Video on a Budget: Prepare for Your Shoot Without Breaking the Bank | Chrystopher Rhodes aka YCImaging | Skillshare

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Video on a Budget: Prepare for Your Shoot Without Breaking the Bank

teacher avatar Chrystopher Rhodes aka YCImaging, Music Video Director

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Developing Your Vision


    • 4.

      Choosing Visual References


    • 5.

      Creating a Treatment


    • 6.

      Choosing the Right Location


    • 7.

      Scouting Your Location


    • 8.

      Building a Shot List


    • 9.

      Building a Gear List


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Look, not all of us have thousands of dollars to spend on video production. But you can still get amazing, cinematic quality on shoestring budgets!

Join music video director Chrystopher Rhodes in this comprehensive class on shooting with a small budget, and learn new tools to apply to your future shoots. Whether you’re working with $80 or $800, Chrystopher’s tips will help you figure out how to prioritize your spend for maximum effect.

Video is a more accessible art form than ever, and whether you’re shooting on your iPhone, a camera you found in your friend’s attic, or something you saved up for for ages, Chrystopher’s class will give you the savvy and skill to replicate effects, maximize your set, and get the footage you want.

With Chrystopher’s clear, step-by-step instruction, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create an effective treatment for your project
  • Build a prioritized gear and shot list
  • Spot a great location and scout it comprehensively
  • Use natural light and existing setups to your benefit

In an ideal world, money would never be a factor in whether or not someone could create the art they wanted — but in this less-than-ideal world, Chrystopher’s class can help remove some of the barriers. Join in and get shooting!

Meet Your Teacher

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Chrystopher Rhodes aka YCImaging

