We all need to make mistakes to learn. The shortcut is to learn from other people’s mistakes. For that reason I am going to share with you some of the biggest lessons I learned when starting out as a filmmaker. If you take note, you should save yourself some hassle, time and money.
1. Take your understanding of the editing process into production with you
If you don’t already have an understanding of the video editing process, do some research or shadow an editor so that you do. You could also try editing a small video yourself to get a taste of what it involves. This understanding is invaluable and will teach you some important lessons quickly, including the importance of capturing good sound. You will also see how beneficial it is to plan your shoots meaning you will enter the edit suite without too much superfluous footage. There is also a major creative advantage because you will know what type of shots are worth gathering depending on your video goals.
2. Organisation is key if you want to minimise stress and avoid costly mistakes
This applies at every level of a video production. The obvious point is to plan your shoot so you don’t waste time wandering aimlessly with a camera, collecting masses of useless footage. In terms of production management, it is essential that you manage your team well. Clear, timely communication is key so that everyone knows what they are trying to achieve, where they need to be to do it, and of course, when!
3. Recognise the importance of your crew and treat them accordingly
It may seem like a trivial point, but feed and water your crew. Making sure your workforce is comfortable and happy should be a priority because if they are not, it will impact on the quality of your production. Also, depending on your situation, be clear from the outset what peoples roles and responsibilities are and when they can expect to be paid. Then, make sure they are paid on time.
4. Take the time to get to know your equipment
If you are taking a hands on approach and have decided to get involved in the technical side of your video production, take the time to familiarise yourself with the gear you will be using. It is essential to do this prior to your shoot so you can ask any questions or do any research before you are filming. A common error would be to assume that you will know how to work a different model camera to ones you have used before. Cameras are changing quickly are despite them generally having similar functions, how these are controlled can vary quite a lot from camera to camera. The same goes for video lighting – get it wrong and you will be starting again.