As we say in this episode, there’s no way to know all of the things you need to plan for and prepare for as a producer of a video shoot until you’ve done it. However, we do want to help you speed up the learning curve as much as possible, so this episode covers the main pitfalls of first time video creators (especially in podcasting) and how to avoid them. We talk to our friends Heather and Cally, co-hosts and producers of multiple education podcasts, about how they have learned to organize their teams, talent, and time to make their video shoots flow smoothly. Like we keep saying, this is why it pays to hire an experienced crew, but even if you’re DIYing it, this episode will save you lots of time and stress.
In this episode Tiff and Christine teach you how to plan for a video shoot to run smoothly, efficiently, and make sure you get the outcome you want from your recording.
“Crew and talent are just different types of people to work with.”Tiff Tyler
Notes on this season:
This season of the show is all about using a studio and a crew to film your show and make it look its best! That means that we filmed the whole season in Christine’s new studio in Salt Lake City, Worthfull Studios! We invite you to watch the full episode on YouTube to see everything we are talking about >> https://youtu.be/NWDrPDEI5Us
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- Tiff Tyler
- Christine Baird
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Many thanks to our production team
- Casey Partridge for video editing
- Worthfull Media for audio editing
- Mosaico Productions for video effects
- Amela Subašić for artwork
Transcription of this episode:
(auto-generated, please forgive typos)
Welcome to Think Like a Producer podcast. I’m your co-host Christine Baird.
And I’m your co-host Tiff Tyler. Being in the podcast industry, being in the content creation industry. This is what we learned, and this is how you can get out of your own way and get started.
You name it. We’ve probably done it. This podcast is about bringing all the wisdom to you. Tune in weekly, to learn how to think like a producer.
Well, welcome to this episode of Think Like A Producer. Today we’re gonna talk about planning for your video shoots. It’s one question that I have for you, Christine. How would you know unless you know?
You — There’s no way, honestly, every producer we’ve ever talked to is like, I had no idea until I did a shoot, and then I suddenly realized all the things that I needed to plan for. So
You have to experience it,
You have to experience it.
There’s no other way. And honestly, personally, I kind of steered away from our normal. I was, we were doing podcasts. I mean, there’s hundreds of episodes, years and years in, and I stopped and just went on a bit of a bender with just a bunch of different productions, commercials, uh, TV shows, docu-series, and it was such an eye-opener for me to see how much goes into planning things that might literally take 30 seconds for you to watch on, uh, on TV or right before you try to skip a YouTube ad. And, you know, this took two full days, two 12 hour days, 24 hours, 30 plus, especially the producers who have been planning it for over a week, for over two weeks just to get it done. But I would have no idea unless I was in the field working on these projects and understanding it.
And that’s the benefit of, not to toot our own horn, but like this podcast, is that we’re trying to get as much information out to you as possible because there’s no way that you would know what to expect to go wrong or to, to, to be, uh, ahead of, or to think of, you know, even just permits for streets and different things. If you bring out a camera with a, you know, a microphone that’s not attached to it or you know, you’re mic’ing people up and you just wanna be on the street filming, plenty of people have gotten away with it. But there’s certain areas you have to have a permit or you can be fined thousands of dollars. So instead of you investing thousands of dollars into the studio and into the crew, now you’re just paying a ticket because you didn’t know that you needed a permit to film on that particular street.
So again, this is just all to say it’s great to experience these things. It’s great to know people who have been through it all as or as much as possible to be able to get through the planning of these particular things that you want to do. Now, today we’re gonna go over that with our guest, Heather, and we’re gonna talk about planning and preparing for shoots. And it’s going to be to me, um, hopefully one of the most eye-opening things. But I think it’d be fun to just share like the good and the bad, like share, like those unexpected things, um, that just pop up that you would never know. So I’m kind of really excited to hear Heather’s stories later on. We bring her in
For sure. She’s awesome and uh, she has some great insights. So another thing we want you to think about, if you’re already getting overwhelmed, this is another reason to hire a crew who knows what they’re doing. So for, as an example, when people book a shoot through Worthfull Media or at the studio, we do pre-production calls with them and it just depends on the shoot. How many will do, maybe we’ll do one, maybe we’ll do two. But essentially what I’m doing is the producer and a pre-production call is I’m getting really clear with them about exactly the amount of content. Like, are we shooting five episodes in a trailer? Are we shooting three different masterclass videos? Are we shooting this number of social clips? So then I have the plan down on my schedule. Then we’re also figuring out like are we doing wardrobe changes?
