Directing a camera team and producing professional-grade service can be a challenging affair. You have several cameras to think about, not to mention individual skill level, following the worship team, providing context to online viewers, and so much more. However, the biggest problem you might be facing is not external circumstances… it’s internal reaction.
Got your attention? Read on!
Falling Into Patterns
It’s easy to fall into a pattern, especially if you are directly on a weekly basis. Services tend to follow a predictable pattern. Work with that pattern long enough, and you fall into the trap of relying on that pattern for a professional video mix. Why prepare and plan when you already know what’s to happen? Sounds legit, right? Even so, once something unexpected happens you are thrown into the deep end without a paddle, and are forced to react to the situation.
Let’s say that you are directing during the Sunday morning service. The band just finished their worship set, and you are now expecting the worship leader to step up to the microphone to welcome new visitors and guests. Your crew knows this too, and has already found a nice closeup shot of the worship leader. However, the senior pastor decides to come up and give a couple testimonies from a recent men’s retreat. All of a sudden, you are scrambling to move your cameras towards center stage to capture the pastor. Precious seconds tick by while your team gets their focus, and sets up the shot. Finally everything is set and the pastor has his closeup shot.
As typical as this may sound, reacting to every situation is not the best way to ensure a professional video production. Though you may be able to handle it most times, eventually you’ll find yourself reacting a little to late and missing the moment entirely.
Plan Your Reaction
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
Instead of being reactive to unexpected situations, I encourage my team to be as proactive as possible. What exactly does this mean? It means thinking several steps ahead of what you are doing at any given moment.
- Always have a wide shot ready to take at a moments notice
- Station a floor director out by the stage to relay important information and visual cues that you can’t see
- Tell your cameras what you want ahead of time, so that when an unexpected moment hits they can all begin to act instead of waiting for you to give instructions to everyone.
Being proactive causes you to move from ‘someone who’s simply pushing buttons’ to a level of professionalism that few may attain. Take a moment and evaluate your own directing style. Are you simply reacting to whatever may happen, or do you walk into a service with a plan to stay ahead of the game and capture everything? If you answered ‘reacting’, don’t despair. With work, practice and planning, anyone can learn how to direct proactively. Though it may be a long road, in the end your production’s professionalism will greatly increase.
Have any ideas or feedback? Let me know by commenting below!