Now that you've tested your gear, you have an event that is planned, and even have some preconceived shots planned at the event, it's time to create your final plan for your shoot before you head to the location. A plan is important for which tasks are done, in which order are tasks done, and who does each task.
A plan for any events shoot might involve the following:
- shot list
- shooting schedule
- list of locations
- list of talent
- equipment list
- a storyboard (optional)
What can help you immensely at any events style shoot is a shot list. This is a list with each shot that must be taken for the purpose of telling a given story. For narrative films, a shot list can get really complicated. However, if you are shooting an event, like a wedding, you might keep it simpler by listing each shot you need to get for the retelling of your event. Shot order is dicated by the schedule of the day, so reording shots is often unnecessary. After you've got your shot list, then move to the task of creating a shooting schedule.
Throughout the event, be sure to vary the frame size of the shots, the camera angle of the shots, and leave time to shoot cutaways or "b-roll" for each location or setup so you can have more choices for editing once you get back to that task. Don't forget to get some audio presence (usually referred to as room tone or natural sound) from each location for your edit later. "Room tone" can be very helpful in fine tuning edits, especially for adding pauses (sometimes referred to as "beats") to your edit. You can put these details in the shot list.
A shot list is crucial to have for the purpose of making sure you have enough "coverage" for your story. It also ensures that you are not leaving out any crucial elements you need to retell the event in the best possible way.
Once the list of shots are made, you can create a shooting schedule. The timing of the activities at the event should drive the schedule. If at all possible, try to schedule in breaks and meal time for both you and for others helping you with your shoot (if you have others assisting).
Different setups take place during a shoot, so plan on finding the ideal location for each setup you are planning. Ideally, "scout" your intended location ahead of time to determine any plans to shoot in that location. If you do not have time to scout the location in advance, consider building in some time for scouting once you have reached the location. Consider the equipment, requirements for equipment (like power outlets or lack thereof), and staff that is needed for each setup in each location.
List of Talent
Who are the people you are recording at the event? Make sure you have a list of the people you plan to have in the shot for each location. Each person should be made aware of the time and place they are to meet you for the shoot well ahead of the shoot day. Call or email each person the day before to check in. See if there are going to be any issues getting that person to the location. Plan to provide food and drinks for talent in your event, especially if they are doing you a favor by appearing in your event. If it's a wedding? Well, you can probably count out the bride and groom. Their meal is probably going to be covered.
List of Equipment
You should already have a checklist of the gear if you've been following through this workflow. This helped you prep your gear. Bring this along with you to the shoot. This ensures that you leave with the gear you brought to the location intact. It's easy to leave behind small pieces of gear at a shoot. Going over your checklist on the way out prevents this problem.
A storyboard is not as crucial for shooting events as a narrative or commercial is. Shooting a school play or a wedding does not have the rigid shot requirements as do other kinds of shoots. That said, you may want to think ahead about how you plan to shoot certain portions of your event.
If you can anticipate certain portions of an event you plan to attend, or a thing you wish to show your client or talent, it might be wise to think ahead how you might shoot the sequence, where you are going to place the camera, what kind of angles you are going to need. Creating a storyboard is a helpful aid for shooting more complex sequences, so do consider making one if it will assist you at the shoot. Coming up with unique sequences ahead of any shoot also allows you the ability to practice what you are going to perform live in front of the camera.
With your shot list, schedule, lists of talent, equipment, and a storyboard in tow, you are now ready to head to the location to shoot your event.
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