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Video Production Tips Leading up to Your Shoot Day

When it comes to content creation, I think we can all agree that video is the king. That’s not just because I work for a video content production company, that’s because facts don’t lie. Video is everywhere, countless memes, gifs, visuals are the present and the future. Simply put, it’s the best way for information to travel into our brains for processing.

Every minute of every day you are ingesting information at a faster rate than ever before, in your work life, your social life and erm, any other life you may have. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tik-Tok (no me neither). 

  • 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day.
  • Users spend 88% more time on websites that have videos.
  • YouTube is the second most trafficked site, after Google.

Wow, breathtaking stuff. It begs the question, why isn’t everyone just, you know, making videos. Well it’s expensive, and harder than it looks. You must have a clear idea of the process and make an effective plan of how to create a video in order to share your vision to creatives and create excellent content that engages a target audience. Especially with so much of it being out there.

So in light of the above, us nice guys over at VidOps have created tips to manage a production effectively.

As Head of Production at VidOps, some would argue the most important part of the business, my main job is to ensure our customers' productions meet their expectations, have the desired effect for their use case, are delivered on time and are within budget.

There are so many areas where a production can fall apart so it’s our job to make sure everything stays on track for the best outcomes.

Details

The best chance for a successful production is collecting the correct information from the get-go. Work starts from the very beginning, listening to everything that needs to be in the video, making sure you understand the angle or the brand that needs to be presented, and finally asking the right questions.

Create a clear and concise plan with the stakeholders on key dates. These could be shooting times, availability of certain assets or locations, and maybe an end date where the video is being used so the content must be complete ahead of this. Be transparent with budget and scope. How do things work on your end, what you need from people and when, what their budget can get them. You can’t re-create the Apple ad for a grand.

Be aware of scope. That’s when a client keeps creeping in additional things, remember the original ask, what you agreed to make. Considerable changes within or outside of the scope are an additional charge.

Checklist:

1 - Goals

2 - Metrics

3 - Distribution Channels - this will inform the length, size and format of the exports.

Expectations

Set realistic expectations with your customer, let them see your work, show them what their budget can get them. Manage your customers and be transparent. People are the hardest bit, but they’re necessary. Your honesty will build trust, loyalty and lead to long term relationships. Nobody likes to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Every production will have specific limitations, be honest with your customer so they understand these and can help work to the strengths of the production.

Assemble your Squad

Selecting the right talent for the job is crucial. Here at VidOps, we heavily vet our creatives ensuring they have the right attitude, skillset, equipment and are suited to the job. We like to think of each creative having a special superpower like they were a deck of top trump cards.

Amazing creativity, great people skills, crazy knowledge - whatever it is this skill needs to match the job at hand. A shoot with loads of subjects needs a sociable and friendly creative team. A tough technical job needs a lighting expert, and so on.

Key Point: Identify all jobs needed, select who is involved from your filming contacts and their exact responsibilities.

Brief

Utilising your team in the roles best suited to their abilities is essential, but briefing your team effectively is equally as important. Make sure you’re clear on what is expected of them, where they need to be, when they need to be there, what they’re doing and why.

This let’s the creatives understand the whole picture, let’s them know everything has been organised and takes some of the worry from their job so they can focus on creative decisions and utilising their special skills.

The best way to do this is to create a clear, detailed brief for the creative to digest showing a little about the customer and a lot about the production.  You should encourage your team to ask questions and come to you with any concerns they may have. Clear and open communication is central to a smooth video production.

Use your brief to identify and prompt other assets you may need. We have a section on our custom brief to remind the customer to send their marketing materials, logos, graphics and any internal assets which may help in the creation of their visual content.

This is a really important prompt to make sure we get these assets in a timely manner rather than waiting for Martin in Marketing to scramble around and send us the assets at the very last minute. This also helps stakeholders to decide what assets and graphics they may want in their video and chance to talk through the possibility of VFX, Motion Graphics or Animated segments to be introduced during post-production.

Key: Request some stock footage, motion graphics or animation to go alongside your live-action video.

Pre-Production

This is the key part before we shoot or create where we develop the creative approach. This phase includes lots of research into the target of the video and finding the most engaging way to present your message in order for the video to achieve its objectives. 

I look at other videos for inspiration. Nothing is truly original anymore so don't be afraid to be inspired by other people doing it right. Look at successful videos for ideas while making sure you remain unique and stand out but bring it full circle so it hits your particular brief.

Create a list of shots you really need for the video and write these down concisely to prompt the creatives to get these shots during the shoot.

Key: Create a detailed shot list of everything that needs to be captured.

Script and Storyboard

Certain productions require a script and storyboard, again assemble the right creative talent for this. Here at VidOps, we have approved and vetted creatives who help us create an emotive, human, concise script or great visuals to inform the look and feel of the video.

Shoot Plan

It’s the big event, shoot time is upon us. Here’s your checklist of all bits that need organising:

  • Location
  • Crew setup and logistics
  • Equipment
  • Necessary permissions
  • All stakeholders bought in

Key: For scenes taking place in the same location, ensure lighting and context consistent between takes. Did you get all the shots you needed and b-roll footage?

Footage

Here at VidOps we have worldwide coverage with creatives all over the world ready to shoot at your request. So the final hoop to jump through is setting up a system where we can efficiently get the footage back to HQ after a shoot and to our editor in a timely fashion so we can have a first cut back with the customer within 48 hours for them to review.

We set up a private drive for the creative to upload their footage. The editor is then notified and scheduled for when this drops in there so no time is wasted. 

After this, it’s over to Post-Production where we hook up with one of our trusted editors to piece together a first cut of action. I will talk about editing at greater length in my next article, if Renato, VidOps Marketing Lead ever lets me do one.

Before we part ways, I’ll leave you with these final bullet-point tips, also for those who didn't want to read the above, but want to get the gist of the article. Here we go:

  • Organisation is key. Do some high-quality research on your client, the topic, the industry, and make sure you understand the world you are about to create a video for. Document this information in a transparent manner for the whole team to access, learn and open the dialogue for questions.
  • Remember you’re not making The Godfather (or Citizen Kane but I’m sure 90% of you haven't seen that film, although you probably lie that you have) Don't spend forever on endless revisions and detailed tweaks. Create a video that fulfils the brief, looks great and get it out there for it to fulfil its purpose.
  • Trust your professionals. You hired them for a reason so take their word if something isn’t working and let them channel their creative talent while you focus on what you’re great at.
  • If you don't have the expertise, resources or time to produce video content in-house, look externally. Contact VidOps and we can help guide you through the process, create a great visual media strategy and produce some excellent content.
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