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Finding the right videographer for your video production

David Collier director of photography shooting for Adobe with the red one camera

David Collier director of photography 

Pulling together the right video crew is a key element to the success of your video production.  If you have ever shot in an unfamiliar city, you probably know that it can be especially challenging and intimidating to find a good crew.  At the heart of any production crew is the videographer or Director of Photographer (DP or in England D.O.P).  When crewing-up, I suggest starting with a well suited videographer and then let that videographer select the sound and lighting personal.  Most likely the videographer has a good sense of the production landscape of the city and has folks already that they like to work with.  That helps create a solid crew.

Every video has its own particular production challenges and requires that the videographer or director of photographer (DP) has a specific set of skills.  Every DP has his or her strengths.  For example some DP/videographers are particularly good with lighting or green screen shooting, but not necessarily good with hand-held camera work or shooting documentaries.  Some DPs are great when it comes to having a vast knowledge of lenses and giving the production a cinematic look.  And there are other videographers have specialty skills, like working a jib arm or Steadicam.

One question to contemplate, is if your video production needs a director and videographer?  On smaller crews everyone wears several hats.  Some videographers double as directors and can help direct the talent, conduct interviews and have a good feeling for what b-roll you will need when you get the edit room.  If there are important clients on the job, it’s critical that you have a good vibe on the set and that the clients have a good over all experience.  No mater how skilled your videographer and crew, you don’t want the work environment to feel awkward.  Some videographers are particularly good with clients.  When interviewing the videographer you can get a sense for not only their skills, but also their personality.  In the process, be sure to tell the videographer about your particular needs and ask him or her what other productions they have shot that are similar.

Here are a few good questions when interviewing perspective DPs or Videographers:

What types of productions you enjoy shooting most and what you are particularly adept at shooting?

Do you have a demo reel that I can see, ideally online?

What other production crew personnel would you recommend for this job?  Do you have recommendations for who I should hire?

What camera package, lighting equipment and sound gear would you recommend?

What is your rate and do you work on an eight, ten or twelve hour day?

Is lunch on or off the clock?

With those answers, you should be ready to begin your production.  Of course, always get an emailed estimate before the job so that you

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