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CAMERA, LIGHTING & SOUND

Why get into technical production?

Yeah, the director thinks he’s pretty important, sitting in his fold-up chair and dishing out the orders Likewise, the actors and actresses might think they’re the dog’s danglies, flouncing around the set and retiring to their trailer when it all gets too much.

However, these guys would be nowhere without the technical production crew responsible for operating the cameras, coordinating the lighting and recording the sound.

The technical production crew are the heart and soul of the TV and film industries. They’re probably not going to be wearing the sharpest tuxedos or the most incredible gowns on the red carpet, and they’re certainly not going to be on the cover of Hello magazine anytime soon. However, these guys are the people who truly “make the magic happen.”

What roles are needed in the camera crew?

This tricky task is in the safe hands of the people who work in the camera crew. The different tasks that these guys undertake are all part of a meticulous and subtle art, which should never detract from the on-screen action. The choice of lens, the exploitation of focus and the movement of the camera all have an impact on the final visual product.

Job roles within the camera crew completely depend on the size and nature of the shoots you are working on, and career progression can involve taking a lot of little steps.

A Guide to Film Set Lingo and Hand Signals

Working on a film set can be a loud experience, with a variety of terms or jargon bandied about that has developed over the past hundred and twenty years or so. I wanted to share with you a smattering of what is said, not said, and what it all means.

Hand signals

These can help to reduce the noise on a set, which is a good thing, since the last thing you as a crew member want is to be noticed for being too loud.

Counting  As an assistant camera person, you often need to share information, but you want to keep the noise to a minimum and not disturb the actors. Still, information such as lens focal length and T-Stop has to go out to your second, or to the continuity person. So it is necessary that you be able to share simple numeric information between takes without interrupting the workflow or the actors’ concentration. This brings us to the need for a one-handed signal. This is simple: fingers straight up—1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Fingers horizontal—6, 7, 8, 9. A closed fist indicates zero/ten.

CP-47  A spring-style wooden clothes pin, great for attaching gels and diffusion to barndoors.

Cover Me  As in, “I have to step off set for a minute and don’t want to disturb the boss, so just pay attention and fill in for me for the next few minutes.” Wave your hand palm down over your head. This is usually used by a key to their first, or a first to their second. It keeps the set moving harmoniously.

Camera Movement Techniques

Early movie cameras were limited by their size and weight. And by early, I mean for the first 150 years of cinema. Throughout the golden age of hollywood a camera was a device often ridden across train tracks by a camera operator and a focus puller. Camera movement was bound by this technology, but that didn’t stop cinematographers from moving their cameras — along tracks or with cranes — the smallest amount of movement required an astounding amount of preparation, planning, dedication and off-camera assistance.

The basic camera moves were all developed in this age of cinema; cameras could move up, down, left or right. They could tilt or pan if you had the proper mount, and zoom if you had a zoom lens.

Every time we learn a new craft or skill, we need to learn the basic moves or techniques that define that function. Beginning to learn to shoot video, whether for a hobby or a budding business, requires some knowledge of the basic moves that define good video shooting practices.

Back when I was in high school taking TV Tech, we would practice making a TV Show called “The Skills Card Test” — we hated doing it. The studio looked so inviting — the cameras, the lights — that we wanted to get on with being Steven Spielberg and skip over the boring stuff, like learning how to actually use the equipment. “The Skills Card Test” consisted of a number of grey cards on stands, and the camera operators had to perform certain camera operation tasks that related to things that were on the cards. So, while the camera operators practiced panning between two dots, zooming from one box to another, the directors practiced directing, the narrators practiced narrating, the Technical Director practiced Technical Directing (which involved setting the levels for the cameras, making sure that the lighting wasn’t too bright or too dark, among other technical tasks), grips gripped, gaffers gaffed and production assistants learned to do everything else. What I realize years later is that doing that boring show over and over during the first three weeks of class taught me not just to appreciate finally getting to write scripts and make our own TV shows, but I realized that I learned right there in a few weeks what it takes many people years to learn on their own.

A camera exists in a three-dimensional world and can move anywhere along the XYZ axis. This means it can move up, down, left, right, as well as forward and backward. So that the director and camera operator can effectively communicate, there are names for each of these moves. This means the director can give a series of verbal instructions, and the camera operator knows exactly what to do without anybody having to get out and draw diagrams.

