Written By: Mike Buckner of Sears Clean
Need to film a commercial? Need it to look professional? Rather than seeking out external locations, consider shooting the video inside of your home or apartment. This controlled environment can make the production process easier on yourself, your talent and the overall organizational process.
It is possible and easy to turn a personal home into a professional shooting environment. Follow the steps below to make your next production in the friendly confines of your own home.
Narrowing down the location
The first thing that needs to be done is to narrow down the room you will use for your commercial. Depending on how much furniture can easily be moved around, any room of the house can be used.
The room with the most lighting is ideal if you plan to use natural light. If there is a room with a lot of windows, and the weather outside is nice and bright, this will work for a natural light setting.
If you have professional lighting, you won’t have to rely on natural lighting. The natural light can make for bizarre shadows and glares so make sure your production crew has the skillset to deal with natural lighting in the shot.
NextWaveDV on YouTube posted a great tutorial on “Shooting a video interview against a window.” If you are planning to work on a major production, knowing how to shoot in this environment is a key.
TIP: A week before the production, conduct a “test run” with your camera to ensure you are comfortable with the lighting and environment.
Cleaning for those HD cameras
With all of that extra light, dirt and dust in the room will definitely show up on camera, especially in today’s HD world. This means whatever room is used will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Dust all of the furniture with a rag and dust spray. A feather duster will just move the dust around and the dust will resettle eventually.
Most importantly don’t forget about the carpet. Depending on the size of the room and how you will be framing your shots, the carpet will be in the background of many shots.
Any stains on the carpet will need to be removed and cleaned. A freshly cleaned carpet will really pop on camera. Sweep the carpet before shooting, but be sure to get on your hands and knees and wipe away any sweeper tracks. The carpet should look natural in the background to avoid distraction.
Decorations and Staging
The room can be lightly decorated with pictures on the walls, a few tabletop plants, and maybe some generic things that match the purpose of the room you are shooting in.
However, be careful not to show or use anything with a specific brand logo on it in the foreground or background of any of your shots. This would be copyright infringement and would keep the commercial from airing in many formats. Additionally, if there are photos of friends or family, check with them to make sure they are comfortable being incorporate into the shot.
TIP: If you have a Stock Photography account, you can print out pictures and insert them into frames so you don’t have to worry about getting release forms signed and returned.
Designate a “Break Room”
For the majority of the shoot, there will be members of the crew or of the talent that won’t be involved in the current scene-taking place. You don’t want them to be a distraction, lurking around your home. Be sure to designate a specific spot of your home as the “break room.” This should be out of the shooting environment where someone can check their phone, have a soda and relax.
Snacks and drinks always bring a smile to the people involved in the shoot. It will also lead to a less stressful production.
A proper shooting environment is a huge part of ending up with a professional looking production. Your home or apartment might be the last people think of to stage a shoot but can deliver great results.
The production crew will be thanking you for a well-lit, clean, staged environment.