You’re set. You’ve hired a video production company to come into your retail store, restaurant, medical practice, or other place of business. The goal is to capture footage that will eventually be used in an online marketing piece. Everything is good to go. You and the Director have hammered out all the details. You have scheduled your interview subjects. The shot list is ready. All that’s left is to shoot the video.
But have you really thought of everything? Could there be something that you overlooked?
If you work in a location with constant activity (i.e. a retail store, restaurant, salon, etc.), there are two main items on your pre-production checklist that need to be handled before the video production company arrives to set up.
- Audio – If you plan to record live audio while on set, background noise will be a major concern. You need to take proper steps to ensure that you can capture good, clean audio. Ideally, you will want to shoot the video on a day when your business is not open to the public. This will eliminate sounds like customer chatter, footsteps, doors opening/closing, etc. You can ask friends, family, and loyal customers to volunteer their time to come in on the day of the shoot and stand in as background. This ensures that you maintain control over the set. If this isn't possible and you are forced to shoot during a normal business day, try the following:
- Shoot during non-peak hours. This way, customer traffic should be at a minimum.
- Use c-stands and spring clamps to hang sound blankets around your talent to help deaden the ambient sound.
- Post a public notice to all customers that filming is in progress and that all chatter should be kept to a minimum.
- Look for places within your location that may not have quite as much foot traffic.
- Release Forms – It’s important to lock down the area directly behind your talent, so that no one wanders into the background of your shot. If that isn’t possible, bear in mind that any customer that wanders into frame will need to give you his/her consent to be in the video. You will need to have release forms ready, in case this happens. If your business has a lot of foot traffic, it may not be feasible to stop every single customer and have each one sign a release form. In that case, you will need to place a public notice at the entrances to your business and around the camera crew which indicates that you are in the process of shooting a video. It will also need to clearly state to your customers that by walking throughout the store, their likeness may be captured on video. Release forms are especially vital when shooting in a hospital, medical practice, or clinic. HIPAA regulations and standards must be followed to protect patient privacy.*
What other advice do you have for shooting in public places? Leave your tips in the Comments section.
*Information in this section should not be interpreted as expert legal advice. These tips are simply good practices based on my personal experiences. If you have any questions pertaining to the legality of what you may or may not shoot during the course of a video production, please consult a legal expert.