14 Tips For Shooting Your Next Chaotic Event
In my filmmaking career, I’ve had the opportunity to film some pretty unique events. While shooting I often come across other event shooters and realize that we’re a unique breed. Essentially, we’re people willing to sacrifice food, rest and comfort to tell an amazing story. Even though we accept the stresses that comes with event shooting, there are a number of ways we can plan ahead and minimize headaches.
I proudly support a local not-for-profit called “Power To Be”. One video I shoot for them each year is a highlight video for “Power To Play” – a 1000 acre race across Stanley Park in Vancouver. This event is without a doubt the craziest video I shoot each year.
- Rougly 20 teams spread out across 1000 acres
- Physically demanding event
- I’m the only videographer
- Short Event (Less than 4 hours)
(Before I get to the official tips, let me just give an un-offical tip: Don’t strap a Go-Pro on your head and film a behind-the-scenes during a crazy event.)
You can watch the behind the scenes video at the top of this page. Here are the 14 tips I share in the video:
- Pack light: Content is more important than fancy shots. Don’t pack too much gear.
- Hydrate: If you’re like me, you get into a “zone” and forget about eating or drinking. Avoid getting a headache by drinking some water before the event.
- Envision and prep for your first shot: I always arrive to the event early to scope out the location and plan my first shot. Pre-choosing your focal length will help save time and get better shots.
- Plan out your bag (Formatted cards and full batteries): Make sure you designate compartments in your bag. It hurts to miss a shot while changing batteries or cards.
- Prep your backup camera with a telephoto lens: It might not be as pretty as a prime lens, but you’ll get the shot.
- Gather interviews for context: You might miss a few other b-roll shots, but the interview footage is much more valuable.
- Trust your peripheral vision: Always shoot with both eyes open and don’t be afraid to abandon a shot if something exciting is happening in your peripheral vision. It’s often the right decision.
- Don’t use lens caps: Lens caps slow you down and often get lost during a chaotic event. Keep them at home.
- Grab an Instagram photo: I’m serious. Snatch something for social media before the day gets crazy.
- Work well with other shooters: Always a touchy subject. Try to chat with other shooters ahead of time in order to avoid conflict. When conflict inevitably arises, breathe and save your complaints for your videographer/photographer friends.
- Plan your transportation ahead: Don’t be that guy that gets stuck running between locations with all your gear.
- Choose your picture profile carefully: Superflat picture profiles like Canon’s Cinestyle are often a great choice for unpredictable events.
- Force yourself to change lenses: Variety is the spice of life and leads to less sucky edits.
- Grab a beer: Reflect on what went well and what you’ll improve on next time.
Hopefully a couple of these tips are new to you and will help minimize headaches at your next event. As a fellow event shooter, I’d love to hear any tips or stories you may be able to offer. Feel free to leave a tip in the comments below or on my Twitter.
Final Power To Play Video: