Filmmaking Blog Posts by Indie Film Factory

Capturing Video at CES: Lessons from 20 Years of Experience

Video Capture at CES and Tips we've Learned

Another year in the can capturing video for impressive clients! Indie Film Factory has once again covered the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which wrapped this past Friday, marking the 20th year our team has captured video media for this monster of a tradeshow. For those who don’t know, CES is one of the largest technology exhibitions globally, attracting innovators, enthusiasts, and media from all corners of the world. The show is spread across multiple Las Vegas resort properties and hosts nearly 200,000 attendees annually. CES is our local video production industry’s biggest local media event of the year. However, despite the excitement, CES is not for the faint of heart, especially for would-be video producers looking to cover the entire show. CES can humble you quickly if you’re not prepared. 

We’ve learned invaluable lessons as a company capturing video at CES for nearly two decades. In this blog post, we’ll cover the importance of understanding that “less is more” regarding crew sizes and equipment, the significance of meticulous planning and preparation for logistics, and why a smaller video production footprint has become crucial for our success. These thoughts can be applied to any large-scale video production event but are especially important for logistics. Everything from parking and crew meals is a liability, and if you’re not on top of your logistics, your week at these events will be painful. So let’s go!

Understanding “Less is More” in Crew Sizes and Equipment

  1. Efficiency is Key: Over the years capturing video at these types of events, we’ve realized that having a lean, efficient crew can often yield better results than having an oversized team. First off, there are a bazillion people who bumble around breaking down hallways. If you have a large film crew, there are more spinning plates for you to drop. When capturing video at CES, it’s crucial to prioritize skilled professionals who can multitask and adapt to the fast-paced environment.
  2. The Power of Versatile Equipment: Instead of lugging around excessive equipment, we’ve found that versatility is key. Investing in adaptable, high-quality gear ensures that you can capture the shots you need without the burden of excessive baggage. Carts and heavy gear will slow you down, so we’ve used smaller full-frame cameras like Sony’s Fx3 and Panasonic’s S5 on Ronin 3s. This allows us to fly through the coverage and bypass the bottlenecks. 
  3. Flexibility in Action: CES is an event full of surprises, and flexibility is paramount. A smaller crew and equipment setup allows us to respond quickly to unexpected opportunities, ensuring we don’t miss out on important moments. You may be at one end of an exhibit hall and discover your interview client is unavailable to do an interview. You may have to rush back to capture something else. Whatever the reason, be lean and can move quick. 

The Importance of Planning and Preparation

  1. Logistics Matter: CES is not just a show; it’s a logistical noodle bowl. Effective planning and preparation are essential to navigate the massive event successfully. From securing passes to coordinating schedules and transportation, meticulous attention to the small things is crucial when capturing video.
  2. Scoping Out Locations: CES is spread across multiple venues in Las Vegas. Knowing where you need to be and when is half the battle. Before the event, we scouted locations and planned our shooting schedule to maximize our time on the ground. Have an assistant whose sole job is to lead the crew. Make sure they have the latest digital app to help them navigate. The assistant can also contact clients to ensure your interviews are lined up and things are fluid once you arrive at a booth. 
  3. Backup Plans are a Must: Unexpected challenges can arise despite all the preparation. Having backup plans ensures that we can adapt to any situation, whether a sudden change in location or equipment failure.

Embracing a Smaller Video Capturing Production Footprint

  1. Keeping It Compact: In recent years, we’ve realized that a smaller video production footprint is not just a preference but a necessity. With the crowded show floors and stricter regulations on security, a compact setup is easier to manage and provides more freedom to move around.
  2. Enhancing Mobility: A smaller footprint allows us to be more agile. We can capture video in tight spaces, navigate through crowds, and access areas larger setups can’t reach.
  3. Compliance and Regulations: CES imposes regulations on video production, including equipment size and setup restrictions. Adhering to these rules is essential to avoid any disruptions or penalties during the event.

Capturing video at CES has been a rewarding journey, but it has also taught us that the bigger your cameras are, the worse your body will feel afterward. Keep things small and have a plan. Also, plan for the unexpected. Whether you filming at multiple booths for a TV show or covering a client’s booth, CES has a way of humbling any video professional quickly. So, as we look ahead to events like CES and beyond, leave your most giant toys at home and only pack the essentials. Your feet and back will thank you later. 

Indie Film Factory is a full-service video production company specializing in motion picture and B2B video creation. With hundreds of branded films, commercials, and corporate events, our company strives to save clients money while delivering the best possible product. 

For more information, contact us to see if we could be the right fit for your next production. 

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