Filming Events

How to shoot for a quick and easy edit

How to plan your event coverage for a quick and easy edit.

Enjoy this special guest post by my good friend, Rico Molden from Even Sparrow Films.

In this post I want to share with you my approach to filming church events when I need to have it edited as soon as possible. I’ll break it into two categories – things to do before the shoot and things to do during the shoot.

Before we dive into the important stuff, here’s a video I was able to deliver to my church the next day because I set myself up for a quick edit:

Before the event:

  • Connect with event leaders to find out what will be happening and ask for a timeline of the event – ideally this would be printed out or saved on your phone so you always have it handy on the day of the event. Once you know what’s happening and when, you’ll have an idea of what to look for and you can even start thinking of some of the shots you’d like to get.


  • If your video is going to have sound bites or interviews then ask someone who is involved in organizing the event to preselect the people they think would be good to record sound bites with. You could even set a time to meet so you aren’t having to chase down interviews in what could already be a hectic environment.


  • Another thing I like to do before going out to film is to preselect music for the edit. It’s really nice to sit down to edit already having a song selected. And if you know the song in advance, the style and pacing of the music might influence the way to film. A fast paced song lends itself to shorter clips whereas a slower paced song can support longer clips or slow motion.  Soundstripe is a great and affordable resource to find music for your church videos.


  • Travel light! I’m still working on this because I like being prepared for any situation, but the reality is that too much gear can slow you down. If you have already picked out your music and you have an event rundown, you should have a clear picture in your head of the types of shots you’ll need for the edit, so bring the minimum amount of gear you’ll need to make that video that’s already in your head. For this shoot I only carried my camera and a fanny pack. Yes I said it – a fanny pack.  I’d also advise to leave the drone at home. Drones tend to attract looky-loos who will want to talk to you all day, but you have work to do!

During the shoot:

The day of the event has come. Here are the steps I’d recommend doing during the shoot to help streamline your process.

Instead of immediately arriving on site and recording everything you see, take some time to really see what’s happening and visualize the event as it might be in the edit. Try to picture the things you see happening in stages “before, during, after” and then set out to capture each stage. Visually showing this progression will add story structure to your edit and is what will keep the audience engaged. You can capture the most beautiful shots, but if your audience is checking their phones because they’ve lost interest it doesn’t matter. Remind yourself throughout the shoot: “before, during, after”.


Ask people for what you need. For example, I knew that the reveal of taking the tape off the basketball backboard was going to be a key moment. I told Joe not to peel the tape off the backboard unless I was there filming it. I told him I’d be down the way getting video of people painting the map and he sent someone to get me when it was the right time to peel the tape. Go team!

Lastly, don’t overshoot. If you know you’re planning to make a 100 second video, you can think of it as 50 clips that are 2 seconds long (or even less if you’ll have interviews, too). The worst thing to do for a quick edit is have hours of footage to sort through. Give yourself less options to choose from in editing. 50 decent clips that were shot with intention are way better than 300 unplanned in-search-of-the-perfect-money-shot clips.

For this particular video I saw that there were 4 main subjects: Painting the map, gardening, picking up trash, and painting basketball hoops. I then recorded clips that were only 10-15 seconds long. For each subject I first captured a wide shot, then some mediums and close ups. After doing this for each subject I knew I’d have enough material for the edit to show the full scope of the clean-up event.

In the comments, let the community know if you have additional insights to shooting for same-day or next-day edits!

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