Packing For An Ad Lib Video Session

Defining the Project


If you are a videographer, or an aspiring videographer, and you have ever received notice of a last minute video opportunity or request, you may have had to scramble to get your equipment together.

If you are local, it is fairly easy, assuming you have already done this and you have the equipment ready and available. But, if you have to use the airlines to go somewhere remote, it becomes a little tricker, especially without the advantage of pre-planning for the ad lib event.

In this segment, we are going to talk about the part that *should* come before the videographer part. Why should you, as the videographer care? Well, because part of this, especially for smaller projects, may fall on your shoulders.

Script It

Chances are, if this is a last minute idea or concept, you do not have a script for the video. Many creative types will say they have it “all in their head” and that there is no problem, that you can show up and just “shoot.”

You don’t necessarily want to pass up on these creative types because some of the best ideas can come out of these last minute ad lib ideas.

Watch for a follow-up article on examples of success stories.

You may want to suggest that this talented creative type sketches out the plan for the video *before* you pack for your air trip. This would definitely help you out in packing! He or she could send it to you in an email. If you are also a creative type, which I am sure you are, being a videographer, you can take this sketch or script and enhance for the purpose of understanding what type of filming and recording will be necessary for the project, at this location. If there is enough time, you can correspond with the client and fine tune the script or sketch.

Keep in mind, we are not talking about full-fledged, Hollywood-ready, properly edited script here. Ideally, yes, that would be wonderful, but since the topic here is the last minute type video opportunities, time is of the essence. A well scripted document with no equipment will not help you get the project done, either. So, balance is the key.

Ad Lib It

Ok, so there is no script and you don’t want to start World War III to get one, right? (Good plan, BTW). You don’t have much of a choice but to “wing it.” However, that doesn’t mean you throw everything in a duffle bag, cross your fingers and *hope* it works. Refer back to some earlier, similar projects that you have done and mentally (then on paper) map out what you think you will need for this trip.

Again, balance is key. It may be tempting to pack everything you own, but that may not be cost effective. If money is no issue, then you may be able to swing to the side of over-packing. Doing it without any idea of the project is your trickiest, since you are dealing with lighting issues, potential backdrops, etc., Still feeling lost? Call a friend! Preferably one in the industry or one who has worked with this particular creative type, but if not? Take a break for a cup of coffee or a brew and then go back and pack.

Amazing what a break will do for you!

Stay tuned for the next segment when we talk about resources.

4 comments… add one
  • Crystal Watts May 14, 2012 @ 8:07

    This for sharing this article Deborah. With being in the media industry myself, I have definitely seen the wing-it moments. For the most part, no matter how prepared one attempts to be, no plan is perfect. How so? For example, you may envision things going a certain way; however, your client may see it another. The skill of true professionals is quickly learning of the “Art” of merging the two together in a way that works for you both! 🙂

    • Deborah E May 14, 2012 @ 20:18

      Crystal, Love the way you called it an “art.” So true! And, yes, it is a skill. The skill may come easier for some, but is a skill that everyone could learn, with practice and experience… and desire to learn 🙂 -Deborah

  • Sonia Dec 6, 2012 @ 2:23

    Thank you (excuse me, English is not my mother tongue), I find your article well structured, but I think you are biased in your approach to this issue. This is usually the case with this type of subject, the controversy is never far away. Regards, Roger

    • Deborah E Dec 7, 2012 @ 12:43

      Hadn’t realized that there would be controversy in an opinion on how to pack for a trip, but I am certainly open to more opinions. Please feel free to share, specifically as it relates to the topic of packing for a video gig. Thanks.

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