When scouting locations for filming your next video project, details matter. At L37 Creative, our shoots cover the gamut of corporate and association events to documentary-style projects to commercial productions to internal communication videos – and we’ve crisscrossed the globe from Australia, Washington, D.C., Dominican Republic to Amsterdam.
We’re sharing our best practices for choosing the right room for filming day— an essential aspect of bringing your story to life.
Note: There will be times when violating one or more of these guidelines will be unavoidable due to space constraints, mobility issues, or room availability . However, with careful planning and the help of media production experts, you can achieve a professional look in every video.
- Space is key. Pick a room with a decent amount of space. Having the right amount of depth in the background lends itself to nice falloff, giving background objects an aesthetic blurred quality, and creating a nice bokeh. Also, remember that your video partners will need space to set up their gear and equipment.
- Rule of thirds. A common practice when filming interviews is the rule of thirds, which positions or “frames” on-air subjects either to the left or the right of the shot, rather than the center. Ideally, this splits the face of your subject right down the center and allows your background to stand out. Oftentimes, the setting of your interview can help to tell the story better, so don’t limit yourself.
- Quiet on set! It is preferable to film in a quiet environment without much ambient noise. In order to avoid distracting background noise, interviews should not be conducted next to a highway, train tracks, a busy warehouse, or other loud locations. However, if you happen to be filming in a warehouse, forklift sounds in the background have context and can be incorporated into the story. In general, people are more willing to accept bad quality video that has great audio MUCH more than great quality video with terrible audio.
- LIGHTS, Camera, Action! A room with lots of windows is generally preferred as it allows directors of photography to take advantage of natural light. The interviewee should be positioned so that they receive most of their key light from the natural source, which is then polished with a daylight balanced fixture. Having access to lighting controls in the room is also important, as it allows house lights to be turned off, if necessary. As a common practice, if you’re in a room with lots of natural light, it’s best to turn off the overhead fluorescents, as we never want to mix conflicting color temperatures.
- Creativity concurs. Try to play around with different backgrounds that incorporate interesting angles, instead of solely using a flat, plain wall. Props, such as furniture, lamps, and art, become great background additions to ensure the set doesn’t look dull and unmotivated. However, avoid using fake plants whenever possible. Sometimes a soft splash of light on the wall can help to to break up a plain background, but this is only feasible if it looks natural, and does not like a random slash of light