So you’ve scheduled the interview, or got a cast and crew together for your short film, or decided you’re finally going to capture a timelapse of the sunrise from that beautiful mountain top. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, it’s important to remember you cannot predict what will happen during a field shoot. As with many things in life, being prepared is the number one goal here, so I’ve put together a list of reminders that can might help save the shoot.
1. Know the Location
What are you filming or photographing? Plan the shots ahead of time best you can, so you can determine what challenges may come up. Are you filming indoors? What will you do if the lighting is no good? The best scenario is knowing or going to the location to plan before the shoot, so you can get a feel for it, and bring any equipment to make up for issues you can foresee.
2. Make an Equipment List
There are few things worse than showing up to your location with everything but the memory card. Do yourself a favor, after you have assessed the location and your needs, take ten minutes to write down or type up a list of equipment. If you like pictures, draw out the set and the components to help you visualize if there’s anything you’re forgetting. Allow yourself time to pack up the equipment and check-off the items on your list as you gather them. Oh yeah, charge your batteries at least the night before, and don’t forget to check if the tripod has the quick-release plate attached!
3. Expect the Unexpected
Bring backups of anything within reason. Never rely on the one memory card or battery. You never know when technology is going to decide not to work, so you want to make sure you’re ready for anything. If you’re using a light kit - try to bring extra bulbs, if you’re bringing anything rechargeable - bring the wired charger (and maybe look into a car charger adapter so you can plug in there if you have no other power source).
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
We’ve all been there, we think we can strap eight bags on our shoulders filled to the brim with equipment, and still maintain our footing. Some shoots will only require a few items, and that’s reasonable to rely on only yourself. But, when a shoot calls for more than a camera and tripod bag, it might be good to seek out a friend - remember you paid good money for your equipment, and you won’t be very happy if something breaks because you tried to do it all yourself.
Know your needs before the shoot and prep, prep, prep! Take the time to turn on equipment if it’s been a while, and make sure there aren’t any dubious error messages popping up (like that time you forgot to reformat your SD card). It’s better to take the time to organize your thoughts and items ahead of time, than it is to feel rushed and anxious about something last minute. A successful shoot of any kind starts with the proper planning!