From the early days of self-shooting and editing weddings to now, 26 years later, still occasionally self shooting entire projects, I have long been an advocate of self-shooting. That is pretty much filming and editing and entire video yourself – like a photographer would perhaps.
Now my work various from producing a multi camera production with 4 camera crew in Zurich and creating a 4 hour edit to me travelling with a full kit and shooting and editing a promo or events highlights video entirely myself.
There are obvious benefits of shooting yourself – not only cost but also logistics – especially if you’re filming an event abroad. So when do you really need a bigger crew? And what are the risks of having a bigger crew – do you have someone to manage the manager, so to speak? I have always been put off by the efficiency of too many people – especially having started my career as runner on commercials where ether would be 30 people behind the camera for something as simple as a product shot for example.
In these days of being hired as a videographer and people uploading clip after clip to Instagram of things like there walks to work I think its easy for a new marketing exec to walk into a position and expect to be able to hire a camera to do the whole job. But of course it doesn’t really work that way.
Most of the clients I know who hire me to shoot and edit myself are used to me doing so – they don’t need to give me an entirely comprehensive brief because they’ve ‘seen my work’ and know what to expect, unless they ask for something particularly different. But here’s where the real benefit of a bigger team – it’s a new set of eyes and mind – the creative…
To go back to that original thought of a new marketing exec expecting to be able to hire a one man band to do something like a high end looking, all singing and shouting commercial he’s clearly going to be disappointed, however talented the shooter.
The first person you need to hire is a creative. Lets face it, the cameraman is usually a technician not a creative! True most clients have their own creative ideas – but don’t know how to put it into visual form. Nearly all briefs from corporate clients revolve around talking heads – not always the most visually interesting. If you get a creative on board they can work out how to turn your talking heads videos into a visually more memorable film. A self shooting cameraman editor can then turn that into reality by doing the technical side. You would be very fortunate to find a creative cameraman editor producer who could create a concept and shoot the whole things themselves! Often a bit of detachment is needed – particularly in the edit when you find a cameraman only using a shots that look good rather than one that tells a good story. Unless you’re the next Dennis Waterman I suppose.