Nowadays, video is unavoidable, especially integrated as part of a marketing campaign. In this Demystifying The Video Production Process 5-part series, we go from script to screen to show you our process, and the major key parts to the video production process.
In this second part, we discuss Pre-Production. In this stage, you will plan all the different elements of your video, from finalizing a script, to determining locations for your shoot, resources needed in terms of equipment and crew, as well as talent or actors. You will use what you found in the Discovery Period to inform all your decisions – but also take into account any other restraints, whether they are time, budget or location related.
Based on your discovery session, how can you best communicate the goal of the video through both verbal and visual means? You can begin by brainstorming different ideas, and as you finalize one, think about your script in visual means first, and add in any voice over or dialogue/monologue after – since video is primarily a visual medium. Since you’re telling a story, write a storyline.
If you are having a difficult time trying to figure out your plot, read our blog article on the 7 basic plots of storytelling you can utilize such as ‘Overcoming The Monster,’ ‘Rebirth’ and ‘The Quest.’ You can also utilize your video production company to help create your script.
Basic points to keep in mind when writing your script are:
This is not an optional step, although many video veterans like to skip it. Storyboarding can truly save you hours of time spent on set “figuring out” what you actually meant with your script, because you already have the visuals, the framing, the action points of the scenes figured out beforehand.
You don’t have to be an artist – just roughly diagram how you envision the script taking life. Use stick figures to determine where actors would be, plot furniture or props in the frame, and determine what the audience will actually see. At the very least, write down several descriptive sentences of what the audience sees, if you can’t draw it.
Talent & Crew – two sides of the same coin?
Unless you’re a one-person team who is filming inanimate objects, you will need to work with a crew, and often also with on-camera talent.
How do you determine who you need for crew? It mostly depends on the needs of your project but there are always minimums, or a basic crew list with which you should try to start.
For talent, this can include professional actors or simply the people you’re filming, if it’s a documentary, interview or other video that does not want, or require, professional acting.
OK, so now you know what you want (or at least what minimums you need). What’s next?
BONUS TIP: Make sure that your crew is experienced and that your talent knows how to act. Working with friends, co-workers or someone else you “volunteered” is great… until it isn’t, and you’re left with a shoddy project, which may or may not be finished, and a souring friendship. You’re handling lots of things already – probably – being every other crew member on set and also in front of the camera should not be an option.
A bit self-explanatory. What are you going to capture footage and audio with? Much of the equipment also depends on the crew that’s going to be using it (and making sure they are either comfortable with using the equipment or has enough time to get acquainted with it).
Some videos will dictate locations pretty loudly (an interview and B-roll of a corporate space) while others may be more open ended, and result in a need for location scouting and possibly even a studio hire. Your Location Manager will become a key asset of your production crew if you require more than one location, and more than one type of location. They will help with things like scouting as well as permitting.
The more attention you pay to the details, the better your production looks.
– closely tied in with the –
Once you have all the other elements figured out – time to figure out your shot list and your shooting schedule.
Depending on the locations you need or the script, you may need to film things out of order, whether chronologically in the storyline or in the timeline of the storyline – and that is usually the case – especially with TV shows or films.
Look at your storyboard and determine how many separate scenes you have (a scene is typically determined by location). It is ideal to film all scenes in one location at the same time, to minimize the travel costs of your talent, crew and equipment.
Of those scenes, how many different shots or camera setups do you have storyboarded? Write out all the different individual camera setups and scene shots separately so you have an idea of how many shots you need to get through. This is your shot list. It is also another roadmap for your editor, so they can put your disjointed footage, audio and other elements together in the order of the storyline.
From there, guesstimate how long it will take you to:
and note the time totals for each shot (“frame”). For example, if it will take you 1 hr to load in and set up, and you are filming a 5 minute scene from 3 angles, your total time spent on that scene would, at a minimum, be a little less than 3 hours – assuming everything went smoothly and according to plan.
Which, as you may guess, rarely does. When you factor in people, weather, traffic, equipment snags, and forgotten lines, it’s always smart to add a few minutes on top of every activity. It’s always nicer to finish something early, and either give your crew and talent a break, or move on to the next scene and thus save time overall in the day.
Once you have time totals, you can finish your shooting schedule, keeping in mind to:
It’s better to allot extra filming days, not just hours, when you’ve got a project that takes more than 8 hours per day to film. You may incur additional rental costs (of equipment for example) but well worth it because it will save editing costs to get exactly what you need, and it will provide invaluable quality footage for your final video.
|Originally from Romania, Tatiana Ivan combines operational prowess with creative flair to produce smart and visually stunning brands. With degrees in neuroscience and psychology from Brandeis University plus experience working with start-ups in the biomedical and pharma industries, Tatiana knows first-hand that the most powerful way to persuade people to get behind an idea, concept or product – no matter how creative, technical or complex – is by telling a compelling story. As the COO and Creative Partner of Waverley Knobs, she combines powerful cinematography and compelling storylines for clients so they stand out and shine in the market.
In addition to turning visions into reality and running the daily show at Waverley Knobs, Tatiana is a twice-published poet. She’s also a certified InsideOut® Coach, able to unlock the knowledge, skill and talent already within people and teams so they can improve performance and results.