A lot of our clients are surprised at the amount of equipment there is, and how long it takes to unload, set-up and finally get the cameras recording!  But knowing what is involved and asking the right questions before the shoot will save valuable time and prevent headaches. This will ensure the day’s filming runs smoothly, and that everyone involved has a productive and enjoyable day.

So here are some top tips on what to think about if a camera crew are turning up, ‘The What, Where, When and How to manage a film crew’.

1.    Who turns up? Crew sizes can vary depending on the type of production. However, for shooting interviews on location a crew of 3-4 will arrive (Producer/Director, Cameraperson, Sound recordist, Production Assistant). A small crew considering on a Hollywood movie there are hundreds of people on set.

2.    When? The crew will arrive at least an hour before shooting. They will need to park so they can unload the equipment.  Can they park in the building? If so how do they get in?  Who do they report to on arrival? Is there someone who can meet them and show them to the right location on arrival?  Do you need the vehicle registration? If there is no parking on site, is there a car park nearby? The team will bring quite a lot of kit with them, so nearer they can park and unload the better.

3.    What time do you want to start filming? It’s worth bearing in mind that the crew will need at least an hour to unload and setup, particularly if you’re looking to start early!

4.    Schedule for the day. Be realistic about how much you can shoot in a day without rushing the crew and your contributors. As a rough guide: for a simple talking head interview allow roughly an hour for the crew to set up, and then one hour for each interview.  Yes it does often take that long! The camera crew are there to make you look good, so it is worth allowing them the time to get what they need.  We are always happy to help draw up a schedule for the day.

5.    Where is the best place to film? The bigger the room the better, often a large but quiet space such as a boardroom works well.  Interviews look much more stylish if you can have some depth in the background, not to mention that larger rooms won’t get so hot from the lights. Also be prepared to rearrange the room’s furniture!

6.    Is the room light enough? Don’t worry about this, our crew will always bring their own professional lighting equipment. Hence all those cases! Because of this, it’s important that enough power sockets in the room – usually between four and six will be enough.

7.    What about sound? Try and find somewhere that’s quiet, where you can control the sound.  Is it possible to turn off the air conditioning?  Is there a meeting going on next door the day you’re filming? Steer away from noisy public areas such as the lobby or canteen.

8.    What will the crew need?  While they will bring all of the equipment they need, the crew will need water and coffee! They are human after all and will work much better if they have plenty to drink.  As shoot days can often be long, the crew will need a break for lunch, ideally between 45mins and an hour.  Make sure your interviewees can have a glass of water, as it can get pretty hot under those lights!

9.    How long will it take? Most interviews usually take 30 -60 mins per person. If anyone is on a strict time deadline, then please let the crew and producer know, so that they can make sure that all the necessary filming is finished within the time allocated.  If timings get too tight, it may be necessary to reschedule some of the filming

10.     Smile and try to relax. Having a crew in your office can be disruptive and, but a professional crew will keep the disruptions to a minim, as well as making sure everyone involved with the filming is as relaxed as possible.

And finally… 

A good production company should go through all this with you before they arrive to film, but as we all know, preparation is key.