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10 Troubleshooting Techniques for Video Professionals
When combining a creative vision and technology you will almost always get a challenge to solve. So many issues can be worked out with a little extra time spent in pre-production or a rolodex with the right contacts. Here are some popular troubleshooting techniques we hope these will ease your next production bump in the road.
TEN: Take a deep breath. Crews Control Production Manager and Contributing Blogger Brad Spinsby said this about production glitches. “Just like MacGyver, troubleshooting requires calm under pressure. Make sure you remain calm, make a list of your troubleshooting solutions so you can see what you have tried and what may work.”
NINE: When on location start with the simplest solution first. “Always restart. Glitches sometimes just require a power down and a reboot of the system” said Brad Spinsby.
EIGHT: Brad continued to say “Return to factory settings. With cameras, recorders, or other electronic production equipment if you get stumped the best thing you can do is reset to factory setting. If you reset to factory settings you will be able to start from square one.”
SEVEN: Put your talent at ease to avoid massive edits. In corporate video we often work with subjects who aren’t professional actors. The best way to ease talent into a direct address to the camera is to say “whenever you are ready” instead of some form of “action”. Also, dry mouth is always an issue for unprofessional talent and nothing says stand down cotton mouth like a curiously strong Altoid mint.
SIX: Search for a YouTube video. “I had a shoot where a seasoned Producer told me they had trouble getting their Flexfill back into its bag. The crew was an experienced crew and so was the producer, but between these three professionals they needed to get a Youtube video and fold in the Flexfill step by step. Troubleshooting is all about admitting there is trouble, even if you are a group of seasoned pros” said Brad Spinsby.
FIVE: Avoid the urge to blindly Google. You may say “avoid the internet, this is crazy talk”. Forums can be helpful, but more often than not asking the masses will send you on a wild goose chase. Ask the manufactures of the product, solution, or software instead.
FOUR: For every post production hiccup there is a solution. Each major post production company supplies helpdesks and other tools for reaching post production solutions.
THREE: Check in with the key players before the shoot. It seems simple but asking the location contact, DP, and editor are we all set can extinguish a fire before it starts. Does the location contact know where the crew should enter the building? Have they scheduled a room large enough for the crew to record? Has the location contact spoken with the talent and clothing i.e. nothing green for a green screen shoot. Can the editor ingest the files from the chosen camera format?
TWO: It’s a great idea to have list of resources to diffuse potential issues before they occur. There is just no timesaver like having an expert to talk to directly. Some of Crews Control’s best troubleshooting contacts are sales support engineers, key managing editors at large post houses, and technical DPs that shoot all day every day.
ONE: Pick up the phone. Email is great for logistics: time, place, and contact information, but it really isn’t the best medium for relaying your creative vision. The best video producers talk to their production crew and post teams to get their feedback on the best ways to execute their creative vision. Following up the conversation with an email is great to confirm all the details that were discussed. Making sure that the entire production team is on the same page is the best way to avoid costly troubleshooting issues on a on-location video shoot.
We want to hear from you, please comment and share your experiences. What professional video production troubleshooting resource do you love? Can you tell us about a time you saved the day?