If you’re considering a job in video production, start as an intern. Curious about what that could entail? Here’s a behind-the-scenes look from one.

On set with PGi for corporate video shoot


With the sun barely up and the temperature hovering around early morning toilet seat levels, members of the ECG team headed over to the Terminus Building in Buckhead, Georgia, home of Premiere Global Services (PGi), last week to shoot a short video for the company’s upcoming STAGENext 2015 kick-off event. PGi is an Atlanta-based corporation that specializes in producing collaboration technology. This being my first visit to their space, to me it looked like a regular office building from the outside, but soon turned out to be filled with a multitude of enthusiastic workers who actively participated in the production, both onscreen and off.

The day began with us unloading our gear and fervently thanking the powers that be that the entire video would be shot indoors. Directing the shoot was Jason Sirotin, with David Wappel as his Director of Photography. Dale Harper handled audio, Jenn Lee acted as 2nd camera, and I rounded off the small five-man team as the production assistant (which fortunately allowed me to wear several hats as the day progressed). We headed up to the PGi conference room that would act as our home base and staging area for the duration of the shoot. My first job was to snap production stills throughout day, a role that I was relatively new to, but soon got the hang of. After meeting up with Josh and Lauren, members of the PGi team who would assist us in facilitating our aggressive schedule for the day, we proceeded upstairs for the first round of takes.


The game plan was to produce multiple humorous videos (similar to the ones many readers might be familiar with from ESPN that end with the tag “This is SportsCenter”) to be screened throughout the STAGENext event in Orlando. The first few sequences involved a rather tall PGi employee constantly blocking his fellow coworkers’ attempts at “office basketball,”  (crumpled up paper and trash aimed at plastic toy hoops and trashcans around the workplace). These clips were fun to shoot, especially from the point of view of yours truly as I tried to capture the hilarious intensity on set that escalated with each take. It was also here that I picked up my second job for the day, which involved scurrying under office desks to retrieve the small toy basketball that was being thrown during each take. Needless to say, my fetching skills got pretty fine-tuned by the end.


As the day progressed, the wackiness of each scene just kept growing. After the briefest of lunch breaks, we had the pleasure of shooting the ever-enthusiastic “PGi Guy,” an office superhero of sorts, complete with cape and mask, who absolutely lives for meetings and collaborative work. Never before has an employee been so incredibly stoked at the prospect of hanging out around the water cooler or attending the daily conference room briefing. The striking orange and blue outfit only added to the veritable legend that was PGi Guy. I’d say the best part about filming this particular sequence was the level of improvisation involved; no two takes were the same, on account of PGi Guy’s varied comedic skill-set and penchant for workplace-related hype. Also, I got the chance to operate a boom pole for the first time, a job that requires a lot more finesse than you would think, as well as great deal of patience and arm strength. It was an interesting few hours and I’m grateful for the tips and feedback I received from the ECG team to make sure I was doing my job perfectly and capturing great audio for Dale behind the mixer.

We ended the day with a round of Twilight Zone-esque scenes involving an upper-level PGi exec wearing a mask and impersonating the company’s CEO in various situations around the office, to comedic results. There’s just something funny about a man holding a paper cutout of another man’s face in front of his own while trying to drink coffee. With just minutes to spare until closing time, Jay called cut on the martini shot (production-speak for “last shot”) and we packed up and headed home, satisfied with a job well done.


Overall, I was pretty amazed throughout the shoot that such a small team could accomplish what they did in such a small amount of time. Clearly you get what you pay for when you work with ECG, because there’s no denying that we squeezed every ounce of productivity out of a single day of production. I’d say that the highlights for me included Jay demonstrating his “intimidation” face after successfully swatting a flying paper ball away from the net, à la Jordan in his prime, David finding his true passion as he expertly piloted the dolly through the halls of PGi, Dale jumping off said dolly in a daring, mid-take stunt that would allow us to get the perfect camera angle, and Jenn performing similar balancing feats atop an office desk in an attempt to capture a candid moment between PGi Guy and a frazzled coworker. As for me, I learned what Hollywood-style lighting consists of, I figured out that some cameras don’t even come with a zoom button, and I quickly realized that operating a boom pole can be the equivalent of a CrossFit workout if you play your cards right. In all seriousness, though, the PGi shoot was a great opportunity to work with a willing and energetic group of clients, as well as with a top-level crew that operated at a rapid pace, never stopping until the job was done and adapting to any changes that popped up along the way. I feel lucky to have ended up working with a team that is able to have so much fun while also running a really tight, professional set and knocking out tons of great work under tough time constraints.

Keep your eyes peeled for more behind-the-scenes content as I continue to chronicle my experiences as an intern at ECG Productions here in Atlanta. I can’t believe how much I’m learning every week, and hopefully you’re learning a few things too from reading these blog posts. If you have questions, or something you’d like to see me cover, please drop me a line in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

One Response

  1. “the temperature hovering around early morning toilet seat levels”???

    An original opener if there ever was one. Well done Josepe, you have captured in words and pictures the speeding circus train that is a workaday professional video shoot. So happy for you to have fallen in with such an eclectic troupe.

    Would love to learn more of a typical project cycle from your point of view, pre & post production. Writers write Joe. Keep up the good work.

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