Are we bringing in multiple guests? Like how many people need to be featured on camera at what time? We’re also thinking through how many breaks we need to take, right? Because if you tell me, Hey, I wanna record 10, 10 minute episodes for a YouTube miniseries, I know that means we need to only record two at a time. And then you need a break. Cuz if you’re the only person on camera and you need to be on camera for all 10 episodes, you’re gonna get real tired and you need energy breaks, you need water breaks, you need coffee breaks, you need lunch breaks, , you need brain breaks. So you’re g that’s a big part. And like Tiff said, if you’ve never done it, it’s really hard to appreciate just how much energy recording content will take out of the person or people on camera. So factoring in breaks is huge.
And then also understanding, let’s say you have a crew for 10 hours, you cannot shoot for 10 hours. Like you can’t expect, even if you had like multiple people on camera, you cannot expect them to perform at 6:00 PM how they were performing at 9:00 AM Like it doesn’t, we’re humans , we’re not machines. So oftentimes pre-planning issue is figuring out like how many people are we switching out on camera? Can we actually go for 10 hours because we have fresh people on camera the whole time? Or do we need to do two half day shoots because the person on camera is the same person and they are gonna be wiped after four hours and we need to pick back up the next day. So those are just some basic things we’re covering in pre-production. Obviously we’re making sure we understand the concept of whatever’s being shot and the brand and the colors and the graphics and the styling.
So we get the set right and we get the lighting right. But those are the obvious things. The non-obvious things are planning for energy, planning for breaks, planning for realistically how long is it gonna take to shoot this much content. You may hear, let’s say five episodes of a limited series podcast that’s going to be filmed with guests and the same host and you’ll be like, oh my gosh, done in a day. For sure. How long could it take to record five 30 minute episodes? Guess what? That’s a two day shoot . Like for sure that’s a two day shoot.
I mean you make a good point. The setups too, like especially um, when you’re working in unfamiliar areas to get the lights, to get the camera angles, you know, the creativity, you can shoot the same thing 3, 4, 5 different ways. So to actually settle on this is going to be the look, this is the way we’re gonna deliver it. I think the best department that I was learning in that was kind of a huge insight was working in the assistant director department on set because they have to schedule when the crew comes in so they have enough time, the talent comes in at a totally different time bec and then they’re got, they have to put in the makeup and the wardrobe. You know, that’s gonna take 90 minutes depending on the larger shoots, depending on the situation that we’re in. So that was really interesting to see bumping mics.
That was really interesting to see how, just how the schedule can be different and like you said, like crew and talent are just different types of people to work with. Yeah. You know what I mean? Crews needs one thing and talent needs something else. So it’s amazing cuz as they were talking about it, like man, there’s so much that goes into it unless you’re in the practice of it, it kind of feels like riding a bike once you’re in it and you’ve been doing it for a long time, but when you actually break down how many different steps it is just in the planning phase, it’s something that you want to invest your time in and invest the, the amount of, um, even like you said like the breaks too. Because I think you and I, we, we planned this podcast, we planned how we were gonna do season three and you’ve had to re-explain to me every episode that we’ve chosen.
