Everything That Can Go Wrong On a Video Shoot (And How to Avoid It)

Here’s a universal truth. In the world of video production, nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Even the most meticulous pre-production efforts and the perfect team often can’t guarantee a flawless shoot. Yeah, it’s a pain. But that’s what keeps things interesting.

Here at Perspective Pictures we’ve experienced our fair share of unexpected challenges on video shoots. However, we’ve got some great strategies to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the things that frequently go wrong in video production and how to reduce the risk of them happening. 

Somebody essential doesn’t show up

No matter how well you organise your shoot, there’s always a chance that a key participant will fail to show up. It could be a crucial team member, actor, client, or an essential interviewee or expert.

We’ve been there. The cameras and lighting are all set up and you’re ready to start shooting but there’s nothing you can do without this one essential person. Looks like you’re going to have to wait.

To avoid this situation, communication is key. Double-check everyone’s availability and confirm their commitment well in advance. Emailing call sheets out well in advance and sending a reminder message the day before can help increase the likelihood that everyone essential will show up for production. 

Another good trick is to have a back-up plan. Maybe there’s a different talking head you could call at short notice, or perhaps you could change the order of your shooting to prioritise different scenes first that don’t require the person in the shot. Being flexible throughout the shoot is essential to make the most of the time and resources you have.

Your tech fails

The last thing you want is your camera malfunctioning or your lighting equipment refusing to cooperate. However, that’s often exactly what happens – especially if your team is unfamiliar with the video production equipment you’re trying to use. 

Whether the problems are with cameras, audio equipment, lighting, or even the product you’re trying to film an advertisement for, technical glitches can cripple a video shoot, resulting in wasted time and missed opportunities. 

To prevent such issues, invest in high-quality equipment and perform thorough tests before the shoot. We also recommend having backup gear readily available to minimise downtime in the case of something going wrong during production.

However, the best thing you can do to avoid this situation is hire a professional videographer who possesses in-depth technical knowledge of the equipment and processes involved in video production. Professional videographers and film production teams are adept at troubleshooting on the spot, providing the solutions and peace of mind you need throughout the video production process.

Your location falls through

Securing the perfect location is essential for creating impactful videos. However, unforeseen circumstances can lead to last-minute location changes or cancellations. Maybe the location owner changes their mind, perhaps it’s too busy, or maybe there are issues with transport, weather, or equipment that make the location a no-go.

To avoid this, always have a backup plan in place. Scout multiple shooting locations during pre-production, considering factors like accessibility, lighting conditions, and permits required. Maintaining good relationships with venue owners can also help in negotiating alternate arrangements swiftly.

The weather is bad

Following on from the previous point, the unpredictable nature of weather can wreak havoc on an outdoor shoot. Rain, wind, or extreme temperatures can make capturing footage challenging or even impossible. We’re based in London, UK, so our film production company is pretty accustomed to having outdoor shoots impacted by rain and wind at this point!

There’s not much you can do about the weather if you choose an outdoor filming location. Always check the weather forecast leading up to the shoot day and have contingency plans in case of adverse conditions. Indoor backup locations or rescheduling may be necessary.

Your talent sucks

There’s no nice way of putting this. Sometimes, the people you want to feature in the video just aren’t good on camera. Whether it’s your company CEO who keeps forgetting her lines in your upcoming brand video, demonstrators who have poor camera presence for product videos, or clients with no performance skills for your case study video, sometimes your video is held back by the people on camera. 

To avoid this, the casting stage is key. For some videos, you will be able to cast more experienced actors who align with your vision or can achieve your desired performance. Auditions and screen tests are a great way to pick out the most eligible candidates who come across great on camera. 

However, some types of video production don’t allow this freedom. For example, making a brand video or crowdfunding video requires you to capture footage of the individuals involved in the business or campaign who may not perform as well on camera.

During the shoot, provide clear direction and maintain a positive atmosphere to bring out the best in your talent. If this doesn’t work, ensure that you have a lot of B-roll footage for cutaways that can be added in post-production, reducing the amount of time your actors spend on camera. Be careful though: there’s only so much that can be done in the editing room, so trying to get the best performance possible from your people is essential during filming.

You don’t get the right shots

This one sounds obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people go ahead with a shoot without a shot list. This is the document that lists the shots you need and capture, allowing the team to ensure every shot is covered. 

Without a specific plan of the shots you need, the video production process is likely to be slow and inefficient and your video editor will hate you for missing out key content for the video. 

To ensure that recording goes smoothly and you get all the shots you need, organisation in the pre-production process is crucial. Create a detailed storyboard and shot list with specific instructions to keep the shoot focused. The plan will keep everyone on track and aligned with the creative vision, resulting in a better finished product.

You neglect audio 

When brands or individuals make their first ever film, they’re often far more focused on the video than the audio. And sure, the camerawork may look great, but without high quality audio your amazing video is doomed to fail. 

Audio plays a crucial role in the overall video quality. In fact, poor sound recording or distorted audio can ruin even the most visually stunning footage. This is especially true for social media videos created for TikTok, YouTube Shorts, or Instagram Reels; your target audience will scroll past straight away if the audio sounds crunchy and low quality. 

To avoid this, audio needs to be a priority from the very beginning. Invest in quality microphones and audio recording equipment for great voice-overs. Use dedicated audio personnel or hire professional sound technicians to capture clear and crisp audio. A skilled videographer will prioritise audio quality and ensure that it complements the visual elements seamlessly.

Conclusion

Video production is a complex undertaking with numerous moving parts. Things go wrong all the time, but with some creativity, organisational skills, and technical know-how you can deliver exceptional results. This is why we recommend always working with an experienced video production agency on your films.   

From pre-production to post-production, a professional video production company like Perspective Pictures understands the intricate details involved in each stage of the process. We have the experience to navigate potential challenges, including coordinating schedules, making detailed plans, securing locations, managing talent, and ensuring technical precision. Alongside our videographers’ filming and editing prowess, our team’s ability to adapt and problem-solve in real-time is invaluable. This allows for seamless execution even in the face of unexpected obstacles.

Are you ready to turn your ideas into stunning professional video content? Get in touch with Perspective Pictures today, or check out our different video production services to learn more.

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Perspective Pictures Team

About Us

Perspective Pictures is a digital-first video production company, based in East London.

We make videos for brands to post to the internet and see ourselves as a digital studio, producing everything from long-form content to digital ads, all created by our in-house team of digital natives.

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