Tips for shooting outdoors

Tips for shooting your video outside

Shooting interviews outside the office, ‘on the street’ to get a more natural vibe in your video may seem like the cheaper alternative to hiring a space indoors, but it can come at a price if you don’t plan ahead a little. Shooting outside in what might be your ideal setting means that you can find yourself in a situation with no little or no control over noise, lighting, definitely the weather and other people walking into your shot. The only thing you can do when interviewing on the street is to plan ahead for these things and adapt.

Noise

Noise issues when filming outdoorsThe best way to deal with a noisy street is to not shoot on one. If you really have to, then lapel mic your subject or hold a boom mic close to them to minimise picking up cars, motorbikes, trucks, sirens, horns and people chatting about the latest Wall Street stuff.  Just make sure your boom mic doesn’t end up in the shot, so you might need to tighten your shot to get the mic as close as you can.

Lighting

Good lighting is important for filming outdoorsThe best part about shooting outdoors, is being able to rely on natural light – the sun is the biggest and best light you can get for shooting outdoors and it’s free.  Just make sure you pick a spot that makes the most of the available light, not somewhere dark like in the heavy shadow of a building on a sunny day which can overexpose everything else that’s in full sunlight. Or in a dark alley, unless that’s what you’re going for.

Weather

Check the weather forecast before shootingWeather is an important factor. Be sure to check the weather forecast before the shoot. If heavy rain is forecast, then your best bet is to reschedule to the next opportunity rather than heading out with the camera kit, videographer and your talent hoping for the best.

Other people

Watch out for other people when filming on the streetWhen filming in a public space, you run the risk of people you’d rather not see in your video entering your shot like kids skateboarding, people carrying their groceries, loud and obnoxious tourists holding maps pointing around everywhere….you get the picture. Do your research by scoping out the location ahead of time and either find a different spot, or choose a different time, otherwise make sure you’re ok for this to happen.

Importantly, what story are you telling?

What story are you telling with your video?Make sure your location is relevant to what you’re talking about in your video or is connected to your video somehow - it could be your tone of voice, the vibe anything. Just make the connection.

Is your video about outdoor fitness? An outdoor gym, track could be a good location or if you want something for free – head to a park.

Property? Get some buildings just like the ones you’ll be talking about in the background – if it’s commercial property, then the CBD would be great, and free for a low impact shoot.

Superannuation? Find an area with lots of people who fall into your target audience around.  The city is often a good place for this unless your audience is industry specific. Just make sure they aren’t recognisable to avoid any issues around talent consent.

An event? Get your talent in front of a whole bunch of event entertainment or excited people enjoying the event. In this situation most likely you’ll need to embrace background noise, in fact it could add to the energy of the event. However try to avoid situations where you can hear the music mixed in with the interview audio because it’ll clash with the music track you’ll use for your highlights video and that can sound a bit weird.

Plan ahead and get creative.

Despite the tips above, the location doesn’t always have to literally connect with what you’re talking about…sometimes the fact that it connects with your vibe can be just as good. Remember, it doesn’t have to be stiff and formal, maybe try something different like shooting selfie style if you’re using small camera. Filming on the street is indeed a great option, just check out the Humans of New York series on Facebook to see how you can embrace filming on the streets: https://www.facebook.com/honytheseries/

Gabi Miles is a Producer at Sydney based video production company, Rocket Productions. You’ll find more useful articles on our blog.