will have been heavily involved in pre-production so knows this shoot inside out and takes ultimate responsibility for the smooth running of the schedule.
The Director will work with the producer and make sure the camera crew are getting the best shots they can during the day. They will direct the technical operators to ensure that there is ample footage for the edit.
Camera Operators are experienced, skilled and often highly qualified operators who understand how best to get the correct angles, lighting and footage.
DOP’s (Director of Photography) will often be employed on an ad-style shoot. They are the ‘best of the best’ and will make sure that your film is visually perfect and as creatively shot as possible.
Sound Operators are required on many shoots, especially if they are on location. Any impairment of sound detracts heavily from a film so their job is to record the best possible sound, ambient noise and speech.
Outside of these key operators, many other skilled technicians can be required such as Make-up, Autocue operator, Set designers etc.
Of course smaller budgets will not be able to employ this size of crew, however there are plenty of skilled producers, who can run 1-2 cameras and pick up sound through mics. The cost of production and the quality of kit often means that you can have a reasonable film made for as little as £1,500. Just don’t expect the Earth!
Most technical staff obsess over kit: best cameras, lenses, sound equipment and microphones etc. But don’t be blinded by science. Make sure that you see a range of style and shots from different cameras before the filming begins, this will ensure that you get the look and feel that you want for the film.
At the end of the filming, when the producer and director are satisfied everything that needs to be shot has been captured, then the film moves to to the edit suite. This is where the real magic happens, where that raw footage and your interviews are cut, and music and graphics are added, to (hopefully) give you the perfect result. That’s Epsiode 3 in our mini-series.