Music Video Director

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Being able to create an amazing video project on a budget is one of the most satisfying things in the world. It's like, "Yeah, I went against the odds and created something amazing." Hi, whats up? I'm Chrystopher Rhodes and I primarily film music videos, but I also film content based around creating music videos. Today's class is going to be about video production on a budget. I'm excited to teach this class because I've been in a position before where I thought that not having a proper budget was a problem, when it isn't actually at all. Knowing how to work through your available lighting scenarios, equipment choices and which choices, you're actually able to create amazing content. You may have seen my work on YouTube where I create content based around music video production, effects and lighting tutorials, and also equipment and gear reviews. A lot of the techniques that I'm going to be showing you in today's class have all been developed by me being in non-ideal situations where I felt like I didn't have the budget available or equipment available to replicate looks that I've seen in other projects that I look up to. I'm going to be taking you through the process of developing a vision. I'm also going to be taking you through the process of location scouting, creating a shot list, and also developing a list for your equipment as well. You should take this class if you're interested in maximizing the budget you have available for your video projects, whether you're just a photographer who's looking to switch over into video, you're just a beginner filmmaker, or you're looking to take your video production to the next level. Make sure to follow these steps and share your creative achievement down in the project gallery. I'm excited you decided to join the class. Let's get started. 2. Getting Started: Welcome. I'm glad you decided to take the class today. Here, we're going to be talking about the process of creating a project without breaking the bank. I want to go in depth on how to develop the vision for the project that you guys are going to be creating. I also want to take you through the process of generally location scouting, going through and creating a shot list and also an equipment list for the project that you're doing. I also want to say that I wish that a class like this was around when I started. This is all vital information that I did not have access to when I started out. Way back then, there wasn't a lot online about this and I was just finding myself having to learn all of this stuff on my own. A lot of the video production that I started on was just me and brother running around trying to figure out how I can achieve look from somebody that I look up to. Throughout this, it helped me really develop the process of being able to create as efficient as possible with the least amount of resources available. Nowadays, I wouldn't call myself one of these huge music video directors, but at the same time, I work with better budgets. I have a better understanding of how equipment works, I have a better understanding of how to maximize location, and just have a better overall grasp in the process of creating music videos. I really appreciate those moments back then where I had to learn how to achieve these high budget looks with minimal resources, because it now allows me to cut costs in my video production now and save a lot of money knowing how to achieve certain looks without breaking the bank. In today's world, I feel like it's so vital to be able to know how to create on a budget because this industry is so accessible to everyone. Just about a decade ago, not everybody could just go pick up a camera for a couple of hundred bucks, and just go out and create the ideas and put it out into the world. It's even now to the point where you can create really good video production on your iPhone. So being able to learn how to achieve certain looks, Being able to maximize the location and use the budget available to you, it's critical. It'll help you stand out in this world of oversaturated video creators. It'll help you land that job if we're able to develop a creative treatment for the project that should pitching to a client, and it will also help your video production move a lot smoother if you have a shot list developed beforehand. Today, we are going to be working on a music video for song that I love that's about being broken-hearted. Songs like this where you have a strong, undeniable emotion, makes it really easy for you to be able to create treatments, and also visions around these songs. The budget that we're going to be working with today on this project is $100. I wouldn't say it's an average range for video production in terms of budget, it actually ranges depending on a bunch of different variables. I've worked on projects $150. I've worked on projects for free. I've also worked on projects that were upwards of $10,000 as well. The tips and tools that we're going to go through in today's class are going to be relevant to pretty much any other video production project out there. Every video production project, you're going to need a location, you kinda need a shot list, and you're also going to need some sort of create a direction that you guys are going to want to put together before you get into it. So what are we going to be talking about in this class? Well, the first thing that we're going to be talking about is developing your vision for the project. This is one of the most important things about creating a video project, and it's basically going motivate everything else that's going to come together in the video. Next step is creating a creative treatment. Now, this isn't always necessary, but if you have a client that you need to pitch this to in order to get a job, this is going to be a vital step in that process. The following step is going to be choosing a location and also scouting that location. Being prepared when going into a location for video production is also very important. It's going to keep you on your toes and it's also going to help your video production go a lot smoother. The next step is building a shot list for your video production. This is also very important. It's going to help the video production go a lot smoother. It's going to keep you on time, it's going to keep your clients happy. It's going to keep you happy. The final step is going to be developing an equipment list and/or just working with the equipment that you have available to you. Also very important, you're going to want to know what to use, when to use it, and also what you get to prioritize when doing your video production. By the end of this class, you should have a really good understanding or pre-production and how to run through your project smoothly. Feel free to follow along through the steps of creating this pre-production plan and make sure to drop your creative treatments and shot list down in the project gallery. The only thing you should need throughout this class is some form of taking notes. It could be a phone, it could be a laptop, it could be a notebook; just make sure to write down as many tips as you can from this. Let's get started. Next step, we're going to be talking about developing your vision. 3. Developing Your Vision: In this lesson, we're going to learn how to develop the overall image for the video project that you're going to be creating. This is a very important step, because developing the vision for the project that you're shooting is going to creatively affect every other aspect of creating your video project. The overall vision for the project is going to house the emotion, it's going to house the color palette that you choose for the project, it's going to house the different angle choices that you decide to film for the project. It's basically going to collectively affect everything that goes into the video that you're creating. I've gone into projects before where I didn't develop the vision beforehand in pre-production, and everything just turns into randomness. It doesn't feel cohesive, it doesn't feel like a collective piece when the vision is off throughout the visual project. The first step into developing your vision for the project that you're going to be filming is determining the mood that you're looking to push throughout the project. For me, it's usually just listening to a song. It could be as simple as you talking to a client beforehand about the overall emotion that they're looking to push throughout the project, but reference and source material is the easiest way to figure out the mood that you're looking to push through out the project. The next thing that I typically go into is just the overall color scheme that I'm going to be trying to choose for the projects. Color motivates mood. Typically, if you're listening to something that has a sad vibe to it, you're going to want more of a muted color palette as something that's a lot cooler, where something has lovey goes towards the warm side. It's just about developing the overall emotion, and choosing colors that are relevant for that. From here, it's me thinking about overall effects and looks that I might want to implement into the project, whether it'll be me decided to choose a certain filter for the look, whether it'd be me deciding to choose a certain effect and pose for the project. These are all things that I like to think about in the pre-production process. From here, I like to reference a lot of other projects that are similar to the one that I'm going to be filming in terms of overall visual content that I'm looking to achieve. These don't have to necessarily be the same in terms of genre, or the same type of content that I'm filming. But if they look very similar, visually, to what I want to achieve in the post-production process, this is something that I like