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Let’s Go To Yours – The vagaries of filming in offices

19th February 2020 by CH

We’ve seen a few. Whether it’s a Seventies throwback office or the Google building, there’s always a list of watch-outs when setting up to film in any location.

We typically need one hour to set up our kit, but it can be longer depending on what we’re filming. Either way, time is precious. So, anything to make that process quicker is music to our ears.

Real Estate
First things first, we need a fair amount of space.
We appreciate that we won’t get the run of the place but unless we use a wide-angle lens (which makes facial features bulge on camera) then the bigger the room, the better the result.

The curse of many offices is the fixed telephone lead and ethernet cabled conference table. Often, these tables can’t be moved more than a few inches, which is very difficult for us. Sometimes we’re working with backdrops, and having some distance between the backdrop, the lights and the subject/person on camera is really key.

If you’re not sure what to book, send us photos of the space as soon as possible, or we can come to recce the options in person and advise you.

Lighting
In an ideal world, we have full control over any lighting. That means turning off overhead lights so we can light the space and subject from scratch.
Any unwanted light source creates awful colour temperature issues in camera, which results in a fluctuating skin colour.

These days, office lighting is motion activated so the sensors need to be covered or turned off. Facilities teams can sort this which saves us a lot of time when we’re setting up. It’s also a lot safer, as the alternative is a stepladder and our tallest crewmember (not ideal for Health & Safety).
Equally, being able to block out natural sunlight is essential for our set up. So, an area with black out blinds is a godsend.

Everyone Warm Enough?
Air conditioning can sound like low-level white noise when we record audio, so being able to turn it off inside the room makes a huge difference. Especially if we’re not adding music in the edit.

Noisy Neighbours
Adjacent rooms often means the sound of the cheery presentation next door bleeds into our room and the ubiquitous door banging can ruin a perfect take. Try asking the CEO to ‘do it again’ after they’ve sailed through a breathless paragraph!

Shop Around
Meeting spaces, reception areas and lobbies can give us more space to work with (and potentially more lighting issues), but they are typically high-traffic areas which can put people off as they try speaking naturally in front of the camera. If it’s not elevenses, it’s lunch or afternoon tea break and the chat and thudding footfall that goes with it.

In And Out
Finally, we have got a lot of kit. Getting our camera cases, lighting cases, monitor cases and sound cases etc. to the room does take time.

What helps is when there’s been some thought into how we can get our equipment through your office quickly and safely. Whether it’s proximity to a goods entrance or lifts, it saves valuable time and health & safety issues. Having a facilities manager to hand also makes everyone’s life better in these instances.

Those are just some of the common challenges we face when filming in offices.

But with thought and planning, we can make your next shoot just that little bit better.

Say hello@ch-video and let’s chat.

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Changing Horizons

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