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Location Shoot Preparation
The term location shoot does not always seem relevant to most home digital videographers. The reason is that outside of a studio setting all shoots are location shoots, and therefore for most videographers that is all they will do. If you are planning on filming in a location that you are not familiar with the videographer himself is going to have to consider a few things about the location independent of the rest of the production staff.
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The first thing that the videographer is going to have to consider is how the light is in that area. The likelihood is that this is not going to be a full film production and instead a more on the fly type of video documentation. This means that you may not be bringing any type of light kits into the location, so you want to see how the natural light is at the location or what kind of actual lights are in the location. Go in there and see how the light shows up on your camera and what kind of methods you will have to do to make it come out correctly. Some locations may just not be adequate for a videographer on their own if their camera is not up to the task, so then alteration must be made by changing locations or bringing in lights.
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If this is a public location, such as would happen when filming a family event like a recital or student play, you are going to have to figure out where you will be able to place your video camera. This is going to be difficult once you actually get there so a location scouting will be important so that you can find some possible locations for camera placement. These locations are not going to be set in stone as once the event is taking place. Look for corners where you could place the equipment out of the way and also try to accommodate for larger numbers of people you may have to work around.
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If you are going to be outside then you have similar considerations to make. You still have to look for areas where you may want to place the video equipment, but you are also going to have to look for problems that could arise. For example, if you are aware that you are going to film a child's birthday party in a public park then you will want to take a look for anything that could interfere with your shooting or damage your equipment. This means looking for bike paths nearby, bodies of water in the area, and any type of temporary structures that could be a problem. Also look for areas where people tend to congregate so that you can know where and where not to put your camera.
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Video Camera Tests
You are going to want to execute a camera test at the location before the event so you know exactly what kind of image and sound quality you are generally going to be dealing with. This means that you want to record a few test sequences at the location in similar conditions to those that will be in place during production. This is done so you can go through the different settings on your camera, try different things out to affect image and sound quality, make decisions about how you are going to move forward when you are actually filming, and so you can look at your footage at home so you can see what it will end up looking like.
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In the Location
If you take your camera to the location ahead of time you will have a clear idea of anything you are going to want to alter the location with. This means changing the power grid that is there, bringing in extra production equipment, or moving objects around. Take a look at the space of the area, how traffic within it works, how it looks on camera, and how you think what you are filming is going to appear like there. This will also be an important time to see if you are going to need a location release at all.