Setup times can vary, depending on the type of production we’re working on and what you’re trying to accomplish. If you are filming a creative production with testimonial interviews, the shoot may require three-point lighting, two cameras, and audio. You should budget anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half for set-up.
You may be wondering, “Why does it take so long to get set up?” We have to take several things into consideration as we put everything together. First, there’s the environment we’re shooting in. A lot of times there are shifting issues that occur on a shoot, and it takes time to adjust to them. There are a lot of shoots where, even with the best-laid plans, things go awry.
For example, we recently arrived on-set to film a video for a corporate client. The plan was to shoot in a conference room, but the space was surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows which were impossible to black out. The day was partly cloudy and windy, which meant light exposure was changing throughout the shoot, messing with the shot.
Sometimes noise winds up being a huge issue. Something as simple as an HVAC system that you can’t control, with blowers rolling on and off throughout the shoot, will ruin the audio for your video. Or perhaps there is unplanned construction happening in a neighboring office. These are things that simply can’t be planned for, but they can be accommodated if you have realistic expectations going into your shoot.
You’ll also have to plan for the time it’ll take to just make the set look good. Sometimes, setting up a room is more than just putting up lights and testing audio. We want to make sure everything is perfect and that the background looks nice. This may mean rearranging an entire bookshelf, adding or removing decorations, or clearing the clutter off of desks in the background.
All of these circumstances take time. If you provide that to your team, you’re going to elevate your production. That’s why we recommend an hour to an hour and a half for setup.
To accommodate for any unforeseen setbacks, you could up your budget and bring more crew on to speed up the setup process and to get more hands involved when it comes to making last second changes due to environmental issues. Of course, if it’s not in your budget to do so, you risk winding up with a lower quality video should we run into something we weren’t anticipating. Again, you have to weigh the pro’s and con’s and go into your shoot with realistic expectations.