Shooting Video and Print Simultaneously

This week for our 5 questions series we talked to director/dp Orlando V Thompson, who has done a number of combination shoots, and gave us some behind-the-lens advice.

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What’s the biggest challenge of trying to shoot video and stills at the same time? Can one person shoot both stills AND video?

I was just asked to do this on a shoot which was mainly a video shoot. The problem with one operator doing both video and stills is that both require you to be in the moment. If you are dealing with real people, unscripted with little to no direction you can’t bring a moment back. If I shoot stills of a woman handing a child ice cream she just bought and everyone is smiling and happy, I lose that same moment for video. It might be more practical in controlled situations. [Then] You can tell everyone to freeze or reset.

What’s your preference – to make two sets and rotate between them or just adjust lighting etc on one set?

When I have the luxury of a controlled set I like to focus on the action in front of me. Now I say that, but I’ve also never had budget enough for a team big enough to split up and start work on a 2nd set. I don’t think I’d mind walking/driving from one set to the other, and being able to shoot without having to wait 45 mins for lights. 

If you are doing this for just one portion of a project how do you make sure the “looks” match? 

To keep the looks consistent, I pray I can trust the DP. There are so many factors that can throw off the look and feel of shots from one to the other. It’s a lot to think about. Different lenses, lights (mixture of lights) and even cameras can give you different results. A lot can be done in post to correct color between shots, but I try and make sure everything looks fairly consistent while we are shooting so that I won’t have to bother with color correcting later.

Does makeup/hair have to be changed for different lighting?

Hair and makeup isn’t my thing. If the lighting change is a scene change, yes you probably might want to think about touching up your talent. The mood might have changed and bed head might not be suitable for whatever that character is having to deal with next. 

If you had one suggestion for someone planning this type of shoot what would it be?

My advice for everyone is to stay calm, take your time and never take no for an answer. Its your vision and if you let someone or thing interfere in making it the way you intend it to be you’ll be highly disappointed with the footage and yourself later. Trust me.

(To which I would add, from the production side, to budget extra time… just in case.)

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Check out Orlando’s work for clients like Coca-Cola, The Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, ArtInfo, and WERA Pro Motorcycle Racer Caesar Gonzales at his  website,, and follow his instagram at @orlandovtiimoviemaker

Photo credit Orlando V Thompson II

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