The Top Ten of Video Production

In the average day of a busy public relations and or marketing professional, video (or digital film as it is now known) is an extension of the brand they are representing. Beyond the buzz words and captivating images and sounds, the actual nuts and bolts of the digital work takes a degree of craftsmanship that can seem unfamiliar.
An advanced degree from a name film school is not necessary to create great work, just a willingness to learn and a sense of creativity. I realize the public relations and or marketing professional’s time is limited. As a solution to the time crunch problem this series will present essential missions and critical items in a top-ten list style format. This will provide a snapshot in an easy to understand format.

Listed below are the top ten technical items needed when conducting a video/digital film shoot.

  1. Camera: The kind of camera chosen to use will be determined by budget combined with the creative vision of the particular project.
  2. Power Supply: A little plastic box with a connecting cable, that comes with your video camera, so you can plug one end into the camera and the other end into a wall outlet.
  3. Extra Tape/Digital Storage/Cards/Card Reader: Unfortunately, there is no set standard for how much extra tape or digital storage to bring to the shoot. It depends on what video format is used and how big those individual files are. For instance if the project calls for a Red Digital Cinema camera and are generating files in 4K, a couple of terabytes worth of storage space is a good idea. Odds are a card reader is also needed because many high-end cameras, like the Red Digital Cinema camera, store the video data on removable cards. These are inserted into the camera while filming. (See this Link more info on the Red Camera.)
  4. Extension Cord/Power Strip: This is always a good thing to have on a shoot, especially if the shoot is somewhere inside or where there is an available power source. I prefer to plug in, whenever possible, to save the battery in case the shoot goes mobile. There is no set standard on how much extension cord to bring. Just make sure it is a grounded plug to help ensure stability with the power source. A heavy-duty power strip is also a good thing to have, and if budget permits a small generator. Keep the small generator in a different room than where the filming is taking place to avoid picking up on the sound of the footage.
  5. Extra Batteries for the Camera: These will vary in size, shape, and battery life, based on the camera used. I usually like to keep two extras in the camera bag if the shoot will involve a lot of documentary style footage, meaning there will be a lot of time where the camera is constantly rolling.
  6. Tripod: Tripods come in a number of configurations designed to suit different budgets and creative needs. Budget permitting, a fluid head tripod should be used to give the video a professional grade damping for ultra smooth movement. (See this Link for a picture of one.)
  7. A Lighting Kit or Extra Light: These come in many shapes and sizes depending on the budget of the production and creative needs of the project. (Check out this link from Lowel, one of the top manufacturers of lighting kits.)
  8. Professional Grade Playback Monitor for Video Camera: They usually have high-end inputs and outputs, and conform to colorimetric standards such as SMPTE C Rec. 709.  SMPTE is an acronym for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. It is a sanctioning body for traditional broadcast content, they also standardize different codecs for web use. (Many manufacturers a have professional line of monitors such as Sony, see this link.).
  9. Rain Cover for Camera: They come in many shapes and sizes depending on the camera used. A number of professional outfits use one made by a brand called Portabrace. (Click this link to view the company webpage.)
  10. Monochrome Chip Chart to White Balance the Camera: Essentially a black and white chip chart to give the camera a base line in regards to when it sees (processes) black and white color to give an accurate picture. (Here is a link with some further info if needed.)

About the Author:Adam Hennessey

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