Getting In Sync

Video: Synchronising

Which Software Should I Use?

It's the age old question, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X? Apple or Mac? iPhone or Google Pixel? What I've come to realise is that each one is a tool that'll help you reach the end goal. So no matter which one you choose, don't get caught up in the intricacies of a software, you're just wasting time. Pick one and go with it.

Although we're using Adobe Premiere in this tutorial, the thinking behind everything still applies to whatever software you decide to use. So stick around and learn a thing or two.


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Ava Lilly

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Exporting

Video: Exporting


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Where Should I Upload My Videos?

So you've successfully edited and exported your video. Now what? Well it's time to upload them and start sharing! Where should you upload them? Well, YouTube & Facebook would be a great start, but it's important that you have a strategy in place with social media marketing. Don't worry though we got you covered, check out our blog on social media marketing for musicians, hopefully you'll find some useful tips!

Azu Yeche Reload Sessions

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Grading

Video: Grading

Grading Your Video

Grading a video is an important part of the process, but it is something that shouldn't pull focus away from the entire video. Grading is used to enhance the overall experience, not be the main attraction. So make sure you get the edit right before you move onto grading. Similar to editing, there's no right or wrong to colour grading. It's all about experimentation and getting stuck in. Everyone has their own preference, what's yours going to be?


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Emmanuel Reload Sessions

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Editing Time

Video: Multi-Camera Editing

It's Editing Time!

This is where you get to show off your creativity skills and decide on what is going to be kept in the edit and what's not. Remember there's no right or wrong in being creative, make sure you experiment and continue to learn the techniques available to you to help you edit at a faster rate. The more efficient you are with editing, the more videos you'll be able to get out!


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Katy Hurt Reload Sessions

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Nesting

Video: Nesting


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Cleaning Up Your Timeline

Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming with several different camera angles stacked on top of each other. Using the 'Nest' feature on Adobe Premiere can help clean up the clutter and resolve all of the clips to just the one. It's a useful feature and you're going to need it if you ever decide on using the 'Multi-Camera' feature. Make sure you practice and get used to nesting video clips, you're going to need two or more video clips in order to successfully use the 'nest' feature.

Fola Reload Sessions

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Bouncing

Audio: Bouncing


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Time To Export

If you've done everything right leading up to exporting your track, it should be pretty simple to bounce your track out. Before you do, make sure that you've walked away from your mix and listen to your edit again after a day or two. Listening with fresh ears you may pick out certain sounds that you missed out on in your original mix.

Ebony Day

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Basic Mastering

Audio: Basic Mastering


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A Second Pair of Ears

It's always good to get a second opinion with your mixes, by sending your edits to a mastering engineer they can give you constructive criticism that will help you with you mix. Even if you can't afford to go to a mastering engineer, try and get opinions from peers that you value their opinion.

Sophia Alexa

We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Reverb

Audio: Reverb


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Sending Instead of Inserting

What I like to do when dealing with Reverb, is instead of inserting it on the track I like to send it to a bus instead.

There are three reasons:

  1. It saves a lot of processing power on the CPU, this helps reduce the lag of the computer and even help stop the program from crashing altogether.
  2. It also give me a master reverb fade, allowing me to have more control.
  3. It gives me the option to add more effects onto the master. Not that I actually do this, but if I wanted too I now have the option.

Instead of inserting a reverb plug-in, why not try sending instead? Remember the more you practice the more you'll get better at it.

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We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Automation

Audio: Automation


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Automated Adjustments

Automation basically remembers your adjustments to the signal. If done correctly you can be very creative with it. Not only can you adjust volume- which is what a lot of people use it for, but you can also adjust how the signal is panned, how much effects should be placed and even when a signal should be muted or soloed. It takes a lot of practice in order to get good at using automation properly, so make sure you put in the reps.

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We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Compression

Audio: Compression


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Put In The Reps

Similar to EQ'ing, compression is an art-form. Make sure you continue to practice and experiment with the compression plug-in, it's only way you can get better at your craft.

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We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you're interested, click on the button below and you can download a few sessions for practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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EQ'ing

Audio: EQ'ing


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Don't Be Afraid To Experiment

EQ'ing vocals can be tricky if you don't know what you're doing, but the only way you can get better is by constantly practising. Don't be afraid to experiment and try different techniques. The more you do this, the more you train your ear and figure out what best suits your needs.

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We have a database of sessions that you can use to practise on. If you interested click on the button below and get practising. Our only terms is that you use the files for practice purposes and not for your own creative licencing.



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Electric Guitar

Audio: Instruments


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Instruments First

When working on a session I like to work on the instruments first, depending on the set up it can include a little bit of EQ'ing or even an amp simulator plug-in.

But before you begin working on your session, it's important to have everything labelled correctly and that you're up to date with program shortcuts. This can really help you with you workflow and reduce a lot of editing time. If you're using Logic here's a list of useful Logic Pro X shortcuts. Try and incorporate them into your workflow.



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DAW Alternatives

Audio: DAW Alternatives


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Digital Audio Workstation

No matter what software you're using you should be able to edit a basic live session. Depending on what DAW software you're using depends on how much editing you're able to do. I recommend using an industry standard software so that when your dealing with other engineers or artists in the music industry, you'll be able to understand what needs doing. Remember "a bad technician blames his tools", so don't go blaming your DAW selection and immediately jump ship when you can't find a certain plug-in. Give it time and keep practising, eventually you'll know your way around the interface.

At Reload we've gone through 4 different DAW's because of hardware upgrades. There were subtle difference between each one, it's really down to preference and what computer you're using. Below are a few examples of DAW's that you can use to record your session. With the nature of live recording at Reload, any of the DAW's below will do the job. My preference has been Logic Pro X for a while, although I can see us eventually moving onto Pro Tools.

If you're not a fan of Logic Pro X, here are some alternatives.

  1. Pro Tools
  2. Audition
  3. Garageband
  4. Cubase
  5. Ableton
  6. FL Studio
  7. Reason

Don't know what equipment to use?

If you're having trouble with what hardware you need for recording a live session, don't worry we got you. We've outlined the essential pieces of hardware that you will need in order to get started. Click here to read the article.



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Pack Down

Filming: Pack Down


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Having A System

It's important that you have a system when packing down. If not, you can easily leave something behind. To give you an idea, here's what our pack down system looks like:

 

Memory Cards

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This is one of the first items that we want to secure. We spent the whole shoot capturing footage, we want to make sure that it's in a safe place and stored away for transfer. Make sure you secure your cards straight away!

 

Lights

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One of the reasons why we remove the lighting next is because with everyone moving around the studio, there's a possibility of knocking the lights over. Even with a sandbag weight in place. Just for safety it's a good idea to pack up your lights next. 

 

 

 

Cameras

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Once the memory cards have been taken out of your cameras and the lighting is out the way. We like to pack down our cameras and tripods next. We place all of our cameras in secure camera bags that can handle any terrain. The  ONA Camps Bay camera bag is one of our favourites.

 

Audio Equipment

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The last thing that we like to pack up is the audio equipment. That'll include the cables, microphones and stands. Since we're always on the go, we like to place all of our audio equipment in a Pelican Case.



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Composition

Filming: Composition


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The Shots

Now that you've got to grips with the settings of your camera, it's time to focus on constructing your shot. It is important to experiment with your framing, but to get you started, here's a list of shots that we like to feature on our Reload Sessions. 

 

Close-Up Shot

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We usually keep this static, as it's live we treat this as the safe shot that we can refer to whenever.

Medium Shot

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Breaking it up with the close-up shot, we like to step back a bit and get a shot from the torso up. This could be valuable if the artist is playing an instrument as well, as it'll let the audience know who is playing.

Wide Shot

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When the artist is accompanied by their band mates, we like to feature them in the session too. Although the focus is still on the main artist, it gives a sense of the environment that the artist is in.

Super Close Up Shot

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Occasionally in a Reload Sessions edit, we like to cut to a shot of a guitar fret-board or the keys of a piano. This isn't a must, but we like to feature this every now and then.

Composition

Getting the composition right is tricky as there's no right or wrong answer to this. There are however, a variety of techniques that we like to include in our sessions to help us achieve a good level of composition.

 

Rack Focusing

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Rack focusing forces the viewer to focus on subject A and then gradually move over to subject B. If done correctly it'll be a seamless transition.

Negative Space

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Negative space allows you to highlight certain parts of what is in your frame as well as helping you set the scene  - you are communicating with your audience in a more subtle way.

Rule of Thirds

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Using the rule of thirds is always good to have in the back of your mind when setting up your composition. Having a grid placed over your composition will act as a a helpful guide, you should be able to do this with all cameras. 



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Lighting

Filming: Lighting


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Let There Be Light!

It can make or break your production, yet at times it is often over-looked. Make sure you take the time to get the lighting right in your session. Nobody wants to watch an over or underexposed film, unless that's the look you're going for? Below are some of the different types of lighting set ups that we like to use during our shoots.

