video pre-production process

Defining the Video Production Planning Process

The video production planning process matters for the same reason that blueprints matter before a building goes up. You need to have a plan of action for everyone to understand and follow. Often times, this stage of production is where a final estimate is determined since the production logistics are put in place. What varies from client to client is how much of the pre-production is determined by us versus them. Some companies have marketing teams that come in with a plan and just need a production company to execute it. Others are more comfortable letting the production team conceptualize the video and present a plan of action for them to approve. However you choose to operate, we will adapt accordingly.

In order to ensure all of our I’s are dotted and T’s crossed, here is a list of pretty universal questions that apply to just about every production.

Creative Decisions

A producer doesn’t necessarily have a be a video production expert, though that helps. More importantly, a producer just needs to be a subject matter expert. Let’s say we’re doing a training video on how to plant vegetables. Obviously we here at Ethos Media don’t have green thumbs, so the producer needs to ensure that either the script is written accurately or that both the right questions are asked and the proper answers are given by anyone on camera. They can also review visuals to ensure content is captured properly to reinforce the dialogue.

We can assist with writing scripts, storyboarding, and all the aspects of pre-production that pertain to a video, but we’ll still always need a subject matter expert to function as a producer.

Often times someone or people internally will be utilized on camera for a video. This saves time, money, and can be a proper creative decision if it’s an executive of the company that wants to serve as the first introduction to potential clients. There are benefits to using third-party talent such as actors or spokespeople, as we’ve outlined in this article. Whatever the decision is for whomever is on camera, this is one of the creative questions we’ll ask about during the pre-production process.

Graphics can be a simple addition to a video or a complex one when utilizing motion graphics or 3D animation. They can add substantial production value to your video and be a more effective way to demonstrate something that can practically be filmed. We’ve gone into more depth explaining the various types of graphics, so be sure to check out this article and know that we will inquire about this to varying degrees based on the type of production you request.

Background music is a staple of most videos as it helps the viewer stay connected with content from an audible standpoint, especially when there’s a break in dialogue. It can also help set the tone or mood of a video, especially if the video is compelling its viewers to a certain call-to-action. We have access to thousands of high-quality, royalty-free music through sites like Soundstripe and Envato Elements. We can also arrange for completely custom music through any number of local artists and producers. If you’re not sure what music you’d like, give us any general guidance you want on style, mood, genre, etc. and we’ll curate options. If you’re more comfortable letting us decide on your behalf, we’ve done so successfully for many of our previous clients.

Logistics Questions

Locations matter in a number of ways. Does the location have the right backdrop(s)? If we’re using green screen, does it have adequate space or built-in lighting? Is the location very noisy or quiet enough for filming audio? Does it have the right accommodations? These aspects of a filming location will be discussed during pre-production to ensure the best outcome.

There are many different cameras on the market, and while we are partial to the Sony and Panasonic line for most of our productions, we can branch out into different brands upon request. There are basically three types of cameras:

  1. Consumer Grade: Cameras, mostly point-and-shoot, generally under a few hundred dollars from everyday retailers which we do not use.
  2. Prosumer Grade: DSLR or mirrorless cameras that are marketed to everyone but often contain professional features and are still accessible, to a degree from everyday retailers. These cameras can and have been used in professional productions by companies around the world.
  3. Cinema Grade: These cameras produce the highest quality footage available in terms of dynamic range, color accuracy, and editing capabilities. Often times you will find the filming resolutions higher than even 4K available on these cameras. They are only available from specialty retailers or direct from the manufacturers and carry a premium for their use. These are only recommended if the visual appearance of your video’s content is a primary selling point.

If there is specific dialogue that needs to be spoken, teleprompter is highly recommended. We wrote a more in-depth article on why teleprompter is important. Teleprompter not only ensures accuracy to a pre-written script in pre-production, but also better allows for statements from different recordings to be inter-spliced with each other while masking the appearance of that. Capturing a read of a script all in one take is always preferred, but it takes a trained professional in the art of public speaking in order to be able to pull that off.

If you’re producing a marketing video, don’t just stop with the video itself! Take advantage of our photography and 360 / VR services while we’re there and receive a stock of content either for minimal or in some cases no extra cost.

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We respond to inquiries within 12 hour or less. Call 214-733-7370 to speak with Lead Producer, Devin Connelly right away!
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