7 Tips For Producing Successful Live Event Films

Looking to film a live event? You’re not alone.

In the times of Covid, making your event virtual is realistically the only way you’re going to safely reach an audience of any significant size.

But what is the best way to bring this it all together. Let’s start with the basics: 

Live event films are those that are captured in the moment and are usually non-fiction projects.

Films delivered after the event, such as a highlights package differ only in so much as there will be no post-production department on the shoot.

In this blog we will cover the seven major points which go into producing successful live event films.

Let’s dive in….

1. Broadcast destinations

It is crucial to know where your event will be seen. For example, will the event be live-streamed, broadcast over the air, or will you only want a highlights package created?

Live events often need content to include as part of the output. If this is the case, ensure you give your production company ample time to produce this content too –  this includes things like graphical overlays.

If your event is going to more than one destination at the same time, this is known as a simulcast and third party software such as Restream will be required to make this happen.

2. Itinerary

Production would welcome the event itinerary in advance as this can be helpful for avoiding any literal or figurative trip hazards. 

If your live event also features speakers, or people of note, provide production with images of the key players sourced from social media.

3. Consent

Prior to the event, it is is important that you get consent from everyone you expect to feature in your video. 

Quick Tip: When emailing details of the event, include a disclaimer that makes clear that the event wil be videoed. You might also want to feature a sign at the entrance of your event as a reminder.

3. Site recce

Prior to the event, a thorough site recce should take place. The production company will need to make detailed notes on the performance area, electrical outlets, best camera placement, venue layout, lighting setup, sound systems and venue rules. 

The production team will also require a space to stow the camera gear and set up a base of operations. If the content being filmed is required to be broadcast live, then an adequate internet connection is a must. Wired access to the internet is usually the preferred option, meaning the production base is usually set up around the access point..

4. Cameras & production equipment

Depending on the size of  the event, production can commonly survive with a minimum of three cameras. The more cameras you use, the more interesting your final film will be though so do bear that in mind, especially if your streams are going to be long.

Live broadcast typically involves some realtime editing which means you’re going to need a switch. A switch is also how you will feed preprepared graphics into your feed.

live event film

(mixing desks just keep getting smaller)

5. How about sound?

If a sound engineer and a mixing desk are available this is ideal as Production would usually take a feed directly from the desk. It is important to know in advance how many audio sources will need to be captured to ensure enough microphones are available.

For the sake of speed in the edit, it is usually a good idea to take a basic audio feed into one of the cameras too as it will allow the edit software to sync up the footage and the audio automatically rather than make it a manual effort.

6. On the day 

The production team will need to arrive early to set up and gather establishing shots which are really important for giving context to your video. Depending on the complexity of the production, it’s not inconceivable for production to arrive the day before.

7. Delivery

At Element 26, we know that getting your videos back quickly can be the difference between capitalising on an event or having it lost in the sands of time. This is why we always recommend filming live events using at least three cameras, all synced up together. If you’re video is going out live either over the air or over the internet, we also recommend recording to hard drive simultaneously. This will give you options to create an alternative edit after the fact.

At Element 26 we routinely film live events. If you require any further assistance either preparing for or shooting your live event, please do get in contact.

[This article was originally posted in September 2015 but was overhauled and updated in January 2021] 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk