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6 mistakes new filmmakers make and how to fix them
May 2, 2022

We’re going to talk about 6 mistakes people make before they even push the record button on their fancy new camera. All of these things are things that we’ve learned over the years with experience. These apply to a lot of different types of films but typically this is going to apply to corporate videos, commercials videos, client videos, and videos for a local business. Keep reading to find out our tips to be a better filmmaker.

  1. Location scouting is essential for your film shoot

The first mistake that new filmmakers make is they don’t think about location. They just show up and started filming. Scouting a shoot before your shoot day is a simple way to get ahead of the game. Grab your phone and snap all the angles you plan to shoot on the day. Also, make sure to visit that location at the same time of day you plan to be filming, to replicate the lighting conditions. Even having the client or whoever is on site send us as many photos is a great option to get an idea of the space. When you arrive at a new location, make sure to keep all of the equipment in the truck or the car and walk around the space to get a feel for the day ahead. This is important to see what potential problems lay ahead and to make adjustments to the schedule. After we’ve picked our shots and know what we’re going to do then we bring in the equipment and get started.

  1. Hair and Makeup will make shots look super professional

The second mistake that people often make is they don’t think about hair, makeup, and wardrobe. This is vital. It’s just as important as lighting and sound and all the other things that we deal with before the shoot. Scrimp on makeup and wardrobe and you will run into problems with how your talent looks on camera. It’s also very important for talent to be emailed beforehand and be told that they should bring wardrobe options. When people bring multiple clothing options it’s a big help. We let people know not to wear shirts with big logos on and tell them to avoid white because it is difficult to light on camera. Another reason why multiple options are good is to control the color palette on screen. I wouldn’t want them to wear a green shirt if the background is also green. Something on the opposite side of the spectrum normally looks good. If you can’t afford to have a makeup artist on set, bring powder, hairspray, a comb, a lint roller. The bare necessities that we need to be able to control the situation and make people sparkle. 

  1. Prepare your talent before the camera is rolling

Another mistake that people make is they don’t think about the actual person they’re filming before they set up for an interview shot. You need to know who you’re going to be filming beforehand to avoid any problems with how they will look on camera. If you don’t have a photo of the person you need to ask simple questions: What do they look like? What is their skin tone? Do they have hair or not? For example a lot of women will part their hair on one side and so it will cover their face. That means your main light source will cast a weird shadow on the side of their face but with a hair and makeup person on set this can be easily avoided.

  1. Sound recordings can make or break a shoot

This one is simple. Having a quiet location to record sound will save you a lot of trouble. For example, the space where you film might sound echoey. If you’re trying to film somebody talking for the duration of the video, it just won’t sound good. The first thing to do at a location is clap and if you hear an echo then we try to do as much as we can to solve that problem. Or we don’t film there. You need to stop and listen for a decent amount of time to gauge the sound problems you will face. Do you hear a loud air conditioning unit that cannot be turned off? Do you hear a refrigerator? Do you hear loud electronics or intermittent noises come and go? All of these things need to be considered when picking your location.

  1. Tell the client what to expect

One big misstep beginners make is they don’t set client expectations. The client needs to know the parameters of the shoot, inside and out. How long you’re going to be filming is a good place to start. The client will need to be scheduled in and told exactly how long they’ll be needed to stay on set. It might be a couple of hours or the entire day but they will not be happy if they miss something important or have been held captive for much longer than they expected. Everyone needs to be on the same page in terms of how long this is going to take. If you’re interviewing somebody that is very important (and on borrowed time)  it’s a good idea to anticipate this. You can set expectations further by telling the client how you will work and what you will do on the day. The more information the better as people can come prepared.

  1. Lighting consistency will keep results consistent

The sixth mistake that beginners make is they don’t think about lighting consistency before they start filming. What we mean by that is, at certain times of the day the lighting will be pretty consistent for hours and hours. The lighting coming through a window will stay relatively the same exposure but in the morning or in the evening the lighting changes drastically. In 10 to 15 minutes it can completely change the look of your footage. When that’s the case you need to plan ahead of time. We’ve made mistakes in the past where I’ve tried to film an interview and the lighting is changed from shot to shot. It was a partly cloudy day and the lighting was constantly changing, so in the edit when we’re trying to piece the interview together to get the lighting matched. Control the light in your interview and you can control the edit.

Look at the big picture on your film shoot

Not thinking broader than just the one shot you’re filming and getting so focused on what you’re doing at that very moment can cloud your vision. Don’t forget to step back and look at the big picture. What we always try to do is think about three things at one time. The shot you’re filming right now, the shot you did before and the shot you’re doing next. By thinking about what you’re doing now, thinking about what you did, and thinking about what you’re doing next it’s possible to get a bigger picture of what you’re doing. It’s important to have a vision for your entire video and follow through.

There are so many more mistakes people can make in their early filmmaking careers. Experience is the key and over years and years of filmmaking you’re going to learn so many different things. But you cannot learn if you don’t take responsibility for mistakes that were made on set. The reason why it’s important to look at things like this is because now you can learn and next time improve. If you like this article don’t read any more. Also don’t subscribe to our YouTube channel, don’t like our videos in fact and give our videos a thumbs down.