Expect the Unexpected in Your Video Shoots (Part 4)

The past three posts on this subject have so far discussed three aspects that could go wrong during shooting day. Tardiness, bad weather, and noise could all adversely affect your schedule. As if these potential problem areas aren’t enough, there are a couple more you should watch out for.

“Houston, we have a (technical) problem”

In a previous post we talked about how you should always have a back-up plan for everything on your shooting day. We also suggested that you test all of the equipment you will be using to make sure everything is in good working condition.

However, if, despite all your precautions and painstaking preparations, you suddenly encounter one of the worst possible problems a producer may come face to face with – equipment breakdown or malfunction right in the middle of your shoot, miles away from your production house – there’s no time (and neither is it appropriate) to panic.

Remember that all-important Plan B? You need to put that in motion. When scouting your location, you must have looked for shops you can rent equipment or buy supplies from. See, you have to allow for the possibility, no matter how small, of renting equipment from them or buying supplies such as extra
tapes, batteries, etc. Check their prices too so you know just how much you need to shell out from your contingency fund.

You don’t want to be faced with zero options and a bunch of disgruntled people waiting for the cameras to roll, do you?

Other things that can go wrong during a shoot are the wardrobe and props. Remind your crew to be extra careful when handling these items. And just to be on the safe side, bring extra clothes and props because you never know when or where Murphy’s Law will hit.

It may also be helpful to bring a first-aid kit for wardrobe and props. Stain removers, a sewing kit, duct tape and other adhesives are staples you may find useful. You may also want to pack steam irons or hair dryers to dry out wardrobe that has been inadvertently stained with sweat. Buying several pieces of the same item may also be helpful. Wedding planners are pros at these kinds of things. Feel free to borrow
their ideas for your shoot.

In theater productions, one of the things a stage manager finds indispensable is a pack of sanitary napkins. It’s great for quickly mopping up spills onstage. It may be useful for you, too. If the thought of packing this item scares you, well, bring an extra absorbent piece of cloth.


Safety on the set should be among your top priorities. Have a standard safety operating procedure and brief everyone involved about it. Then, be the best example. During the shoot, check to see if everyone is following the safety protocols.

For high risk shoots, have emergency personnel on standby or on speed-dial. You should have emergency contact numbers close at hand. Draft a possible evacuation plan for your personnel. This may come in handy when there is a fire or disaster.

For high-traffic areas, consider hiring marshals to direct traffic away from your set. These people can also help ensure that all your equipment and all your crews’ and talents’ belongings remain secure. Consider having your crew wear shirts that pronounce them to be members of your team. If that is not possible, ask them to wear color-coordinated shirts and hand out identification tags or cards and ask them to wear these at all times.

Bring a well-stocked first aid kit. Aside from the usual items for minor cuts and bruises, you may also bring over the counter medications for such things as headaches or upset stomachs.

We’re not saying any of these disasters will happen during your shoot. But one or some has been known to ruin many a well-planned shooting day. So, remember, it pays (and it never hurts) to be prepared for anything.

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