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This is Part 3 in our series on planning a project (don’t miss Part 2)

The production stage is where all your hard work comes together.  Every project will have a unique configuration of gear.  Special lenses to get the desired shots as well as lighting to create the right look. Multiple cameras may be needed to get proper coverage of an event and to make the editing process run more smoothly.  In a large production, the roles listed below will be performed by different people. In a small production, a few people may each take several roles.

A healthy balance of teamwork and camaraderie must be maintained on set.

The role of the producer

The producer is in charge of two major aspects of the project, the budget and the details.  The producer should focus on making sure that details like scope, schedule, and budget are being adhered to.  Ideally, the producer should not be focussed on the artistic aspects of the project.  By removing the distraction of getting the shot or directing a performance, the producer can pay better attention to the mundane details that can jeopardize a project’s success.

The role of the director

The crew needs a leader to provide the artistic vision. The leader needs to engage all parties on set and ensure that the creative vision is being executed.  The director does not need to execute all tasks on set.  Rather the director should serve as the captain of the team.

Crewing essentials

Adding crew members often means that exponentially more footage can be captured during your shoot. Even a two-person crew can generally shoot far more than twice as much professional footage as a single shooter. This is because of the complexity of video, which requires those behind the camera to focus on composition, lighting, audio, and continuity.

Multiple crew members are often needed to properly cover an event.

The following crew positions should be strongly considered for each shoot.  This would be added to support the Director of Photography who is in charge of all aspects of shooting.:

  • Audio engineer: The audio engineer focuses solely on capturing clear audio with proper volumes. This is a very difficult position and is one of the best hires you can make for a project.
  • Gaffer: The gaffer is in charge of lighting on the set. A gaffer often designs the lighting approach and then executes it. On some shoots, the photographer can fill this role.
  • Grip: A grip is a technician who helps implement lighting on set. The grip also works with the photographer to help create and manage camera support systems like tripods and dollies for smooth camera movement.
  • Camera assistant: A camera assistant is responsible for setting up cameras and lenses. If you are using multiple cameras on a project, it is best to hire a skilled person to fi ll this role. The camera assistant can also help with complex camera movements and manual focusing during a shoot.
  • Data technician: Video files are big, so you’ll quickly fill up your memory cards. The data technician is responsible for archiving memory cards to multiple drives and returning cards to the photographer for reformatting and reuse. If you don’t have a data tech, plan on having lots of memory cards and staying up late to clear them all off.

Up next is Postproduction