One Direction

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It’s been a fairly hectic October/November period. I completed and delivered the first in a series of edits for a three day music show. Almost there with the remaining products due for DVD release. I was also at ‘World Travel Market’ (WTM) doing a corporate shoot for an international exhibitor and in between working with a youth TV project for the fifth season of a magazine type show due to be aired in spring 2014. I have been directing the film crew on location for a few episodes.

Self Shooter v Director
Taking a brief from the producer one has to ensure that the key content required is captured to broadcast standard. One has freedom to make the shots as visually enticing which I like. Being a self-shooter in the most part, the latter is right up my street. Although I have worked in collaboration with one or two others, directing a full crew has provided a different experience and one I’ll cherish for several reasons.

The multiple role of a self shooter is often ignored, not only by the client but the shooter themselves. Everything from concept, research, location survey and recce to sound engineering, interviewing, directing and editing is undertaken by a single individual.This certainly has its advantages in terms of speed, flexibility and reduced costs. The disadvantages are often the compromises made, especially the legal minefield that broadcasters are so cautious about.

As a self shooter it is tempting to throw caution to the wind regarding location recording and what many of my peers pride themselves on, ‘guerilla’ shooting. Ambient music, posters and advertising logos may creep into a production for web or client content but for broadcast this is certainly not to be overlooked and therefore something that the Director has to be mindful of.

Managing a team of young adults on set or location requires diplomacy, constant approval and respecting the different roles played by each of the team. I must confess that I paid most attention to the sound engineer and may have reminded the presenter/interviewer one too many times that nodding acknowledgement was preferable to “mmm”.

Balancing time constraints with framing the right shot and correct lighting is the most challenging. For a team or crew, time is money and often the talent and subject have limited time available. On occasion surroundings were challenging with unsightly clutter or white walled backgrounds (shadows). Even on location the cameraman may offer alternatives from his/her experience which you have to choose to accept or go by your artistic principles when directing. As a self shooter the flexibility of a quick turn or change of angle could remedy problems. Equally being responsible for the edit means you know how far you can push things and make them work in post. Filming for someone else you remain aware that your work will be judged differently.

Ultimately working as either a self shooter or part of a crew, you have to be clear about your role and responsibilities, be confident and deliver the product accordingly. The foundation for this … a well devised and articulated plan which you do your utmost to stick to.

Canon 5d Mk III
I used the 5d at the WTM shoot. I found the small form ideal for manoeuvrability and getting artistic cutaways. Some prior practice and preparation balancing the Zoom H4N line out with the camera input also meant that sound capture was great and in stereo.

A few rushes of day 1 were prepared in the evening for broadcast on the client’s local channels (their time zone being some four hours behind GMT).  The client was pleasantly surprised and most happy with the image quality having some prejudgements about size and quality.

Now let me get back to that music show edit.