to reference. For me, I primarily do a lot of music video productions, so I tend to get a lot of the inspiration that I'm looking for within my projects looking at other music videos. But I got the inspiration from a lot of different places, Instagram, YouTube, movies, Twitter, just online. I think one really good tip in terms of developing an overall inspiration for a project is starting to save the different imagery that you like into a central place. So for me, with music video production, one place that I love to go to, to get inspiration from is the Internet Music Video Database and this is, It's every genre that you could ever think of, and it's in one such a space, which makes it very simple and easy for you to go to get inspiration for your projects. One of the great things about going through and developing an overall vision for your project is that you're able to screenshot these images, to keep, for you to be able to reference back when you're actually filming the project, or it's going to help you a lot within the next step that we're going to go over, which it is creating an overall treatment for your video project. One huge thing that I always keep in mind while I'm gathering inspiration for the video project that I'm going to be filming is how I can use this visual reference, and flip it into something that's going to be original for myself. Everything that you do, you want to be original in a sense. It's never going to be fully original, it's always going to be somebody who's created something already. But as long as you're able to flip it into something else, it's going to make it original in a sense that you did that. Okay. Let's take all of the tips, and put them into action into developing our overall vision for the project that we're going to be doing today. So the first thing that I like to do when I'm trying to develop a vision for the project that I'm going to be filming is listening through the song. This is a song called Beast Like Mine by Sugar Bliss. A really amazing song, and I just like the overall tempo of it, it feels very lonesome, it feels very chill. Just listening through to the song a couple of the things that I picked up just to the overall tempo and there's the song is it feels very isolated, it feels sad, it feels lonely. These are feelings that I do want to push through into the actual project. So I've had an opportunity to listen through the song, and I've jotted down a couple of things to embed into our overall vision for the project. The next thing that I typically like to do is reflect off of those emotions that I want to push into to the project based upon the color palette that we're going to be used for the project. A color palette is going to be relative to the location that we're going to be filming in. Also, down to the outfit that our actor or musician chooses to wear within the project. But for this particular song that we're going to be talking about, it feels very moody. A couple of the colors that I've written down for this project are grays, greenery within the space that we're going to be filming, and also tan as well. The next thing that I like to write down when developing these overall vision boards is just looks or any camera effects that I might want to implement into the project while I'm shooting. These aren't necessarily post-production effects. These are things that I want to implement while I'm actually shooting the project. Two things that I've written down are Black Pro-Mist. This is a supplementary filter that you can apply to a lens that gives your overall image a very bloomed, a very washed-out look. The next thing is overlay blurs. These can be achieved by putting some piece of glass or some plastic in front of the lens. It gives a sense of distortion, it gives a sense of distance from the subject that you're going to be using this effect on. The next thing that I've also written down about this project that I've taken note of is the amount of looks that I want to have within the project. When filming a music video, it's very important for you to be able to write down the different amount of looks that you want to put into it. It's very important that you switch it up. You want the viewer to be engaged in the entire project. You don't want to have something that's happening the entire time. So for me, this song is fairly long. I want to implement anywhere from eight to 10 different looks within the video project. Now, the looks aren't necessarily going to be relevant to me switching locations, but me deciding to film at a different spot within one location that's going to give the video project a different feel and look. Another thing that I also like to write down is prop ideas, which I didn't really touch on before we got into this. But prop ideas that you might have for a project can be very important as well. These are things that you are going to want to write down so you don't forget them when it comes down to actually shoot the project. So for this video, a couple of things that I thought about were potential old relationship photos. This can give a sense of what the video's about. I think photos of the past relationship can help tie together the sad and loneliness within the emotion that we're trying to push in the project. Spark, and water, and glass is just a nice prop, something to have the act of everything we're going to be using in the video, and interact with. Last and final is post-production ideas. These are effects that I might have thought about while actually listening to the song, that will feel relevant to what's going on. So for me, I wrote down film grain. I feel like the song has a very homey feel, a very sad vibe to it, so film grain will definitely add to this, and maybe even a four by three aspect ratio as well. 4. Choosing Visual References: So based off the overall vision that I've put together for this project I've also referenced a couple of images that I've seen in other music video projects that feel very similar to what I'm trying to achieve within this one. The process of beginning visual references for a project could take anywhere from an hour to eight hours depending on how specific I want to be with the visual references that I'm going to be using for the project. Most of the time you have these very broad ideas that haven't yet been developed, so it's very hard for you to develop visual references for those things. So it's just best that you get things that are close to what you're trying to achieve. So for me the visual references that I choose can be based upon a lot of different things. It could be composition, it could be color, it can be overall body language of the person that I decided to get the reference from. There's a lot of different things that I like to look for when I'm choosing visual references for projects. So throughout the ones that I've chosen, I'll show you guys a couple and I'll also tell you specifically why I decided to choose these visual references. So the first reference that we have here is just an actor looking at himself in the mirror, and the reason that I've decided to choose this visual reference is I like the color pallet of this image first and foremost. It's very muted and I feel that it's very similar to the overall color palette that I'm looking to push within the project that we're going to be filming today. Another reason that I decided to choose this image as well is the fact that he's looking at himself in a mirror. It gives a sense of loneliness and throughout the overall vision that we're trying to achieve for this video, loneliness is definitely something that we're looking to push. This visual reference here I feel is very relevant in the sense of the props that I plan to use within the video that we're going to be filming today. One of the props that I decided was photos of the past relationship that we're implying happened within the project. I really liked the color tones within this as well, but I wouldn't say what I feel is very similar to something that we might potentially be able to use within the project that we're filming today. Again these are all references that I've found on the Internet Music Video database throughout various different music videos that I just loved. They weren't relevant in genre or sound but the visual composition of them just matched the look that we're trying to push. This next visual reference that we're looking at, I chose for a couple of different reasons. I really like the negative feel on the shot. I feel like it really helps sell the fact of loneliness. Also I really like the shot of him looking out the window. It feels very lonely, it feels very sad, it feels very distant and just his overall body language is something that I feel will help reflect the overall vision that we're looking to put into the project that we're going to be filming today. This next visual reference that we're looking at, I really like the composition of it. I feel the macro shot really helps sell the emotion that we're trying to push within the project that were filming today. So this visual reference right here is interesting because it has elements that I really do like but at the same time, it isn't realistic to what we're doing today. I think when choosing visual references for your projects, it's important for you to one be realistic on what you're actually filming and what you can do, and being able to differentiate what to take away from the visual reference in itself. So I really like the fact that it's two figures here; it's a guy and a girl and it stimulates the love but at the same time, we have to be realistic because we don't have a girl here in this project today. So be realistic with the references that you guys are going to be choosing for your projects. Here's another visual reference right here where we have to be realistic about the different resources that we have. We all have amazing ideas, we all want to do amazing stuff, but at the same time, if you want to do something on a bigger scale that requires a lot of money you don't have it, some things are just going to be impossible. We can replicate and look for certain things but if we don't have certain objects or even certain models or people or money to get models, it's going to be hard for us to replicate the look of two different people within a shop. This is why it's important to develop an overall mood for a project because regardless if you have a certain object or certain model or a certain location for a project, just you sitting and establishing the move that you're trying to push, it's going to help you stay on track to what you want to achieve with the project. So one of the really good things about you taking visual references while creating an overall vision is that you can use these images in the overall treatment for the project that you're going to be transitioning and it's next. Like I said, it's very important for you to be realistic when developing a treatment, this could be a hypothetical job resume that you're going to be applying for, so you want to be realistic in what you can achieve with a budget that's going to be presented to you for the project. 