So often on social media I see behind-the-scenes shots of video shoots where the client and/or agency is peeking over the shoulder of the cameraman to see the shot.
They’re clearly struggling to see it on the same little view finder or small monitor on the camera. You see the client straining to look over the cameraman’s shoulder, which is usually not fun for either of the parties involved.
One of the things that I would recommend is: if you’re hiring a production company, make sure you ask them to include some sort of additional monitor so that you can view it away from the hustle and bustle of the production crew. With a separate monitor set up, you and your team, agency or client can look at the footage from a better angle and more comfort than over the cameraman’s shoulder, and on a larger monitor where details are better appreciated.
With a separate production monitor, not only can you discuss any ideas or comments in private without risk of hurting anybody’s feelings (both on camera and in the production team), you can also stay out of the way of the production team. While straining to look over the cameraman’s shoulder is uncomfortable, it’s just as bad for the cameraman to have you hovering over them and, quite literally, breathing down their neck. So, to save the client and cameraman from getting too-close-for-comfort, a client monitor is definitely something I would advise requesting on your next shoot.
Client monitors can range anywhere from a single 17-inch screen to a larger 32-inch monitors. Sometimes there’s one monitor per camera on multi-camera shoots. And sometimes there’s a full blown “video village,” as we call it in the industry. A video village is a set-up where you not only have monitor(s), but chairs that are just conveniently arranged for the client and agency principals; basically, all those involved in evaluating the shot and making creative decisions.
Sometimes a video village will feature a dedicated “playback” technician, meaning that, if you need to review a shot/take again, there’ll be a dedicated person with a computer and a video system to play the clip back for you. This saves you from the discomfort of asking your camera people “hey, can you play that clip back for me one more time?” Which would mean they stop what they’re doing, possibly slowing down the production process. It may be a little more money, but more often than not, the savings and productivity far outweigh the cost.