SCOUTING AS A DP
If you are lucky, the client schedules a scout day before a big shoot. These are great of course, just make sure to take advantage of the opportunity.
First, try to have the schedule the scout at about the time you will be shooting. If it is going to be an afternoon shoot, scout in the afternoon so you can see what your lighting challenges might be with sunlight or lack of sunlight. Second, make sure someone from the facility is present to answer questions regarding power, parking, load-in and staging. Third, do your best to pin down the producer or director on where they want to shoot and the look they desire. Then, when you put together your lighting order, add a little bit here and a little bit there. You will end up using all of it. Fourth, work with your team, don’t assume you have all the answers. The gaffer and key grip oftentimes have great input, and in the end, if the shoot goes well it always reflects back on the DP.
Remember, failure to prepare is preparing to fail. You have to walk away from that scout with everything lined up.
By Robin Hirsch