Q&A Remote Shooting
Due to the circumstances during the Corona crisis, we had to deal with shootings taking place remotely for the first time. As it is often the case in the film industry, there’s a technical and a human perspective on the issue. Based on our experience over the last couple of months, we have compiled a detailed Q&A providing helpful advice and information about remote shooting.
What are the main advantages shooting remotely?
The key advantage in these special times is obvious: Remote shooting helps to protection against a corona infection. Also, it’s a sustainable way of shooting since environmental pollution can be reduced. Not to mention time and money as a factor which both make the remote set-up an efficient way of shooting.
What are the main challenges of filming from remote?
The key challenge is to make sure you have a continuously stable video transmission and communication with the client or agency.
First of all, a reliable Internet connection is a must here. If there’s no good connection available or you’re shooting outside, work with a mobile router with SIM card. If you have a bigger budget, a multi-secured connection backed by three different telecommunications providers and 3 different SIM cards, is a safer option. In addition, it is always worth checking the locations and signal strength beforehand.
When communicating with the customer, you should clearly define who is communicating and when. Therefore, we always work with a remote operator, who is exclusively responsible for the communication with the client.
Last but not least: Shoots with voice recording require special attention. In general, we recommend to define clear slots for communication and providing feedback to the customer. As soon as the camera is running, it’s quiet here too 😉
How does remote shooting work in technical implementation?
We stream the image of the main camera and another camera with a studio wide shot via zoom. In the meantime we realize the video stream via YouTube stream as the video quality is better there. Via the YouTube chat, you can communicate or alternatively open a parallel zoom, Skype or team session.
What’s the biggest difference between shooting remotely and on-set?
On location, there are interpersonal nuances that are not transmitted online. It is much more charming to be together on the set, to cultivate friendships and to discuss the next steps over a cup of coffee. The fun of the work should not be too much subject to efficiency.
How do you ideally prepare for a remote shooting? What needs to be taken into account?
It is good to agree in advance with the customer on how many people will participate virtually and who will give feedback. Certainly it makes sense if several participants from the customer’s side agree in an internal chat before they communicate with the remote operator on the set. Of course, location inspections can also take place online. A remote operator then guides the DOP, Director and Producer and communicates with the client. When it comes to post production, it is already common practice to work with complex systems like frame.io or screenlight.tv.
What is one typical good day of shooting like?
While models or actors are in the mask, details of the stage can be discussed. Also, light and first movement sequences with assistants can be tested. The make-up and styling can then be checked in front of the main camera and adjusted again if necessary. It is also possible to have an additional camera installed in the mask to switch if necessary.
In general, we have been breaking new ground here and are constantly gaining new experiences. Hence, we keep on optimizing our processes and are in close contact with colleagues all over the world.
For how long do you think you will still have to shoot from remote?
For sure, purely corona-related remote shootings will be available for another year. Regardless of this, there will be a strong trend in the future for reasons of efficiency and the environment. Savings in travel costs for flights, hotel etc., time savings and environmental aspects by avoiding flights etc.
What are the top tips you can give to someone wanting to shoot a film remotely?
- Make sure roles are clearly distributed and ideally prepare a small handout for communication.
- Check the technical conditions for the Internet transmission beforehand.
- Those who shoot remote for the first time should try a test run with colleagues, for example from home office to home office.
- For more complex challenges, there are service providers who are also familiar with mobile transmissions.