There is a lot that goes into making a video production. The person who oversees the filming process, known as the Director of Photography (DP), has to work with the director and camera crew to capture all of the shots needed for an entire film or commercial.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about working with your DP to get those perfect shots!
- Before you get to set, fill in your DP about the project thoroughly. They love a good script. Talk it out ahead. Discuss the gear, and how you want to shoot the story. Don’t leave it up to your Line Producer or Production Manager to do a debrief. You know the story.
- If you need to scout and you can afford it, take your DP. Take the pressure off and do as much with her before you get to shoot day. Your team can carve out time to talk out concerns and what’s working while scouting. He knows how to work with daylight, and where and what time you can shoot, especially if you’re outdoors. He’ll be happy to get ahead of the shoot day too (and get paid), and have a sense of what he’ll need to pack. Sometimes photos and videos aren’t enough.
- Make that shot list tight. If you know the script, you know the shots. It’s okay to have more B-roll than you may be able to accomplish. Prioritize the must-haves. Anything extra will be bonus!
- Set the tone, that’s your job. Everyone wants an easy-going set. It doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard. Make it enjoyable no matter what needs to be done for the day.
- Be sensitive—he’s an artist too. You want him off sticks, but have you noticed he’s been handheld since 9am? Be mindful of the physical impact of filming and the strength required.
- A pro-DP wants and cares about your feedback. They want the praise and they want to have input. Give them both. When you have a difference of opinion, keep it professional. If we didn’t vibe, it simply wouldn’t go well for anyone. Remember, it’s about the product. Stand firm in your direction, but be kind and stay cool. This matters as a leader on set, as well as for your reputation.
- Look out for your DP, down to the tiniest crumb. A hangry DP isn’t cute. Feed him well! It may sound like a small detail that you’ll remember, but catering is king. Give him and the crew enough time to eat. Let them decide if they want to get back to set earlier. Keep him hydrated and caffeinated, if he needs it.
The more compassion and respect you show the DP, the greater the synergy between you until the moment you bump elbows and wrap out. The manifestation of a solid collaboration and deep connection is your gorgeous, smart footage that’s ready to head to post!
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