Some helpful ideas for Producers and Cameramen

We are here to help you get your job done well, and that starts before we even go out to shoot. From choosing the right camera crew, the best camera, lighting and lenses, to getting the location right, filming safely under Covid and backing up the rushes quickly and safely.  The following guides aim to give you the information that you need in a succinct and clear way. It is aimed at producers, production managers, directors and camera operators, so please take a look and let me know if there is any subject you’d like me to add, or any other suggestions you have at all. And of course you can’t beat specific advice so please do call or email if you want some direct, tailored advice.

 

TV Crews, Carnets and Brexit

An ATA Carnet is a customs document that allows us to travel the world freely with our camera and lighting kits

At Capital Crewing we have been travelling and dealing with carnets for years. Because we often need to travel at short notice, we took the decision a few years ago to have an annual Carnet, and the great thing is that we choose from the list, what kit we need for each trip.

So we know the process inside out and even help the customs officers to fill them out. We also put stickers, (like signature markers on a contract) where they should be filled out and signed. And this helps us make sure customs gets it right even if we have just come off an overnight transatlantic flight. 

Carnets and Brexit

So whenever, wherever you need us to go, we are ready. And now that you also need an ATA Carnet to travel to Europe we are perfectly set up for it,  and know the procedures inside out.  It’s one less thing for busy Production Managers and Production Coordinators to worry about, and best of all it is cheaper than getting a dedicated Carnet for a trip 

A Carnet  lists our equipment and the serial numbers, and we get it stamped in and out of UK customs and the country we are travelling to – it’s actually very straightforward once you’ve done it a few times. And you can see a list of countries that are covered by the ATA Carnet system listed here

How quickly can we get a carnet?

 

Covid-19

 
  • This past year has given us many challenges but we have continued to be able to film safely and protect ourselves and those around us. One of the most important aspects is to make sure the guests or presenters know that we take it seriously, and are doing our utmost to ensure we all stay safe, so they feel comfortable and perform better too. 
  • Of course we wear masks at all times on location, sanitise our hands regularly and maintain social distancing but there are practical considerations that help and are always worth being reminded of
  • Avoid unnecessary stops on the way to the shoot and travel in separate vehicles
  • Keep our equipment organised and compact and separate
  • A little bit of extra time helps more than anything. Best practice is more likely to be overlooked when you are rushing
  • Keep the room ventilated where possible
  • Of course use boom mics when possible and sanitise any personal mics thoroughly
  • Communicate what you’re doing and why you’re doing – it will put everyone at ease
  • Here is a link to some guidelines to follow for filming safely 

The Recce

 
The recce is so important for some shoots – here’s some ideas of what you should look out for and what questions you should ask, especially if we can’t be there with you. 
    • Is there parking on site or nearby, and are there any height restrictions?
    • What are the room dimensions, including the height? 
    • Sound: Is there a busy road outside? Is the floor carpeted? Is there much of an echo in the room? Does the floor creak? Aircon with local control? Are there workmen scheduled in the building?
    • Will there be windows in shot and where will the sun be? How tall are the windows if they need to be blacked out?
    • Are there curtains or blinds that can be drawn?
    • Are the chairs right for the shoot? Do they swivel or creak?
    • Power sockets? Are they standard (not round 3pin  as in some hotels)?
    • Are there fixtures, beams or ceiling grids to hang lights from? 
    • Any low tables to have in foreground (if its a 2shot)
    • Any tables to move/dress behind?
    • What props are available to dress the background?
    • If filming a 1+1 interview will the 2 singles work as well as a 2 shot? 
    • Are there any mirrors in the room? 
    • Take a photo from each potential camera position as well as some big wides. A video can be really useful too
    • Any suggestions of anything we should add to this list? it’s aways great to have feedback. Give Mark a call or an email

Camera Crew Hire Terminology

 
There are so many terms for camera people these days, so here’s a guide to help you through it all
    • ​Lighting Cameraman – someone who will operate the camera but is also particularly proficient in lighting
    • Dop, DP, Director of Photography –  traditionally the term used for the person that will work with the director to create the look they want for a film, drama or commercial. They would normally have a lighting, grip and camera team under their control. In recent years as large sensor cameras have become much more available the term has been appropriated and used much more generically
    • Camera Operator –  this was originally used to describe the actual operator of the camera on a film set (although sometimes the DOP did operate too). Now the term is quite generic and often used to describe anyone who works with a camera, and has gained widespread use because it isn’t gender specific
    • Videographer – in the UK this is usually used for someone with less experience, and not for professional tv crews. However in the U.S. it is used much more widely
    • PSC – portable single camera. This describes a camera crew that might typically shoot on location for a documentary, feature or entertainment shoot. It can be used very broadly.  It is used a bit less these days but is often used to differentiate from ENG
    • ENG is short for Electronic  News Gathering and came about in the early days to differentiate from news gathering on film. It’s still used mostly to  refer to TV news crews,  but frequently for any single camera location shoot

Sony FX6 starter Guide

 

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….and on a lighter note here are some videos that will hopefully bring a smile

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