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Minimalist Approach to Video Production During Pandemic
Film & video production needs cast & crew members working together in close proximity with one another. However, current conditions doesn't allow that. Is there a way we can still produce content?

Production of motion pictures typically means many people in close proximity. It is a group effort. A film production set can sometimes have dozens of people working next to one another.

The bigger the productions are, the bigger the teams are. Studio films employ thousands to accomplish a creative vision.

You may have noticed that when you watch Marvel live-action movies and stay till the end of the credits. 

Except Endgame.

However, with the current conditions, we can’t have that many people near one another. 

So what are we going to do?

Is there a creative way we can still produce content without having many people near one another?

I believe so.

I think a lot about bringing our industry back to its glory after this. Yet, I am also realistic about that not being accomplished overnight.

So here in this blog post, I would like us to do a thought practice together:

  • Can we bring the production positions back slowly?
  • Can we align our creative according to limited personnel we can bring?

Let me know what you think by commenting below

I think in a moment like this, we are better off not imagining ourselves in big movie sets with tons of people. We also don’t want to cut corners for projects that do need dozens of people. 

For starting this thought practice, I want to get our inspiration from homemade movies, viral videos, and youtube creators…


I invite us to think about how we can elevate those ‘production styles’ with the technology that is available and skillful professional crew members that can wear multiple hats.

In this thought practice, I would be going over a minimalist video production crew. Starting with 1 person.

1 Person 

 Videographer / Cinematographer
  •  films and records audio
  • owns the camera and sound gear

With the latest technological developments, we have the opportunity to work  ‘one-man-armies’ who can be full-stack director/producer/editor. 

2 People 

Videographer / Cinematographer + Director / Producer 

Director / Producer joins to

  • ensure creative execution or
  • support the logistical & financial parts
  • or both. 🙂

Now we can include more of a creatively demanding video and we can have a little more complicated schedule. 

If there is a cast involved, having at least 2 people will be beneficial.

In this style, we can shift our videographer to more of a cinematographer role.

This production style can be a simple team of DP and Director.

3 People 

Cinematographer + Director + Producer

A producer joins to relieve the Director from 

  •  logistical, financial and scheduling responsibilities. 

Now we have someone who can arrange the food, prepare the next location, and do all duties the entire production department will do.


4th Person 

Depending on the type of creative brief, here’s how it could be budgeted: 

Option 1: Cinematographer + Director + Producer + 2nd Cam

If the idea requires 2 cameras, having another cam op can be necessary. 

This is the ideal starter style for to reality or docu-series content

Option 2: Cinematographer + Director + Producer + Gaffer

If there is room to have the equipment and the DP does not have enough time to light, then a Gaffer would be the 4th person to hire.

This is the ideal style for interviews, for ideas that need special lighting 

Option 3: Cinematographer + Director + Producer + AP

(Production Coordinator / Director’s Assistant

If you have a complicated idea due to logistical, scheduling, or creative elements, then 4th person can be someone to help the Director and Producer 

This is the ideal style if we are filming multiple cast members or have multiple locations.

5th Person 

depending on the project, you can add 2 of the positions mentioned above 

(2nd Cam, Gaffer, PC / Director’s Assistant) 

  • Additionally, you can have a PA that can handle little G&E
  • You can have a 1st AC do both 1st AC and 2nd AC job given the size of the team.
  • You can have the  G&E personnel also own equipment.


Now with a minimal crew like that, I truly believe we can still adhere to the guidelines and create content. For example, we can still have 6 feet distance.

We can film cast in separate locations so no one is in contact with each other.

“When there is a will, there is a way.”

– John, from Costco.

(I think he was talking about TP)

My goal in this post was to encourage creating content and employing people. 

Today, it’s maybe 1 or 2 people… 

Tomorrow it will be 5, Later, it will be 10, 20…

Knowing we can create videos with a minimal crew, the question is: what ideas can we create that we can accomplish with such crew?

Edit July 8, 2020: This was written in April 28 before any union guidelines and COVID-19 certificate programs. Depending on the city you are filming and the COVID-19 Cases, I may also recommend the 5th person to be a Set Medic.

What do you think about this? 

Let me know in the comments below.

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