Francisco Pareja: Preparing for a Video Shoot

January 4, 2019

Francisco Pareja is the man behind the camera and the quiet genius behind many of Bottom Line Marketing’s television commercials. He writes, produces, shoots, and edits all things video here at BLM. So, what does it take to prepare for one of his shoots? Below he gets into the nitty gritty that makes up his production process…

I believe that every project is different, but the steps we take to make production magic happen are always the same.

A project begins way before the day of the shoot, because we need to plan and understand what are we looking for, in order to fulfill the objective(s) of the video(s). First, we write down the idea or we understand the idea written, then we do a script breakdown which is where we identify every single item needed to make production happen: Cast, props, SFX, locations, vehicles, animals, and wardrobe, etc (we even had to find a fully cooked turkey for a commercial shoot).

Once we understand exactly what the client is looking for, we turn our written script into a visual. This is called a shot list, or a storyboard of what we need to capture. This allows for everyone to plan what each take will look like. If we are doing interviews, we carefully create a list of questions, in order to receive the answers, we are looking for. After we know what are we capturing and how are we doing it, we proceed to make a shooting plan where we define how much time it will take each shot approximately and time to move from one location to another, etc. This is extremely important because without the proper planning, your production could run over time, over budget, or you could find yourself in the editing room with missing content. So, we plan, plan, plan before we even think about heading to the shoot.

Other steps in the process, that I believe improve the final results are the tech scout, where the director goes physically to the locations with the heads of the department, because this is a good way to observe things like ambient, light, sounds, parking, spaces, etc. During this visit, the director explains to the team precisely what each shot will entail: Details of camera movement, what actors will be doing, and anything that will be needed to happen in order to complete his vision. It’s always good to bring a camera to snap some pictures. Completing this step always makes the day of the shoot WAY easier because there are no surprises, like dim lighting or small spaces.

When we have a plan to follow, and have made the crew calls, and made a list of equipment (camera, sound rec, lighting, etc.), we can ensure that every detail is covered and ready to execute as soon as we get to the set.

So why Bottom Line? We treat a commercial shoot for you as one we were doing for ourselves, so we will ensure your commercial is carefully thought out, and meticulously planned from the idea, the shoot and post production.