Stuart Coe, has worked in partnership with MCS for over a quarter of a century. With the demand for rich content on the rise, Stuart understands MCS’ desire to continue to evolve its offering of quality corporate films and live camera support. In this month’s blog, Stuart takes a light-hearted look at the wonderful variety that comes with being a cameraman for hire, and why no two days are the same...
I love my work. As a cameraman, I can be doing anything from filming in a high street retail outlet one week, to tailing a cycle race on a round tour of Britain the next, and to covering exclusive fishing holidays in the Canadian Rockies the week after that.
You take the work as it comes in, and enjoy the variety that it brings. Whether capturing vox pops behind the scenes at a conference, interviewing key spokespeople at an event, or recording highlights for a round-up video. The majority of work I do is events-based, however I’ve also done training videos for company intranets, awareness films for colleges and universities, and promotional footage for supplier conferences. The list is endless!
Cameramen like to be involved in the end to end process from filming to editing, then proofing and delivery. Regardless of the platform – whether a 30 second Facebook ad, a three minute YouTube video or a lengthier piece – you’d always follow this process.
It’s a fast-paced industry where you find yourself constantly working to deadlines. Clients will want their content edited and produced fairly swiftly following an event, and any last-minute amends that suddenly arise will be needed by the client urgently. A typical cameraman though, like me, thrives on this sense of urgency and would find that slower pace you get in other industries a bit tedious.
Of course, you have to expect long days in the events industry. My alarm might go off at 3am for one job, then I won’t get to bed until 4am on another. And yes, sometimes I’ve had no sleep at all! Broadly though, a good deal of work, such as the editing, can be accommodated within office hours – and there’s always the good old working regs to keep you to reasonable hours.
I guess you could be an introvert, hide behind the lens and still be a great cameraman – however one of my favourite aspects of my job is developing a client relationship to an extent that I understand their vision for the end product, and they trust me to apply my expertise and get it right. This requires you to possess good people skills.
It also just makes good sense. Having had a detailed briefing session, encouraging the client to be succinct in what they are trying to achieve, my time in the edit suite will be used more effectively as I will understand their ethos and have a firm grasp on how to get the initial proof pretty much spot on.
I suppose one frustration is that people nowadays expect video to be delivered even more quickly as they think they understand the process better. Let’s face it – most of us can create our own films on our iPhones, achieving sufficient picture quality. But it is the delivery of the entire team - sound, lighting and editing - that are essential in producing a polished end product; and it’s these elements a cameraman will just know to consider.