 

One-Point Lighting

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This is where only one-point of light is available. We've used this in the past and it allowed us to create a different type of atmosphere for our shoot.

Example: Shannon Saunders

Two-Point Lighting

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A two-point lighting set-up fills in some of the shadows that are cast on the subjects face. When shooting outside, we used the sun to act as our key and used a reflector to fill in the rest of our subjects face.

Example: JC Villafan

Three-Point Lighting

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Three-point lighting is an industry standard and it's something we use often for our sessions. Having this set-up allows the subject to be well lit and stand out from the background.

Example: Azu Yeché

 

Lighting Checklist

Stands

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Where you place your lights is really important. Usually stands come packaged with the lights, but you want to make sure that your stand is sturdy enough to hold the weight. Height is important too, if the light is positioned too low it'll cast horrible shadows onto the wall. Getting a strong tall light is a great investment in your lighting set up.

Buy: Manfrotto Compact Stand Mini

Weights

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Although your stand might be able to handle the weight of the light, you can never be too careful. During production people are moving around and mistakes can happen. One simple nudge on your stand and your light could come crashing down. Having a weight placed over the base of the stand is a great prevention for this.

Buy: Video Sandbags

Reflectors

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If you get the right reflector it can do a number of different things. Not only can it reflect the light (acting as your fill light), but used correctly and it can diffuse the harsh light on your subject as well. Sometimes it's not in your budget to get multiple lights, having a reflector can help you save some money.

Buy: Reflector



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Camera Settings

Filming: Camera Settings


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The Golden Triangle

This is the relationship between three really important elements of capturing images or in our case moving images. These are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Changing one element of the golden triangle might mean that you have to compensate with something else. It's all about give and take, if you can align everything together this it'll make your session look 100x better. Every environment requires different settings, it's a good idea to constantly experiment with the adjustments of each element.

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Looking at the settings of a camera can be quite daunting, but don't worry we're here to break it down for you. Although we're using our Canon 5D MIII as an example, the ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed can be found on all cameras. They might be positioned somewhere else, but the figures are universal so you'll be able to differentiate them from one another. 

ISO

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In very basics terms ISO will brighten or darken the image depending on the setting. As a rule of thumb we prefer not to go any higher than about 1600. As we find that the quality of video can really get compromised.

Common ISO Values

  • ISO 100 (low ISO)
  • ISO 200
  • ISO 800
  • ISO 1600
  • ISO 6400 (high ISO)

Aperture

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Aperture refers to the opening of a lens’ hole which light passes through, the larger the hole the more light passes through. Aperture creates depth of field, which gives you that blurry background effect.

Common Aperture Values

  • f/1.2 (Large Aperture)
  • f/1.8 
  • f/2.8 
  • f/4.0 
  • f/22.0 (Small Aperture)

Shutter Speed

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Shutter speed affects how much motion blur is in each frame of your video.  If you want your motion blur to look normal, you should take your frame rate and double it. Although this rule doesn't always apply, it is dependent on your light set-up. 

Common Shutter Speed Values

  • 30 (Low)
  • 40
  • 50
  • 500
  • 4000 (High)

White Balance

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It says it in the name, white balance 'balances' the colour temperature in your shot. Depending on how we want to set our whites we can really set the feel for the session. You want to try to get everything as ‘right’ on the day as possible  - of course post production always allows us to play with some changes, but setting up a consistent shoot and making sure your lighting and camera settings are calibrated each time really helps build a consistent product.

Common White Balance Values

  • AWB (Auto)
  • Tungsten (3200K)
  • Daylight (5500K)
  • Tungsten (3200K)
  • Colour Temp. (2500K-10000K)

Frame Rate

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Frame rate refers to how many frames are displayed per second on the screen. The lower the frame rate the more jagged the movement is on screen. Filming at a higher rate also give you the ability to slow footage down with fluidity. The industry standard is set to 24fps, however this doesn't mean you cannot experiment with what best suits your needs.

Common Frame Rate Values

  • 23.98 fps

  • 24 fps

  • 25 fps

  • 50 fps

  • 60 fps



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Equipment Checklist

Filming: Equipment Checklist


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Building a List

Money and gear doesn't always equate to quality. A bad craftsman blames his tools, so make sure you know how to use what you have in front of you. Below is a list of equipment to get you started on recording your very first session.  A lot of the equipment outlined are based on equipment we've used in the past or are currently using now. For each item, we've outlined a premium and a budget version. Remember though, it's not about the price tag of the equipment, you can still create a successful session on a shoe-string budget. We should know, that's how we started!