5. Creating a Treatment: Now that we have developed a solid vision for a project, we have visual images. It's now time to get into creating a treatment, so we can get the job. Usually, for me, a treatment is simplifying my visual idea just enough so that somebody who isn't interested in video production can actually understand what I'm trying to get across. I usually only use video treatments for client projects. Most of the time within a client project, I'm trying to pitch an idea to somebody who has no knowledge within the video production field, and me talking about a bunch of technical video stuff they're just not going to understand. This is where treatment is going to come in. Sometimes for cloud-based work you are actually bidding for a project, it could be you and an array of other video directors who are trying to get this exact same job. So you can use a treatment to basically be a hypothetical application for that job. Within the music video realm, a client can be either the artists, it could be the label. Most of the time, it's the label who want to get a visual treatment for a song that their artists might have. They have a single, they want you to listen to the song and it's hard for what you think the video looks like for that. Creating a treatment for that could basically be you turning that into visual representation as well as a brief description of the overall mood that you're looking to push within that project. Now, a couple of key things that treatments tend to have is just overall basic description of the overall mood that you're looking to push within a project. That's going to be an introduction that outlines basically all of the moods that you're trying to push throughout the actual project, followed by a couple of visual reference images as well. But you're going to conclude your treatment out with basically what the view is going to be taken away from the project that they're viewing it. Most of the time before you go into the process of creating a treatment, you have an overall broad budget range of where you can go with this project. This is going to be a very important aspect that we're creating a treatment because you don't want to create a treatment that isn't realistic to that budget that you have to stick to. Now, one thing that you're always going to want to do within an a treatment is, make it simple enough so that somebody who isn't relatively familiar with the video can understand it and just be vague enough to the point where you don't have any specifics on which you have to provide for the project. Maybe you can do representation of a mansion by saying the artist will be at this really nice house. Or you can do representation of a Lamborghini with saying they'll be standing in front of this really nice car. They'll have this really nice, like a model. You don't want to be super specific in saying, well, we'll have Rihanna right here in this part of the video. She will be standing in front of this Lamborghini at this mansion, because if the budget doesn't add up to those things, then you're going to have a really hard time selling this to an artist or a client. Now that we have a really good understanding of what a treatment is, let's run through the treatment that I created for the project that we're doing today. I have a song, this is the motion I want to do, this is the amount of money that I have to put this into a project. This is helping me to prioritize specifically what I want to put into this treatment. Here, we have a look of the treatment that we've created for the project that we're going to be doing today. One thing that you guys are going to instantly notice is that some of the images that were used within the treatments today are the exact same images that we decided to use for our visual references for the project when developing the overall vision. It's important to note there is plenty of different ways that you guys can create a treatment for a project. You can use Microsoft Word, you can use Photoshop. Just use a general text editing application that you guys are fluent in using. So if you take a look at the treatment that we've created for this project, you guys can see I have the project overview here, which basically goes in detail about the overall motion that I'm trying to push with the project. It says within its project, what we're looking to capture is this connection between subject, the lead actor and implied mysterious lover through rocky shots, and maximizing our location. We'll be using elements of color, natural lighting, and lack of additional location to give off this feel. Throughout this project, the music artists won't be revealed, just a story slash feeling from the perspective of our lead actor. This is going to be the project overview. This is what we're looking to achieve. This is what the viewer would take away from this project after watching it. After the project overview, a treatment usually just has visual references to give off the look that you're looking to achieve within the project. One specific thing that I decided to do with my treatment is, I gave a brief detail to every single scene and location that we're going to be using throughout this project with the visual representation that we've got in the past for developing overall vision for the project. So if you look right here, the first B-roll scene that we're going to go through is going to lead us straight into the project and give us overall tone that we are going to be facing throughout the entire project. I said, as we entered the actor's world at home, we're looking to capture a sense of loneliness, emptiness, and a deepened in thought feel for video. The filming shots of actor entering a space and heading to a mirror on the wall will take us into the world he's experiencing. I'm looking to have this big introduction shot for the video. This is going to take a straight intersect to the overall tone that we are going to be pushing for the project. From here, we're going to be talking about the general performances throughout the project, which are going to be a little bit different for this particular music video. Usually with the music videos, you have artists performance to the camera, actually singing the lyrics to the song. This is going to be a little bit different because the actual musicians won't be present in this video. One thing that I decided to detail within this is the performances. We are seeing as the artist will not be revealed in this music video piece. Performances will be primarily of the lead act within his emotional distress of a past relationship. Wide shots of the space with the actor alone will give a strong sense of loneliness, while intricate shots of facial expressions and body language would give off the uneasy feel of what mysteriously happened in that relationship. This is detailed by having a visual representation of the other references that we decided to give for this video. I went through with the B-roll we'll encompass throughout the project and also went through the performances. Now, I'm going to touch on the underlying message/reveal of the underlying message of the project. Overall, the message of this project is that money isn't everything. Although the lead act has a nice place and appeal, he's still distraught over the love that could have been with him and the mysterious lover. Throughout the piece, the audience will be let along then revealed of the relationship through photos of the two together. I have visual representation that is actually very relevant to the underlying message that I've just talked about within the treatment. With this particular treatment, a feel is very specific in terms of the emotions that I'm trying to push. But most of the time, it doesn't even have to be this specific. It really all depends on the overall project and what you're looking to push. Sometimes, treatments don't include any type of story or mood at all. It's just visual representation. We're going to be at this nice house. We're going to have these lights, were going to have these people and this is what's going to happen. It really doesn't have to be as specific as what I created. The main goal that you want to achieve when creating a treatment is making it relevant enough to you that it makes sense, and also relevant enough that the person who's looking at it, that they don't expect something that they're not going to be getting. After submitting a treatment to a client, there's a couple of different things that can happen. If you're in a pool with other directors who are also applying for this job, you basically just wait to see if you've got it. But sometimes, you actually in with a person that you are going to be shooting for you just want to submit something visual so they can get an understanding of what you will be filming. Once this happens, the clients contacts you back, they love the idea that you want to do for the project. It's time to get into some more specifics or choosing a location for the project that you're going to be filming at. Next out, we're going to be learning about how to research or location of future project and also your budget. 