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Grabbing footage and sound in scrums

Sometimes it's necessary to shoot in gaggles and scrums. I find that as a one-man-band, you are at an advantage in this kind of situation, even though the circumstances can be challenging.

Here is an example of a gaggle I shot recently with Florida Governor Charlie Crist:

I have a couple of tips for getting successful footage in these situations.

1) If you use a small camera, it can be tricky to get a steady shot in a scrum. Keep your camera steady by pushing it against your shoulder, or steadying it against your cheek.

2) You'll often end up in a less than ideal position in the scrum. You often have to live with the angle you end up with. In this instance, I was shooting Crist with a large window in the background letting in a lot of light. In these situations, it's better to underexpose your shot to tame the light, rather than overexpose to bring out the face. Color correction is much easier in the former case than the latter. In the example above, I underexposed the shot, then reduced the whites, raised the mids, and added a little saturation in post-production - a very quick fix.

3) You will often not be able to hold the camera steady and thrust a mic under your subject's nose at the same time. Use a good, sensitive, directional shotgun microphone to pick up the sound of the speaker without too much background noise. While there is background sound in the example above, it is very easy to hear what Crist is saying.


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