Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Tip #35: Have a second unit

By Dan Parkes (Director)

We discussed in a previous blog the importance of getting together crew who work as a team and to keep the numbers to a minimum as having too many people on set can create unnecessary work, expenses and distractions. One other key to this is to have a second unit for filming non-principle photography.

In our case this simply comprised of the camera operator (Roger Marshall, above) and myself as the director. This meant rather than filming general shots, exterior shots and location shots etc with the full crew, we could at a later point visit all the necessary locations and shoot the outside of buildings, village shots and countryside vistas etc. This certainly takes the pressure off the main crew, keeps the expenses to a minimum and also meant we could flesh the film out with much more detail and depth, but at a time convenient to us.

We were also able to hire just for one day our most expensive piece of hired equipment –a jib- and go round and shoot as many crane/jib shots as we could manage in one day! Crane/jib shots are an excellent way of showing off locations and buildings and creating a more cinematic feel to the production.

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