Uncontrolled Action Video Shoot Prep

Checklist 2 min
Use this checklist to make sure you are equipped for whatever an uncontrolled action shoot brings. Print this out and keep a copy in your ready-kit.

The very nature of an uncontrolled action mission suggests most elements of pre-production are nearly impossible, but there are three requirements to keep in mind at all times: readiness, mobility and flexibility.

Readiness means both the videographer and the equipment have to be ready to go at all times. This involves being both physically and mentally prepared to go just about anywhere in the world at a moment's notice.

Mobility applies to equipment and indicates it is all lightweight and portable. The equipment used in an uncontrolled action mission is self-contained and designed to be used on location.

Flexibility applies to the videographer. Since there is usually no set schedule, they should expect the unexpected and go with the flow.

Use this checklist to prepare and pack the necessary items.

Steps to Take

  • Speak to the point-of-contact (POC)
  • Coordinate with the POC upon arrival on location
  • Identify comms/transmission plan
    • Primary
    • Alternate
    • Contingency
    • Emergency
  • Determine the location for equipment drop-off and staging
  • Coordinate with project NCOIC for meals and sleeping arrangements
  • Talk to the subject matter experts and find out what they expect
  • Discover if permits, passes or special clearances are needed and obtain if necessary
  • Research details of the mission requirements
  • Determine who will be watching the video
  • Identify the format required for the end product
    • CD
    • DVD
    • Raw footage
    • DoD SAFE File Transfer Protocol
  • Scout out the location for angles and lighting
  • Take notes
  • Get information on the event
  • Think about the shots needed to tell the story
  • Shoot interviews
  • Inspect equipment
  • Conduct a functions check of the camera, audio equipment, lights, batteries and any other necessary items
  • Contact the supply section of the deploying unit to ensure expendables can be ordered through the host nation
  • Conduct a location survey

Items in a Ready-Kit

Have a ready-kit standing by with various accessories that may be useful in the field. The ready-kit should contain:


  • Camera Body
    • Ensure all functions are working
  • Lenses, cases and cleaning equipment
  • Microphones
    • Shotgun
    • Lavalier
  • Charged batteries, chargers and spare batteries
  • Memory cards and card reader
  • Tripod
  • Gaffer's Tape


  • Light Kit
  • Reflectors
  • Slider
  • Gimbal

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