With so many occurrences happening all over the world right now, there is always plenty of opportunity for budding film makers to make their mark in the video world by taking on event filming projects for client-based engagement or to market to news outlets. When doing so, there are many aspects that need to be considered when embarking on a project of this nature.
A primary concern for this kind of work will always be the safety of those working to produce the video as well as for any others that are participating on the other side of the camera. Mass crowd events are comparably more complex and you should prepare by creating potential scenarios in advance and with a plan for dealing with contingencies that arise. A dedicated assistant should attend to lookout for hazards or issues while the camera operator focuses on filming.
Once you are on site and have selected a location where you feel you will be safe and in close enough proximity to your subject matter to effectively be able to get a quality capture, begin filming as unobtrusively as possible. You may want to take some shots on approach to gather wide angle perspectives. These will provide you with a locational context, highlighting the general atmosphere, the scope of the event and identify the demography of the participants. You can focus on tighter shots and more one on one video when the opportunities arise and these will have a stronger emotional impact when presented to a viewing audience.
Capture the events from a number of varying perspectives to give you plenty to work with in the editing process. If you can focus on taping from eye level, you will achieve a real life perspective and give audience the impression of being there. It is also the most natural perspective with which to proceed. Shots at belly level will enable you to move smoothly through any crowd while stabilizing the camera to some degree and avoiding an overly shaky perspective. It gives a good overall view of the crowd and also provides a diagonal angle to capture fully bodies if shooting from a slight distance. You can also raise the camera to get a broad overview of the event, either by hand or by positioning yourself in a higher position on a roof, through a window or by standing on something like a bench, etc. Always try to keep your camera as stable as possible, using a tripod if it is possible. If not, use your shoulder, elbows or other parts of your body to support the camera.
Have an advanced plan of what you are hoping to shoot and the end product you would like develop and when you are onsite, keep this plan in mind in an effort to try to create the film that your client wants or that will be marketable to news or internet outlets. Plan to capture key speakers or participants such as well-known figures in political rallies, etc. If the event has a keynote address, try to get in position in advance and take some test shots of the podium to gauge audio and video quality.
Film a number of surrounding images and individuals to illustrate the context and reactions to your story. Grabbing a variety of random shots to later stitch together is called the b-roll and will help you to solidify the composition of your end product. Also grab some voice pops by asking questions or capturing responses to events that occurring overall.
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