January 18, 2016
Video Shoots from an Intern’s Perspective
As an intern at Clark Creative Group, I’ve had the great opportunity to serve as a production assistant on multiple shoots for our clients. With an educational background in business, my experience in film is limited, so almost everything I observed on the set was new. Going into my first day, I had some preconceptions about how a commercial shoot operates, but I learned three unexpected lessons.
Professional Equipment Makes All the Difference
These days, with the vast number of pictures taken by smartphones and posted on social media, it’s easy to forget the level of quality that higher-end cameras and lenses can produce. The camera on my phone simply cannot match the sharpness, brightness of color and clarity of motion captured by professional-level cameras. In addition to the cameras and lenses, equipment such as the Movi gimbal allow our camera operators to film in ways a handheld camera cannot replicate. Unlike holding a camera by hand, the Movi keeps the aim of the lense steady and balanced while the camera operator moves—creating a smooth, moving shot.
In order to create a spot that meets our clients’ standards, the equipment used to record audio needs to be professional-grade, as well. Poorly recorded voices and sounds are extremely noticeable—even to the untrained ear—and background noises not meant to be recorded can be distracting to the viewer. Playing back a scene where high-quality equipment was used is almost like hearing someone speak in front of you, where a voice recording on a smartphone sounds like someone on a long-distance call.
Attention to Detail is Critical
When trying to find the perfect shot, no detail can be overlooked. Planning weeks in advance means finding the right talent, in the right location, at the right time. Waking up early to capture shots during sunrise or waiting for the perfect amount of cloud coverage is not out of the ordinary. Also, everything in the background receives the same special attention as the subject. This includes moving furniture, switching signage, and adjusting plants and tree branches to correctly balance the frame. Adjusting the camera’s tripod and looking for the perfect angle and amount of focus for the shot is very common as well. On my first shoot, I was also surprised to meet our make-up pro, who makes sure that the actors appear natural and do not have glaring skin under the bright lights.
Lighting Can Make or Break A Shot
Before working behind the scenes on a commercial shoot, I had absolutely no idea how important light is when filming. Almost half of the equipment we bring to a shoot is related to lighting—equipment that optimizes light both inside and outdoors. The angle, color and intensity of the light can completely change the mood and quality of the shot. A shot could look completely different depending on what time of day it is, all because of the angle and amount of sunlight available.