Video production can take many forms. It can be as simple as a one-man-band cameraman shooting a documentary, news or back-of-the-room-seminar. In business video a typical scenario is a 3-person crew: Producer/Director, Camera/Lighting, and Audio. Sometimes the lighting crew is bigger and brings a truck full of gear. Sometimes a Teleprompter is used to help on-camera talent deliver their lines; in that case a Teleprompter operator runs the equipment. There may be actors. Makeup artists are common to make everyone look their best on camera. Production assistants take care of all the odds-n-ends. A caterer may appear mid-day to feed everyone. So a production crew can easily swell to a dozen people. It all depends on your particular project, the available budget, and to a certain extent the video production company’s approach.
Video production people in the non-union business video world are used to being flexible. Since every project is different, the crew will start the day at any hour they’re asked to show up. Historically their standard workday is up to ten hours long. They need a lunch break in the middle of their shift, but anything else is a much appreciated bonus, earning the client extra hard work from the crew and perhaps even a bit of flexibility in billing for a few minutes of overtime.
The larger the crew the more disruptive it is to the location. Furniture gets moved, people need to use a bathroom. There’s a constant stream of people in and out of the door. At the same time a larger crew can clean up after itself more efficiently and more completely. A large crew gets the job done faster. A large crew can be safe because everyone is dedicated and focused on their one job. Setting the right crew configuration is a crucial responsibility of the video production company.
The production phase of video production is exciting, nerve-wracking, budget-eating, but sometimes it’s boring and exhausting for those not in the thick of it. It’s the tangible part of the process that creates the raw material with which the magic is made in post production.