When you think of the word match what comes to mind: Match.com, fire starter, the memory card game? At Crews Control we think of pairing video Producers with Camera Operators. It is part of our culture “where creativity meets its match”. In the data age it is possible to locate a video crew from a location/ equipment standpoint but it’s much harder to know if personalities and working styles are going to gel. Retention of our Production Managers plays a HUGE part in assigning the right DP for each video production. Valerie, Cricket, Becky, and Brad know the camera operators inside and out. With 27 combined years working at Crews Control they are experts in matching all the aspects of a crew for a producer: interpersonal skills, technical knowledge, and production fundamentals.
We recently asked our Facebook friends what makes a good DP and Producer and boy you responded. We thought it would be fun to share your feedback.
What Makes a Great DP?
I think Robert Matzen said it best “As DP’s, we are asked to interpret the vision of the producer or director and transform that into outstanding images on screen with the patience of a saint, the talent of an artist, and the diplomacy of an ambassador. It’s all about understanding the dynamics and logistics of the production while taking into account the restrictions on schedule, budget, personnel, location, and resources. Conditions are never ideal. But the best results are achieved by those who learn to adapt and compromise with a smile.” After studying the feedback from our Facebook friends what makes a good DP could be categorized in the following three ways. If you aren’t born with these qualities there is nothing like 10 plus years of experience under your belt to learn them.
Strong interpersonal skills: understand expectation management, be a good listener, take your cues from others, be organized, have boatloads of patience and lose the ego. Patience came up a lot! Also, it never hurts to be funny.
Strong technical knowledge: keep up with trends, never stop learning, and have qualified sources to get your information.
Strong production fundamentals: vision, storytelling, understand use of color, contrasts, translate Producers vision into reality, framing, composition, lighting, edit or understand editing,
“I would add that it is rare that we perform just one job on a shoot. On a typical gig I could be DP, Producer, Makeup, PA, and Animal Wrangler all at once.” Says Crews Control DP Matt Radico.
Mike Sullivan said “I agree with Matt. We’ve all have been DP, Makeup, Producer and Gaffer on many shoots. Also, you have to be able to see things visually different than most people.”
What Makes a Great Producer?
It is just as important to recognize the qualities that make a great Producer. Of course, experience is irreplaceable but if you are just starting out don’t’ be afraid to ask questions.. Everybody was a newbie once and Crews Control crews are very good at guiding the shoot if need be. Here is what our Facebook friends had to say.
Strong interpersonal skills: have energy, be organized, be confident in the skills that you bring to the table, trust the crew, anticipate all outcomes, but above all remain calm.
Production fundamentals: know your audience, have a clear vision, have working knowledge of post production workflows, and understand what shots are needed to tell the story instead of relying on your editor.
Budget: Money is often tight but you would be surprised by what food will do for the crew’s moral. If it a stop at the local donut shop or a sit down lunch feeding the crew is always appreciated.
What are some other necessary skills of a Producer or DP? Please let us know!