 

Cameras

Cameras in general are relatively expensive. Be prepared to spend a few hundred pounds even on the cheaper end of the spectrum. No matter which one you choose, it's important to understand how to use the camera to get the best out of it. Make sure you watch the rest of the online course to give you more knowledge on how to operate your camera.

DSLR's

DSLR's have been our go to's since the beginning. It's rugged, versatile and will do the job just fine. Depending on what lenses you use to accompany the body, you can create a professional looking session with ease.

Premium: Canon 5D Mark III

Budget: Canon 1200D

Mirror-less

Until now, the mirror-less cameras have always taken a back sit to DSLR's. As time progresses so have the mirror-less cameras, even to the point of surpassing DSLR technology. Size and tech are great positives for the cameras and we can see ourselves upgrading to mirror-less cameras in due time. 

Premium: Sony Alpha 7S II

Budget: Canon Powershot G7 X

 

Phone Cameras

You'd be surprised, but if you know what you're doing with composition and lighting you can get some great stuff from a camera phone. Technology is so advance now that you're even able to record 4K footage from a phone. Don't let the size of a phone fool you, it's packed full of great features.

Premium: Pixel 2 XL 64GB

Budget: iPhone 6s 64GB

 

Tripods

Tripods allow you to stabilise the shot. If you're looking for a stationary composition, don't be ashamed to go for a cheap tripod. We did that and we recorded some great sessions out of it. We eventually upgraded to a tripod with a fluid camera head as it allowed us to implement a little bit of movement, but if I was on a budget I wouldn't mind using a Basic Tripod.

Premium: Manfrotto Lightweight Fluid Video System

Budget: Basic Tripod

 

Sliders

The first question you need to ask yourself is, "do I really need the fancy equipment right now?" Have you mastered the basics? Sliders add some fancy movement to your session, but it's not the one thing that'll make the difference. We have a slider in our equipment list, however we seldom use it. Make sure you have the fundamentals covered before you move onto the fancy stuff.

Premium: Neewer 120 centimeters Carbon Fiber

Budget: Andoer® 60cm

 

Lighting

Other than the camera, lighting is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you need to purchase. If you prefer to shoot using natural light only, then that's fair enough. However if you're constantly filming indoors like a studio or bedroom, you need to make sure you get the right lights for the job.

Premium: 1100W Pro Fluorescent Light

Budget: Neewer CN 160 LED CN-160

 

Memory Cards

Settling and going for the cheap option on memory cards can affect your entire shoot. Trust me, it's happened to us in the past. You need to make sure that your memory cards are fast enough to keep up with writing all the information onto it. We've stuck with SanDisk Extreme Pro's and they have never failed us. 

Premium: SanDisk Extreme PRO 512 GB

Budget: SanDisk Extreme PRO 32 GB

 

Memory Card Holder

It's a little bit of plastic (or cotton depending on what you purchase), but it's essential to have in your equipment list. The data on your memory cards are so important, it's the whole reason why you set everything up. Why would you not safeguard that content and store it away somewhere safe?

Premium: Beeway® Memory Card Carrying Case Holder

Budget: Memory Card Carrying Case

 

Clapboard

From our experience clapboards help sync everything up, it makes the whole post production process a lot smoother. For convenience we've settled with the budget option and use our hands to do all the clapping. There's no shame in going for the budget option.

Premium: Acrylic Clapboard 

Budget: Your Hands

 

Checklist

Before every shoot it's good practice to make sure you've checked everything off and packed all the necessary equipment. In the past we have had times where we had left some valuable items and had to turn round to collect it. Don't make the mistakes we've made and check everything off before every shoot!

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We would use our own checklist and go through it before every shoot to make sure we've not left anything behind. Feel free to download our template and use it for your own.

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Recently we've moved our checklist over to digital. Using Trello made checking items off a lot easier and cleaner. Wherever you decide to place your checklist, just make sure you check it off before every shoot!



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Call Sheets

Filming: Call Sheets


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Fill One Out.

Make sure you take the time before every production to fill out a call sheet. It'll help answer what you need and save on a lot of time. Filling out this information beforehand is important, at a quick glance I have all the necessary information in front of me. This can be passed onto whoever is included in the shoot. Allowing everyone to be on the same page.

Below is an example of a call sheet that we have used in the past.

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Even if you're a crew of one and you're the artist as well, it'll be good practice to fill out a call sheet before every shoot. It'll help you to plan out every session and make sure you've covered every aspect before going in.

Make sure you grab a copy and fill it out before every shoot.



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