The Video Production Process Explained
What is a Production Process
How does it all begin? The answer to that question can be hard to find if you don’t know how our production process works, so we’re going to break it down right here. There are three main parts to the process of film and video production, each with their own unique steps and features that work together to create the final product we all love so much. Here they are in order of sequence: pre-production, production, and post-production. This guide will cover what each step consists of and what an essential part it plays in the overall production of your movie or video.
What does pre-production have to do with post-production? Well, everything! In truth, we look at each project holistically and our process is continuous, from start to finish. The way we approach each film or video project is iterative and progressive; nothing is static.
As mentioned before, we first listen to your input and then present our creative options. Once we decide on a concept, we move forward into pre-production. Next is production and post-production! We’ll be discussing what happens in each phase of our process below.
Without a solid foundation to build on, even a great story won’t come to life for your audience.
When filming a video, there are a few days where you can feel a natural rush of adrenaline. Everything about that day is exciting because you get to come up with an idea and turn it into something tangible. When all of your preparations meet and exceed expectations on production day, it’s a great feeling. When everything finally comes together just right and creates a nice finished product, you feel proud of in your viewers’ eyes. To us, there is no feeling quite like that!
Step 1: Pre-production Process
You don’t build a house without blueprints, and you don’t shoot a video without proper planning. Preproduction planning is essential to production cost savings and ensuring that everything goes smoothly the day of the shoot. It’s much more cost effective and less stressful to anticipate potential problems during this phase than to address them the day the cameras are rolling. Here’s our process:
Nothing can derail a video production shoot faster than poor planning and organization. Time-management and effective communication are critical to the success of any video production, but even so, it’s good to be prepared in case things don’t go as planned. At the very least, the project manager should hold meetings with the client ahead of time to discuss what types of shots they need and how they want them structured. These meetings will also give everyone involved some time to think about potential problems that could crop up during the actual shoot, allowing you to find solutions before they actually happen.
Though you may be preparing for days and weeks, even months before your big day, it all comes down to one meeting. If we’re filming commercial, then there is one very important meeting that will decide how everything else will play out. The producer (client) must meet with our director, cinematographer and audio engineer at least 24 hours prior to shooting so that they can hammer out every last detail of their plan. Scheduling just one meeting could make or break your shoot.
While every videographer has their own take on what they need to make a shoot happen, having all your ducks in a row beforehand will save you headaches (and money) down the road. Remember that a day in your life is worth two in anyone else’s. As such, do yourself—and everyone else—a favor and be prepared for anything!
Add contingencies into your schedule, have backup equipment readily available and communicate regularly with clients to ensure everything is going smoothly. And don’t forget about sleep; staying well-rested leads to better decision-making ability during those early morning calls or frantic afternoon shoots!
How to Create Successful Meetings with Clients and Business Partners : Planning meetings is no easy task. We want you and your partners to feel as though they’re in control of how often and when they meet with you, but that can be a challenge—especially if you are juggling multiple projects. The truth is, unplanned meeting often result in rushed discussions about products or services that ultimately fail to achieve maximum results.
Preproduction planning meetings save time and money. Miss this step and you will certainly throw your money away. Planning ensures everyone is on the same page. Locations, actors/presenters, story, and other required pieces are managed for a smooth video project completion.
It’s our job to articulate any situations that may arise and affect any part of the entire production. There are time and cost associated with every decision that’s made, so it’s paramount to define goals and expectations up front.
Deadlines for all preproduction, production, postproduction schedules should be finalized during this stage, including the script, storyboard, shoot dates, rough cut, final cut, and product delivery.
I wouldn’t feel too confident if a landscaper came to my home to mow my grass and he shows up with a pair of scissors. I also wouldn’t feel confident if the hedges needed to be trimmed and the landscaper shows us with a three-ton industrial tree trimmer.
Location scouting or site surveying is nothing more than a walk-through of the location where the shoot will (or may, the in case of scouting) take place. It helps our Production Manager gather information about existing lighting, environmental sounds, and electrical locations to determine the appropriate equipment needed for your specific production. We won’t bring an entire equipment truck (grip truck), charge you an extra $750 equipment rental and then only use two extension cords from the truck. (This happens in this industry more than you realize.)
