Bulk Shooting – How to Get the Most out of a Shoot Day

22.12.2020 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Video shoots are a lot of work. A lot of fun, but a lot of work. There is a mountain of information to take into consideration before you start, numerous industry intricacies to try and encompass and countless complications that can stall you along the way. Making sure that everything goes as you want it to, whilst lugging equipment from A to B and keeping spirits high can be quite the task. Don’t let this put you off though, as we are here to guide you through the steps that will help your shoot day run smoothly.

Bulk shooting is a brilliant means of getting the most out of your time and budget. Given that most video campaigns have a regular theme running throughout, shooting it all in one go is not only efficient but can lead to greater continuity. Even if you end up with footage that you don’t end up using, see it as content in the bank which may be useful further down the line.

So, without further ado, here are our insider tips on how to get the most from a shoot day:

Scripting and planning upfront

It goes without saying that a clear plan will lead to a smoother video production process. But what exactly needs to be planned before setting out to create the perfect video campaign?

Firstly, as with all video campaigns, you need to have a sound content strategy prepared. This is a term that is thrown around often but surprisingly few are actually aware of what their strategy is when mapping out their campaign. There is a rough idea of what is required but nothing is written down to add that necessary level of clarity. The amount of content available regarding how one should structure and format a successful video marketing strategy is mind-boggling. Entire book series have been written on the subject. But stripped down to its bare bones, the process consists of a clear description of the business and content goals, deciphering what your audience want and fine tuning a creative brief (including how your content will be shared with the world). All of this combined effectively will ensure that your video tells the right story.

Scripting video production
Scripting video production

For a more in-depth insight into video marketing content strategy read our blog here.

Secondly, planning needs to incorporate an actual schedule for the day. Everything from the equipment that you will need, to where you want to shoot, to how you’ll get from A to B. If you have all of this planned out effectively you are less likely to face pitfalls. In turn, this will give you more time to shoot your content. It’s always important to maximise the day’s shoot!

Casting the right talent

Whilst there are a select few individuals with the chameleon-like ability to swap between totally different roles, they are typically hard to come by (and can be very expensive to hire!). Consider what sort of people adhere to your brand guidelines and appeal to your audience on a deeper level. This should all form part of your content strategy.

Casting for your video shoot can make or break a great campaign. Employing the wrong talent can lead to your video giving off completely the wrong impression. Imagine if Danny DeVito had been cast as James Bond, for example. This may be an extreme hypothetical scenario but you see where we are coming from. Make sure that you hire the correct talent before you get started!

Casting for Video production
Casting for Video production

Design a creative approach that not only signs but is doable on a day

A creative approach to producing the right video content will not only make it stand out in front of the right people but can also make shooting more efficient. Choosing the right creative approach is a vital part of the video production process. There is a real skill in making a good idea become a great one. Perhaps the most essential thing to keep in the forefront of your mind is the audience. Think of creative ways to connect with the right people and this will help your good idea during a brainstorming session become a great video campaign.

But creativity goes beyond the mere idea of the video content itself. Thinking creatively about the process of the shoot can save both time and money. Consider how you can make the best of certain locations and people with the equipment that you have. With this will come efficiency and therefore more time. More time increases the likelihood of your final product meeting, or even surpassing, your expectations.

Consider a simpler creative approach

Drawing on the last point, when you are looking to get the most out of a shoot day simplicity can often be the answer. Whilst this should be far from the only consideration when deciding the type of video series you should make, it is a factor that should not be forgotten. Play with the time that you have and no more. If you have a brilliant idea but not enough time to execute it, perhaps added simplicity could help achieve success. There are a number of styles to choose from, so don’t limit yourself to single idea. There have also been recent changes in the types of video people consider to be appealing.

If you are looking to spark a new idea, read our blog on 7 Types of Video Series You Can Make.


Have a production schedule ready for the day

A key part of the shoot preparation process, having a step-by-step timeline will help things run more smoothly. This is especially important when bulk shooting, as without one everything can easily descend into chaos. Always allow for extra time when creating a schedule as there are sure to be some bumps along the way. And always take unpredictable factors like transport, setup times and weather conditions into consideration.

In this current climate, you should also account for the restrictions that will be in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping your team safe should be paramount to all other considerations. Despite the rules in place, telling an effective story in a post-COVID world is still very much possible.

