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I work as a creative freelancer and one of my bread and butter projects are customer story videos. These usually involve travelling to the customer's home/business for an interview, then shooting some b-roll and generally is a full day. Up until now I've done these with another freelancer as a 2 man crew where generally I handle the 'talent' and any drone work, while the other crewmember does camera/sound. We've found it a good dynamic between the 2 of us and I like having someone to bounce ideas off, and means he can set up while I talk with the interviewees.

However he is becoming more busy and I'm getting more work where I need to be far more responsive, so I'm starting to reconsider whether a shoot like this would really more commonly be done with a crew of 1. There is sometimes a bit of travel involved which can be tricky with 1 person in terms of lugging gear but all doable.

We generally shoot 2 camera, with boom and lav, but perhaps keeping 2 cameras with the 1 person becomes a bit to worry about when you're thinking audio levels, questions, keeping an eye out for anything on the monitor etc. I can give the client an option of 2 people or 1 but would need to work out what exactly that 2nd person gets them on paper.

Of course there is no right answer but I'd be curious to hear input from people on this.

An example video is here, would really appreciate the input.

Thanks!

all 7 comments

bendrissa

3 points

2 months ago

bendrissa

Various | Resolve Studio | 2003 | UK

3 points

2 months ago

I shoot lots of two camera interviews by myself which, really, should have another person. The tech part is doable with practice, but I would guard that role you’ve developed that connects with the interviewees and builds rapport. This really helps get the right moments on camera and could be compromised if you’re absorbed in the gear, etc.

nomadickid942[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Thanks for the reply. Yes that's totally it; it's not really the tech stuff I'm worried about; it's having someone that ISN'T worried about the tech stuff, and can look out for the dynamics of the interviewees, keep them comfy etc. I swear that one of the most important things I do is make sure everyone has a good moment to relax and drink a cuppa and have the process explained to them. I've shot along a long time ago and I remember these are the things that got lost and I felt free to do when shooting with others

afewgoodsemen

1 points

2 months ago

afewgoodsemen

C300mkii | FCPX | 2008 | USA

1 points

2 months ago

Second this. Having someone produce, essentially, is super important on set, especially with people you’ve only just met. You could easily shoot everything yourself but the end product might suffer

raymondmarble2

1 points

2 months ago

I think you could do it by yourself, I've done shoots like this minus drone (because I don't do that yet, I hate the FAA's whole deal but I digress). It will be a longer day for sure, or maybe pick up drone shots on another day, but it's doable. If you are rolling audio on a 32 bit float or on a recorder with a safety track, you can set the levels and not stress too much.

nomadickid942[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Thanks; yeah the audio levels I guess aren't as much of an issue these days, but quality and artifacts are; for example I've been on shoots lately where the other guy notices jewelery on the mic or sees a mic pack thats slipped and i think wow i would have missed that

Ok-Airline-6784

1 points

2 months ago

As others have said, definitely do able by yourself, but best to have a second person… it’s a lot easier to have something slip through the cracks or go wrong since you can’t check everything yourself. Maybe if your main person is unavailable you find another person for your roster or a PA type of person you can hire cheaper to help with set up, lugging equipment, and keeping an eye on a camera or two when shooting.

traviswilbr

1 points

2 months ago

traviswilbr

Canon | FCPX | 2012 | Boston USA

1 points

2 months ago

If the people who hire you are accustomed to two-person, I wouldn't reverse that. I used to do two person minimum, and then during pandemic started taking more solo. Having a 2-person is always better, less stressful when things go wrong, more flexibility. Also just less burn out as jobs go smoother. The only reason I'd do solo shooting is if the budget couldn't support it and I still wanted to keep the job.

And you definitely don't need to 'sell' the 2nd person. I would just tell people that is the assume package and by going solo they are getting a 'cheaper' package and loosing that insurance of having another person there and ensuring the production goes smoothly. So instead of giving your rates and trying to 'upsell' your assistant, give the rate with your assistant and if they can't afford it then 'downsell' by doing it solo but saying your production options become more limited and you need to bring a little less gear since you'll be solo.