Sports Cameraman: Career Requirements and Information

Sports cameramen must have in-depth knowledge of video equipment, excellent hand-eye coordination, and communication skills. These positions require a college degree. The outlook for camera operators points to faster job growth than average

Essential Information

Sports cameramen work to capture sporting events and must be attentive and steady-handed. Earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting, film studies or communications gives candidates the necessary education to pursue this career, which typically begins by putting in time as a production assistant. Demand for the position is expected to increase, but competition for these positions is also increasing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sports Cameraman Career Requirements

The highly specialized and technical profession of filming sporting events requires a cameraman to have an in-depth knowledge of video equipment. This knowledge most often comes from formal postsecondary studies. Most universities, technical and community colleges offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in film studies that teach the techniques and theories needed by successful cameramen. Potential majors include broadcasting, communications or film production.

Additional Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts growth for TV, video and motion picture camera operators to be faster than that of other occupations from 2018-2028, and competition for these positions is expected to be stiff due to a high supply of cameramen candidates. The job requires a person to work unusual hours, and there is frequently much travel involved. Many sporting events are at night or in primetime hours, and a cameraman needs to be available to travel to any city, or country, in which an event takes place.

Some sports cameramen operate as freelance workers and provide their own equipment and assignments, but the majority are hired on salary by major networks or individual sports teams. According to the BLS, the median wage of all camera operators was $54,570 as of 2018.

How we organise our film production team

One question we’ve been asked a few times is: “What does your film production team look like? How can our department/agency/organisation build a team like that too?”

Flexible roles

Filmmaking, like user research, is a team sport. We usually get a team together for each film, and we take a flexible approach to assigning tasks and roles, depending on what’s required.

With a bit of juggling, it is possible for one person to do everything: setting up the camera, recording the audio, and conducting the interview. It’s possible, but we don’t recommend it – this approach is hard work for one individual, and you’ll get much better results by spreading the load a bit further.

Film-making roles

The camera operator is responsible for the recorded image. They need to make sure the subject is well framed, properly lit, and in focus. Lighting is a skill in itself, whether that means making use of available natural light or setting up specialist lighting equipment. Recording the sound properly means someone has to listen to it while the interview is taking place. We usually combine those three roles, so the camera operator is in charge of setting up lights and listens to the audio while watching the camera screen as well. It’s quite demanding and requires a lot of concentration, but it works for us.

If you can separate out the technical roles of camera operator and sound recordist, you’ll make life easier for both of them. That means they have fewer tasks to juggle at once. We don’t do this for every shoot, but it’s useful to have it as an option.

Things To Consider When Scouting For DJs For Your Wedding

Is a DJ a Good Career?

There’s never been a better time to start a career in the music industry as it’s easy to get started, and you have plenty of options. If you want to be a DJ, that can be a good career choice. However, more goes into a DJ career than mixing songs and making playlists

Is DJ a good career? Thanks to the rise of the internet, being a DJ can be a great career choice for many people. An aspiring DJ can show off their skills on a YouTube channel or SoundCloud account. DJs play at venues such as night clubs, bars, and even weddings or other parties. A DJ can specialise in one area or branch out for more gigs.

If you want to embark on an exciting career in music but don’t like to sing or play an instrument, DJing might be perfect for you. You can listen to music so that you find songs that fit together, and you can work in a variety of venues. Whether you’ve DJed for years or are new to it, with perseverance and some skills, you can become a professional DJ.

How to Start

The hardest part of becoming and working as a DJ is getting started. When you’re new, people won’t know your style, so it can be hard to find work. That’s why it can be helpful to open yourself up to some free work to get exposure.

Practice DJing

When you first start your DJing career, you won’t have much experience, but that’s not a bad thing. If you have the equipment, such as turntables, music, and a computer, you can practice DJing for yourself. The more you practice DJing, the easier it will be when you land a gig since you’ll know your way around your equipment.

Build Your Brand

Your marketable skills begin with your talent and your sound, but there’s more to this picture too–your consistency, dedication, professionalism and personality carry a lot of weight with your fans and with the people who want to hire you.

At the “superstar” level, DJs are a unique breed because they have to manage multiple aspects of their public persona. It’s not enough just to tour the world with an expensive light show, or to mix a mind-blowing set with passion and creativity. You literally have to be an arbiter of the future–attuned to emerging trends and technologies, and ahead of the curve with your selections, remixes, and productions–while still maintaining a vestige of the sound and style that got you there. That’s not easy; just ask Tiesto, BT and Richie Hawtin, or even eclectic outliers like Ellen Allien or Amon Tobin, both of whom have reinvented themselves more times than we can count, but draw packed houses consistently.

Why Does Branding Matter for DJs?