But it’s because when, you know, a week or however long ago we were talking about this month ago, we were talking about this, there was a place I was mentally a month ago that I’m not in a month later, you know? And so even talent and crew and ideas and things that come can develop as you can as you go through. So yeah, planning is, it’s not overwhelming. I know I’m going through a lot, but it’s, it’s, it can be fun, it can be efficient. And I think the crazy thing about planning is you also have to plan for the worst thing to happen too. For it to rain for it to whatever, you know, for someone to get a flat tire and be late. Like that’s the other benefit which we talked about on other episodes of having a crew. If everything is reliant on one person and life happens, you know what I mean, then your time and money, where does all that go? If you’ve got one person that you’re depending on to get all these things taken care of, this is gonna be a really great episode,
and y’all we’re holding back. We could go on and on and and on about this, but we’re trying to keep it digestible and we’re also trying to show you the value of bringing a crew on with experience for them to think through all these things for you because it’s a game changer. And we’ve seen clients try to just like handle this themselves and all they hire is maybe a freelance shooter and maybe have an assistant and everyone’s in a blue moon. A unicorn person can make that work for everybody else is so worth it to pre-plan work with a producer, hire people who are pro project managing for you because then you can have fun and you can show up and have great energy and feel supported and nourished and excited. And v i p like that’s the feeling you want to translate on camera.
Um, and even if you are recording audio, you know when people record audio audiobooks, they talk about how important it is that they felt taken care of and their producer was there and it’s, it goes across medium. So we’re about to share with you our friend Heather, who’s also a producer of multiple podcasts and a lot of different content. She works with the university and the arts program and we will wrap it up after we talked to Heather. Hi everybody, welcome to the guest segment for this episode about how to plan a shoot. I’m here with my lovely friends, Cally Flox and Heather Francis, who are actually the co-host of multiple podcasts and they are seasoned education experts. They work in the arts community with universities and schools. They’re brilliant. So the reason I was so thrilled that they stopped by to be part of this episode is because they’ve done a few shoots.
Heather here has produced quite a lot of shoots and podcasts and content and so I want you to hear from her about things you learned mm-hmm on set. Yep. From being a producer in the field, as we say, things that you’ve found to be the most valuable when planning to shoot, especially if you’re with a crew gear. Mm-hmm. , you I know often are recording in the field as we say. So I’m gonna pop up camera and you guys get to hear it from these two amazing cohos and specifically Heather, I’ve put it on you cuz you’re a producer.
Okay. . Thanks Christine. I’m excited to share because this last year I produced so many videos and, and podcasts and after a year I was like, oh, well that was a good education . And I felt like everyone on set was looking to me to be the leader, to be the producer. I even got this like blue fuzzy producer coat so people could find me on set and, you know, come to me and ask me the questions and I would have the answers and felt like my number one answer was always like, well what do you think ? Because I needed time to create my answer about what I was gonna be doing. So, um, let’s see. I worked with a lot of different talent and this last year I worked with a lot of Native American talent and Cally worked with them as well. And that was an interesting, uh, learning experience because there was definitely some cultural sensitivity to take into account.
So the tenor of storytelling, the, um, indigenous practice of relationship building, the inclusion of family, um, how long a story takes, like what’s important to tell in a story is a big part of indigenous culture. And so we did a shoot where we had a transcript, which we wanted to be accurate and authentic for the native communities. And so we had it approved by a Native American expert who was Native American themselves from the University of Utah. So we didn’t wanna like deviate from the script at all because it was factual information about US tribal relations in the United States. So it’s already like a really heady topic. We have everything approved, we believe it’s culturally sensitive, we have a Native American voice and talent, a great storyteller who I’d had in my classroom as a teacher, but then we had an outdoor shoot with rain possibilities, um, student employees as our staff and crew.
And then our Native American, um, guest who we actually hadn’t gone over the script with him and we had a teleprompter. So it was rough. And what I learned is you gotta like rehearse. If it’s a script, you have to rehearse it quite a bit. Um, if like the best thing is to capture your talents, normal natural tenor to tell a story in the way that they would like to tell a story. So the script and the teleprompter was a challenge. Um, but in the end he was a fabulous storyteller. We had great editors, we made, we made it work in editing. And I have to say that the outdoor shoot, I’m so glad we made it through the rain. We had to stop and pause a couple times, but the gorgeous setting and being on like the Ute people’s land and having a Ute storyteller telling the story, that was magical. So it ended up being really great. But I learned pretty quickly
You came back after that shoot and you talked about how you had never really seen as a separate category talent management. And that doesn’t mean, you know, managing people in a negative way. It means honoring and respecting the strengths and weaknesses of your talent. Mm-hmm. and that that’s what that day taught you was, um, as a producer, how do I go through and examine what can my talent do and what can’t they do and how do I make sure I align their strengths with our outcome? Mm-hmm. , and I’ve really watched you apply what you learned that day in subsequent shoots, you did marvelously with him on the fly mm-hmm. , but I’ve, I’ve also watched you improve all the goals that you mentioned to me that day as you learned mm-hmm. what talent management is.
