Filming on a construction site is much different than showing up on a film set. For one, the “set” isn’t completely built yet. It is still being constructed. So what are a few practical tips when showing up for a film shoot and you are needing to dodge cranes, dump trucks, front end loaders, fork lifts, dust swirls, and of course, lots of noise.
Communicate With The Foreman
For the lay person, they don’t have a massive team who does the communication for you, so it is imperative that when you first arrive on the scene, talk to the foreman and check in. Be sure you have introduced yourself, explain why you are there, how long you are going to stay and what sections of the construction site you will be shooting in. It puts the site managers at ease knowing a little information about the filming that is going to take place.
Bring Your Own Hard Hat and Work Boots
Construction sites require a hard hat, so don’t expect them to hand you one when you show up. They don’t cost much and it shows that you put a little preparation into your shoot before you got there. Adjust the hat so it fits on your head snugly, have your gear in a shoulder bag strap so you can move quickly, and I also highly recommend having your camera out and on a tripod for ease of access. Also, sites like these can be dirty, wet, and bumpy. Wear shoes that can get muddy, scuffed up, and allow you to focus more on what is being filmed, rather than how the shoes are devaluating.
Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Videographers tend to focus on only what they are seeing through the lens of their camera. Typically, that is good enough. Not here. There large vehicles moving, cranes moving large concrete blocks, people moving gear, and of course the random chance of someone not seeing you are there. It is important you know what is happening around you. Look through your lens and then look around you to be sure safety is not compromised.
Move through the hallways and look up, left and right, and behind you to see what is happening when you enter a new building or room. Do not count on them seeing you, or caring about your gear. I have witnessed gear getting destroyed because the film maker didn’t think to move it a safer spot. Don’t assume anything. Be responsible for your gear and your safety. Finally, grab your shots and get out. Don’t hang out and small talk to the workers. They want to focus on their jobs just as you should focus on yours.
There you have it. A few tips for filming on a construction site.