One of my bigger projects involved filming in Holland for a tour operator in need of travel videos to promote the biggest amusement park in the country. I received my free pass and got ready to enjoy the rides!
But as much fun as filming such a location can be, you still need to remember you are here to work. So here are a few guidelines to make your work productive (and still have fun):
1. Prepare your day
As soon as you reach a location, you need to define and list the footage you need. Here for instance, I took a map of the park and marked all the most photogenic rides. I also made sure to include a mix of things that appeal to different groups — a more cultural activity vs. a rollercoaster for example.
2. Get the authorizations
You might have to define with your contact on location which equipment you are allowed to use. Some rides prohibit the use of a head strap camera on board, or won’t let you jump in with your tripod. You might not be authorized to operate a drone over the park. Or you might… but you won’t know until you ask.
You can always find another way to get the images you need. But better to clearly define the do’s and don’ts with your contact in advance, so you’re not caught off guard.
3. Keep in mind your client’s target
Sometimes you might be overwhelmed by all there is to film but you need to stick to the client’s brief. Ask yourself: What would capture the attention of the client’s target? What is their message, who do they want to address it to? Do they want to sell it as a family destination, or as a place for teenagers to go on holidays? By answering these questions, you’ll be able to define the core of your filming.
4. Stay focused
Yes you’re boarding a crazy high-speed train, but remember you’re here to get good shots and your schedule might not allow you to make that ride twice. So, set your camera and choose your settings carefully before you get on board.
5. Pay close attention to your equipment
Whether you’re in an amusement park, on a boat, or on top of a mountain, always make sure your equipment is safe. This is how you make your living. Use everything you can to secure it properly.
6. Adapt your filming and equipment to your environment
What do you want to capture? If you’re on a rollercoaster, forget your hand camera or your tripod. Get your GoPro out, and fix it on your forehead with a headstrap. That way, you’ll be free to raise your hands up in the air during the trip!
7. Define everyone’s task
If you brought a video partner along to be more efficient, define your tasks, so you both come back with different footage.
Maybe one of you will focus on close-ups and the other on wider shots. Or maybe you’ll split up and your friend will film all the crazy coasters and you manage the lighter rides. You can have fun together… just don’t forget to be efficient!
And last but not least, enjoy the ride!
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