Here’s the best part about being creative-there are NO LIMITS. When my colleagues and myself were doing a shoot for a road trip (to Mahabalipuram a beautiful coastal region in the southern part of India) food show we hosted- Feeding Frenzy, the fun of doing the trip took over and we produced original, heart racing clips that speak for themselves.
So, three anchors, one jeep and two cameramen. While that’s modest compared to the entourage and teams that make road trips a big affair, this team of five had it down from lighting to driving.
The challenges we faced included inclement weather conditions and coordinating sound. When you have two cameras and three anchors, the trick is in getting clear audio simultaneously. This trip didn’t have rehearsals, we were on a road trip-we had time to get it done well, but we had only one chance to get “the take”.
These are the top 6 tips to keep in mind when doing a shoot on this scale, keeping in mind that time is essential. This can be applied to still photography and video.
- Think on your feet: the skill is in successful roll-call. When you have to produce and anchor simultaneously, the job can become tricky. Don’t fret, don’t think an idea is stupid. While it’s tough to constantly stop a moving vehicle and re-take a shot, try and integrate moving shots that flow in a sequence.
- Use bad weather or harsh lighting to your benefits: We had two extremities in a 24-hour span and both conditions helped us make the visuals better. If you have a cloudy sky, the photography will be well lit because of the diffused light. One of the best parts of road trips is the ability to beat the sun-wake up early to get the best visuals as the early morning sun is gentle, soft and naturally adds a glow to any visual medium
- Sequencing: You’ve probably heard it repeated by your professors or bosses, but journalism and in fact anything needs an order. In broadcast and photography remember to film or shoot in sequences. Think of it as watching your favorite movie and having one clip jump to a totally irrelevant part of the movie. How annoying is that? Exactly the same in journalism. Viewers get ANNOYED when you show an interesting subject and then fail to give details of it by a close up or a medium shot.
- Variations: When shooting either for broadcast or photography, remember to give the viewer different points of view. Conventionally our eyes can only see at a level plain, but when you have a camera you can use the equipment from a height, from the ground even use rack focus (partial blurs to focus on a point) to make your clips unique and interesting.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Take your time to speak sense, not nonsense: While ad-libbing is as natural as breathing for me, one of the lessons I’ve learnt is to speak coherently. MANY times we DON’T and that’s because our brains are doing two things simultaneously-giving a take and thinking of what the next word or line is, all in the effort to be or not to be coherent. Failure teaches us to try again, but don’t give up better still don’t rush your work.
- Be conscious yet un-conscious of the environment, people or place: Reporters and journalists are good actors too, remember. If a journalist ever denies that, you know the person’s lying. When I say act it doesn’t mean put on a fake persona, nothing’s worse than trying to imitate somebody else or forgetting who you are. Television and pictures are your looking glass, and when you put on an act, it’s way too obvious. Keep it real, buddy!
Once you get these simple basics down, the rest is simply a road trip! Have fun on your next