To the contrary of the common belief, the actual production of the video isn’t the most challenging and time-consuming part of the process.
VIVIDA have had to create videos from case study videos through to videos that involve a cast and crew of over 30 and multiple locations. In order for filming to go smoothly, we always need to execute pre-production well and cover many elements that are easy to neglect.
It takes a lot of time, but a carefully thought-out pre-production will yield a great foundation for when the time to shoot comes.
If you’re a business getting ready for a video project or a video production team, this list will help you get a clear picture of the pre-production process. Read on to find out what it takes for solid planning and preparation before going out and filming that video!
Define the business objective
If you don’t have a business objective, your video production will turn into a high-risk project with questionable return on investment.
You can only measure the success of your video if you know what goal will it help you achieve. This isn’t a time for vague goals, or for any goals that don’t grow your business in some form (“Because our competitors do it” isn’t an objective!).
Do you want your video to…
- Raise brand awareness?
- Help raise money for a charity?
- Build your authority as an industry leader?
- Drive sales?
- Increase the number of email subscribers?
- Educate your audience?
Focus on outcomes and actions you want your audience to take after watching your video.
Define the audience
Now that you know the outcome, it’s time to define the audience that will benefit from it. Do you know your customers already or do you have to do some research first?
The time when audiences were defined simply based on demographic data is long gone. Now, you have to account for their interests, challenges, background, common struggles, goals, and fears. The stronger your audience definition, the better your video’s performance!
Your video should aim at your audience’s needs, preferences and pain points. This is the perfect time to figure out what is it they want and the way your brand and message answers their question(s) and relate to their lives.
Define your messaging
Your business doesn’t exist for one purpose and with one message. There are many moving parts, many different objectives you can aim towards, and a variety of topics your audience cares about.
This is the time to look at all these different pieces and choose the wording and the key message with a specific goal. Avoid cramming too many messages into a single video so you don’t confuse your viewer.
Instead, focus on the key takeaway you want them to walk away with, and the key action you want them to take after watching the video!
Finalize your budget
You may not know right away what the ideal budget for your video project will be, but you will make it easier for yourself and anyone involved in the project if you know at least a rough estimate for your budget.
The more precise the budget, the easier it is to manage expectations between everyone involved, both when you’re DIYing and working with a video production partner.
Look at your dedicated marketing budget and estimate the amount you can dedicate towards your video production, especially knowing how precisely you can target your ideal audience with it and the effect you can create.
Pick the format and length
Clearly, your desired video length will vary significantly based on the type of project, audience and your key objective. In some cases, long-form video will work perfectly, while in other cases you may want to get your point across in 90 seconds or even less.
What matters here the most is the nature of the project and the audience. For example, your project may be loaded with emotional storytelling and you may need several minutes to convey the exact feeling of your story. In other cases, you may need a set of attention-grabbing 45-second videos for the audience that’s on the move.
The key here is to know what you’re aiming to achieve and get familiar with all the different formats and lengths that can help you achieve it – and pick the ones that suit you best before moving onto the next steps.
Script your project
When talking about scripting, we’re not saying that you should write a bunch of text and rely on in from the moment it’s there. Writing a script is a perfect opportunity to list and discover all the potential ideas, flesh them out and find the wording that naturally fits into a brand’s voice and the personality.
The thing with scripting is – it shouldn’t sound and feel scripted. It should be natural. A mistake often made is creating a script and getting too overwhelmed by trying to perfectly memorise it. This can get to a level that makes it obviously a learned text and not a natural flow of sentences.
The key point is: your script should go through several drafts in order to reflect the brand and the person in front of the camera and guide the following steps.
Create a storyboard and a shot list
Before even thinking of heading out for a filming session, you need to have a storyboard and a shot list.
A storyboard focuses on the composition of each individual shot, ranging from rough sketches to detailed shots. It takes your idea and your script and considers details like voiceovers, animation, locations and more.
It holds everyone accountable, makes sure everything and everyone that should be on-screen are detailed, and makes it easy to make changes and get approvals to achieve the best possible flow and storytelling.
A shot list then comes naturally from the storyboard, and it includes the shot-by-shot breakdown for each scene. While it takes time to get it right in pre-production, it saves tons of time on set!
Get the equipment ready
In order to make everything you want recorded a reality, what is the gear you need? There are many parts to a set of filming equipment, from camera bodies, lenses, audio and lighting to batteries, chargers and bags to carry everything in.
You need a list of all the necessary gear, any backup options, and all the places where the gear is coming from. This will ensure you take everything with you; it will also help you not to leave any piece of equipment behind when leaving the filming location.
And as you can imagine, this list will be the most thorough when the planning has been properly done. A clear objective and format along with a detailed storyboard give an incredible advantage in this preparation for filming.
Choose your locations and consider the weather
This may seem logical, but it’s crucial to mention it.
In order to reach the business objective, achieve the goal, and follow the storyboard, which locations are needed? What if they aren’t available or the weather conditions make them impossible to use?
You should answer these questions well ahead of time. Other things you should ensure are the sunlight that suits your plan, logistics such as any permits you may need, parking, food, clothing needed for the weather conditions, and more.
Also make sure to visit all the locations ahead of time, ideally when the same conditions are in place (such as the time of the day), to prevent any unforeseen circumstances at the time of filming.
Wrapping it up
Whether you’re a business that’s just starting out with video or you’re a video production company – like us – looking to make the most out of their pre-production, these steps are the bare minimum to take in order for the filming and post-production to go smoothly.
There are many other, finer details that go into this process, but we hope this is enough to get you started. If you want to chat about the details, send us a line!