An effective production process for digital media production is essential in making any assignment a success, beginning with a solid foundation during pre-production. This allows the content production phase to run smoothly, focused on developing compelling multimedia stories.
Commercial Multimedia Production - Boston MA
While producing a commercial multi-media campaign, using photography and video for a midwest financial company, we conducted a nationwide search for locations that needed a unique vision and style. We decided on Boston, Massachusetts.
This project was a rather large with a multimedia crew of 24 people that included Boston based actors, makeup artists, a wardrobe stylist, producers, assistants, art directors, client and of course the media crew to capture lifestyle still photography and video. With lots of moving parts, it was critical to have a production team we could rely upon. Primarily, a Producer that is organized will understand all the details. The producer’s role entails getting permits and finding talent, arranging many people on location in Boston, and holding a large multimedia video production crew to a schedule that constantly moves to different sets around the city.
A few tips we learned from this project:
Focus mostly on today. During the pre-production phase, there are tons of moving parts and loose ends. Pleasant surprises appear and there may even be a shift with the art direction. For me, as the Director, I needed to look at the production’s overarching big picture with deadlines and tasks. Though the majority of my time spent is focused mainly on today’s tasks. Sometimes looking at the big picture, with the hundreds of tasks to complete, can be overwhelming but concentrating on the immediate production tasks makes for a less stressful and productive day.
Have a fantastic crew. In this case, we created a team that was mostly Boston and Rhode Island-based. New England is my “backyard” so this wasn’t overly stressful; but on other assignments there will times when a local producer, scout or contact is worth their weight in gold. It is common, especially on larger projects, to hire local connections to ease local logistics. From a permit that needs a local to push it through, to knowing certain areas that may not be the ideal place for a visual production.
Create a detailed schedule. Have an agenda that is minute-by-minute and also lists all the crew members and their contact information, location scouting photographs and talent headshots. This agenda keeps everyone accountable, and allows them to see the big picture and understand what the photography and video production entails.
Be prepared for surprises. There was one location we thought we had a permit for and we unknowingly crossed the line into another town by about 50 feet. The crew was in a park that extended into two different cities. We didn’t realize that until a police officer asked us about our permits. We had the correct permit for one side of the park, and we needed a different permit for the part we were shooting on at that time. Kindness and understanding goes a long way, and the officer allowed us to finish our work on both sides of the town line.
Weather. This 3-day production was blessed with perfect weather. Though we were watching weather patterns weeks beforehand. A while back, we had a similar project where we needed to postpone a Georgia media project for a week because of weather. We made the right decision because it turned out an extremely turbulent wind storm went through some of the locations we had planned. We would not have had the opportunity to capture what we needed, or do a retake. Always watch the weather, and have a backup plan if the weather isn’t right and the outdoor production needs to be postponed or caught inside. This is a detail no one can control!
Be prepared for a shift in art direction. After researching locations, scouting, discussing and finalizing plans, there are still times when we show up to a site and decide to shift course with the visuals we want to capture. This shift could be due to lighting, weather, a perspective we overlooked or even art direction. It is always a good idea when hiring a strong and supportive crew that each person is able to shift with ease and maintain positivity.
With large or small productions, this overview of a Boston multi-media project will make it easier to understand a multi-locational multi-media project. We do the same type of planning for projects with a crew of 2 or 24. Everyone likes a good solid schedule that keeps everything flowing with ease, and ultimately creates a successful commercial photography and lifestyle videos.