You may have heard the term video pre-production before; maybe you’ve seen it on a quote under the budget breakdown, or mentioned on our website. But what does pre-production actually mean?
Simply, the term pre-production covers everything that takes place before the filming of a video begins. Sounds easy, but there’s actually quite a lot of planning that takes place to make sure the perfect shots are captured when the cameras finally start rolling.
The 6 steps to video pre-production
Before we start our pre-production planning, it’s important that we know exactly what the project’s about. To do this, we need to set up a briefing meeting. Far from a boring and bureaucratic process, the main goal of our meeting is to help us make the best video for you. You’ll need to let us know what you want out of your video, who your audience is and where it will be shown. If you have any key messages or stylistic preferences you want in your video, now’s the time to let us know so that we can create the best plan for you in the next stages. Once we’ve got all the basics sorted, we’ll also need to talk about the practical parts of filming, such as how, where and when we film.
Depending on the type of video, we may need to decide on a script. It’s up to you if you’d rather write your own script or have us take care of it. Either way, it’ll need to be written and approved before we begin production; this is so we can visualise all the elements that we’ll need to film, work out all the locations, any props or actors that may be needed perhaps… rather like getting all the ingredients together before baking the pie!
We may exchange drafts of the script with you a few times as we may offer suggestions of what we think will work best visually to help you achieve your goal.
Once we’ve got our script, it’s time to transform that jumble of words into a living and breathing story. Producing a storyboard is the single most important step when producing an animation or complicated graphic sequences. As you may know from our previous blogs, animation is considerably time-consuming. For this reason, it’s vital that you know exactly what your animation will look like and that you’re happy with the style and proposed sequences before we start the design process. Of course, just like with the script, we’ll run several drafts by you to make sure we get it absolutely right. After this, it’s time to start producing!
Organising the shooting schedule
We may have finished all the basics for the video you want, but unfortunately, practical concerns are just as essential as the rest. Filming will likely take several days and may even need to be done in several different locations. Because of this, we’ll need to draw up a nice clear plan… a ‘shooting schedule’. This is exactly what it sounds like, we need a practical timetable for all the content we need to film. It takes into account obvious things like interviewee availability, location restrictions, the length of time we estimate it will take to film the different scenes…. to less obvious things…. perhaps the position of the sun, the state of the tides, when the office empties of staff at lunchtime! All of these things are equally important for making sure your filming goes as smoothly as possible.
Setting up cast, crew and equipment
Of course, equipment and crew requirements vary between shoots, so we have to carefully work out what we need before we get there. The smallest shoots may only require a camera and operator. However, the more there is to do, the more equipment and crew we will need to make your video shoot run smoothly! For example, if there’s a message to be read, we may need an autocue – which also has to have an operator. If we need to record several people presenting on-set, we’ll need a dedicated sound recordist. Depending on the scale of the production, we may require a producer, a director, production assistants and even someone to move equipment around! You see how the crew and equipment can quickly build up!
It would be great if we could just snap our fingers and appear at the right locations, but in reality, organising the logistics of a multi-location filming operation is a lot more difficult than that! On a large shoot, planning the best, and most cost effective method to get ourselves and all our equipment safely from A to B can be complex. We need to consider appropriate vehicles, parking and unloading arrangements too. For locations further afield, we’ll perhaps need to book hotels, flights and hired vehicles. When we’ve arranged all of this, the information is compiled into a “call sheet”. This document will list times and places to meet as well as the addresses of various locations and contact details for the entire crew. With all this done, pre-production ends and production begins.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider in the pre-production stages of a video project. Thankfully, our highly experienced staff are there to guide you through the entire process effortlessly! To get started on your video today, give us a quick call on 01403 256255 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can’t wait to talk you through it!