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Old August 24th, 2014, 02:17 PM   #1
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Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

We shoot a lot of sports for public and private schools in upper middle-class and wealthy communities. A couple new ADs contact us to shoot their football games and we need to "subcontract" someone, maybe a college student who needs some extra money shooting on Friday night and/or is studying sports management/visual arts, mass communication, etc.

Any got information and advice on the best practices, tips, and suggestions on how to assure you get back the game footage AND video camera you provide to them? Part of our service is we show up to games with Professional camera equipment, no small consumer handycam... and definitely no dSLR. Our main cameras are Sony NX5 and NX3.

We do have business/liability insurance and will ask them about Employee Theft & Dishonesty add-on. Thats great and all, but who wants to deal with the paperwork, downtime, and most importantly, the game footage that can't be reproduced.

Calling out all video businesses that hire temp help/part-time shooters and send them out to location with your camera gear.

Oh, we also have a copy of their drivers license. I'm wondering what else we can require to prevent dishonesty? 3 References?
Thanks.
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Old August 28th, 2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

You've kinda answered your own question. You've done about all you can (insured, drivers license, references etc) aside from taking a deposit, which wouldn't do much anyway & would drastically reduce the number of people who'd wanna take the job anyway. At some point, it just comes down to combing through to find the right person, and trust. That & knowing Vinny Knuckles just in case something goes awry would help:)
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Old August 28th, 2014, 11:51 AM   #3
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Yeah, that's a hard one.

Probably the best thing we did was use our friends. LOL

Training them on equipment and what not.

My buddy in Nashville is big into Marching Bands and uses friends, the same ones, and sends them to Mississippi and Alabama to cover them , because a lot of them are on the same days.

I'd recommend trying to get some trustworthy friends to help out.
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Old August 28th, 2014, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

i mean, the one thing you didn't mention is the use of real shooters, if that's truly out of your budget then it falls into the same bucket as you get what you pay for. you mention that your company uses professional cameras for your clients, but you're not putting trained shooters behind those cameras? i get it, if they're just panning back and forth it's not very intensive, but if you want assurances, an actual professional is always the way to go.

i only thought to bring that up because you mentioned the clients are middle/upper/wealthier, so it seems at least a little contradictory to me that you can't afford at least a young professional.
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Old August 29th, 2014, 12:21 AM   #5
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Pay an extra $10/hour, hire somebody who already has a camera.
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Old August 29th, 2014, 02:08 AM   #6
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

If this client base is critical for you why on earth would you trust students! I have employed over the years dozens of my own students and they are great as support, where you can keep an eye on them, but their age means they have very different values and attitudes to work ethic, and interpersonal skills. Some communicate amazingly poorly. This is normal, because it's age related to a great degree. If your clients are discerning and wealthy, sending them somebody who may not even notice social or professional gaffes is crazy. If I have to replace myself or my key people, then I use professionals I can trust, who also have a reputation at stake, not kids who may act inappropriately and not even notice.

Students are good for those jobs where you can supervise. I'd not even trust many of my students to turn up. They will say they can, but then on the day, may be ill, have car trouble, may forget to charge batteries, may make glaring errors etc etc. they are students because they are not yet competent, or even mature. Even if you take a cost hit, use people who know their jobs!
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Old August 29th, 2014, 05:41 AM   #7
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Well said Paul, completely agree. Use professionals.
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Old August 29th, 2014, 08:06 AM   #8
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Thanks for the replies. A lot of good advice and common sense. As for the students, I should emphasis that I'm only considering those who are studying or majored in mass communication, journalism or fields related to camera operation and editing. My key second shooter, who goes on location with my full kit, was a recent theater grad and he's been shooting with me for over a year now. I know in my search to find more reliable and eager to learn individuals like him I'll run into a few "duds" like Paul mentioned and I just wanted to get some insight from the pros on how to best put in place preventive and deterrent measures.

As far as hiring professionals, I've actually placed ads and posts on "for hire" groups and forums with little fanfare. Maybe youth sports video has a stigma to it, but the old days of "film the game and hand off a DVD" are in the past with today's competitively high level of college recruiting with requests for quality game film all the way down to JV and middle school games. That, plus others, is why I shifted recently from seasonal wedding videography to year-round sports videography. With hiring experienced shooters, I've found there is a huge empty gap between the lower-day rate "filmmaker" who only owns dSLR or mirrorless camera and the higher-day rate EX3/PMW300 owner/operator. The former lacks the gear and the latter with half day rates between $250-350 just doesn't fit. With that said, I like the business culture of giving new grads that "stepping stone" to their career. Just the other day I spoke with a student...errr graduate, from 2013 that said he has had trouble finding a job in the field he studied because the big employers want to see a reel and some experience.
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Old August 29th, 2014, 08:14 AM   #9
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
At some point, it just comes down to combing through to find the right person, and trust. That & knowing Vinny Knuckles just in case something goes awry would help:)
Thanks for your comment and pretty much sums it up. Like I said in my prior post, my second shooter who covers another location when 2 games are at the same time has been 100% reliable. We just ordered another Sony HXR-NX3 and I won't even hesitate or worry about sending him out with it. The "Vinny" is not a bad idea if implemented in a PC way. "New grad, I'd like to introduce you to our chief investor and executive producer, Vinny." :-)
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Old August 29th, 2014, 08:44 AM   #10
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Root View Post
Yeah, that's a hard one.

Probably the best thing we did was use our friends. LOL

Training them on equipment and what not.

My buddy in Nashville is big into Marching Bands and uses friends, the same ones, and sends them to Mississippi and Alabama to cover them , because a lot of them are on the same days.

