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How to Successfully Film a Live Event

Chicago Event Videography

chicago event videography

Capturing live events can be a big challenge. After all, you are expected to cover the entire event and present a polished final product. There are no retakes in a live event. In order to record a successful live event, whether you’re filming a sporting event, concert, wedding, trade show, ballet, or garden show, these following Chicago event videography tips will help.

Communicate with your client

Your client had some goals to meet when they asked you to film a live event. Any miscommunication could mean that you miss in important part of the event that you were expected to capture on video. Therefore, clear communication is the key to understanding the client’s expectations. Try to learn if they want you to focus on a particular aspect of the event or film the entire event. Is their focus on a specific portion? If so, how many people need to be recorded? When? Where? Make sure the camera operators are aware of the details of every aspect they are covering as well as the client’s expectations, so that the final product is exactly what the client has visualized.

Lighting and audio

Check the audio requirements before the event begins to ensure that the sound from every person and thing is captured. Is the audio quality good? Are the microphones working and tested? Do you need extra mics? A sound mixer? A dedicated sound person? Will the proprietors allow you to tap into their audio board or get an audio feed from them?

Are the cameras positioned at right locations? Poor lighting can play havoc with the quality of the video. If the lighting at the site is not enough, ask for permission to bring your own lighting kit or rent lighting if necessary. If the client isn’t willing to do this, make sure that they know in advance that the lighting is inadequate. A site survey before the event will reveal any lighting inadequacies.

How does the image look through the camera lens? One of the biggest mistakes some amateurs make is using their eyes instead of camera lens to judge a camera and the lighting effects. Make sure the camera is picking up the right color. Don’t forget to white balance. White balancing entails focusing on a sheet of white paper a few feet in front of the lens and pressing the right button on the camera so that it adjusts properly to the light that you’ll have during the shoot. This saves extra work in post production and ensures that each camera is celebrated to the correct color temperature.

Having B-roll could help you cover up mistake made during filming. So make sure that you get some extra shots just in case you need them in post production.


To get the best shots, use more than one camera for filming a live event with the same white balance and settings. This will ensure that the footage looks the same when you edit it. Ensure that the cameras are positioned at right angles, with each camera operator knowing what they are responsible for filming at the event. However, before going on the field, don’t forget to take all your technical gear, including additional cards, batteries, cables, connectors, and other equipment, so that you’ll have everything necessary to do the job correctly. If possible, take another camera, as it would be your worst nightmare if your only camera stops working for some reason. In my 27 years of experience in this field this has only happened once. So chances are that your camera will work just fine. However, other things could happen, such as an accident where the camera is damaged. Again, chances are this won’t be an issue, but if you do have another camera you can spare, bring it with.

Remember, the closer you are to the subject, the more audio-visual information can be captured. After all, a close shot has more emotional strength, while a wide shot gives the audience a more contextual sense of the live event.

At Video One Productions, we are proud to offer high-quality Chicago video production services to record your successful event. If you need assistance with your Chicago event videography, contact us at (773) 252-3352 or


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