3 Things to Get Right in Video Pre-Production

Charlotte Miller

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3 Things to Get Right in Video Pre-Production

When produced correctly, video is the most compelling format to deliver a message. It’s no wonder that video is also one of the most shared types of content on social media. It has applications in nearly every industry and can be used for entertainment or education.

Of course, to make engaging videos, you need skills, equipment, and talent. There are many things that happen during and after filming that can impact the success of video production. 

However, this article isn’t going to focus on those things. Instead, we will focus on the pre-production process and the three things you must absolutely get right in order for your video project to succeed:

1. Write a Script

The most engaging videos you watch may seem as if they were entirely improvised. They most likely were not. That natural flow is often the result of careful scripting, rehearsal, and ad-libbing that happens when the talent involved finds a few perfect moments to go off-script.

If you don’t have a script, it is almost assured that you will have to do multiple takes when people lose their train of thought or stumble over their words. A written script will ground everybody and give your production focus.

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How Do You Write a Script?

First, just write. There are tools that you can use to help you get your structure correct, but you really just need some standard word processing software. The most important part comes after your first draft is completed. 

During the editing process, you will need to take out anything that distracts from your primary message. This cutting may seem a bit ruthless as you will find yourself removing things you really like. However, it’s necessary to ensure your end product really holds attention.

Optional: Hold a Reading

A table reading involves getting all of the talent together to read through the script from beginning to end. Ideally, you will also be there along with other stakeholders to take notes. 

Think of this as your chance to see your script in action before you prepare the next pre-production steps. Many people see this as a valuable part of the video production process. Some script issues only become apparent after the text is read out loud.

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2. Create a Storyboard

Where will your talent stand? If you are filming larger shots such as a panoramic shot of an entire room, where will the camera start, and where will it end. Will you film a product demo from the front or overhead? You should have a good idea of what every shot will look like and how one shot will flow into the next.

The best way to do this is to stage everything out using a storyboard. A storyboard is simply a piece of paper with squares on it. Every square represents a shot, with each shot in a scene following the one before it.

Your storyboards will be extremely valuable during filming. They will help you remember how to set up each shot and what your transitions will be. Don’t worry about artistic talent. It’s perfectly fine to use stick figures and rudimentary shapes.

3. Gather Everything You Need

When it’s time to shoot the video, you want filming to go smoothly. You also want to ensure that your video is high-quality and on brand. The last thing you want to do is stop production because there is something missing. 

Start with your equipment. Know what you will need for filming. Source your cameras, tripods, and lenses. Don’t forget about cords and spare batteries. You will also need a stopwatch. Timing in video production is everything.

Next, what about any products or props? Ensure that you have any items you will need to demo, items with the company logo, and all other items to execute your script. 

This consideration also includes images and digital assets that you may include at the beginning and end of your video. It may help to give someone the job of prop master to ensure that everything is always where it needs to be.

Don’t forget your location. You will need it to be accessible and quiet. You must ensure that you will be able to film in the location without disruption. Don’t forget to obtain permits if they are required.

Finally, you must ensure your talent is available. There is nothing more frustrating than a delay in filming because there is a scheduling conflict and somebody is not available. Work out schedules well in advance, and ensure that everybody maintains an open line of communication in case availability changes.