Tips for shooting film and stills for social content

Shooting an integrated campaign for social media takes careful planning when capturing video and stills together. Regardless of the scale of your social content production there are some key elements to plan before you shoot.

Plan your social content for a win or you’re planning to fail

Planning ahead can be the difference between you having a smooth shoot resulting in lots of great digital content or a weak campaign with content missing.

  • Previsualise for all the screen formats you want. A TV screen is different to social content on a smartphone screen. So storyboard all your content in advance of the shoot so you get the most out of every format. Read our blog on creating effective thumb-stopping Instagram and Facebook content for advice on the different screen ratios.
  • Don’t make your stills photography an afterthought. If you are only using stills online and not in print then you may be able to grab some static images from your video (if shooting larger than HD). However, if you are planning on using stills in carousels or print you will need a photographer. No matter how good 8K film cameras are you cannot grab stills from video and use them in a print advert. Ensure your film production team understand how important the stills are before the shoot. Otherwise they will see them as a hassle or dismiss them as ‘just behind the scenes shots’ and the quality of your still images will suffer.
  • Plan for long days when shooting film and photography together. Shoot days are invariably longer when shooting stills and video together. So make sure everyone goes into the shoot knowing it’s going to be a long day and plans for it. And it’s not just your crew that need to know. Don’t turn up on set without telling the talent or the location you’re planning a 12 hour shoot.

Our guide for getting great video and stills from your shoot

  • Expect to use more than one film camera rig. There are creative ways to make landscape content work in a portrait shape on social media. However it’s very unlikely one camera can capture 9:16 and 16:9 content. We recommend considering having two video rigs – one in landscape and one in portrait orientation. The majority of video directors are tuned into the landscape TV format, so be sure to have someone who treats both formats with equal importance. 
  • Use one lighting setup for stills and video. Rigging lights twice takes time and money. Make sure your video lighting team know in advance they are working for both the film director and the photographer.
  • Use a photographer who can work quickly. Film shoots often have multiple moving parts so can take time and run over schedule. We always use a photographer who is used to shooting alongside a film crew. Ensure you have a pre-production meeting with the photographer and director, so they can iron out any potential timing issues well before the shoot.
  • Don’t leave the set until you know the shots work. For film this means having an editor on the set doing a rough edit as you go. For stills this means having your camera ‘tethered’ so the shots appear on a CaptureOne screen with the print advert scamps overlaid.
image of two film cameras with operators


Contact us to help plan and create your next online campaign

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Editorial Team
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