Set for Success

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

What makes a video successful? A brilliant story. A strong script. Talent with … well, talent. But in our 4K, internet streaming, constantly evolving digital revolution there is something else that can really make a video stand out: the set and production design.

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Stepping up your set game is something we are constantly pushing our clients to do. Whether we are shooting in our 60,000 square feet production facility OR we’re on the side of a mountain OR inside a vintage school bus, we know a thing or two about making the scene sing.

Here are a few steps to creating a successful set on any budget: 

First and foremost, your most valuable resource is TIME. Start by making time to scout many location. Take the extra minute to snap a few reference photos. And even bring your product or talent to the setting to make sure it all makes sense together. Remember, you’re trying to create a convincing environment.

Once you’ve chosen your setting, the next key is to build in time for TESTING. Setting right takes patience. Book yourself an additional hour to set up and tweak gear correctly and safely. For instance, you have a planned setup before your talent or stand in arrives, however, once on camera you may notice their face or body casts different shadows or reflections than expected. Some people may wear glasses or be dramatically taller than you expected, which you’ll need to adjust for. By allowing additional time, pressure is removed from these small setup changes.

Speaking of your setup… It’s far more important then just ‘what shows up on screen’. True, your audience will not see your set (assuming you don’t drop the boom too low), but an aesthetically pleasing and well organized setup effects someone just as important. Your talent. This is all about creating the opportunity to put your talent at EASE.  You might not see it, but your viewers can feel it. You could have the most beautiful, depth-filled, dew-drops in the eyes shot of your life – but if your actor can’t find the craft services table, trips on a chord to get there, or is waiting for a lavalier mic that’s in a closet two rooms over… Their performance won’t reach it’s full potential.

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I try my best to construct sets to the point where if someone took a few steps back and snapped a photo, the image would serve for the production itself.

Which brings me to the last point. If your set is well constructed, low-pressure, with ample time… It functions as it’s own social media MARKETING machine. Selfies on set? Not a problem when it’s looking nice. Heck, you might even want to Periscope it. Two techniques that I’ve used to attract attention in the midst of production.

A photo posted by Mighteor (@mighteor) on Feb 6, 2016 at 12:57pm PST

To conclude. Set right. Set best. – And if you think you’ve got a great set to share, we’d love to see it. Show it off by tweeting us at @mighteor or use the hashtag: #setforsuccess on your social media posts.

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by Chase Bortz, Mighteor’s one and best Videographer. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @chasebortz