As the industry continues to change, motion and video have become ever more popular on sets where photography used to be alone. While still images are still a mainstay, it’s important to look ahead at where the industry is headed. For that reason, we have started this series so we can ask our art producer friends about their experiences. Our friend Erika Schumacher, Art Production Director at mono in Minneapolis, has been kind enough to answer some questions from her personal experience working with motion on projects and offers some awesome advice!
How often do jobs have motion in addition to print?
More often than not. Budgets are shrinking, and we are being asked to find efficiencies and capture more content for clients. That usually includes capturing some video during a photoshoot, or some photography during a video shoot.
Are you finding that jobs are originating with stills and then adding motion? Or, the other way around?
Well, there is no norm. Projects may start as a TV/video shoot, and then a photo library is added on; or vice versa. Understanding the client’s priority is key. Then we determine the best approach for a seamless production while ensuring we’re delivering a high quality product. Sometimes the best way to do that is to separate motion from photo; and sometimes not!
Do you find that most photographers now have the ability to incorporate motion into their productions?
It seems that a lot of photographers are jumping in and figuring out how to incorporate motion into photoshoots.
If a photographer is going to include video in their production, do most shoot it in their own or hire a DP?
It seems that the photographer makes the decision based on the client/agency needs and his/her own talents. I believe it should be a conversation with the agency as well. If the photographer is bringing a DP on to shoot either video or photo, the agency should become familiar with his/her work, and if possible, that person should also be brought into all the prep conversations.
How does your client define Behind the Scenes Video? And, do they understand the difference between a Behind the Scenes video and a video with a narrative and sound?
Clients’ levels of understanding and production experience vary. Some clients are former agency people and completely understand the difference between to the two (which are obviously quite different.)
It’s the agency’s job to make sure everyone is on the same page before heading into a production so there are no surprises.
Do you ever find that your client wants video but they do not always know what they will use it for? If so, how do you direct the photographer team?
This is a tricky situation for the production because we don’t want to shoot video just for the sake of shooting video. And, more importantly, we don’t want to become inefficient in our first priority: photo production.
When this happens, during prep, we will try discussing more with the client about where the video might live, and what the content should be, and see if we can land upon a video shot list as our guide.
If it truly cannot be determined or decided, we might plan to shoot video of only our hero photo set-ups. Obviously clear communication with the client is critical, so last-minute adds don’t disrupt on-set production.
Do you find that there is still a learning curve within the agency when it comes to motion? How about the client? And, are photographers able to adequately answer the questions an agency and client may have?
I think the learning curve may be more about how we can we be most efficient with production budgets to capture both motion and photo content at the highest quality. When we have to marry the two together in a single shoot timeframe, we like to work with the photographer/director to plan and budget, and then communicate the game plan and set expectations with the client.
Thank you Jimi Stine for help with the post.