Okay kids, again we talk about the importance of planning and how it will save you migraines and anal leakage over time if you think ahead like good little boys and girls.

Just don’t…you know, start PLANNING so hard you get migraines and anal leakage, I guess…

Anyway, this planning relates to the stuff you need to gather right before you’re going to head out to record. Shoots often have different combos of equipment needed so make sure you scope this list then analyze and map out the things you will need each time, AHEAD of time.

Checklist of shit to think about and gather BEFORE you go hit the set:

  • Camera. First of all. Because, duh.
  • IMPORTANT: Also check your battery life, of your main battery and ideally a backup battery if you are using a more specific video camera than your smartphone. Make sure whatever you are planning on using is charged and if you’re going to be shooting long that you have a plan for how to recharge if you max out! I have this cool little mobile charger for my iPhone 5 that’s GREAT for getting your juice back when you’re on the go!

Next, you may or may not have or need these things but as you are scaling up this is more of what you will see on your list of stuff to lug around with you:

  • Tripod, standing or tabletop like this one
  • Microphones
  • Lights
  • Rigs
  • Lenses
  • Accessories. Like…external audio recorder, field monitor, laptop, EGADS. You can pretty much keep going acquiring gear ad infinitum so at some point you’ll have to decide if your style is based on what you can carry or what you can fit in a U-Haul…

Then, all this kinda stuff:

  • People?
  • Props?
  • Porpoise?

On set/location as you are literally hoist the camera out to shoot:

Mind your LASS


  • Light: check your shadows, if your subject is squinting or your scorched
  • Audio: Any background noise? Can you hear your subject? Test and playback to know for sure
  • Stability: Are your arms solid or is your tripod set?

Story: …what the hell are you doing? Do you know what you’re doing? You better know what you’re doing on set otherwise the odds that you will shoot it well are pretty low…


  • Hit record. Are you actually recording?

Seriously. This may sound incredibly asinine but trust me, the second you actually let yourself believe that triple-checking this is dumb is the time you will lose what could have been the BEST FOOTAGE OF YOUR LIFE, EVER.

True story, I managed to lose the most incredible, realistic b-roll of my husband snorting powdered lemonade for a documentary we were making in college about meth. He was in such pain you couldn’t fake it looked so fantastic on camera, I think he even BLED a little…it was completely fantastic and I was still a complete idiot about what those red and green dots meant on my viewfinder…

You can never check or recheck or re-recheck enough times that you are ACTUALLY. RECORDING.

Here you go, I’ve made a pretty picture for you:

Video Production Location Checklist

Planning ahead is so metal.

What kind of crap have you screwed up or forgotten for a video shoot? Leave a comment or hit me up on Facebook and Twitter!

For those about to [REC.], we salute you!