So if like me, you’ve spent the last three months staying at home and avoiding non essential journeys you’ll no doubt be excited about the prospect of getting back out in the field to work again.
The last physical filming I did was in December and since then I’ve only worked on editing and After Effects projects so the cameras and production equipment have barely been used.
After lockdown #1 last year, one the first projects Bella Films worked was a commercial for a well known betting company and I don’t mind admitting that all did not go smoothly that day.
Simply put, I was not match fit. The three months of lockdown #1 had knocked me out of my stride completely. The muscle memory of using kit that you use day in day out had faded, equipment had become unfamiliar and as a result I made mistakes.
Fortunately I managed to enact a back up plan and rescue the situation, the project was finished successfully and went out in September. I even worked with the client again in August on another project which thankfully went without a hitch.
Any time something goes wrong, it’s important to reflect and learn from the mistakes and one of my key learnings from that day was to ensure you’re ‘match fit’ after any period away from your role.
In my case it’s getting cameras and lenses in my hands again, ensuring the core functions, assignable buttons and grip are familiar.
To this end I took one of our Sony FS5MK2s with a new (only used once) lens for field testing yesterday.
The simple tasks of changing lenses, putting the tripods up and down and making those fine adjustments to picture profiles, white balance and exposure were a valuable reminder of what the camera can do and how to use it.
It’s also important to charge and discharge battery cells, after all they been sitting on shelves for three months!
I noticed quite a few things about my performance with the camera, how I’d forgotten certain menu short cuts and assignable buttons, how I’d forgotten to turn on the 48V phantom on the mic input (no audio on a shotgun mic without it!), all things which you need to remember if you’re going to be match fit for that first job out of lockdown!
Suffice to say it’s better to refresh your memory of how to use your key equipment when a client isn’t paying for that time!
So if I learned anything, it’s to prepare well before getting back in the field again, whatever it is you do. Don’t assume things will immediately feel the same as they did three months ago, give yourself time and don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a few little mistakes, you’re only human after all!