When working on budgets and proposals, I always try to make sure clients are getting the most bang for the buck. It takes experience to know exactly what each project needs as well as what it can do with out. Over the years there is one thing I can confidently say that every video project can benefit from. Two cameras.
For some projects, an another camera and camera operator charge may seem like a lot. It may seem unnecessary and for those who haven’t worked with video before might believe that it would be better to just shoot scenes with one camera and switch lenses to get different angles and focal lengths. To those looking to hire a crew for their next video project let me explain to you why you should put forth the extra money for another camera and camera operator. To my fellow shooters, use this as a guide convince your clients to put a second shooter in the budget.
There are several advantages to a second shooter and with each unique project they may change slightly but not become less important. Below I have listed my four favorite reasons for having a second shooter and camera onset.
- Quicker setup and breakdown
- Two shots per take
- Another professional onset
- More broll opportunities
1. Setup and Breakdown
Time is money. If you believe that then this alone should convince you to hire two camera operators. Having an extra person on set allow for quicker setup and breakdowns. What’s great about this is that you can cover several locations in less time. While one crew member is cleaning out the last location, the other can begin lighting the next scene or interview. If you only have one location, there is the possibility to flop keys or move the cameras in a different direction to make for a different looking set.
One of my favorite advantages is that while I scout the location (especially if we haven’t done a location scout) my second camera operator can begin unloading the truck and building the cameras. This is also important at the end of the day if we have a specific time where we need to be out of your space. For some people, this is worth a lot. If you still aren’t convinced then read on to my next benefit.
2. Two Shots Per Take
No matter the project, having two angles and/or focal lengths will make for a better end product. I will use an interview as an example. You decide that your business would benefit from video testimonials, also referred to as case studies. In this case study you have three customers/clients that are going to rave about your company and how much of an impact it had on them.
With one camera onset you have two options. You can ask all your questions once with a certain angle and lens and then re-interview with a second angle and lens. Not only would that be a pain, but why take twice the amount of time to do it? The other option is to only show one angle but that would be a little boring to watch.
In my experience with interviews, the more organic and less staged the questions are, the better responses you get. Having two cameras will give you two angles to cut from to make the video more interesting and easier to cut in post production which saves time and money.
3. Another Professional Onset
Having another video professional with you onset is worth its weight in gold. Shoots just move quicker and smoother. They are able to concentrate solely on their camera which makes for a better end product. As a one-man-band you are limited to what you can do. Have that second camera operator can open the door to movement and even more broll opportunities (which I will elaborate on below).
Along with giving more shooting opportunities, having the extra person onset gives the director a professional to talk to about shots and ideas. This is where the “two heads are better than one” quote comes into play. It is hard to think of everything on your own but with a second camera operator, you have a second set of eyes on set to help with lighting and framing as well as an extra set of hands to speed the process up.
4. Broll Opportunities
Similar to interviews, two shooters with broll not only allows for more dynamic shots, but it will move things along. Let’s continue on the case study example. We completed the interviews and now we need to shoot broll of the customers in their daily lives using your product. With two cameras we only need to run through each set up a few times in order get the shots we need. On average, this would take 3-5 takes. With a single camera you are looking at anywhere between 6-10 takes. If you are doing multiple setups or multiple locations this will really add up. Not only taking more time, but exhausting the talent.
Another key advantage with two shooters is the opportunity to “break off.” What this means is while one person is shooting the talent using your product, the second shooter can be off shooting exteriors and establishing shots. This saves hours during production and can turn a two day shoot into one.
5. Better End Product
Having two shooters with two cameras on set for you next video project will be a huge advantage and end up saving you a large amount of time and money. You get two angles for smoother editing, two professionals on set and opens up more possibilities while shooting.
If you have questions on how two shooters can benefit your project email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy shooting!