Nothing, in my opinion, is more fun/nerve-wracking than run and gun shooting. You are following your subject in a new environment, not knowing what to expect. Here are a few tips that we’ve learned when it comes to run and gun shooting.
1.) Travel light. All your camera gear should fit in a backpack. We even rigged it up so we have a tripod strapped to the bag. All we bring are our cameras, a sun gun/bounce, memory cards/tapes, shotgun mics, lav mics, a Leatherman, extra batteries for cameras and mics, camera battery chargers, lenses for our AF100, small tripods, a laptop and a hard drive.
2.) Keep an extra battery in your pocket at all times. There is nothing worse than losing battery power and having to stop and root through your bag for a new one.
3.) Keep an extra tape/memory card in your pocket at all times. For the same reason as number 2.
4.) If you are going outside to inside or vice versa make sure you check, not only your exposure, but also your white balance. We’ve set up our AF100 with two presets, one for 3.2K and one for 5.6K, so we can change our white balance with just a click of a button.
5.) Don’t be passive in your shooting. It is easy to find yourself sticking to a wide shot when you are following your subject around. You don’t necessarily know where they are going and what obstacles your environment might throw at you so it tends to be easier to stay in a wide shot. As Oscar the Grouch once told us, “BORING!!” Make sure to vary your shots. Pick your times carefully but you have to get not only close ups of your subject but also the environment you are moving through. Where you are going and what you are walking through will more than likely be important to your story as well.
6.) While varying your shots is important, even more important is to be decisive with your camera work. If you are shooting a wide – get that wide shot. If you are going in on a close up stay on that close up. Be decisive. The frame most likely won’t be perfect but stick with it. There is nothing worse than getting back in the edit and the camera is constantly trying to find the frame. Going in and out and back again. That footage is useless. Pick a frame and stick with it. And when you get a chance and the moment calls for it, pick a new frame and go with that one.
7.) Have more than one camera rolling!!! We always try to have at least 3. That way you can have someone stay in the wide for safety and someone else getting interesting close ups. If you can roll with a third person who is just responsible for getting environment shots that is ideal.
8.) Once you’ve burned through a memory card or tape - lock that thing down so it can’t be recorded over or over written. There’s a tab on both tape and card, click it for safety!!!
9.) If you are tapeless shooting, as soon as your day is over get those cards copied to a hard drive ASAP. You most likely will have a bunch of cards floating around and you don’t want to lose a card or get confused and not copy one.
10.) Have fun with it. Walk and talk, run and gun shooting is probably my favorite type of shooting. You never know what gems you are going to get and we are always surprised by how many gems we get. If you are properly prepared these shoot days will be way more fun than stressful.