So I’m not going to lie – going on video shoots is both exhilarating and nerve racking. Most of the time it’s just Mikey, Brian, and I going in pairs or riding solo to shoots. We’ll get there set up everything, shoot the commercial or testimonial, and edit the project over the next couple of days. On paper it sounds simple enough right? Well not exactly, having a small production crew has it’s share of advantages and challenges. What is it like working with a small production crew?  Two words: A rollercoaster.

With Less Crew Comes More Responsibility

For starters, because there are so few of us we play multiple roles during production & post-production. I am a production assistant, a photographer behind the scenes, camera operator, and a video editor. Brian is a product photographer, camera operator, director, and a video editor. Mikey basically does everything plus motion graphics.

As you can imagine it’s stressful because you’re having to manage your time with different responsibilities, but I think it’s a fun dynamic because you’re not stuck with one role at Cinema Spice. We get to setup the all lighting equipment, make the sure the audio levels on the TASCAM are sufficient, choose where the best place to position the camera is, prep the subject who happens to be camera shy, and record good B-Roll shots for the edit later on in the day. It’s stressful don’t get me wrong but it does make the day more fulfilling.

You also get to learn new video production techniques along the way. I remember starting off as an intern in 2015, and Mikey taught about the ins and outs of Adobe Premiere.

In my own experience being a production assistant and a video editor on shoots is the best thing you can do! It makes the job easier because now you get an idea how all these shots need to be cut together, and which shots were the best ones that day. If you happen man camera and edit in the same project you will have an unique visual perspective. You will know the types of shots you need to get for jewelry store advertisement as oppose to a Facebook food video.

There’s Not A Moment To Waste

If we had more crew on the Cinema Spice team the prep time, production, and editing  process would definitely run much faster! However, with more crew equals more micromanaging. Since I’ve known Mikey, he likes to assign tasks to each of us and then moves on to the next project on his to do list; simple as that. With more people thrown into the mix, there’s more assignments and delegation to give, which can halt production. At Cinema Spice we like to wrap on shooting as soon as we can because we know editing will take some time.

Small Crew, More Friends

With only three guys in the office, we see each other more as friends than fellow employees. Mikey will invite us to his new house to hang out sometimes, and occasionally reward our hard work with frozen custard. Whenever my computer is export time is super slow, Brian graciously lends me his desktop to work on. In fact, his wife even took my family photos at decent price. They turned great! We go out get lunch sometimes and discuss about our favorite tv shows or what’s happening in the news.

Most importantly we have fun at our job and we learn to rely on each other. If we get stuck on a project we give each other our opinions on what needs to be fixed or we just hand it over to Mikey.  No seriously, when I can’t cut down a sequence down to 2 minutes because it seems there is so much important footage, this guy is a grisly butcher in a four star restaurant during the editing phase. He can slash the sequence to ribbons and the video still comes out looking like prime rib.

Make sure if you’re thinking about creating a collaborative team please find reliable hardworking people. All video production is a team effort and it’s been a great experience being apart of this team.

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About the author

Tony is a Brigham Young University-Idaho graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Communication. He has experience in journalism and video production. One of his favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. His favorite superhero is Spider-Man. He lives in Rexburg, Idaho with his lovely wife.

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