Right. I feel like it had really improved by the time we went up to the Bear River massacre commemoration ceremony and we were recording more native storytellers and I knew, you know, he was diabetic, he hadn’t eaten yet. We knew we needed to take care of the talent in terms of like physical health and wellness and making sure we weren’t, and it was cold, it was January.
It was bitter cold.
But again, a beautiful setting like steamy river, blue skies
Sunny, but cold.
Cold, um, on set. The relationship with the talent and the content and the environment is like an ongoing and unfolding relationship. So you can prepare like all the equipment, you can prepare all the food, you can prepare all the, um, content and script, but the way the environment changes, the way your relationships change, it is always evolving. So you have to be prepared to problem solve on the spot. And I learned that having a whole team with me was the best way to problem solve because as I was, as the producer holding the whole picture, I had so many people who can manage other details.
Um, it was our cameraman who in one of our, the early post-production meetings, he came forward and said, okay, look you guys, you need to see this. From my point of view, when, when you guys asked me to take this camera, but I had to change this lens and those batteries, it takes me 20 minutes to change cameras. You can’t have me do things on the fly immediately because somebody’s available in this minute. Mm. Here’s my limitations. And it wasn’t until our cameraman gave everybody their limitations that they understood the kinds of things they needed, needed to plan ahead for in their project briefs and those, um, post-production meetings where we all listened to each other and say, this was my experience, this worked. That didn’t work is where we learned to become a team because we didn’t understand each other’s problems. And we learned so much from the cameraman after that first one. And the whole team’s eyes were open and we learned to be more sensitive and the importance of working together as a team. And he was just so kind to sit down and say, I tried to give you this when you asked for it. Here’s why I couldn’t do exactly what you asked for and here’s what I did instead. And the next time we were much better at, um, supporting the requests we were making.
Mm-hmm. . So we’re talking about like sharing roles and like stepping in and, and taking opportunities. But it was the think like the producer podcast that taught me about all the different roles that make up a team. And I also feel that our cameraman, because we’ve really focused him just on filming and just on editing, it gave him the space to be like, okay, if this is what I’m holding, then here is what I need rather than, you know, all the time, whatever they ask me to do in the moment, that is what I will do. And it’s can be stressful. But when there’s a clear plan in open communication that works better
And we all got much better at the activity. Mm-hmm. . So each of those steps is really important. Mm-hmm. .
Okay. So we are wrapping up our episode about planning your shoot, especially your video shoots, but goes for all kinds of recording sessions. If you’re doing something high quality with the team, we hope these stories and these insights are helpful. Not scary, honestly. You make it work no matter what. And everyone has great stories of making it work. Even with all your best laid plans, things can go sideways. So it’s a good attitude to have. But we wanted to share your, with you a variety of perspectives so that you feel really empowered to either hire a team and know what they’re taking you through when they’re pre-production or if you, your team is taking this on for them to understand what needs to happen before you actually get to a shoot. And the planning and giving yourself the space and grace to do your best and really enjoy it and not overload yourself.
Um, it’s always worth it to build in buffer time. It’s always worth it to build in an extra day or a half day to do pickups. I mean, Tiff and I totally have buffer time built in on day two of our shoot for this season just to do pickups, just to add in things we may have thought of over the course of the two days. I mean, we’re about to take a coffee break, lunch break, like we’re practicing what we preached. So we hope this is helpful and uh, please subscribe to the channel because you wanna see the full season. As we’ve mentioned, this is a season you wanna watch, but you can also listen on podcast apps and we will see you in the next episode of Think Like a Producer.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Think Like a Producer. This has been a Worthfull Media production. Massive thanks to our team who makes the show possible. Worthfull Media for audio editing, Jorge and Veronica from Mosaico Productions for video effects and Amela Subasic for our amazing artwork and graphics.