Stressed out shooting live events? It doesn’t have to be this way (most of the time).
I’ve spent many a night before a wedding shoot losing sleep over potential problems that might or might not happen. There are plenty of horror stories out there such as: camera not in record, batteries suddenly low, arriving late, etc. Most of these, if not all of them, could be prevented.
While some of the solutions might seem obvious, it can’t hurt to refresh ourselves.
- Make sure your car is in tip top shape. Do you have a spare tire and is it in good shape? I always check the tires a few hours before I leave. Fill up the night before.
- Print out a map with directions just in case your GPS is having issues, and arrive, if possible, 1 ½ hour before. Is there a parking lot?
- Check all equipment a few days before just in case there’s an unforeseen issue with your equipment. You might have to borrow or rent just in case. Last year, I was setting up my tripod just before a dance recital, and two of the screws were lose on the leg. Luckily, I had an Allen wrench in my tripod bag. I guess I should have checked it a few nights before!
- Make sure all of the batteries are charged, even the ones you hopefully won’t need.
- Checklist is a must.
- When your camera is ready to go, I always listen to all audio tracks, not just looking at the meters, to make sure my wireless system is on the correct frequency. Also, the older wireless systems probably aren’t made with the correct range, and this could cause audio dropouts. Not good to say the least.
- Make sure you’re in record! This one is a doozy, and thankfully, it’s never happened to me, but I hear this happening way too much. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s about to happen. Pay attention.
- Communicate with the DJ and/or band as far as the timing of the night. I like to stand by the dance floor or with the entertainment most of the night. When I’m eating, I always have my camera on and at arm’s length.
- Always be cognizant of your surroundings and your equipment. I tend to be a little absent minded on occasion. When I used to use a battery belt for my on-camera lights, I once put the camera down and started to walk away without detaching the connector. Thankfully, my assistant started yelling at me, and I was able to put my foot under the falling camera just in time! That never happened again.
- Finally, with SD cards being so small, it’s easy to misplace or even lose them. I personally like to leave it in the camera if I’m just using one and take it out when I get home. Always make sure to immediately activate the record inhibit button and transfer the footage. I also carry a small case to put the SD card in so it’s not just sitting in my pocket. Nothing like taking out your car keys after a long day and having the SD card fall out of your pocket and not knowing it!
Hopefully, some of these obvious tips will allow you to sleep soundly the night before your next video event.