Last week, our friend and guest-blogger, Tom DeAngelis, Producer/Director/Owner of the Production House, LLC in Toms River, NJ, talked about part two of the production planning process. He now moves on to part three in the three part series.  In case you need a refresher on part two, read this first: Video Production 101 Part 2:  Site Planning.


More to think about when planning your site…

If the site is an outdoor site, do you need outside AC power, is it available and from where? Will you need extension cords? How long? How many? Or, do you need a generator? What is the human traffic flow like? Will you need a crew for crowd control? How about parking? And a place to off load gear? Do you need a hand truck and is there a way to get it from the vehicle to the site? That may sound elementary until you have a vehicle filled with gear and no easy way to get to your site. If there are multiple sites within the framework of the general overall location, how will you get from point A to point B?

In the Manhattan tour shoot mentioned in part two of this blog series, we actually had to have one person designated to drive our truck around the blocks while we shot at various locations and then followed the tour bus to the next site. Parking in Manhattan for 20 or 30 minute intervals at various sites is just not something you can easily do.

If the site is an interior site, you have some of the same issues as you do for the exterior locations. However, you will add into your survey some other potential problem areas. For instance, how big is the room? How high are the ceilings? High ceiling makes for better lighting set ups but they could cause problems with acoustics, causing your audio to sound hollow. And while we’re talking sound, what are the acoustics like? Flat, hard, uncovered surfaces will affect your audio differently than those with curtains, rugs, etc.

For light – where are the windows? How will that ambient light effect your camera, light placement, and white balance?

What about potential ambient audio issues? Aside from those listed above for exteriors, what about air conditioning units? Telephones? Intercoms?, etc.

While doing a shoot in a hospital, we had to have maintenance disconnect the intercom so we could do a clean interview with the hospital president in one of the new hospital rooms. Hearing a “Code Blue” over the intercom in this particular instance would not have been the ambient sound we were looking for.

Hey, is there an elevator that can help you get your gear to where you need to go?

OK, enough. You get the idea.

Each site will require different preparation, different contacts to access areas and certainly different gear. With the advent of live streaming, it has become more important to know what the site’s WiFi network can handle. And if your shoot is a considerable distance away from home, you’ll want to check out some accommodations for overnight stays. There’s always a lot to consider.

It’s up to you to take the time to check out your site and look for answers to some of the questions above. The survey will put you at ease the day of the shoot and it will be one of the important deciding factors in you choosing what gear you will need to execute your shot list. Choosing not to take the time to do the site survey is gambling with the schedule, the budget and the quality of your project.

Don’t get yourself into a “Heaven’s Gate” production. Be professional and do the survey!

For more in depth information on this topic check out these two links.

Lynda.com Photography and Video Pre-Production Tutorials 

Extensive Checklist for Video Pre-Production Site Survey

Recent Posts