Setting Up the Studio for Your Shoot

By January 26, 2018Preproduction

Setting up the studio begins with proper planning. For this article, we will focus on an indoor studio. This is because lights are the major obstacle to obtaining the right look for your visual project. Of course, the visual arts are all about how the artist controls the flow of light in the environment. The camera is simply a catalyst to capture what you setup. Before we enter into this technical topic of exploration, let’s give a crack at the rudimentary basics.

Group Coordination

Even if you only need a photography and an inanimate subject, you need to plan the shoot. What time of day are you shooting? What angles do you need to capture? Did you test out your equipment recently or retrieve it from a reliable source? When you add in actors and crews the minutia multiplies.

Time Management for Crews

Getting your crew on the same page literally means using a similar schedule sheet. This is usually on a xeroxed spreadsheet page passed around to everyone in participation. Oh, what? We can get more 21st Century with schedules? Well, maybe you want to control your privacy so you use code. Just make sure your crew understands their arrival times.

Who Arrives at the Studio and When?

Often hair and makeup can be the first to prep the talent for a shoot. This could begin as early as Buttcrack AM as they say for shoots with special effects latex bodysuits as the reason Alan Cumming would never play Nightcrawler again. Then production crews trickle in. The Line Producer is responsible on a large scale production for scheduling shifts during a shoot. P.A.’s will accompany the crew units. Model and carpentry departments might need to set up early. Or you could book at a professional green screen studio and jump right into the next paragraph.

Filming at a Green Screen Studio

The term “fix it in post” was born long before the digital revolution. Yet, we think of all the magic we can do and we got here. No time for dilly-dallying, we got a production to arrange. Lighting is going to be the main focus of most of the crew’s efforts. Some of the things you can’t fix easily in post or really improve on are why you higher a proper production crew in the first place. You might not begin rolling until 10am but you need to set up and be ready for talent in their costume and makeup.

A Feast of Crews

Sorry for the GoT reference. Still got 16 more months until final season. Don’t forget about catering. They should be on set to feed Union crews a meal every 6 hours. But the rest of us non-unionites are die hard cinefiles who require no sleep or sustenance. Or you could arrange for some healthy snacks.

This topic to setup a studio shoot can go on in an extension of blogs. That is why it is the perfect exercise to kick off our revamped site.

Over the next couple weeks we will examine these practices for setting up the best photo/video studio shoot you can:

Next issue: Casting Talent That Sells The Image of Your Design

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