How To Schedule A Video Shoot

Scheduling a filming day for a corporate video is a complex puzzle. The producer will spend hours shuffling blocks of time around to accommodate several restrictions and variables until eventually, everything slots into place! It’s basically like completing a jigsaw puzzle while the pieces constantly change shape and colour!

Scheduling is an essential part of pre-production and should be carried out for any filming day, no matter how simple or straightforward it may see. The complexity of a filming schedule entirely depends on the number of moving parts. The more cast members, crew, locations, scenes and props that are required, the more detailed the schedule will become.

Here are some of the critical elements that make up a schedule of a typical corporate video filming day:

Laying out a filming schedule

A filming schedule for a corporate video can be written as a stand-alone document, but more often than not it’s included as part of the call sheet. The call sheet contains details of all the cast, crew, locations and all other vital information relating to the day. Like the call sheet, the schedule is formatted in such a way so anyone can take a glance at it and find the information they’re after.

A schedule is best laid out as a table with each row representing a different chunk of time. These are in essence the building blocks of a schedule. Coloured rows indicate when the camera is rolling, and white rows indicate when it’s not. It’s pretty simple really!

Building the Schedule

Constructing the schedule for a corporate video filming day is one of the many organisational roles taken on by the producer.

They’ll break down the script into individual scenes and use these as the building blocks for the schedule and then use any research gathered in pre-production, such as location reports, actor availability, budget allocations, to help shape the agenda and arrange the scenes in the most logical order for filming.

This means that some scenes may not be captured in the order they appear in the script. This is very common in film and video production and this is why it’s vital that all pre production work is done up front so the producer knows of all the moving parts involved in the project!

Filming

A corporate video filming schedule is pretty easy to understand.

Each row relates to a different block of time in the day and within each row are multiple columns.

The first column is the time that the current event in the schedule will take place and the duration that it should last. Next to that will be an indication of which scene is being captured or how many script pages are being covered. Next is the slug line (or scene heading) which tells the crew whether the scene is shot inside or outside, with indications of when the scene is taking place, either during the day or at night.

Next to that is where you’ll see a very brief description of the scene along with the name of the location. Other columns such as the cast and any notes or special requirements about that particular scene may be included too.

Lunch

A filming schedule doesn’t only specify what happens when the cameras are rolling; it also indicates what should happen when the cameras stop recording. The most important, arguably, being lunch!

Corporate video filming days can be long, so feeding the cast and crew is essential to maintaining a positive and happy atmosphere on set.

Lunch for a corporate video crew isn’t as glamorous as the catering trucks on Hollywood movies or the endless buffet spreads you tend to see in studio filming. But a good variety of healthy snacks, water and fruit as well as good lunch options will go a long way in making your crew happy and keeping energy levels up when the hours are long.

It’s good to put an hour aside for lunch in a filming schedule. Although, it’s rare that the full hour will be used! The morning’s filming may be slightly overrunning, or everything is going according to plan and the afternoon starts early to try to get ahead of time. Either way, scheduling a full 60 minutes for lunch guarantees that a least 20 or 30 minutes of downtime can be spent on refuelling before carrying on with the rest of the day.

Setting up and Packing down

The first and last blocks of a corporate video filming schedule will cover the arrival and departure time of the crew.

The core production crew of producers, directors and camera crew are usually the first to arrive, with the cast and client arriving around an hour after. This gives the crew sufficient time to get their equipment ready and set up.

This setup time could take anything between 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on how much kit is being used, the complexity of the scenes and access to the location.

For this reason, it’s rare for any shoot to include more than two locations in one day. The time it would take to pack kit away and travel to another location always takes longer than most people think, so multiple locations are best spread across multiple days.===

The amount of footage you can capture in a filming day depends on so many factors, but a lot can be achieved in a regular 8 to 10 hours filming day – if the day is scheduled properly.

If you don’t schedule your filming day properly, you put your project and all the resources, time and money that’s been put into it at huge risk. Without proper timings, your shoot day may extend past daylight hours or beyond what it’s safe to work. Without understanding the locations, you might run out of time and be kicked out of the building!

A good schedule will allow ample time for what needs to be captured for the project, as well as sufficient contingency time should it be needed. Considerations for travel and necessary accommodation for cast and crew are important too – no one feels refreshed after a 5am alarm and a 3-hour car journey.

Scheduling a corporate video is like a patchwork. It’s intricate with various parts that go into it, but dedicating the time to putting it together is worth it in the long run!