Of all the various video production assignments which may come your way, producing footage for a live event may be the most difficult. After all, some things can not be predicted or planned. That’s where a news background can be extremely helpful. News crews are trained for the unexpected and are very accustomed to “flying by the seats of their pants”. For everyone else, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are prepared and equipped to deal with your next video production assignment covering a live event. I’m talking about events like red carpet arrivals, celebrity dinners, silent auctions, corporate parties, fundraisers, etc.
Here are the must-do’s:
1). Scout The Location Before The Event. I know you are busy and time is precious and the client is not paying you until the event day BUT in order for things to go smoothly, you need to know the venue BEFORE the event. You need to have an idea as to how much space you are dealing with, room set-up, noise and lighting conditions, best interview location, outlet locations, where you can safely store gear, etc. Skip this step at your own peril.
2). Know The Schedule. This is not the time to “wing it”. The event schedule will not only tell you when the most important events occur, but maybe more importantly, it will tell you when they don’t. Another words, when will your video production team have the opportunity to get everything else you need? B-Roll like wide and tight shots of crowd, generic signage, natural sound opportunities- while these may not be on the top of your get list, your video will fall short without this footage. The schedule will provide you a road map.
3). Set-Up An Interview Station. This is one of my top priorities when covering a live event. While you may be able to get some short interviews here and there going where the interviewees are at the time, chances are you will run into bad lighting and noise issues. instead, find a spot at the event where you can set-up an interview station and bring interviewees to you. What’s the upside with taking the time to do this? You can set-up your lights and background in advance and be in a noise-free controlled environment, taking the headache out of the equation for both the crew and interviewee. I have never regretted taking this step.
4). Be Happy/Smile. I realize you under deadline and also stressed about shots you need and still haven’t gotten BUT the client and guests don’t need to know. They should never feel your stress. The guests are there to have a good time and enjoy themselves. The client has worked hard and spent good money on you to make it happen. So along with doing the crew thing, take it one step further and let them see you are having fun too. Smile. It will make your interviewees feel more at ease, which makes for a better interview and your client will feel less stress knowing you are confidently getting the job done right.