How to Determine the Appropriate Size for Your Film Crew
Determining the size of the film production crew that will work with you to bring your project from the idea stage to a full-fledged video that is being viewed and shared with others is tough. Just as you would take steps to plan how many writers and editors and graphic artists you need to fulfill your blog content, you must closely consider the number of cameramen, lighting operators and various other film crew to produce your video. We’re showing you how to determine the appropriate size for your film crew.
A lot goes into a film production, much more than just a cameraman and a script. When it comes to determining the best size film crew for the job, what you’re actually doing is carefully deciding how many experts you need to work on your film production. This number will vary from one project to the next based on the overall scope and individual project details.
Below, we’ll outline some basic examples that dictate the total number of film crew members for your video project. These are just basic ideas that will naturally vary based on the actual needs of your project. We recommend using this as a starting point to help you determine film crew size but please take the time to properly plan for your individual needs.
Film crew size is a decision that will impact your project in several ways. It will directly impact the expenses associated with the production. It could also impact the scheduling or ability for the project to proceed at the desired rate. Finally, the film crew size plays a role in how stressed (Or not) your crew is which directly impacts team morale.
Bare Bones Film Crew: 1 Camera Operator
The majority of film projects will require at least 2 cameraman and even that is somewhat bare bones. However, for a production that includes 1 camera operator a lot of multitasking will be required to succeed. A 1 camera operator film crew could film the following types of videos:
- An interview in which there is a cameraman that asks questions of another individual, the interviewee.
- A shoot that has been timed to music.
- A very basic production that does not require any extensive camera footage or the interaction of several people in order to make the project come together.
Having only cameraman is a very bare bones, purely necessity production plan. Keep in mind that although having one cameraman could save money, is not always ideal as these types of shoots or any others shoots overall. One cameraman does not leave room for simple hiccups in the plan and could result in unnecessary needs to reshoot the footage.
Basic Film Crew: 1 Cameraman & 1 Director
You’ll notice that most production film crews are made up of at least 1 director and 1 camera operator. Many video projects can be produced with this duo on the crew. A two person film crew can save quite a bit on the budget but again may have limited ability to produce compelling footage depending on the overall scope of the project.
This two person film crew is ideal for:
- A talking head interview in which both the interviewer and interviewee are seen on camera.
- Scripted updates to an existing production. These should be very small changes.
In the two person production film crew the director will provide guidance while ensuring that everything goes as planned and remains on schedule. The director can also offer guidance to talent and the cameraman during the production. This allows the camera operator to focus solely on camera operation without having to take on the task of asking questions or otherwise multitasking.
A two person film crew is able to coordinate ideas as to B-roll footage that will be required to make the final interview video come together seamlessly. Having two people closely considering which b-roll shots are needed will help to ensure that complimentary footage is engaging, interesting and truly complementary to the project.
Multiple Camera Operators
With any film production there will always be only a single Director, but you can have several other film crew members on the team. The trio features a director and 2 camera operators that work together to capture footage that brings the creative vision of the director to life.
The director provides key decisions and the two camera operators follow his or her lead. Having two camera operators allows for the film to have varied angles of footage which can keep viewers interested in what they are watching as compared to a single angle view.
When shooting an interview with this setup, the first camera is generally facing the interviewee from a slightly diagonal or side view while the second camera is completely shooting the side of the interviewee. This allows for footage to be combined at various points and the visual appeal is much stronger for viewers.
A Four Person Film Crew
If your production can afford to bring four people on you’re at a primary advantage. A four person film crew will consist of a director and 3 camera operators that function seamlessly together to produce a vivid and entertaining film. A setup like this is idea for situations where you have two people sitting side by side and talking together in the frame.
The first camera will be centered with a wide angle view of the entire setup. The second and third camera will come in from either side to capture a side angle view. This way, camera A focuses directly on the speakers and cameras B and C can focus from one side or the other as the speakers interact.
A four person film crew is ideal for filming friendly interviews, chats, and conferences between a couple of members. Using the various angles that are afforded by the 3 camera views, the audience stays engaged and interested in the footage while the camera operators can easily follow along with the speaker, zooming as needed or adjusting the shot without losing the balance of footage.
A Full Film Crew with Multiple Members
If your production budget allows for a full film crew, complete with sound recordists, camera operators, gaffers, runners and the like, you are lucky and your viewers are in for a real treat. Larger, more complicated projects will generally allow for a larger film crew like that and it is always worth it!
In this scenario, the film crew includes a sound recordist that ensures proper audio throughout the shoot while camera operators take special care to capture the appropriate footage angles and views. Up to 3 microphones can be used on the set per one camera. The sound recordist will capture the audio without losing important audio due to background noise or other interruptions associated with the filming location or backdrop.
If you don’t have a sound recordist, there’s a great chance that your audio will be inconsistent and may be interrupted which would result in the need to extensively edit and recapture audio later on. This can be costly and also adds time to the production.
If filming an event, a sound recordist is necessary to ensure proper sound from presentations and Q&A sessions are captured despite any background noise and other elements associated with the event. Most events require several camera setups and separate audio capturing by a sound recordist so as to prevent the event from sounding one-dimensional. Additionally, you can’t have a director yelling “retake” or “reshoot” or anything else for that matter during an event–you have one chance to capture sound and footage so it must be right!
More Crew Members
The gaffers on this team will provide electrical support and lighting to ensure the scene is visually ready for capture. They’ll set up and tear down equipment necessary for the production. This extra set of hands can be a vital addition to your production and often allows the camera operator to focus more on his or her footage for the best shot.
Large scale productions including brand videos, product introduction videos and any form of video content that is intended for offline distribution requires gaffers and sound recordists as well as runners. Together, these film crew members produce a higher value project outcome that is more likely to succeed in the competitive world.
You may think, “I don’t need runners, that’s more than we’ll ever need.” But, really, runners make a major impact on the shoot. They ensure that talent makes it to where they need to be, when they need to be there. They arrange meals and transportation and location setup. They help out with all these little in between things that are either overlooked, underdone or take up more time without a runner on your side–for a larger scale production, hire a runner!
Choosing a Film Crew
Now that you have an idea as to how many film members you’ll likely need for your project it’s time to begin rounding up the crew and making hiring decisions. Beverly Boy Productions can provide a film crew that is appropriately sized for your video project. Give us a call to learn more about the services we provide and to discuss your project needs in full. We’re happy to help out.