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pre-production and planning

Video has become a commodity of sorts. It seems like everybody’s in on the act … some of it is good, and some not so good.  What is it that makes a video succeed? It usually boils down to one thing: Planning.

If you are considering hiring professionals to craft a video, the first thing should ask yourself is: what is the purpose? Which is another way of asking, what is the message? Once you have defined your message, you can decide the best way to deliver it. So there: you have started your planning. Your chances of producing a successful project have taken a giant leap forward!

Too many people make the mistake of grabbing a camera, shooting footage, and then try piecing it all together and hoping for the best. It’s not a good approach. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, would you? Crafting a video is the same thing. And your unique blueprint is your script.

We can’t overstate the importance of script preparation. Scriptwriting is not easy, and sometimes not fun, but it’s the single most important element for the work we do. And it’s important to do it early in the production process. Give it the attention it deserves.

A script will take the guesswork out what footage needs to be captured by your video crew. This helps reduce wasted time, and allows your crew to spend more time getting the shots you really need.

With video, as with many things in life, the devil is in the details. Spending time at the beginning to plan will save enormous headaches later on. We are talking about things like locations, budgets, graphics, and the rest of the nuts and bolts. There is too much to get into in this short video. But if you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact us. We would love to help.

Pre-Production Planning Will Help You Achieve Your Video Goals.

Essential Steps to Take During Pre-Production & Planning for a Successful Video Project.

Are you looking to create a successful video project? You need to consider the many pre-production and planning steps that are essential for success.

This article provides insight on how to ensure your project runs smoothly and helps you achieve the desired results. You’ll learn how to budget, set deadlines, and make a plan for a successful video project.

Understanding the Purpose of the Video

Understanding the purpose of a video is the most essential step to take during pre-production & planning for a successful video project. This involves clearly defining and understanding the objectives of the video, who will be watching it, and what action do you want them to take after viewing it. Defining this from the beginning ensures that everyone involved in the project is on the same page and has a shared understanding of what is expected.

Additionally, having an outline or script can help determine what visuals capture or represent the intended message, tone, or emotion that should accompany your video. The story to be told should also be addressed in order to create a compelling narrative that accurately conveys what you want to communicate while maintaining interest throughout its duration.

Finally, setting realistic production timelines allows producers and clients alike to visualize how much time needs to be allocated for each part of production in order for everything to come together successfully on deadline. Creating an effective timeline includes creating timelines for specific tasks such as filming scenes, interviewing participants, editing raw footage, creating graphics and animations, writing scripts or voice overs and composing music. Planning is key when striving towards achieving excellence in any video project.

Establishing a Timeline & Budget

Before beginning any production, it is crucial to establish a timeline and budget that will reflect the scope of the project. A timeline should be created and rendered down in which tasks will be completed at specific points along the way.

When creating a timeline, step back and evaluate how long each task might take and factor production time or anything extra into the timeline schedule. In terms of budgeting, it is important to consider the costs of any equipment or technology needed for production, such as camera rentals, filming crew fees and other expenses that might come up.

Additionally, plan for extra funds in case changes arise during pre-production or production. Having a detailed plan and budget that has been reviewed by all stakeholders involved can make sure projects run as smoothly as possible from start to finish.

Research & Storyboarding

Before committing to any project, ensuring that the goal and desired results of the project are understood is of paramount importance. Taking time to conduct research into what types of videos have succeeded for similar objectives in the past can also provide useful insights.

Generating storyboards prior to production, although one often overlooked step, is incredibly helpful in outlining exactly what will occur in each shot, how it fits into the story, and specific timing needs. Once the script has been written, a storyboard can be created so visual effects and techniques can be planned out before shooting starts. Storyboards help avoid confusion during setting up camera angles, storage settings and other technical details prior to shooting so that when it’s time for production proper crew members know exactly what touches need to be completed each shot ahead of time!

Additionally they serve as a valuable reference point during post-production techniques such as color correction and editing when editors have an understanding of each aspect that was used when creating a particular shot or sequence. Creating a storyboard helps creative teams review potential composition changes during pre-production rather than making rushed decisions on set that could cause costly delays during post-production. Used together with recommended parameters such as length or text limits specified by networks or media outlets for which videos may be broadcasted or uploaded online this makes for more efficient workflow processes!

Pre-production planning - walk through plant tour before scripting.
Pre-production planning – walk through plant tour before scripting.

Identifying Necessary Resources

Securing the right resources for a video project is paramount to its success; without them, you won’t have the tools needed to produce a quality end product. This can include elements like the necessary equipment to get the job done, props and costumes, locations, catering services and even crew members. Identifying these needs in advance and making sure that appropriate arrangements have been made is essential for pre-production and planning.

Equipment: Before production begins, it’s important to identify what types of equipment will be required for your project. This should include not only camera gear but also any external audio recording devices as well as lighting gear and grip equipment.

