Top 5 things to consider when hiring a video crew

How much will it cost to book video crews in Atlanta and Baltimore?

That question just appeared in my InBox and it’s very similar to many other requests that I receive. Frankly, that’s not enough information for me to pull together a reasonable estimate. I need more information to kick off a conversation about the shoot so that I can pull together the proper team for the project. Here is a list of initial questions that I recommend you think about when you’re starting to scope out a video shoot:

1) How long do you want to schedule the crew?

  • Crews are usually booked for a half-day or full-day

2) What kind of a shoot is this?

  • Is it a talking head?
  • Is it a camera at the back of a room?
  • Is it a testimonial?
  • Is it an interview?

3) How many cameras do you need?

  • A talking head is almost always a single camera shoot
  • A testimonial is probably a single camera shoot with questions asked off-camera (the interviewer does not appear in the video)
  • Back of room could be one or two cameras. Possibly three if this is a higher-production video
  • An interview usually shows both the “host” and the “guest” on-camera. At a trade-show this could be a single camera with a wide-angle shot where you see both interviewer and guest in the same shot. This could also be a two-camera video where each person has their own camera angle. And once again, if higher-production, a third wide-angle may be used to place both people in the shot at the same time.

4) Do you want to shoot green screen

  • This could be an option for the testimonial or talking head shoot. It’s used when you’ll add the background to the video later. This also increases the cost of the video shoot since additional gear is required.

5) Do you want to shoot B-roll?

  • B-roll is additional footage that helps you tell the back-story to your project. If you are shooting a customer testimonial, b-roll showing the customer at work or using your product would increase the impact of your video. If you are shooting video at a trade show then location video putting your host in context would be desirable. B-roll adds additional time to a shoot.

While these five questions are a good start to scoping out your crew and project it is also smart to consider any additional needs your shoot may require. This is where a good producer comes in hand.

My bonus question for today is: “Do you need to capture any computer output?” This a question a producer might ask you if you are filming a product demo or placing a camera at the back of a room. If it is critical to see clearly what is on screen during your video you’ll want to find the best way to capture that too, as an additional camera angle.

In the future we will dive deeper into the more technical requirements you might want for your video shoot and we’ll also talk more about the role of producers.

Stay tuned!


  • RustyW Says

    That’s a very handy list of questions, Roger. I look forward to reading your future posts on this topic.

    • rjennings Says

      Thank you, Rusty. My goal is to have some guidance for beginners the first week of every month. If there are any topics that interest you, please let me know!

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