Tips for Live Event Filming.
Live event filming can be stressful and sometimes unpredictable, however if you set out with a well thought out plan delivering a story of an event on film can be enjoyable and rewarding. We film conferences, concerts and corporate events and produce engaging promotional content, in this article we’d like to share some tricks and tips to help you do the same.
Two cameras are better than one.
We know filming budgets don’t always stretch to multi-camera coverage, but it’s always worth considering if it can be factored in. Knowing there is a second camera covering all the safe shots gives a creative camera operator the freedom to look for those unusual angles or fleeting moments that so often make the final cut and lift a film beyond the ordinary. Mixing hand held work with static tripod shots allows the editor to vary the style and feel of the finished film.
Always leave yourself plenty of time to scope out the venue. Find an area to set-up and base yourself from, check the light levels in the venue. Make sure both cameras are as far as possible matched, double check recording formats and set the white balance. Decide what if any gain the cameras need, but always factor in some ‘headroom’ so you can dial in a little extra during the show if required. It’s worth noting many cameras won’t allow you to ‘deep dive’ into the switch menus whilst recording. Consider using a small on-camera LED light for off-stage shots to minimise the +db gain settings.
If there is an agenda or running order get hold of a copy and make a notes of what’s happening and when, so you won’t miss anything. Speak to the event organiser to find out if there is anything specific happening that might also need recording. If you are working as a team ensure you know what each person will be shooting i.e camera 1 will do all the medium and wide angle content off a tripod, whilst camera 2 will be shooting hand held close-ups and any interviews.
If there is an AV technical team speak to them, ask about show state light levels and if it’s possible to get an audio feed to a static camera. If you get a sound feed consider recording that on channel 1, but keep in mind this will probably only be live when there are people on stage presenting, meaning you may end up with muted audio during periods of no stage activity, with this in mind switch channel 2 to your cameras on-board mic to cover general room atmos, applause etc. Discuss with the technical team where you can shoot from, so you’re not in the way. In most circumstances keep off the stage, you are there to film the show, not become part of it! Don’t leave all this planning until 10mins before the start of the show, if you do turn up last minute don’t be surprised if the technical team aren’t very co-operative.
B-Roll content is king.
Don’t be afraid to shoot loads of b-roll content, it’s unlikely you’ll end up with too much! B-roll footage will often turn a finished film something special, all those incidental shots, people arriving, laughing and interacting, champagne being poured, close-ups of moving lights, place settings and table displays, close-up detail of the band etc. will give the editor choice in how they break up the main content. Don’t forget the audience, reverse wide angle shots of their reactions will prove invaluable in the edit.
Live event filming is as much about planning as it is the execution. In summary, arrive early, get all your technical settings right, communicate with both the client and crew. Keep your eyes open for those killer shots and unusual angles and you will be well on the way to producing a great live event video.