6. Choosing the Right Location: Okay, so once we've developed a solid visual for our project, we've went through, we got visual representation and also we've created the treatment. It's now time to horn in on specifics of the project. I think the first thing that we're going to want to look into is location that we are going to be filming in. The big reason that I like to choose the location first is, it's going to give me a really great insight on the additional things that we're going to need to film the project, like lighting, props, things like that I won't know until I have a location on hand. Once I already have visual references of what I'm trying to do and I've created a treatment, I already have in mind the location that I want to use for the project at hand. There's a couple different things that I do to find locations. It can really be as simple as me just driving down the street to try to find something that I see in my mind. Most of the time if you're looking for a certain type of location, you can just type in that certain type of location, like abandoned house and then type in the city that you are currently going to be filming in. Another also really great useful resource for finding locations for your projects is Peerspace. Peerspace is an online platform that houses locations nationwide all relevant to whatever type of adventure you're trying to do. So for us, it will be filming, and a lot of these locations are made specifically for film so you don't run into an issue where you have an owner of a place not wanting you to film there. These spots are specifically for filming, as I'm sure a lot of you low budget film makers know, filming at certain locations it's just not as easy as it should be. When trying to film at a hotel, we're trying to film at an Airbnb, you can run into a ton of different problems, like the owner not wanting you to film there or the morning you'd supervised some permit to film at those locations? I've been in tons of situations and scenarios like that. Peerspace is one of those places where you really don't have to worry about any of that. When going into the process of finding the location on Peerspace, there is two things we got to keep in mind, the look that we're trying to push and also the budget that we have available. The budget is a huge one, obviously, the fact that we do not have a lot for this project that we're looking for we're going to want to find something that already has the look, the aesthetic in as much of the motion that we're trying to push into the space already there without us having to provide anything additional. So already in our vision where we've already developed the mood that we are trying to push, we already have a color palette in mind. Finding a spot that has those aesthetics is going to make it easy for you to film there and it's also going to give you the most bang for your buck. So if we're trying to film a music video where we're trying to incorporate a party type of scene, we're probably going to live for space as big and empty that hasn't already have stuff there. If we're looking at filming something upscale that has a nice, clean, vibe to it, we're going to want to find a spot that already has the furniture look that we want to go for there and it already has the color palette there. Another really important thing that you might want to keep in mind is that if you don't have a lot of money for your project, you might want to choose a spot that has a lot of natural light available to you then you won't have to spend that extra money on running lighting and you can just utilize the amount of light that you're going to be able to get from a big window's source at the spot that you're going to be choosing. Another really important thing to keep in mind when choosing the location is the amount of sound that's going to be at the space. If you're trying to do an interview type setting, you're not going to want to choose an industrial building in the middle of New York City. It's just not going to be ideal for the project that you're filming. When choosing a location, I wouldn't personally say it's like some dead on, like nodal ever shoot these types locations, but a few things that I'd like to look out when I'm actually choosing the location to film at is, what is the furniture like at the space? I think this makes a huge difference in terms of video quality. Also I like to look at the amount of light plugs at that space. I think it's very important as well. If you're planning on using lighting at a location, if a spot only has one electrical outlet, its just going to be awful for you. Another really important thing to look into when choosing a location is temperature control. If you're planning on doing a photo shoot or you're doing a video, models who might be wearing a ton of makeup, a place that's super hot, it's just going to be awful for them. It's really important to choose locations that are truly you. Me. I'll do anything for the shot. I've shot at some really sketchy places, I've shot at places that weren't ideal for the project that I was trying to film at, but at the end of the day, you kind of got to work with what you have. So keep that in mind. A typical rule of thumb for me is I try not to go over 50 percent of the budget in terms of spending on the location that we're going to be filming at. If I stick to this rule, I have room to invest money into other things like equipment rentals, like it's a props and just overall money. Then I'm going to be able to pocket at the end of the project. Keep in mind that locations do tend to be one of the more expensive things when trying to create a video project. That's also a really big reason why I decide to choose location first. I know how much money I have to put into it and I also know how much money I have left over to invest into other things for the video project. Scene variety is another really big thing that I factor into when I'm choosing a location for the video project that I'm shooting. The fact that maybe you don't have a ton of money to spend on a project, if we can flip the location into a bunch of different looks, it's just going to make the visual project a lot more interesting and it's not going to break the bank. So say this space has really nice brick wall, has really nice entryway, has really nice furniture, has a really nice bathroom, these are all different places that you could film in, in one location to give a much bigger field than it actually cause. So now, that we have a really good understanding of how to choose a location for our project, let's choose the perfect one for what we got to be filming today. So for the process of us finding a location for this video, we're going to be using Peerspace. A couple of different things that you have to enter onto the platform, when you're going to be shooting, where you're going to be shooting and what you're going to be shooting basically. So we're going to select film shoots, and we'll schedule this for next Tuesday sometime. Search and see what we can find in the Brooklyn, New York area. Then we have a ton of different options of locations that we're going to be filming in. Just keep in mind the one that you wrote down, move to try and push, and the one that you already see based on the visual images that you already referenced. So for me, I know for a fact I want something lofty. I want something that has a lot of different textures, has a lot of different opportunities for me to be able to flip, and has a lot of natural lighting. This one here looks like a really good location for the project that we're going to be filming at. We also got to keep in mind the budget as well. So we have a really long list of different locations that we could choose for the project. So based on the length of the song and the amount of shots that I want to pick up for this music video, I will say we need a space for at least five hours to be able to achieve all of the shots that I want to get. Here, right here on the side, you guys can see it has an estimate of how much location will be in terms of an hourly rate. So just keep that in mind while you're actually choosing the location that you are using for your projects. I really like this location right here. It has a lot of greenery, which I feel helps and ties into the overall color scheme that I thought of for this project and it seems like it has a lot of natural light as well. It's also priced really well. So here we're looking at a place that has a lot of natural light, but it has nothing in it. So this is bad for us. It's not a lot of things that we can flip. It's not a lot of greenery, doesn't really play into the color scheme of what will be created for our projects. So this is definitely not a spot that I want to chose for this one. It's just white, it's just boring. There's nothing in it, has no atmosphere. It just doesn't tie out well to the overall thing that we're trying to push for this video. So here we have a space that looks amazing. The color scheme of it matches perfectly to the theme that we're trying to push for our video, has a substantial amount of natural light and it also has a lot of character. We see a piano, we see a bunch of different ways we can flip this location. The only thing is, it's a $180 an hour. So for me, do I decide to get this for three hours, be rushed