No matter how many times you go out to shoot something, it's a good idea to review these basics. After doing over 200 shoots - these are the basic pre-pro tips I use again and again.
- Know the right way into the building. Many city buildings have loading docks that are not the same address as the office. You can lose a half hour in NYC in the morning if your van is unloading in the front entrance but needs to load in the back
- Have an idea before you go on what the location looks like. All windows? Prepare for it. Blah conference rooms? Suggest something in a heavy traffic area that shows the life of the surroundings. As long as the camera can see what's going on - viewers are forgiving about extraneous sounds like phone ringing other office chatter
- Have some wheels. If you're moving from location to location it's a good idea to get a magliner that doubles as way to transport your equipment and also a cart for audio or monitoring. It's expensive but if you're really into doing this - you'll want one.
- Find an interview location that isn't up against a white wall.
- Bring some make-up. You just want to get the shine off their forehead, nose and cheeks. I use CoverGirl Outlast Pressed Powder, Translucent Light. Make sure you have a variety of skin tone colors. Bring some Cosmetic Wedge to smooth out the powder and throw them out once you use them. I also always carry hair spray, combs, and Oil Wipes.
- If you're doing interviews - know the questions cold. It's disconcerting to the interviewee to always be looking down at your questions. Know them well enough so that you're just using them as back up. Also, the better you know the questions the more likely you'll be able to veer off and ask a follow up. Sometimes you'll find a nugget by just listening and taking the conversation where ever it goes.
- If you're hiring a real production crew make sure there's access to coffee and a bagel for the crew before you get to location - your crew will appreciate it.
- Give the talent some water to have during the interview. In my experience, 20% of people have dry mouth or start coughing.
- Bring extra tape or extra digital storage cards.
- Check your tape before the interviewee leaves. Trust me. It's a good idea.
What are your pre-production tips? Share them with us.