Whether met with acceptance or resistance, you will find the tasks of stills and motion mixing on the same sets, in growing volume. 

(And hopefully this isn’t shocking if you’ve been tuning in regularly for some time).

In many cases, its handled by two separate crews. A traditional photography crew (photographer, tech, assistant or two) and a separate motion crew  (camera operator, assistant camera or B-cam, and a gaffer and/or grip - sometimes two in one). The art director may serve as visionary over both crews or one per each. Though more and more stills photographers are adopting the motion side also, two teams must exist in the same set and environment.

It happens in part because of convenience. If there’s talent or props involved, why not have both teams get the shooting done on the same set on the same day? It’s cheaper too. Renting facilities or permits for locations on one day instead of two?

But if there isn’t some pre-planning there are a few things that can cause a bit of commotion.

The main difference is that the equipment, crew, and operating space of a motion setup may require more space and resources than its static counterpart. Motion tends to run hotter lights (continuous instead of strobes) and its more intensive to produce enough content for a 30 second take than a single still frame. In that 30 second take, you may have to move the camera 40 feet on a dolly, while the set remains completely silent. Its not uncommon for the cacophony of hair dryers, fans, music, and anything else you can imagine (barking animals, crying children) going on while a stills shoot is happening. For motion though, if you can hear it, odds are so can the sound recordist.

That being said, stills has its own needs. Though stills lighting is often seen as overlit by its moving counterpart, its very finicky. The higher resolution of the still image means everything in terms of the light has to be spot on, or shot to be readily retouched in post. Often, shooting tethered (camera is connected to a computer for file transfer and review immediately) means moving 30-60MB files over a single cable.

I’m not aiming to prioritize either format, both crews and end products are just as important. Even though the motion may just be a short “Behind the Scenes” peek and the stills are a September cover, both deserve respect equally.

In the post following, I’m going to be writing candidly about taking on motion for a primarily stills project and the single-experience perspectives, but hope this prefaces where both worlds collide.