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How to Help Ensure a Successful Video Shoot

As a client, your role in the video production process doesn’t end once you’ve hired a professional team. In fact, your involvement is crucial to ensuring smooth and successful shoot days. At Blue Sky, we’ve seen first-hand how a few practical steps taken by our clients can make a positive difference. This means you’ll get the very best return on your investment in video production. Here’s our comprehensive guide to help you prepare and support your video production company on the day of the shoot.

Understand the Schedule

Listen to the Voice of Experience

It’s important to take the time to go over the shooting schedule with your video production company. Listening carefully to their experienced view on how long each scene will take to film including set up and de-rig can be crucial.

Quick, Quick, Slow

Unless you have substantial experience in video production management, you may be surprised to discover that some things can be done more quickly than you imagine, whilst other things take much longer.

For example, clients often underestimate how long it takes to set up good lighting to film scenes, speakers or demonstrations. This could be anything from 5 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the subject, location and complexity. And this is in addition to actual shooting time when the camera is switched on. Being realistic about this and working closely on the advice of your crew will reduce stress and ensure efficiency for the whole team. And remember, equipment set-up time will need to be considered for every change of location.

When to be Flexible

Make sure you all agree on where timings are rigid and where some flexibility may be allowed.

For example, if the CEO is only available for 45 mins, between a meeting and a flight departure, then make sure everyone involved appreciates this fact.

On the other hand, it’s always good to plan some time that can be used flexibly. This can allow for some extra creativity and spontaneity. Footage acquired as ‘happy accidents’ can often result in making a video more unique and memorable.

Unexpected and welcome additions to our shoot days have included visiting owls, sunsets, surprise speakers, such as vox pop comments from the public and passionate testimony from accidental encounters with unsung enthusiasts.

Must-Haves or Nice-to-Haves

Prioritise essential shots and those shots that are nice to have but non-essential. That way, you can be flexible on the day to handle essential shots that take a little longer or adapt the schedule to include unexpected but valuable scenes should they arise.

Communicate any Constraints

If there are specific time constraints or venue-related limitations, inform the production team well in advance.

Be Available

Make sure your personal schedule is clear on the shoot day, so you can be fully available if any issues arise or decisions need to be made. If you have to delegate to a more junior member of your team, make sure, at least, that you can be reached reliably by phone. This will allow for the speedy resolution of issues that need to be clarified or significant choices that have to be made.

Prepare the Venue

The venue plays a crucial role in the success of the shoot. Ensuring it is ready and meets the production team’s requirements can save a lot of time and hassle.

Access and Permissions

Ensure that all necessary permissions for filming at the venue are secured in advance of the shoot day. This includes permits, access keys, and any security clearances.

Clean and Organise

Make sure the venue is clean, organized, and free of unnecessary clutter. This helps the crew set up quickly and efficiently.

Check for Power Sources

Identify and test power outlets that the crew can use for their equipment.

Control Noise Levels

Inform people in and around the venue about the shoot to minimize disruptions, putting up signage if appropriate. If possible, schedule the shoot during a quieter time of day.

We have had shoots disrupted by lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as drills and hammers and helicopters, so a quick check with your maintenance department early on in your planning can be invaluable when choosing dates for your shoot.

Watch out for noisy plumbing, banging fire doors, ticking clocks and whirring air conditioning when choosing specific shoot locations that require a clean sound recording. These things can sometimes be dealt with, but again it requires advanced planning with your maintenance team.

Even with the best laid plans, be prepared to improvise inventively around unexpected noises-off. We have been known to stuff chimneys with cushions to muffle the sound of cooing pigeons!

Lighting and Climate Control

Ensure the venue has adequate lighting or that windows can be covered to control natural light. Check that heating or air conditioning is working properly for everyone’s comfort.

Provide Necessary Resources

Your production team will need various resources to execute the shoot smoothly. Make sure you provide everything they need or have it readily available.

Have and eye for eyesores

Particularly in working environments that are familiar to you, it is easy to overlook eyesores that you no longer notice. A camera takes in everything good and bad, so any eyesore can be glaring to your audience. This could be anything from dying pot plants and wonky lampshades, through to dusty windows and crooked blinds.

Essential Resources

Wardrobe and Props

If your video requires specific wardrobe items or props, have them ready and organised. Consider creating a checklist to ensure nothing is forgotten.

This could be anything from a complete costume for a dramatic scene, right through to simply making sure everyone has the correctly branded lanyards, badges, uniforms or health and safety gear.

Catering and Hydration

Provide snacks, meals, and drinks for the cast and crew. Keeping everyone fed and hydrated is crucial for maintaining energy and focus throughout the day.

Parking and Transportation

Arrange for parking spaces near the venue and provide clear instructions for reaching the location. If necessary, organise transportation for talent, other participants and crew.

Rest Areas

Designate areas where the cast and crew can take breaks, store personal items, recharge batteries and themselves as required.

Ensure Compliance and Safety

Compliance with regulations and ensuring the safety of everyone on location or on set is paramount.

Familiarise yourself with any relevant health and safety regulations for the shoot. Make sure the venue complies with these standards.

Have an emergency plan in place, including the location of first aid kits and contact details for emergency services.

Conduct a safety briefing with the production team, highlighting any potential hazards at the venue.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Despite meticulous planning, unexpected challenges can arise on shoot day. Being prepared to handle these contingencies can help keep the production on track.

Identify potential risks and have backup plans in place. This could include alternative locations, additional equipment, or replacement participants.

Be open to making adjustments on the fly. Flexibility and adaptability are key to overcoming unforeseen challenges.

Keep a positive attitude, even when things don’t go as planned. A calm and composed demeanour can help the team stay focused and motivated.

Manage Expectations

When it comes to managing your team, it’s important to manage expectations carefully. For a host of reasons, not every participant filmed will always be used and not everyone filmed will always makes the final cut.

Show appreciation for everyone’s willingness to get involved, but explain that planned elements can be postponed or dropped at the last moment either when filming or in the edit. Explain such decisions in the broad context of the structure of the film and the competing demands within time constraints. Be clear that when this happens it is in no way a personal judgement of their contribution.

Post-Shoot Wrap-Up

Express your gratitude to the cast and crew for their hard work and dedication.

Clarify the next steps in the post-production process, including timelines for editing, review, and final delivery.

Take some time to reflect on what went well and what could be improved for future shoots. Documenting these insights can be valuable for future projects.


Your active involvement and practical support on shoots are crucial to the success of your video project. By understanding the schedule and collaborating closely with your production company, you can help your shoot days runs smoothly and get the best results.

And finally...

If you should choose to work with Blue Sky Film & Media, we are here to collaborate with you every step of the way. Together, we can create a video that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. Let’s make your vision come to life!