Factors To Consider When Looking To Hire A Camera Crew [A Checklist]
A lot of companies use video to convey their message by producing corporate video. Whether you are looking for a Chicago camera crew or a full-service video production company- you need to evaluate who can get the job done in the manner you want. After all, your image is at stake.
Acclaim Media regularly gets calls from marketing firms, out-of-state production companies and in-house corporate video departments. Their calls ask us to act as the camera crew for a video shoot in Chicagoland. This is really common for corporate testimonials and trade show booth videos. We shoot the video then send the footage back to the client for editing at their headquarters. It saves the client the cost of flying in their own video crew and arriving at the Midway/O’Hare with a lot of broken gear.
Often clients don’t know important nuances to look for when trying to compare one video production company to another. The following checklist will ensure that you get a local shoot crew that is fully capable and answer a lot of questions to ensure your shoot begins on the right track.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN Hiring A Camera Crew [A Checklist]
When does the project need to be shot and when do you need the footage?
You might be surprised how many times last minute requests come up. Is your President appearing at a trade show next week in Chicago and you need to have his address recorded? You need the footage in 2 days to be rolled into your Q4 “Town Hall”. No problem, just make sure to lead with the deadlines so that everyone is committed to the same shoot and delivery schedule.
Do you have a reasonable expectation of the cost of what you’re asking?
Video shot in Chicagoland is relatively cheaper than on either coast of the US. However, we all need to make a living. Rates are based on crew, days needed and gear. During the phone call layout your plan to ensure all the details are discussed. These factors more than anything else will determine pricing.
Additionally there are factors beyond a production companies control. McCormick Place parking can be up to $36/day, and in Chicago’s Loop, even more. Need to park at one central spot then do a shoot five blocks down? Maybe is the most efficient way to accomplish this. Leave room in your budget for crew costs, lunch breaks, and the miscellaneous costs of doing video production shoots.
Can you pack all of the video you want shot into the time allowed?
We are glad to work with clients however they see fit. 365/24/7 with no additional cost for our shoot crews. That being said, can we really shoot one client interview in Milwaukee, WI, one in Tinley Park and a third in DeKalb, IL all in the same day? Probably not, it’s 148 miles in Chicago’s congested roadways. Perhaps a better approach is to schedule this over two consecutive days. If that’s the case make sure to reflect this in your budget as noted above.
WHO IS ACTUALLY PERFORMING THE VIDEO SHOOT?
This may seem to be an odd question at first. However, two times in the last year we’ve been called to quickly rescue a shoot that was previously assigned to another company. Many “production” companies will run ads and keyword their website for video crews. Problem is, they are not actually located in Chicagoland. The client booked with a company via an 800 number. Unbeknownst to the client, the number they called was in Atlanta, that production company just then hired a local shooter in Chicago. On the day of the shoot, no one showed up, the shoot day was ruined and the client felt “taken” because of their mistake.
Rest assured, we are a brick and mortar video production company based in Naperville, IL (35 miles W of Chicago). We have been shooting corporate video since we turned our lights on in 1998 throughout Chicago and the suburbs. We’ve got you covered! If there are any issues we have backup LOCALLY to ensure you get your job done the way you wanted.
Now we get to the “fun stuff”, tell us about the specifics of the shoot day(s) and what your take-aways are.
VIDEO SHOOT NEEDS
What type of production gear do you want us to bring?
Tell us about the event, how do you see the shoot unfolding? Are you flying in and conducting a simple interview, or is this a President’s address and need a teleprompter? Acclaim Media has a lot of video production gear. We just need to ensure that we bring the gear needed to shoot the video as you want it. Our in-house capabilities include multiple cameras, lighting kits, numerous wired/wireless microphones, and camera support gear. You name it, we probably have it. If you’re looking for something specific let us know,. Odds our we can easily get it for you. Again, simple communication early can save a lot of headaches later.
What version of HD or 4k do you want?
We have the capability of shooting 4K or HD (1080P, 1080i or 720P) video with the flip of a switch. Please make sure to tell us which version your project will be edited in. We often shoot at a higher resolution than requested, but we’ll clear this with you first. For instance, record in 4K for a project to be edited in 1080P. The larger raster will give your editor more capabilities when editing.
Also related to this is frame rate, how are we recording this? 24, 30, 60 or some other frame rate. Again, consult with your editor as to their thoughts. Each has its own benefits, if in doubt call and we’d be glad to consult on which is right for your project.
Is this a segment that is going into another project?
Is this just one segment of a larger video? Perhaps you’re shooting a video that has interviews from Atlanta, LA and Chicago. If we’re the Chicago crew we want to ensure our footage “looks” like the video previously shot. Can you send us a frame from the Atlanta and LA footage? We can then match “look space” and lighting with the previous shoots to ensure your footage looks similar instead of disjointed.
Are you fully authorized to use the footage we just shot?
We usually have video releases with us. However, they are fairly generic. If your company has talent and location releases forward them to us. We’ll print them and have them with us at the video shoot. This simple step will protect your shoot investment with full permission to use the audio/video clips shot on location.
How are we getting it to you?
It really depends on your timeline and how much video is to be shot as to the best way to get you the footage. Nothing is easier than purchasing a hard drive and sending it to you via UPS. But it can take a week [unless expedited], how fast do you need it? [On another note, we always archive everything we shoot for at least 3 months to ensure the drive gets to you safely. If there’s any issues let us know ASAP and we’ll file a claim with the shipper. Don’t worry, we have a “safety” copy of the footage at our offices.]
A common question is “can you ftp the footage?” I’ll give you a firm “maybe” as the answer. It really depends on the format, frame rate and duration of the shoot. Sometimes we can. Many times it would take us over a day to upload the footage. Then there’s the challenge that common ftp’s such as Box.com and Dropbox.com. Both are really are not meant to take files this large. They do a poor job accepting the footage upload, crashing often. Downloading the footage on the client side is also problematic. I’ve been told of numerous crashes there too.
Finally, if we are able to upload the clips, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO PLAY ON DROPBOX [or the like]. Those built in players were made to play small videos. Not raw camera clips. The quality of the footage and your playback experience will be miserable. Please download the footage, then play locally from your hard drive.
Trust us when we ask, “where do you want the footage shipped?” Att this time, it is the best method to get you the footage. Even better, bring a hard drive with you and we can transfer the footage at the end of the shoot. We are a PC house, format it NTFS, or if you’re a Mac house, exFAT.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES SUCH AS WINDOW DUBS?
A lot of producers ask about window dubs. We can superimpose a digital address onto the footage you might use for logging [see photo below]. The timecode is not visible on the raw camera footage, it is run through a process to show visibly onto the clips in a separate file. The format is HOURS;MINUTES;SECONDS;FRAMES.
Looking for more info on window dubs? Check out our other blog post all about timecode.
Many producers will take this clip then write down numbers of sound bites that they like or key comments. It really helps you organize for the edit process. Most of our clients take the footage and sort it in the edit room. But you may like this service. Please let us know when we are discussing the shoot.
There are a lot of items to plan for when using a camera crew. Relax, we’ve been through hundreds [thousands?] of times since 1998 when we opened our doors. This list will arm you with ways to ensure your video shoot goes smoothly. Should you have questions, we’re just a phone call away: 630.961.9580
Questions or thoughts? Feel free to call to discuss how Acclaim Media can help you produce your video production efficiently and drive results. Acclaim Media is a Naperville video production company serving Chicago and the suburbs.
Acclaim Media Productions is a video production, corporate video, marketing communication & web video company based in the Chicago area but providing services internationally. We help large corporations, successful small businesses & forward-thinking non-profits build stronger organizations through video production.