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5 Things You Need To Know When Hiring a Camera Crew

Camera CrewSeasoned HD video producers know that the best way to ensure a successful shoot is to surround themselves with a reliable, experienced freelance camera crew. But hiring camera crews for productions locally or internationally can be a challenge, with shrinking production budgets and timeframes, plus more competition than ever for top end talent behind the camera.

So how do you find and secure the best camera crew for your projects, time and again? Here are a few basic tips for hiring a camera crew for your next project.

  1. Get a Reference or Three. Ask potential camera crew members not only for a demo of their work, but for references from their last three clients. You’ll want to be assured that the crew you choose are not only creatively and technically competent, but are professional in every aspect of their service – including communications and client interaction.
  2. Hire Locally. If you’re shooting overseas, recognize the inherent issues with time zones, cultures, and the speed of doing business. We often think about travel and working conditions only in the context of what we experience in our own town or country. But each location has its own set of challenges. Getting from here to there looks simple on a map, but can take far more time on mountain roads versus superhighways. Getting shooting permits is a little trickier in Morocco than in Michigan. A well-vetted local camera crew that knows the terrain, permitting regulations and local customs is a must.
  3. You Get What You Pay For. Budget worst case scenario for freelance camera crew rates. Freelance camera crews are working for different producers each day at rates that are sometimes determined by program complexity, length of assignment, and their own availability and interest. While you want to get the best value from the freelancers you choose, don’t tie your hands in the budget stage by lowballing rates.
  4. Happy Crew, Happy You. Treat your crews well on the job. Make sure that you plan for breaks and meals during your shoot – especially if you are shooting on a long day or in difficult circumstances. A happy, well-fed camera crew is a productive camera crew! And a crew that is happy with their last work with you will be happy to return for your next project…and perhaps at a favorable rate!
  5. Safety First, Second and Last. Always be safe, and make sure your camera crew is safe as well. Make certain that your crew have the appropriate safety equipment that may be required by the environment. If you’re shooting in a construction site, steel-toed boots can save a foot. And be sure to know ahead of time where the nearest medical facility can be found.

These basic tips can help get you on the right track with hiring a camera crew on your next project. As with other elements in the production cycle, it’s your choice as to how much time to devote to finding a crew, whether to turn over this job to a production manager, or to utilize a crew booking service like Media Services Camera Crews Worldwide. Often, getting the best camera crews can be a combination of all of the above. But it always starts with careful and comprehensive planning by producers on just what level of talent they need to make their show sparkle.

For more information about booking camera crews in locations worldwide, please visit mediaservices.com/crews.

Media Services Releases 3 New Apps for the Production Industry

Showbiz-Labor-Guide-AppMedia Services and Showbiz Software are proud to announce the release of three brand-new mobile apps for iPad and Android tablets. As first reported in the Hollywood Reporter, the production tools were released yesterday in conjunction with the annual Labor Guide Launch Party in Los Angeles, held at the W Hollywood.

The flagship app is the Showbiz Labor Guide, which mirrors the printed edition of the same name, but with easy touchscreen lookup of any wage rate from film and TV union agreements spanning the United States, such as IATSE, Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, DGA and WGA.

Showbiz-Labor-Guide-App-InteriorThe drill-down menu allows producers and accountants to select region, agreement and occupation code to get wage and hour minimums sorted by schedule (Daily, Weekly, On Call, etc).

The Showbiz Directory app is a standalone mobile database of entertainment industry vendors and crew members in production centers across the country. Media Services eForms is a series of fillable, signable forms for employees working on film, TV and commercial productions. Many of the forms are specific to Media Services’ payroll division: now clients and their crew can fill out start paperwork and send it directly from their tablet devices.

All three apps are currently available in Apple’s App Store; the Labor Guide and Directory can also be found in the Google Play store. The Labor Guide was released with the introductory price of $19.99, while the other two apps are free.

In conjunction with the rollout, Media Services and Showbiz Software raffled off three iPads to attendees of last night’s launch party, where several hundred were in attendance. The New York launch party is slated for December 6 at Chelsea Manor. Register for it here.

Labor Guide Launch Party Rocks Hollywood

We had a blast with all our friends at the Labor Guide Launch Party Los Angeles last night at The Station Hollywood in the W Hotel! Prizes were raffled, Labor Guide Lemonades and appetizers consumed, and scintillating conversation exchanged at our fourth annual running of the event. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with us and to our generous sponsors for helping us make it all happen. Already looking forward to next year!

“We’re lucky to have such wonderful sponsors and guests, who just seem to make the party better every year,” said Leimomi Coloretti, Media Services director of outreach and events. “It’s truly an honor to host this event, where we get a chance to connect with all these amazing people in the industry and learn about the great things they’re working on. Thanks to everyone who made it out!”

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