I'd recommend trying to get some trustworthy friends to help out.
Trustworthy is the key there and while good friends are hard to come by these days... ones that don't harbor a slight jealousy you're doing something you love and being paid well for it while they grind the typical 9-5 are even more difficult. I admire your buddy in Nashville... I'm sure those "friends" he use reliably didn't come overnight. I'm showing a friend now how to shoot games properly... but it's like pulling teeth when they are not passionate about it. Thanks for your comment.
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Old August 29th, 2014, 08:48 AM   #11
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Levine View Post
i mean, the one thing you didn't mention is the use of real shooters, if that's truly out of your budget then it falls into the same bucket as you get what you pay for. you mention that your company uses professional cameras for your clients, but you're not putting trained shooters behind those cameras? i get it, if they're just panning back and forth it's not very intensive, but if you want assurances, an actual professional is always the way to go.

i only thought to bring that up because you mentioned the clients are middle/upper/wealthier, so it seems at least a little contradictory to me that you can't afford at least a young professional.
We don't just pan back and forth and that's one of our selling points to the clients. It's not hard to realize with the "dslr generation" that many young professionals dont own a conventional 3-chip video camera...let alone how to operate one on manual properly.
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Old August 29th, 2014, 08:55 AM   #12
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Pay an extra $10/hour, hire somebody who already has a camera.
We create a lot of game highlights and recently started producing ESPN-Style TOP 10 plays of the teams we shoot. Consistency in white balance, keeping the same green hue of the field, cut down on color matching in post are advantages of using the same video camera maker/model vs the different color sciences of Canon, Sony, and Panasonic. In the near future we'll be offering live streaming... so matching cameras will be even more important with vision mixers.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 06:11 AM   #13
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Maceo View Post
We shoot a lot of sports for public and private schools in upper middle-class and wealthy communities. A couple new ADs contact us to shoot their football games and we need to "subcontract" someone, maybe a college student who needs some extra money shooting on Friday night and/or is studying sports management/visual arts, mass communication, etc.

Any got information and advice on the best practices, tips, and suggestions on how to assure you get back the game footage AND video camera you provide to them? Part of our service is we show up to games with Professional camera equipment, no small consumer handycam... and definitely no dSLR. Our main cameras are Sony NX5 and NX3.

We do have business/liability insurance and will ask them about Employee Theft & Dishonesty add-on. Thats great and all, but who wants to deal with the paperwork, downtime, and most importantly, the game footage that can't be reproduced.

Calling out all video businesses that hire temp help/part-time shooters and send them out to location with your camera gear.

Oh, we also have a copy of their drivers license. I'm wondering what else we can require to prevent dishonesty? 3 References?
Thanks.
This kind of reminds me of when I started out in video and I was the young lad with no equipment .

I got to know a couple of local filmmakers - one had low band Umatic kit and the other was on SVHS . They were happy to accept my unpaid help tagging along when they went shooting , sometimes I was just lugging gear around , sometimes I looked after sound / holding the boom , eventually I got to operate cameras and , after a while , I was trusted to go out on my own and shoot assignments ( a lot of these were steam railway films and they needed people at different points along the line ) .

In time , I got some of my own kit - first camcorder was a Sony CCD-V8 , then I moved up to the V100 , then the V200 . My first 'proper' camera was a Sony DXC-M3A , which I used either with a Panasonic NV100 VHS portable or the VO6800 Umatic portable , depending on what the job was . I could either get the use of my friend's typeV suite to edit Umatic , or I had a Sony VHS deck which edited onto my Hi-8 deck via a LANC edit controller and with a Panasonic MX-10 vision mixer in between .

Finally , I was able to get one of the first G3 iMac's and my Sony DCR-VX-1000 and with iMovie I felt like a pro ! Actually , that camera served me well for many years , until it died a couple of years back , but its batteries and numerous accessories live on with my V1e .

Along the way , as my gear acquisition grew , I moved on from depending on others ( although I still collaborate from time to time ) to doing my own things ( filmed weddings for many years ) and ended up working full time in the Fire Service AV unit where we get nice toys to play with and I just do bits of video as a hobby these days , without getting too involved in doing 'homers' .

In short , I'd suggest finding anyone willing to help out alongside you to begin with , take them along with you as an assistant of some kind , get to know them , let them do bits of work under your supervision to begin with , and eventually build trust with them before letting them go out alone - it isn't just the risk of them breaking or absconding with your equipment , there's also the fact that your reputation rides on the back of the work they produce .
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Old February 19th, 2015, 02:47 AM   #14
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Re: Sending hired help to shoot on location with your camera gear?

It's been a while since this topic was top of the list, but reading back, if you need professionals, there's no problem finding them as long as you can pay the going rate. The Guild of Television Cameramen always have members asking for help of this kind, and of course, what is also handy is getting a working relationship with a competitor. I have two good pro video businesses within twenty miles of me, and we often talk to each other and on one soon, I work for one of them, next job they work for me. They have their own kit, are comfy with it and just hand over the files.

Media students are easily available, but have no proper experience. For example, in a theatre, where I work for most of of my time, I gave one the job of rear wide camera. Brief was stay very static, but for variety you can zoom in to slightly less the the pros, but no closer. When you zoom, make it quick, no slow zooms. What did I get? Constant slow zooms, close ups of people with heads missing, persistent bad focus, totally useless! He said what I asked him to do was boring, so he tried to help with some interesting shots. He also thought my gear was old fashioned, had I not heard of auto focus - my zoom and focus were on sticks, right at the back, and his teacher said you always stand at the side. He ignored the vf on top and used the small side one! Didn't focus because he couldn't reach it. Apparently I should have bought DSLR cameras because they are professional. Media courses??? Pah!
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