Charles RochaWashington DC Film Connection

On The Job Posted on 2017-08-17 by Charles Rocha

I got some on the job training from my mentor and it encapsulated the job of videographer well. If you are getting into this job to be a director, it’s going to be rough. A lot of people want to play in this field and not everyone has the talent to be Steven Spielberg. Some might not even have the gumption to make commercials. If you are taking these classes and getting out into the world, you will likely become a default videographer.  Companies are hiring younger and younger people to fill these job getting less and less quality. It’s just true, because the market is becoming over saturated with young people who buy a DSLR and think they can work there way up, as we all want to. An Emmy winning producer once told me “If you’re thinking of getting into this field, Don’t”. Harsh words that I didn’t listen to.

My mentor started our practical day of shooting an ad for an old folks home with much better advice that someone had passed to him, “Sit when you can and wear comfy shoes”. It was a long day, starting at 8 because the shoot was almost an hour away. When we got there, there was construction going on and they were adamant that we not get that in any shots, so we shot around it. It was my first time seeing a slide be used. We used it on like 4/11 set ups we had that day. He mentioned that if there is something in the foreground (like a bush) you can see the movement a lot better, but otherwise it is subtle. He also noted that w/ 100 mil lenses can move back a lot and barely change the composition, but move left a foot and it’s completely different.

I was taught a valuable lesson about dealing with clients. He had said his previous day was smooth, but the lady in charge at this particular spot sort of gave me anxiety. Rush rush rush, go go go, do do do, don’t don’t don’t. We filmed so many activities in this nice establishment, I started to think I wouldn’t mind going to a place like this when I was old. A few kindly elderly people later told me they were putting on for the cameras and they never had so much happening in a day. She then turned to the staff and asked “What, are you trying to sell the place?!”
Bouncing form one activity to the other was fun. Watching how my mentor framed each shot and whom he chose to shoot. I especially loved hen a pan, tilt or slide went off without a hitch (no one glanced at the camera, went out of frame or or walked in front of it). We also did interviews, but after the first one there was no interviewee and we had to make the questions up on the spot. The set up of lights, boom mic, chair and subject was one I was familiar with. Another little bit of info he gave was that a lens hood, while not good inside, could save you thousands of dollars. It absorbs the shock if you bump into anything and is relatively cheap bit of plastic.

They almost skipped out on feeding us, but thank god they didn’t, as we were both getting sort of cantankerous. You’re not yourself when you’re hungry. But then we traveled, returned and filmed some more. One of the longest set ups was in a prop room that they use to demonstrate to potential residents the living situation. 2 women came in that made the manager we work with look like she was on Xanax. They started rearranging and talking about how to fix other rooms in the future, but not small scale. They were talking like they were on an HGTV program. Towards the end, my mentor had grabbed a staff member to interview her and I didn’t know so I made a lot of knows throwing away a can. I felt terrible to look over and see him asking a person questions. You have to be hyper aware.

Eventually we were done and heading out when the original manager ran out. “Sorry to be a pain in the butt, but here is a list of places we wanted you to film so as to have the atmosphere of the town”. We drove around that town doing these pick up shots for an hour, but that is what the client ordered. I got back to my house at 730. It was a great example of what you have to look forward to in the life of a videographer.


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