on time not get all the shots that I want or do I pick something that fits me a little bit better and I feel like this would be a bad choice. Just at times the amount of time that we can actually book the space for ourselves. You've got to be realistic with the budget that you have available. So here we have a location, is actually pretty amazing it fits the overall theme that I'm trying to push well, as a lot of natural light, has greenery, the colors and the tiles fit really well with the overall vision board that I put together for this project. A couple of things that I really like about this space is the furniture. The furniture has a very modern vibe to it and just the colors of the different furniture within the spot look really good also. It also has an open brick wall which I can use for texture and it will help the project feel bigger because I'm able to switch the look of the different shots that I'm going to be getting, has a ton of greenery. Greenery is just awesome and it fits very good into the color palette that I put together for this project. It also has a kitchen space as well and the hallway that goes into the spot looks amazing. So we could probably use that for this project as well. So another really good thing about this space is the price that is going for, we're able to get this location for around $400 for a six hour period, which I do feel is very realistic in terms of what we can accomplish within that time frame for this project. Now, I'm going to go through the process of contacting the host to see if its possible for me to set up a time frame for me to go scout the location for our shoot. Another really cool thing about the Peerspace platform is you have a direct contact with the people who own these spaces. So you can just hit them up and see if they're okay with you coming through to actually scout the location beforehand. So next up, let's go scout the space. 7. Scouting Your Location: Here we are at the location and we were just looking at a clear space that we decided to give for the project that we're going to be doing. I was fortunate enough to be able to reach out for the owner of this to setup the time to scout the location. I'm going to take you through the process of going through out the location, figuring out the best angles, the best lighting choices, and also a couple of the things that I typically do while location scouting a location. Okay. So a couple of the things that I first like to look into in scouting a location, natural lighting, especially in our case since we don't have a lot of money to invest into actual lights. So here I can see that we have three dominant light sources, it serves the natural lighting here at the location that we're going to be filming at. We have one here which also has a nice brick background which can be really good thing that we can use. Have this one right here, also brick background that I just noticed now but significant amount natural lighting in here. So when determining the actual quality of the light at these natural light sources, this big windows, one thing that I like to do is utilize an application on my phone called Sun Seeker. With this application, I'm actually able to real time see where the sun will be in terms of time of the day which is awesome and I can actually directly relate that to when I plan to shoot the video which will be awesome. All right. So let's head over to our Sun Seeker app and will be able to see where the sun will be in terms of when we're actually going to be filming. So if we press this 3D view, we can actually see real time where the sun will be in terms of the time that we're going to be filming. So right now we can see that the sun is positioned up here. This isn't bad lighting but if we're looking to get some sun streaks through the window we're going to want to be able to shoot at a later time. So the yellow line right here indicates where the sun would be in terms of time. So at around 5:00 PM will have the sun peeking through these windows right here on the side of the location really nicely. Because that will like around the ideal time that we'll be looking to do the shoot, to get the most amount of natural light through these windows. So now that I've had an opportunity to see the natural light sources, the windows here, and I have a good sense of where the sun will be within the shots for the music video, couple different lighting set-ups that I've started thinking that will look really good within this are some silhouette shots. I'm thinking of a couple of different shots that we have right here of the actor just up against this window. The fact that we're going to have the sun coming directly into this window, we have the opportunity to film some silhouette shots which can definitely play to the overall feeling that we're trying to give off for the project. This isn't the prettiest the terms of what's outside of this window like this right here, but if we utilize the light right here we can flip a lot of different angle choices for the act that we are going to be using within this project. One thing that I typically do when I'm doing location scouting, it's just flip on the practicals within the space. So coming in, I noticed that there aren't really many practical lights here. We have a few spotlight up here at the top. This looks like a practical lamp over here in the corner and these two bulbs right here look like practicals. But other than that, this spot does not have much light at all other than the windows. So one cool way that I'm thinking that we could utilize these lights on the walls, that we could have the actor here at the table and we can shoot a really cool shot with a lot of depth of field and have those just put it in the background. I think that will look really cool and might have a very homey vibe to it. Another application that I love to utilize when I'm going through the process of scouting the location is called Artemis. Now Artemis is very similar to a viewfinder that you will use when scouting a location but it's digital. Cost a little bit of money but it's definitely worth the money. Now one of the really cool things about the Artemis application is that you're able to simulate what a focal length from whatever camera you are going to be using will look like within the location. So if I know that I'm going to be using a 100 millimeter lens in a location, I'm actually able to simulate what that 100 millimeter lens will look like through the Artemis application which is awesome. See what that looks like at 35 millimeters. I'm going to step back a little bit and I'm also going to take this exact same photo of 100 millimeters to see how that would actually look. One of the biggest things about the space that I loved when looking at it online, is the ability to be able to flip it into a variety of different looks. I see that with this space. This right here this table, looks like one separate look in itself. We have this main area over here which looks awesome. One thing I really like about this couch is overall tone is gray. So this right in itself could be a completely total different separate look. Resection is off, it'll feel like we're in a totally different apartment if we film this from a different angle. Another thing I really like about this space is this greenery area. It fits well into the color scheme that we put together for this project. So I'll make sure to make note of this also. One really cool way that I can see me using this is maybe using this greenery as a foreground item. I think one major thing to keep in mind when scouting a location is that you're actually able to move stuff, you're able to position different things into different spots and mold it into what would make the project as best it can be. Another way that we can flip this location is textures. So here we have a really nice brick wall that differentiates between this particular location over here that we were just looking at because the wall over there is white, this one is brick. It gives us a totally different feel, it gives us a totally different mood. The textures are definitely something that you are going to want to look out for when you're doing your location scouting. One thing that I'm looking at within this space that I'm not necessarily liking that much is just the trims of certain things, like throughout these areas right here, these trims, they could fit very well into some particular pieces dependent on the vibe that you are going for but throughout this spot right here, this area over here just doesn't look as clean. From filming, these are things that I'm going to want to watch out for and make sure are not at my shot when I'm filming. Another thing to keep in mind are these air-conditioning units as well. They just aren't pleasing to look at. This right here is something that I'm really digging in this space, the color palette here fits the colors I put together in the vision of the project perfectly. You got the green tones, we have the tents, everything's complimentary. I really liked this little area right here. The color within these chairs is perfect, it's green. It's going to pop against those muted neutral tones that I wrote down within the vision for the project. One thing that I really like about this kitchen area is the difference in color. I love how this bottom part is black but you can see the clear separation on the wall between the whites. It's awesome. It's a different feel for a kitchen. You know in the movies you always see the actor come in and grab a glass and just pour, is just something really cool and simple to have the actor interact with the finished shot, especially when they by themselves. So walking into this kitchen, the most like untraditional thing that I noticed about it is, it has practical light but it's just like the spotlight setups, just like the rest of the environment. If