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How to setup equipment for any professional shoot


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#1 David Calson

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 07:50 PM

Hi, I am curious about the meticulous list of things a professional videographer has to do before the tape starts to run. I'd want to assume its just a matter of white balancing and pressing 'rec,' but I know better. Not so much about the lights, but what do you do to the camera say before an interview or documentary or any other type of professional shoot? Thanks in advance.
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 04:38 PM

Hi, I am curious about the meticulous list of things a professional videographer has to do before the tape starts to run. I'd want to assume its just a matter of white balancing and pressing 'rec,' but I know better. Not so much about the lights, but what do you do to the camera say before an interview or documentary or any other type of professional shoot? Thanks in advance.

There are well over 100 menu settings in most broadcast video cameras. If you own the camera, chances are you leave the camera set-up the way you like it and do only a minor tweak before each shoot. If you're renting and have to start from scratch (and don't have settings for that camera on flash) the set-up can take the better part of a day and requires a calibrated monitor, charts and a waveform/vectorscope. There are also ergonomic issues that need to be dealt with, viewfinder, zoom speed, etc. Installing your matte box, calibrating the monitor, putting labels on all the tapes, checking your sound gear, some guys like to black their tapes before a shoot, cutting gels to fit your lights, making sure you have all the cables you'll need, doing a walk thru of your location so you know what you'll need to bring as far as grip gear.

There's lots to be done and sometimes you don't have a chance to do any of it. That's where the boys are seperated from the men, so to speak.
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#3 David Calson

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:25 AM

So blackbursting isn't a standard practice? Also, is there a standard fstop to start with, or like one you would never go below? What's the order of doing all the things you said?
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#4 Tim J Durham

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:27 PM

So blackbursting isn't a standard practice? Also, is there a standard fstop to start with, or like one you would never go below? What's the order of doing all the things you said?

Black balancing is something you should do at the start of every shoot. You should also set the flares for each different lens you use. I rarely white balance anymore because I like the continuity that shooting in preset provides (and usually only white balance under vapor lights). But since I also edit all my own stuff, I know I'll be doing the color correction as well. As for setting the order of operations, as I said, sometimes you don't have time to do any of it before hand in which case, just make sure to black balance and have enough tapes with you.

That last point may seem obvious but only up until the time you have a 5:00am shoot that is 50 miles away and you forget to grab the box of tapes you put on the kitchen counter, next to the coffee maker the night before.
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