Think about the most successful DJs in the world, and you’ll realize that they have several things in common besides their technical skills and talent. They each have a distinctive sound, look and personality, and they each maintain a steady media presence–all of which connects to being memorable as a brand. Tiesto is a perfect example; with his immediately recognizable logo and his dynamic presence on stage or in the booth (he’s known for dancing all night), his live shows have become ritual gatherings for his fans worldwide.

Creating and Curating Your Image

The way you dress and the music you play, as well as your social media presence, website, and the marketing materials you create, are all reflections of your personal brand. But don’t forget why you need it: you’re trying to get gigs so you can make a living playing music. If you’re not getting work, or if you feel stuck in a creative rut, you might want to think about retooling your brand.

Interview with Ani Quinn: DJing in the Big City of Dreams

As one of the top DJs in New York City, Ani Quinn has made the most out of his early experiences on the city’s underground rave scene. We asked him what the competition is like in one of the toughest markets in the world.

DJ Tips and Tricks for Beginners that Actually Work

DJ Tips and Tricks. A DJ typically plays records in a sequence to the entertainment of the listening audience. In recent times though, a DJ’s role has evolved slightly to include mixing and tuning the songs they play, but the role remains essentially the same: dishing out a carefully selected playlist to a teeming audience of gleeful listeners.

Determine your Music Sound

What sound gets your juices running? What music lifts your spirit? DJing is as much to do with your music taste as it involves your quality in handling equipment. Don’t worry, for now, about the sound others will like. The stunning diversity of sounds in the music world ensures that there is a market for every sound. Do you vibe only to alternative rock tunes? Electro? ‘80s hip-house?

Have Fun

Closely related to tip number one above, having fun is an important part of DJing. This is perhaps the most fun-oriented job you can ever hold. Music brings life. You have to tap into this life while DJing if you are to really get your audience to feel the music. When you are really into it, the crowd knows, and they just love it. Better your technique, follow your heart, and have fun

What Kind of DJ do you want to be?

If you are yet to ask yourself this question, then you are yet to get started on the path to professional DJing. With your sound decided, you want to focus on what type of DJing you will be doing. Are you gunning to become a mobile DJ, scratch DJ, club DJ, or house party DJ? Or do you intend limiting yourself to the role of hobbyist DJ who simply plays for a bit of fun? Not only will your answer be critical to your practice, it will be important as you consider your choice of suitable DJ equipment.

Select the Right Equipment

Your DJing experience will very likely have started with a simple PC with a DJ software. Once you decide this is something you really enjoy, it is time to go for quality equipment that will make your learning more professional, and all the more easier. This is an exciting but delicate step in your career that you don’t want to rush into. Although it might seem easy, you can easily find yourself with the wrong equipment, one that doesn’t suit your style. Selecting the right equipment early on to suit your sound and targeted career path will aid your practice and professional growth.

What Wedding DJs Wish You Knew About Choosing One

Wedding couples are frustrated. DJs are frustrated. There’s a disconnect here. But what exactly is the problem?

It depends on who you ask. DJs continually wonder why brides and grooms treat the mobile DJ — the type who lugs around his equipment to show up at big events and weddings — as a commodity. In other words, couples price-shop ruthlessly, as if any given DJ were interchangeable with the rest.

Why Is It So Different With DJs?

Part of the answer is an image problem, says Paul. “People perceive that most mobile DJs will turn up fifteen minutes ahead of time, with a couple of speakers and some cheesy circa-1970’s light screens, and play ‘Agadoo’ all night.” (For we lucky few who haven’t heard it, the 1984 song Agadoo frequently charts as “the worst song of all time.”)

When She Was Good, She Was Very Very Good

Perhaps it’s hard for the average bride and groom to grasp the difference between a green DJ with low-end equipment, and a seasoned one who knows how to transform shy and retiring Clark Kents into dance floor superheros.

The first may be nothing more than a glorified CD changer. He may or may not have a firm grasp of the different musical needs that accompany standard reception rituals, like the cake cutting or the father/daughter dance. He may lug in his entry-level Peavy subwoofers and arrange his sound system in ways that ignore your venue’s peculiarities.

The best DJ controllers

Modern software applications such as Ableton Live mean you can now technically DJ with pretty much any MIDI controller, or even just a mouse and keyboard. Nevertheless, there are several very good reasons to use DJ controller hardware designed specifically for mixing.