we spark the zone, this is definitely something that I can see being used within the shots to adds to the feel for the project. In a couple of the photos online, one thing that I noticed that I actually wanted to check out when I got here was the bathroom. It looks really good and I think that we can definitely utilize it for the shoot. So this bathroom actually looks really good. We got a bunch of practical lights right here, which means you wouldn't have to bring in anything external. We also have sinks, which is really good as well. If you wanted to do some cool shots or maybe like the actor washing his face in a mirror looking at himself would definitely give off the vibe of a sense of loneliness for the projects. So the bathroom is really nice. This is really cool tones. We also have the greenery right here which actually adds a lot to the color palette that we want to keep for projects. So definitely digging this. I don't know if you remember but in the treatment that we put together for this project, we had a specific shot where we had the subject of the shot looking himself in the mirror. This could play a really good part in the project that we're creating. Okay. I've had an opportunity to run through the space. I'm here, I got a sense of how big the space is which is very important for a project like this one. I've taken the time to jot down notes and take photo references of the things that I thought were interesting. Also jotted down the things that I did not like about the space. Overall, I do think that this is a good fit for the project that we are going to be filming. So I'm going to wrap, I'm going to head back to the studio and take the time out to write the shot list. But one thing that I do want to do before I get there is just take a look at the hallway and the outside space coming in here. That's something vital that you guys can look into too for filming for your project. So just looking throughout the hallway on the way to this location, this is awesome. I actually like these windows even more than the ones in the spot that we're going to be filming at. I'm going to jot this down, take a couple of reference photos of this. Maybe this is something that we could potentially use in the project that we're going to be filming. That's going to be a wrap on scouting. Let's head back to the studio and put together the shot list. 8. Building a Shot List: So now, we're back from location scouting. Staffers sit down and create a shot list for the project. Now, a shot list can come in many different forms, but for me, a shot list is really just a list of shots. As self-explanatory as it sounds, it keeps me on track while I'm shooting. It helps me stick to a time frame. Benefits of creating a shot list and actually following it on set? You're going to be more time efficient, you're going to be a lot less stressed, and the project will feel a lot more cohesive than you just go into the location and just try to perform off of pure memory. Creating a shot list will also help you stick the budget as well. With this low budget project, we have to keep in mind that we only have this location for a very limited amount of time. Meaning, we have to specifically stick to this time frame that we've set for ourselves in this project. A couple of things that a shot list mainly consist of are just lingo that makes sense to you. This isn't really something that's going to be given off for the client. This is between you and if you have someone else helping you, this will be between you, guys, to help stay on schedule with the shoot that you're doing. It doesn't have to be super specific, it doesn't have to be super detailed. It just has to be relevant enough so that you understand it why you're going through your project. Now, a couple of things that I should write down on my shot list are the location where I plan on filming these different things at. I also like to write down the lens choice that I'm going to be using for this particular shot, as well as the stabilize that I plan of using for this shot choice as well. Basically, just keep this in checklist form. After I complete the shot, pull my phone out, referred to it, check it off, head to the next shot. This just keeps me intact and keeps everything that's on the set flowing a lot smoother. So one of the main ways that I go through and create my shot list for my project is, I like to separate different portions of the song to be relevant to different areas of the location. This does two things. It makes it so you don't have to film the entire song at every single location, and it also makes it so the overall projects is just a lot more interested for the viewer to look at. So basically, what I mean by this is, every song has different parts of the song. This could be separated by lyrics, this could be separated by the beat tempo. I saw that it separate the song in however you feel. For me, I know every song has an introduction. I know every song has a hook, has a verse, maybe a bridge, and then these other things that I use to separate different areas of the location at time that the shot list that I'm creating. So for the introduction, one thing that I might do is, if I want to introduce the actor into the music video, I light the hallway like I said. I might introduce that with him walking through the hallway. This is going to be relevant regardless of the type of project that you're working on. Even with a fashion video or for a client, everything is basically sectioned out into different portions in if you're going to want to keep that relevant with your shot list as well. So now that we have a general understanding of what a shot list should be, let's just take a look at the one that I created. So here we have the shot list that I've created for the projects. Now one thing to keep in mind is that I did copy notes from the vision that we created for the project. This just helps me to be able to refer back to the certain things that I wrote down when creating the vision for this, so I don't get lost in translation when I'm filming. I still have the prop ideas that I plan to using as well as the post-production ideas that I wrote down for that. You can create this in any app. I'm using Evernote right now. Notes for the iPhone works perfectly. I'm sure Notes for the Android phones works perfect as well. Just keep it simple. Keep it something that you could refer back to and don't make it too complicated. So just scrubbing through this, you guys can see that I like to separate Mines through different times of the music video project. It's going to help me go in a chronological order and make sure I'm able to go through and pick up all the shots that I need in an efficient way. So for the introduction to the video, the brief description that we have right here is, the lead actor enters the space and pours a glass of wine in the kitchen area. The lighting source that we're going to be using for this, natural and practical lighting. I like to write down in relation to where the shots will be filmed and a brief description on how we plan on lighting the set-ups as well. Following the brief description within the shot list, a couple of the things that I like to do is write down a very brief description on the shot that I plan on getting. Now, it's super simple, it's not detailed at all, but the fact that I wrote this, I know exactly what I'm referring to when it comes to time to shoot this. So the first thing that we're going to be looking at is a static hallway shot. This is going to be relevant to the hallway photos that we took earlier while scouting the location. Next to this, you guys can see the millimeter choice that I've decided to use for the shots. This is going to be relevant to the lens that we're going to be using, as well as the overall orientation of the shot. I tend to write down wide, medium, close, and also macro shots. These are the ways that I'm able to differentiate between the different orientation of the shots that I'm going to be giving. Then next to that I write down the stabilize that I plan on using to get the shot. So for this particular shot, I just wrote a tripod. There's pretty much to say throughout the introduction. We have a hand follow from twisting the knob, walking into the space. We have a switch of the angle choice to me inside catching him coming through the door, and then all of these other things are just very minimal shot choices that I plan on catching to complete the introduction for the music video. Now, a couple things to note when you're sectioning off different amount of shots that you're getting for a certain portion of a music video or just overall plans you guys are filming, it's a 100 percent better for you to overshoot than to undershoot. If you have too much footage, it's easy for you to cut it down and grab the best parts from it. If you don't have enough footage, you're going to have to stretch it and it might not be as interesting in the final product. The other thing to keep in mind when creating a shot list is just a guideline. It's always going to veer off. You're going to get to a space. You're going to have this amazing idea in your head. You're going to put it together. So you're going to have to improvise to an extent when creating a shot list. It's just a guideline to keep you on track though. So the next section that we have written down on the shot list is the opener. This is going to be the transition from the introduction into what will transpire throughout the video project. A brief description of this section of the opener is, he heads into the main area, checks himself out in the mirror, remove shades and dress down, takes off shoes and coat. While I was doing the location scouting at the location, I notice that there really wasn't a full body mirror there. So I'm thinking in terms of props and things that I want to add into the music video, a