Shoot preparation and shoot day tips

Plan your video shoot well

Before any successful shoot there is always some planning on my part as the cameraman or DOP. I like to have an idea of what I will be shooting and the location the shoot will be in. Really the more information you have will mean you can be better prepared and save time on set and most importantly get the best images. Try to get an outline of the shots needed or a storyboard is great too.
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Lighting Basics / Budget video lighting gear

Lighting basics

Lighting is the key to great looking high-quality videos. If you’re currently shooting without lights, buying a low priced kit is a smart investment. If you’re shooting your videos using only ambient lighting in most corporate offices or homes, you’re leaving lots of quality on the table. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good lighting, but you do need to buy smart and know what you’re getting.
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Improve your Video and Stills photography lighting

Even with only two or three lights anyone can achieve great looking images on video or stills. A typical starting point for professional camera people is always the basic three point lighting setup, from there you can adapt it to achieve the mood you like on your shoot.

When three point lighting, the lights used are normally Key, Fill and Backlight (Hair light). The Key Light is the strongest light hitting your subject (or Talent), and the main source of light in the shot.

The Fill light is from the opposite side to the Key light and is there to reduce contrast and lighten shadows on the subject. Depending on how much contrast or shadow and definition you want on your subject, the Fill light can be moved closer or further away to vary the intensity (brightness). For a soft Fill light it can be filtered or bounced to diffuse it, or placed further away reduce the light’s brightness hitting the subject.

The Backlight (Hair Light) hits your subject from behind and or above which separates the subject from the background by making the edges of the subject’s body pop.
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Buying Professional Video Lighting gear

So you are after some new lights to shoot video with. With this comes lots of decisions which will be mainly answered by the video work you are doing or want to do.

Choosing the type lighting for your shoot makes an enormous impact on the quality of your final video. The correct use of lighting allows you to

  • control the mood of your video
  • Direct the eye of the viewer where you want it to go
  • Emphasize and de-emphasize elements within the frame
  • Add texture and color
  • Make people look beautiful, ugly, sinister, or angelic

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Essential Video gear – The C Stand

There is an ever increasing range of camera and lighting gear, new LED lights through to camera gimbals. But the C stand is probably the piece of gear that will be used on almost every shoot. The term ‘Century Stand’ goes back to the early days of motion picture production. Century Stands also known as “C Stands” are one of the most frequently used stands in the film industry. They are mainly used by grip and lighting and can support other things on film sets.

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Which lights should I use?

When you are starting out or want to try a new lighting look, people always ask which lights should I use. While this is a great question, it’s not an easy answer. There is no one light that is great for every shoot. There are however lights that can be used in a variety of ways easily that make them worth considering.
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Gear gear gear ….

Does it ever end ? No, when it comes to film and TV gear. So with that in mind I have a bunch of new gear. New lighting frames 10 x 10, 6 x 6 and 4 x 4. Also a new Chromakey green 10 x 10 screen as well as some new new textiles for my other frames.

I also have a new monitor stand setup to make having a monitor on set in the right place easier and faster. This is a combination of a few Mathews products specially designed for onset monitors.

I now have a “low boy ” attachment for my Wally dolly kit. This enables the tripod head to be mounted to the T frame on the dolly, making for some really nice low angle shots.

Then there is a load of other new gear, including Shot bags x 4, C stands and more light stands.

All this new gear comes included with all my existing gear as part of my shooting package which means I can handle any shoot.