Lessons from a Commercial Shoot
Although my internship at Villing & Company is still in its early stages, I’ve already been given some great learning opportunities. One of those came recently when I was given the chance to participate in the filming and production of a TV commercial.
This was my first time on the set of a shoot and it provided great insight into the field in which I’m interested. I shadowed Jeff Middaugh, the creative director for Villing & Company. He explained to me what was going on behind the scenes including the delegation of and specific order of tasks. Watching the playback of scenes on the portable video monitor helped me understand what Jeff was talking about when referencing lighting, color, and continuity of the scene. I was able to help with the set-up and tear-down of each scene. It was amazing to watch as the stylist, makeup artist, lighting crew, director and actors performed each of their roles – like watching a choreographed Broadway show.
All of the filming was done inside, however thunderstorms and wind made securing lighting gear and diffusion screens a top priority. At times, the gear swayed as strong winds rattled the windows. The crew was very experienced and luckily no equipment was broken. During the first shot, I learned an interesting trick. We put lights outside the window to simulate sunlight. We even attached some small evergreen branches to a metal pole to make it look like the sun was shining through bushes outside the window. This way, the lighting and window didn’t feel so artificial.
Watching the whole process, I learned how quickly everything happens and how you must be on your toes at all times. Flexibility and good communication are crucial when working with a large group of people, especially when shooting television commercials.
Throughout an entire day of shooting, three locations and a 90-minute round trip, I learned that you have to be willing to be flexible and be a good team player. Finding quick solutions when faced with minor setbacks is part of the process. I look forward to working on another TV shoot in the near future.
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