Whether you’re after something to replicate the feel of traditional turntables, mixers and CDJs, or a modern pad device designed for sample triggering and effects manipulation, the best DJ controllers in this guide offer skin-tight integration with your preferred mixing software of your choice, so you can properly get hands-on and expressive with your library or tracks

The best DJ controllers you can buy today

While Pioneer DJ’s rekordbox DJ mixing application remains, arguably, slightly in the shadow of the ‘bigger guns’ Serato and Traktor, used with Pioneer’s new flagship DJ controller, theDDJ-1000 it’s the perfect pairing. In fact, the 1000 is the closest thing we’ve found to condensing a club CDJ setup down into controller form.

Its meaty, pressure-sensitive jogwheels have the heft of mixing on one of the brand’s industry-standard CDJs, and the mixer section is effectively a trimmed-down DJM-900. All tracks prepared in rekordbox are ready to be loaded onto a USB and taken out to a club too – meaning this is probably the closest compatibility you’ll find between home controller setup and DJ booth

How to choose the best DJ controller for you

There are several things to consider when shopping for a DJ controller. The firstm, and possibly biggest consideration is your choice of software. If you favour Serato DJ, it’s important to note that the software is only compatible with certain controllers,

How To Pick Event Videographer For Your Event Day

How to Choose the Perfect Videographer for an Event

Planning an event is all about choosing the right venue, making sure to pick the right menu, curating the guest list, and providing the right entertainment. But none of that will matter if there’s no one to capture the moment. Even though nowadays most phones have more than adequate cameras to shoot some high-quality pictures and videos, it all pales in comparison to what a professional videographer can do.

After all, the right videographer will not only have the right equipment but an eye trained to look for those special moments you’ll want captured for eternity. Whatever budget you set for the event must be enough to include a professional rather than trust your guests to capture snapshots of the event. And you should also be ready to invest quite a bit of time on finding just the right kind of videographer.

Set a Budget

Speaking of money, this is incredibly important. Try to do a little bit of research to get an idea of what you’ll be getting for the amount of money you’re willing to pay. Some professional videographers offer great quality for reasonable prices but a really long turn around, so you won’t be seeing the results for months after the event. Others might have a faster turnaround but work at higher rates. And of course, there are lots of videographers that have great prices and portfolios but might not have the right equipment to shoot the venue you’ve chosen. So, keep in mind your priorities when setting your budget for the videographer

Define Your Style

There are many different styles of videos and you’ll need to find one that you need. Some people opt for corporate looking videos with simple editing, while others favour a more candid approach with a more artistic style. Defining what type of video you like the most will make the process a lot easier, as videographers usually choose to work in only one style and you’ll be able to see it just by looking at what they’ve done before

Check Their Portfolios

Professional videographers have their portfolios readily available for any potential clients. Though keep in mind that some videographers hide their more “mainstream” work (i.e. Weddings, birthdays, corporate meetings, etc). That is to say that if you find a videographer that you really like but see they don’t have any events in their portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask them whether they’ve done that kind of job before. In general, you should always see their previous work before sealing the deal.

Keys to Find the Best Event Videographer

Moments are ever fleeting. Many times, we all wish that we could relive moments again. Thanks to technology, moments can be captured and preserved to keep memories fresh in our minds. By hiring an event videographer for your business or wedding, you can get professional videos and photos of special events, which can be handed down to another generation or share withing your organization

Especially in this digital age, quality images and videos are highly sought after. Sophisticated gadgets are in vogue, social media networks receive tons of images, GIFs and videos daily. It is no doubt that this has come to stay.

Identify the Type of Event

There are several types of events and so, videographers may focus their efforts towards acquiring techniques and skills in one or few of these types. Events may be corporate, personal or performance related. A corporate event may be a business conference, a major meeting or a retreat. Personal events could be a wedding or anniversary celebration while performance related events are inclusive of concerts or stage plays.

Consider Your Budget

The size of your budget is also an important factor in finding a videographer. While no one would want low quality, your budget would determine what you can afford. Hiring a videographer that is way above your budget would not be best choice.

Do Not Search With Levity

In preparing and making arrangements for your event, it is easy to shove the videography part and take it lightly. You might passively ask someone to take care of it and forget about it. However, if you want to get quality service, it is important to take the videography as serious as you take other components of your event. This way, you would be able to make a choice from several videographers and have control over quality too

Choosing the Right Event Videographer

Whether it’s a corporate event or special personal occasion, capturing important moments on video can preserve them for reflection, reminiscence, and review. There is a huge gulf between fly-by-night amateur video and the kind of images a skilled videographer can provide. When hiring videography services for corporate events, training, or marketing videos, or for personal events, knowing what traits and skills to look for can mean the difference between a beautifully shot video or a slapdash collection of random images.

