I just wrapped three days of behind the scenes (BTS) for an advertising fashion/beauty job that my friend was shooting. Customers, fans, everybody loves BTS. I totally do! It's a glimpse into a world many don't have access to and lets you delve deeper into a movie/TV show/product. Or it can be somewhat educational. Want to see how Norman Jean Roy shot a Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover? Check out the video.Since the campaign isn't coming out for a few months, I can't post any images. But I can share some tips from my first BTS still shoot.
- You're telling a story. You're not there to simply document what went down that day with one frame of catering, one of the set, one of a model. Instead, try to capture the feel of being on set and show it being fun. Shoot models getting their make-up and hair done, "hero" shots of clothes/accessories, details such as logos/makeup brushes/textiles. Shoot some wide images if possible (by that I mean, you're if allowed to - more in a bit). Are the models goofing around? What about the photo crew? Overall lighting setups? Photographer and clients reviewing the screen? You get the drift. But no one really cares to see the catering unless it's just for your Instagram.
- But make sure you're allowed to shoot that. Not everyone wants to be photographed or even can be. Some people are camera shy. Some have contracts with certain beauty products, so they can't be associated with another brand. Production will send around the release forms. When I digi teched for DS, there was lots of BTS (still and video) shot of us. I just signed, went about my day, was filmed and in my brief moment of fame, I looked like crap in the September Issue. AND check that you can shoot overviews of the set. Not everyone's lighting style is up for the world to see.
- Stay out of the way. Behind the scenes. Duh.
- Make sure you know your gear and have what you need. Standard practice. Back up camera, cards (ain't no tethering for this), computer. Here's what I brought to this last job - gear. Luckily, I didn't need to use the extra camera body. I had all these lenses, but really, the 24-105L was the workhorse.
- Be one with high ASA. If you're shooting in studio and using the 24-105, be prepared to be at ASA1600, f4 no flash. You'll pop the strobes if you use flash. Steady hands it is.
- Test settings for the different "areas" in the studio. Lighting will be all over the place and thus your white balance and exposures. Hair and makeup will be by the window, so you'll have daylight streaming in and tungsten from the vanity lights. Wardrobe may be lit with a little Arri fresnel (tungsten continous light). On set you have modeling light if it's lit with strobes. Then there's the general studio overhead lighting. Obviously, being outside would be different. For this last job, I had general settings for each "area", which were tweaked slightly for a different part of the day and each day itself. But at least it was generally in the ballpark.
- Shoot RAW. Duh.
- Dump your cards and back up regularly. As an ex-digi tech, I'm so conditioned to back up often. You never know. Have at least one back up. When shooting to card, I generally dump them frequently and back up immediately. Also I use two drives plus a computer, giving me three copies of my files on set.
- Take breaks to edit. Do you really want to look at hundreds of files (pending the shoot) for the first time AFTER the shoot? There's going to be down time anyway. Use it wisely.
- Have fun. But still be professional and totally on it. Come on, you're on set.
Anything else you guys can share?