When it comes to ensuring that this timeline is adhered to, it is important to have a dedicated producer on set. Producers are there to overlook what is going on and make sure that everything is as it should be from start to finish. They also act as the communicative link between the client and the production team, so know exactly what is required when on set.

Have a shot list prepared

Again, this is down to pre-shoot organisation. When bulk shooting, it can be easy to lose track of what has been videoed and what hasn’t. Therefore, bringing a comprehensive shot list with you is an absolute must. This should also include footage such as B-roll. There is nothing more frustrating (and costly) than returning from a shoot only to realise that you will have to go back out again. Avoid this hiccup by making sure that all boxes are ticked.

Use an auto cue where possible

Often overlooked as an essential piece of kit for information videos, autocues can make for a speedier production process. Having the subject’s lines reel in front of the camera helps them focus, making for a better quality shot. Ultimately, this will mean less hiccups, which means less retakes, which means less time wasted.

Autocues also add more emotion to speech and prevent the subject from becoming distracted. Even people with no onscreen experience can benefit from a cleaner, more professional touch given by using an autocue.

Consider using a studio space

Whilst there are many benefits of shooting on location, there is also an uncontrollable element of unpredictability. Weather, background noise and distracting passers by are just some of the issues that come with shooting on site. However, when shooting in a studio, everything is under your control.

Studios are versatile and give an extra element of flexibility to the creative element of your shoot. They are also specifically equipped to cater to the needs of a video production team. Dedicated areas for hair and makeup, more space allowing for the presence of larger teams and greater control of sound and lighting make the shoot smoother, speedier and often of better quality. The only limits in a studio are those of your imagination and your budget.

For more information, read our blog on how to Get the Best from Studio Location Shoots.

Kartoffel Films Team
Kartoffel Films Team

Ensure the sound is spot on

This is another element of bulk shooting that can lead to huge amounts of frustration if not followed properly. Make sure that you get the sound right. Because if it isn’t then most of your footage will likely go to waste. This is why it is vital to monitor the audio of your footage throughout. By failing to do so, there is every chance that you will make a lot of your footage totally redundant. This means having to reshoot the day, which means doubling the cost of your shoot. Not something that we would recommend.

Have some food at the ready

A hungry team is an angry team. It may sound silly, but when appetites are high so are tempers. With this comes friction and a lack of team cohesion, which can often lead to sub-par video footage. Simply make sure that there are ample snacks on set to keep tummies full and spirits high. A happy crew will be more likely to capture premium footage.

Insider tip – bananas are an excellent set food. They are easy to carry, healthy and sure to give your team that much needed kick of energy when hunger starts to rear its ugly head.

Coffee. Lots of coffee…

Bulk shoot days can be long and tiresome. Nothing picks the team up like a good caffeine hit. So, make sure that there is coffee available. Lots of coffee…

Large coffee cup

Back up all your media as you go and get an extra take of everything

You can never be too careful when shooting in bulk. You don’t want to finish your day on set only to find that you’ve mistakenly left the all-important memory card behind… Make sure that you have two copies of the content ready for editing in case of the unforeseeable occurring. It takes little effort and could save a whole lot of hassle.

You also don’t want to find that only a small sliver of your days’ worth of footage is actually befitting of your brand. Even if you think that you nailed the shot first time around, make sure that you get another take.

Think of these practices as an insurance policy for your days’ work.

Keep good humour

As stressful and taxing as a day’s shoot may become, make sure that spirits are kept high. A good sense of humour goes a long way to not only making the day more fun but also more productive. A can-do, upbeat team is sure to get more done than one that spends the day sulking. It also has the additional benefit of influencing the mood of those on screen. A positive atmosphere will inevitably make the day more enjoyable for all and ultimately lead to better quality video footage.

Relax and enjoy

Almost most importantly of all – relax and enjoy yourself. It can be stressful. It can be tasking. But being involved in a video shoot day is great fun and a brilliant experience for anyone interested in the industry. So have fun!

Finally – Choose the right team…

Last but definitely not least, choose the right team to do the shoot for you. It is important that you pick a video production company with relevant experience and a style that suits you. If you are looking for a video production team that specialises in quick turnarounds and remote video production, with extensive knowledge of the education, charity, health and tech industries, over 8 years of experience in video production and more than 2,000 films and animations under their belt, then you have come to the right place!

Follow this link to get in touch and find out how we can help with your next shoot.

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