Video production and the self-shoot producer

This is a slightly different post. Instead of listing upcoming commissions, I’ll be looking at the role of the video producer.

Most readers will know that I work as a presenter and moderator as well as a journalist. But for video, I also take on shoot-edit shifts and assignments and commissions as a self-shoot producer.

Over the last few years video equipment has become more powerful, but also more portable and more affordable. This means that jobs that once needed a two or three person crew can now be done by one. This is what, in TV jargon, we call a “self shoot producer”.

Agile production

The task of the self shoot producer is to conduct and film interviews, film additional footage and b-roll, and edit together a package. So far, so straightforward.

News outlets increasingly use self-shoot producers, and not just for cost reasons. One person — or one person, with an assistant — is more agile than a conventional video team. In news, it lets us cover more ground, more quickly.

For a corporate production, it’s about treading lightly. Working with a slimmed-down team can be more convenient, and more palatable to the end client and the spokespeople appearing on screen. And yes, it will save money.

Treading lightly

Are there any downsides? Sometimes there are. A self-shoot producer will operate more slowly than a team. This is a consideration for a production involving lots of interviews in a short space of time. Nor is it the right option for very intensive interviews, where the reporter needs to focus completely on the interview. Then, a camera operator to look after the image is well worth his or her fee.

Then there are the logistics. A self-shoot production will often use just one camera, or maybe a second camera locked off. And large lighting rigs, along with heavy duty news cameras with large lenses, aren’t really practical. There is no point in going for a lightweight approach if you still need a truck.

Nor is self-shoot production the best choice in hazardous or technically complex environments, where two people are needed to keep everything safe.

Keeping it simple…

Plan carefully, though, and self-shoot production can work. If it’s one or two filming locations, there are few reasons why a TV-quality video cannot be produced over two days, one for filming and one for editing.

Another advantage of self-shoot production is that the same person carries out the interviews, films the material, and edits the footage together.

Rates start at £500 a day, filming in 4K. So if all this sounds interesting, drop me a note.