Video Production During the Pandemic – The Show Must Go On (Sometimes)

  Posted by: FreshCut
Preparing for a live concert from the Hollywell Music Room in Oxford, UK

Lockdown. Even a year ago, this word would have conjured only vague associations with unlikely scenarios in Hollywood action movies. Now, it’s a part of our daily vocabulary. As the world has experienced many levels of restrictions on our physical freedom, the importance of online and filmed content has become ever more important for both entertainment and business promotion. Yet, these videos still need to be made – and if you are a company working to create media, the show must go on. The pandemic has changed how we approach many situations, yet there are filming solutions to the problems caused by social distancing measures that will allow you to continue making quality content. Here are just a few of our top tips for video production during these difficult times.

Record Interviews Online

Firstly, it can be a revelation to realise there is no need to conduct interviews in person! We always recommend filming if it’s possible and safe to do so, but if a subject is self isolating or unreachable for a video team: Zoom interviews can be almost as effective, and much safer for all involved. To get your Zoom interviews at the highest quality possible, make sure to allocate prep time to spend with your participants. You can help them optimize their set-up with a few simple tricks such as raising up the web-cam to the correct level and positioning them in an area of natural light. If you want, you can also lend equipment through the post, such as a decent mic, a better camera, or a ring light. Once you have the perfect set-up, record using Quicktime or Zoom with HD video enabled for the best output.

Mix Location and Remote Work

If you do need to be on location, it’s all about limiting numbers on set. Use a skeleton crew wherever you can, and get used to covering for each other. Think of it as a great opportunity to learn a range of new skills and become a more rounded film-maker. If your client wants to be involved, or if they need to conduct interviews personally, you can suggest filming on location but bringing them in remotely, allowing them to stay at home whilst retaining oversight and control over the process. For these situations we set up a two way Zoom link on set, placing the client opposite the interviewee on a big screen, so they’re essentially sitting just where they would be if they were on set! This is the new gold standard of conducting video production projects with the client remoting in from off-location.  

Filming Eriona on zoom lenses so we can sit further back:

Factor in Delays

The circumstances of shooting under social distancing guidelines may be unfamiliar to both you, your clients, and any actors or participants you are using. It’s important to factor this time into your shooting schedule, as you learn to adapt your normal ways of working. This will reduce stress and lessen the likelihood of any mistakes being made.

Keep Your Risk Assessments Airtight

In order to keep shooting during the pandemic, you’ll need to adhere to a strict set of guidelines so that you can keep everyone safe. Our health and safety procedure is rigorous, including a comprehensive risk assessment and a checklist to ensure we don’t miss anything. Wearing facemasks and social distancing is just the tip of the iceberg, and a detailed checklist will help you adjust to new necessities.

Adapt Your Tech

It might seem obvious, but it’s surprisingly easy to overlook. Social distancing will mean your subjects will need to stand further apart in a scene, and you will therefore need to shoot slightly wider than you are used to doing. Always have a 50mm lens with you (which you should have anyway, regardless of this new world we live in!), but also don’t forget to pack a 35mm, or even a 24mm as well depending on your sensor type.

Pivot to Livestreaming

Since the start of the pandemic, live streaming has experienced a huge surge in popularity. Our founder Harry Pill spoke to Quickbooks about the benefits of learning how to deliver livestreaming services to a host of clients. These could include music festivals, business conferences, and theatre productions: the market is growing fast and the ability to produce a quality livestream is one that is highly sought after. Your videography skills may prove uniquely transferable to this market, so start investigating how you can offer a livestreaming service ASAP!