black mirror would definitely be one of the things that I want to add to it. From here, it's just me describing the shots that I plan on getting. There will be a wide shot of the actor entering the space using the 35-millimeter lens, wide shot, hand-held. The next shot that we will get is a medium, entering the mirror frame same direction, using the 35-millimeter medium focal length and hand-held. The next shot that we'll get is a wide shot of him checking himself out in the reflection of the mirror, this would be a 35-millimeter shot wide, hand-held. A close-up of him removing the shades from his face, we'll be using now 100-millimeter lens for this. It'll be a macro aspects, so that would be super close and were also from this hand held. The next shot that we'll be filming is a shot of him looking at himself up and down, the 100-millimeter as well. This will be more of a medium focal length. We'll be filming at hand-held as well. The next section, the shot that we're going to be filming is a detailed breakdown of him winding down after coming into the space. So be as simple as him kicking off his kicks, taking off his coat. I want to film a wide tracking shot of him going from this black mirror that we've set up in a space, going to this main couch area that we took reference photos for location scouting. I'm going to refer back to a couple of the images that I took while I was still on my location scouting to figure out the best position for him to be seated within that scene. One thing that I've noted that I really liked about the main couch area at the location is on that right side, there was a lot of greenery, and I can utilize that if I wanted to get some sightings to maybe incorporate into some foreground imagery for the shot that we are going to be filming. So with that note in mind, one thing that I'm going to go ahead and add in to the shot list right now is I want to add in a foreground shot where we have the greenery in front of him while he's doing the portion of looking at some of the photos on the table. So greenery, let's do this on a 100-millimeter lens because we want that close, just do a tight shots and let's do hand-held. Out of the majority of things that I do want to shot within the shot list, but I'm going to go through and perfect, just to make sure that is perfect before we go into production. You guys are interested in checking this out, you can download this from the class resources. So once I've had an opportunity to go through this and make sure our shot list is perfect, the last thing that we're going to need to do before we get into the actual shoot is make sure we have all the equipment we need. 9. Building a Gear List: Now that we went through and created our shot list, is now time to develop a list of equipment that we'll be using for the shoot. Depending on the overall budget for the project, you're equipment list could be small as just an iPhone in your pocket than having a DSLR, and lens, and a stabilizer, and a light to having a ton of light stands, and C stands, and sand bags. This thing could get pretty serious pretty fast depending on the budget that you're at. So for the shoot today that we're going to be doing, I had to keep in mind that our budget provider was very minimal. We already spend 50 percent of that on location, and we also want to be able to pocket a little bit of this money as well. So I'm basically just using what I had available to me. It's important that you guys keep in mind that use whatever you have available to you. So for this shoot, I'm going to be utilizing the canon 1dx Mark II. This is just something that I have on hand. I didn't have any additional money to put into renting any gear, so this is just what I had available to myself. Lens choices for this, I'm going to be using this sigma 35-millimeter f 1.4 and the canon 100-millimeter f 2.8. Now for some people, I know that this is bu qu expensive, but like I said, what you have available is perfectly fine. If you have a little bit of money saved in a budget and you want to put that towards equipment rentals, I want to talk a little bit about how you might want to prioritize the money that you're going to be spending into running gear. For me, it's a couple of different things that I feel actually really matter when it comes to overall image and creating a video, the first of which is lighting. Lighting is crucial, lighting is amazing, and I feel lighting is one of those things that can truly transform our project 100 percent. The second of which is lenses. Lenses definitely develop a look and they can definitely craft the project into an emotion or feeling, something that is definitely really important when it comes to making a project. The third I feel is stabilizers, stabilizers are amazing, they can completely transform a project as well. If your project cost for really smooth shots, renting a stabilizer can definitely achieve the look that you're going. So for stabilizers, there's a couple of different things that you can get. It can be as simple as the tripod. It can be a slider, it could be a gamble, it could be a jib. It's also really important to keep in mind that there are a couple of different ways that you can utilize what you have available to you to replicate these looks as well. For instance, a slider, one of my favorite things to do when I don't have the budget to replicate slider shots, is just placing something like a t-shirt onto a table, putting a camera on that t-shirt, and then you have the ability to be able to slot the camera on a t-shirt, and I imposed stabilization for that, it just comes out as smooth as the slider shot. So for this particular project, my equipment list is super short, super, super short. This is because we don't have much of a budget, but also because a lot of the shots that I'm planning on getting for this are very simple. Have the camera, of course, which doesn't matter for the lenses and the location play a bigger part into the project. We have the 100-millimeter lens, which is what I plan on getting a lot of my close-up shots with. It has its own focal length and is also macro, which means I'm able to hone in and really focus on eyes, and the facial expressions, and the details, and stuff like that. My 35-millimeter lens that I've chosen is more so for a lot of the water shots that I plan on getting. Now for me, I was talking about stabilizes within this project. I really want this project to be shot handheld. For me, I feel like handheld gives a sense of one easiness, it gives a sense rockiness, and that motion that I'm trying to push with this project is just fits really well. It also saves me a ton of money as well and I have to get another stabilizer. Is going to be no lighting that I'm going to be using for this project because the natural lighting at the space looks amazing, just as is. The other things that I have written down on my equipment list are just relative to the props that I plan on using for the project. So like I said, it's very simple, it's very small, but it's going to be very effective being that I took the time out to choose the perfect location. If you find yourself with a little bit of money to put into rental for equipment, there's a couple of different ways you can go about this. One of the easiest is probably just going to be happen on Google and see if you have any rental shops available to you in your city that you're at. Creating the major hubs, like New York, LA, it's going to be no problem for you to just go down the street and get some camera gear. If you find yourself on the smallest city, all you really have to do is go online to lens rentals dot com. It's an online database of tons of different gear. You go on there, you just choose what you want. They ship it right to you and you could just ship it right back after you've done your shoot. Now, with the equipment that I'm going to be using for this shoot, this is just stuff that I have on hand that I actually own. But to give you guys a reference of how much this will cost on one of the online rental sites, you can actually get this complete package camera and two lenses for $300. This will actually still financing the budget of $800. For a low budget project like this, an equipment list might not seem as important. But I've done projects with bigger budgets where it's 20 things on equipment list. I don't create the equipment list and I end up leaving the plate for my tripod at home. I end up leaving the batteries at home for my gamble. I end up leaving the fog machine at home. These are just vital crucial parts of the project. So creating an equipment list is really important for those projects. The typical way that I create my equipment list is very similar to how I create my shot list, it's in checklist form. As I'm packing up and I'm getting prepared to go to the shoot, as I packed that one item into the car and to the the way that I'm traveling, I'll make sure to check that off and make sure I have every single thing that I need for the shoot that day. Now that I went through all of the vital steps of pre-production for this project, I'm prepared. I feel really good about the project. I can't wait. I'm about to go out and kill this project. 10. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. We have planned our shoot, we're prepared, ready to go out, and kill it. We've learned the vital steps of planning out our pre-production for our video projects. I hope now that you know that you can go out regardless of the budget provided to you, it creates a meaningful concept. I would love to see what you've created. Make sure to share your creative treatments, shot list, and also final projects down to project hour. Thank you once again for taking the time off to go through this class with me. I can not wait to see the cuts that you guys put together from the information provided in this class. Be creative.