Props & Costumes: Depending on the type of video you’re shooting, you may need props or costume pieces. Make sure you have identified what’s required upfront so that those items can be purchased or sourced before production begins.

Locations: It’s important to consider location fees when determining your budget for a video project. Ideally you should scout locations before production day so that everyone will know exactly where they need to be on shoot day and all of the necessary permits have been obtained in advance.

Catering Services: Providing meals or snacks throughout production can help keep morale up amongst your cast and crew while also showing them that they are valued by your team. Working with a reputable catering services provider is key when it comes to ensuring a steady stream of food during your shoot days – don’t forget about snacks!

Crew Members: Consider how many individuals will be needed (both technical personnel such as directors, camera operators, sound mixers etc., as well as non-technical personnel such as makeup artists and art directors) during production in order to successfully execute the project at hand; then begin sourcing those individuals prior to shoot day in order to make sure everything runs smoothly on location.

Selecting the Right Production Team

Choosing the right production team for your video project is essential for achieving high-quality results. Look for a team that understands your vision, brings a broad skillset to the project, and is willing to work with you to achieve the best outcomes.

First and foremost, select a creative production partner or freelancer who has experience and technical capability in filmmaking and video production. Look at portfolios, former clients, films and other visual references as part of your selection criteria. Evaluate based on creativity, practicality, cost and experience.

If you’re using an external agency or freelancer, research their past projects to get an idea of their style and collaborate effectively during pre-production to ensure you both agree on the desired outcome before any filming starts. Set expectations around turnaround timeframes and availability of assets throughout the entire process so neither party is caught off guard during post-production; it’s important to know what assets you can expect from each team member at each stage of the video project.

The best way to determine whether or not you have an effective production team for your video project is by discussing key objectives with potential partners: sound design abilities; creative vision; scope of project concept; location ideas; camera equipment available etc.—all this will help inform how successful they’ll be in helping realize your goals.

Securing Locations & Permits

Secure all the locations needed for your video shoot before you get to the day of production. Research and plan ahead to identify the exact locations you will need, and make sure they meet any safety, space and access requirements that may be necessary.

Once you have identified your ideal filming locations, reach out to property owners or managers for approval. Be specific with what type of permits are required for each location, whether it’s a permit for single days or multiple days of shooting – some municipalities require several sets of permits depending on what kind of equipment and crew members are entering the premises. If you will be filming in a public area such as a park or a town square, you’ll need special permission so that filming disruptions can be minimized.

Don’t forget to consider any logistical challenges your crew may face while they’re on location as well — make sure there is parking available near the shooting spots, as well as areas where equipment can be unloaded and setup quickly without disturbing other nearby tenants.

After scouting the perfect location - production manager with crew and talent.
After scouting the perfect location – production manager with crew and talent.

Preparing Shooting Scripts & Schedules

Before shooting can begin, it’s essential that all involved parties have a very clear idea of the project’s goals and expectations. Writing out a shooting script and creating a detailed production schedule are two of the most important steps in pre-production.

Shooting scripts: A shooting script is a document outlining all elements of the video content including visuals, dialogue, music, transitions, and so on. It describes each shot in detail as well as sound and lighting requirements—allowing for explanations of complex visual features or technical elements. Scripts should include estimated run-times for each segment that will make up the main video program.

Production schedules: A custom-crafted production schedule should be created which specifies the date, time, location and other information regarding when each scene will be shot. Schedules also indicate who will be responsible for providing any props, special equipment or makeup effects required to achieve specific elements within individual scenes or shots. The production schedule is an invaluable asset once principal photography begins. It ensures that everyone involved in shoot days knows exactly what needs to be done and when—ensuring maximum efficiency while onsite.

Finalizing Pre-Production Details

Once the shooting schedule and script have been decided upon, it’s time to finalize pre-production details. Before the actual shoot takes place, it’s important to lock down several elements, such as:

-Equipment: Work with your team in advance to select and reserve any additional equipment needed for the shoot, including additional microphones, lights and sound recording gear.

-Locations: If you’re shooting on location or in a hired studio, focus on scouting potential locations in advance and book them if possible.

-Cast & Crew: Gather resumes from potential actors or crew members and hire those who best align with the project objectives and requirements.

-Permissions & Waivers: Ensure that all necessary permissions are obtained for any copyrighted music or footage used in your video project. All cast members should sign model releases and waivers to protect your production rights.

-Wardrobe & Props: Make sure that all wardrobe ensembles are prepared ahead of time so they can be quickly put together during filming. Additionally, gather any necessary props before the shoot begins to make stop sets run smoothly without interruption.

Making sure everything is ironed out beforehand will ensure a smooth process throughout pre-production & planning as well as shooting & editing phases of the video project – resulting in a successful end product!

Mike Haller, St Louis Video Producer


St Louis Video Producer


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