The advent of digital videography has made video content more affordable and widely available than ever before. In the past, video was an expensive proposition, as the price of film and editing equipment was quite high. Today, most smartphones come with video capability, and you can easily find video editing equipment for your personal computer.

Most businesses – even small mom and pop shops – now have video content on their websites, and video will soon be the predominant form of content on the web. Companies are using corporate video for everything, including how-to videos, training videos for employees, tours of their facilities, and marketing content.

Wedding Events

Weddings are among the most important milestones in our lives, and brides, grooms, and their families want a picture-perfect reminder of their day. Wedding videographers need to collaborate carefully with their clients to get just the right tone and style for their video. While some wedding parties will want videographers to use lights and other equipment, others will want a more naturalistic wedding video. Understanding where the boundaries are is critical for wedding videographers.

Corporate Events

For corporate events, videography services need to get a good feel for the tone and purpose of the event. Is it an informal employee retreat, or a high-stakes meeting? Once they have a feel for the event, videographers will be able to shoot appropriate video. Professional videographers will need to set up lighting and sound prior to the event. They’ll also need to know where most of the action will take place so they can be sure to record important speakers and presentations.

Choosing The Right Event Videographer

How to Choose the Right Photographer and Videographer for Your Wedding

Finding good vendors for your wedding (like caterers, DJs, etc.) can be a challenge. For both of our upcoming family weddings, we are utilizing the services of wedding planners to make the process go more smoothly and keep our sanity. I’m not an expert on event planning, so I’m happy to release control to those who are – but when it comes to anything photo-related, or the best ways to tell the story of the big day, I have lots of opinions!

These days, we have the technology to capture photos and video of your event – and I recommend doing both. If you have the funds to do so, I recommend leaving room in your budget for a photographer and a videographer.

How to Choose and Hire the Best Videographer

As the latest statistics and research continue to hammer home the fact that video content is a critical component of every business’ content marketing campaign, marketing departments all over the world are scrambling to find professional videographers to fill this gap and bring their company’s content marketing strategy up to speed. Video content is a creative and engaging way to help your company stand out from the competition and a professional video production company can create video content that can be of considerable value to your business. At SteadyTake, we specialize in assembling the most qualified creative team for your video project, including skilled videographers, editors and creative support as needed. We pride ourselves on doing everything we can to ensure that our clients get what they are looking for in a video production company and we offer reasonably priced packages for a wide variety of video production needs, from entry-level packages to premium packages.

Tips for Hiring a Video Production Company

Unless you have hired a videographer or video production company before, you may not know what to expect from the process, how to prepare for it or how to know what is a fair price for the work you want. For many people, hiring a videographer to produce videos for their business may seem like a daunting task. There are countless video production companies out there offering a wide range of services that vary a great deal in price and they all promise to deliver high quality, professional video content. So how do you know that the video production company you hire will create video content that effectively markets your business?

Keys to Successful Event Video

One of the comforts in controlled shoots is that you can always try a few things to see what works with a scene. Move a light a few times. Take time to test audio with different microphones in different positions. Maybe swap cameras to see if the Canon EOS 5D Mark III gives you a better effect than the Sony PMWEX3. These comforts are welcome in those environments, but other types of shoots – particularly event video – aren’t always so controlled, and great planning must be undertaken to ensure a good final product.

Some Quick Tips to Being Prepared

Whether you are shooting wedding and event videography or school sports, you need to be prepared. There are no do-overs. Some of these tips sound like common sense, but each one has either helped me immensely, or bitten me badly when I forgot to do them. This is the checklist that I go through before I take on any event.

What Kind of Planning? All Kinds!

Before an event shoot, it’s normal to get a little bit tense. One of the best ways to get calm is to take some time to get prepared. Charge more than your camera batteries – charge up your cell phone and pack a charger. When all else fails, your phone can be your lifeline to communicate with the rest of the staff. Fill up your gas tank to avoid a stop on the way, and get your car looking presentable, inside and out, you never know if you’ll be driving a subcontractor or a client to the subway or their hotel after you’ve concluded the event

Know Who’s in Charge

When scoping an event, you’ll want to meet with your clients beforehand to get a solid understanding of their expectations – what do they want you to shoot, what are you delivering after the event, and what are the deadlines for that content.

Get a Schedule

Prior to the event, sometimes at the last minute, the client should provide you with an event schedule. If they don’t, ask for one. This will give you an idea of how the day(s) will flow, and serve as a general outline to work with. Keep in mind the time allotted to the travel from place to place. Make notes on the schedule detailing any special requests or location changes.