Three Tips to Filming in Working Spaces

Three Tips to Filming in Working Spaces


Last week Satellite Film and Video produced our fourth collaboration with the San José Museum of Art. Our mission was to tell the story of artist Enrique Chagoya and his collaborators in the Bay Area. The locations for our creative work included the print studio Magnolia Editions in Oakland and Enrique's own artist studio in the Stanford University campus.

As the director of this project, I had insights into delicate art of filming in working spaces—a craft that demands special care to achieve exceptional results. Through this experience, I've distilled three invaluable lessons that every content maker should embrace:

1️⃣Lesson One: Embrace the Location's Character

Every working space possesses its own unique character and ambiance. As a production company and director, it is our responsibility to work harmoniously with the location's distinctiveness, rather than imposing our will upon it. When filming at Magnolia Editions and the Stanford studio, we adopted a nimble approach, resisting the urge to overload the set with excessive equipment and gear. Instead, we harnessed the innate beauty of the spaces, letting them play a starring role in the unfolding narrative.

2️⃣Lesson Two: Leave a Small Footprint

Working spaces, by their very nature, are bustling with activity as employees carry out vital tasks. Respecting their workspace is crucial, which is why we made it a point to leave a small footprint during production. Opting for a streamlined camera setup and employing minimal lighting, we managed to maintain a low impact while still capturing the unique essence of each location.

3️⃣Lesson Three: Showcase the Space's Soul

Each working space has an “essence” that reflects its purpose and identity. It is the creative team's responsibility to unearth and showcase this quality. Whether it's the captivating allure of an outdoor environment, the cutting-edge innovation of a high-tech lab, or the artistic haven of a studio, our job is to bring these defining characteristics to the forefront. At Magnolia Editions, we encountered a remarkable state-of-the-art printing press that became an integral visual element of the story, so capturing that on film was a priority for my team.

In conclusion, the secret to successful filming in working spaces lies in embracing the inherent character of each location, minimizing our impact, and revealing the soul of the space. By doing so, we allow the setting to become a genuine collaborator.

Thank you Melanie Samay and the SJMA for the opportunity to create another film with you. 

Posted: 2023-08-07