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Frequently Asked Questions from Clients to Production Managers

Posted by Montanna Mellion on June 16, 2015

While many of our clients have worked in the production industry for decades, some of our clients come to Crews Control with very little camera or film experience. That’s completely fine, that is what we are here for! So, to make the process go a little more smoothly for you, we have provided this list of the most Frequently Asked Questions by clients to our Production Managers. We are always here to help you out and come up with a solution to all of your filming needs! And as always, feel free to ask additional questions. We hope these answers will help you when you decide to use Crews Control to plan your next shoot!


Does it matter what camera I shoot with?

Yes! We cannot emphasize this enough. It is extremely crucial to the shoot to know what type of camera you want to shoot with. But don’t worry! We can help you with the selection process.

What do you need to know when it comes to cameras?

There are four main factors that decide what camera and format you end up choosing: the “look” you want to achieve, the end use of the video, what best suits your editor, and your budget.

The look of the video is what most people envision when they are planning the shoot. It is important to have a camera that can fit your specific needs for the appearance of the video. For the look of the shoot, cameras fall into two major categories; regular HD and shallow depth of field.

So, what are the differences?

Regular HD Shallow Depth of Field
  • Zoom Lenses
  • Prime lenses with limited focal point
  • Background in focus
  • Everything outside focal point is out of focus
  • Smaller Sensor
  • Larger Sensor


Now there is the next question: Where is the video going to end up? Shooting a video that will end up on YouTube versus a video that will appear on a large screen requires very different levels of camera. Although a video taken on your personal camera may look nice on your computer screen, when it is expanded to a larger screen, it will become blurry. There are several different types of camera options to help you achieve a clear end result.

The third aspect to consider is what your editor is comfortable with. They need to be comfortable with the type of footage they will be receiving. Vice President of Production Valerie Nolan explains, “Most high end editors will be comfortable ingesting any digital format from a hard drive. Editors with larger set ups will also be able to take optical discs and download footage from an FTP site. However, your editor may have some preferences or limitations on what they will accept, so it’s best to check with them first. Make sure you explain your project to them including both the look and the end usage, and then a good editor will be able to give you a variety of cameras that would be acceptable.”

Finally, you must consider your budget. You may want the look of a RED camera, but only have the budget approval for an EX3. Don’t despair, our crews can make your shoot look great no matter the gear and can provide creative solutions to get the shot you need, within your price range.


Do I really need an audio tech?

Yes, absolutely! It is actually very important to have an audio tech. We understand that budgets are tight, but if good clean audio is important to your project, it is worth it to invest in hiring a skilled audio tech to bring and monitor the equipment. It is better to have one person completely focused on capturing the image, while the other person is fully devoted to capturing the audio. Our DPs are great at multitasking as needed and they can run audio while lighting and shooting; however, it means they have less attention to each task.


What is a mobile recording device?

A mobile recording device is an addition to the standard camera package. It allows the Director of Photography to record in formats and resolutions that aren’t native to the camera they are using. There are three benefits to the mobile recording device:

  • Allows you to receive QuickTime or ProRes files
  • Upgrade to 4:2:2
  • Receive footage on a hard drive rather than an optical disc


What does a shoot cost?

This one is especially important! While we can share ballpark pricing, there is no exact answer our production managers can give you to this question right off the bat. There are several factors that must be considered in order to give you a quote. The factors include:

  • Location
  • Number of crew members needed
  • Type of camera and other additional equipment
  • Length of shoot
  • Date of shoot (If you don’t have a firm shoot date, we can’t guarantee the crew we have nearby is available, which would alter the pricing.)

There is no one-size-fits all pricing that we can give you because we want to provide you with exactly the crew that you need.


Do I really need a producer?

Not necessarily, but there must always be someone to provide shot lists, interview questions and b-roll needed prior to the shoot so the crew can get you what you need. It is beneficial if a dedicated representative of the client can be on hand to answer any questions or facilitate logistics while on location. If the producer can’t be on site, they can produce behind-the-scenes by giving the crew all necessary and helpful information in advance to help things go smoothly. Many of our producers also phone, FaceTime or skype into shoots to approve lighting or setups if they are not able to make it on location. It is also always an option to have the crew hire a local field producer to make on-site decisions on clients’ behalf. Our crews are working as an extension of your in-house team so you are assured that they will represent you will even if you are not able to be on location.


What does Portal to Portal mean?

Portal to portal means the exact time the crew leaves the doors of their office to the time they return back to them. Our rates are based on 5 or 10 hours portal to portal. The drive to the location also plays a part in the hours.


How will I get the video?

There are many different ways you can have your video delivered to suit your needs. It is always important to specify how you would like it when requesting the crew so that any additional costs can be noted on the estimate. The most common method of delivery is video files on hard drive or flash drive. We want to make sure that your footage is kept confidential and we cannot guarantee that if the drives are used on multiple shoots for a variety of clients – so we require that a new one is purchased. A mobile recording device is another method for if you need it to be delivered in a more computer friendly format such a ProRes. You can also decide to have the video delivered on an optical disc. It is difficult to have files sent through the internet with full resolution video files.


How long will it take to shoot?

This depends on all of the factors put together. The portal to portal hours play a part, as well as the number of different set-ups per location. B-roll or establishing shots can also take up some time depending on the number of shots and locations. You can rest easy knowing that all our crews are professionals and know how to make your talent feel comfortable and efficiently get all the shots that you need.                                     


What are the advantages between using a professional crew and having a staff member shoot it for me?

There are several reasons why it is more beneficial for you to hire a professional crew. First, we require all of our crews have a minimum of ten years of experience. Although your staff member may be good with a camera, there is no guarantee that they have the experience of our professionals. Our crews are guaranteed to come with professional gear and the ability to light and frame a perfect shot with any camera. It is also beneficial because you will be getting a locally based film crew which will save you money. A local crew also knows the area better than an outsider. When hiring someone within your staff, there’s no guarantee that you will get the shoot you want. When using Crews Control, you are guaranteed a professional local crew that will give you excellent framing, lighting, and audio.


Are you ready to book your shoot with us? Click here for a free quote! If you have any questions about your shoot that we didn’t cover here, please call us at 1.800.545.CREW and we will be happy to guide you through the process.

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