Visiting a location prior to the shoot also prepares the crew for any potential problems. Typically the site survey is done during the same time of day that the video will be shot to understand what to expect in that location during that time frame, heavy outside traffic noise, glaring windows, extra indoor foot traffic. There is a host of problematic issues that can ruin a shoot but can easily be avoided with a thorough site survey.
We always monitor the forecast to ensure the weather is conducive to filming. Video and film cameras tend to fail with too much humidity and heat. Too much sunlight is just as bad as trying to shoot on a rainy day or with colder temperatures draining batteries more quickly than filming at room temperature.
At times a permit is required to film in public places, especially if filming is going to interfere with traffic or normal day-to-day business. It’s important to confirm that you have permission to film in advance and to be sure that you have a signed property release.
Leave it to Episode 11 Productions to bring yet another tool from the large production studios, to be used for our clients. Storyboarding has been used in the feature film industry for many years. It once was a series of hand drawings or animated characters showing the action of each scene. Today, software applications make the process of storyboarding more easily created. Here’s how.
Storyboarding is a wonderful tool when you have large teams that are involved with the project and you need to get buy-in from various levels of management. Everyone involved is allowed to see the vision of the project and to make any suggestions. The created storyboard is uploaded to a webpage and the link is shared with your team. This is a huge benefit when trying to get approval, without adding more stress on you.
Storyboards also help the editor understand the order of the scenes, and how they should be edited together. The cost of storyboarding saves time and money for those companies who have many levels of management.
The script is king when it comes to video, shorts, or even movies. Remember “Sling Blade”? The movie was shot with a minimal crew and funding but was a huge hit. The story is a very integral part of the emotional connection with your viewers.
Scriptwriting for video production is very different from technical, academic, or colloquial writing. Scripts written for video should be written for “hearing” the dialogue. Other formats are written for reading. Scripts should be written in short sentences so that the observer has a clear understanding of what’s being presented. Our scriptwriter is a published author and knows how to connect with the audience. Whatever emotion that you want to invoke in the viewer, our writer has the experience and knowledge to make it happen. Don’t skimp on this step…it would be a mistake.
Remember, stories build brands. Whatever you think of your brand doesn’t matter, it’s what emotion is invoked in the public that is your brand. The cost of scriptwriting is extremely minimal in the scheme of your video production project. One word could be the difference between a sale…or no sale.
Think about this: Let’s assume that there two areas where armed individuals are present to keep those in the area safe. In area one, those individuals are called “security officers”. In area two, those individuals are called “safety officers”. Where would you feel more secure: one or two? One word changes how people feel, so let’s maximize your video production efforts by getting our scriptwriter in early on.
Video production is fairly a new concept in the business community, and thus a vulnerable area for lawsuits. Ultimately, you are responsible for anything that you post in your videos. We have access to an entertainment attorney, which benefits everyone.
We always alert you to any known legal issues during the preproduction process. We’re diligent in getting all the required releases and permits before we start filming. We are in constant contact with our attorney regarding issues, such as public liability, professional indemnity, copyright, intellectual property rights, performance rights, and music rights.
Federal law protects musical rights and the penalty for abusing those rights can be severe. Therefore, we never use popular music in our productions, but only royalty-free licensed music.
Talent is another method of connecting with your audience. Either in the form of a Voice Over Artist, or an Actor. Voice over artist are professional radio, television voice actors, and each voice will invoke different moods. Think Sam Elliott! His voice is perfect for trucks or tools…manly things, but Andy McDowell is more of your motherly-type of products.
Professional Voice Over Artist
Our voiceover roster includes thousands of every type of voices that you would ever need…or want. We’re even good friends with the voice of BARNEY THE PURPLE DINOSAUR. That’s right folks, Barney voices lots of our projects (in his normal voice, of course). Regardless of the style, nationality, accent, age, gender, or inflection-we have you covered.
Casting includes not only actors, but also singers, dancers, musicians, and models. Any person appearing in your production that isn’t on your staff is considered “talent”.
Hiring actors is a tedious task and one that requires patience. Casting, or talent acquisition is more about finding the right “fit” than the abilities of the actors. The Director, or customer may have a certain look that’s required to accurately describe the brand, and it’s up to us to find that match.
We have access to Actors from local TV commercials, to worldwide feature films seen on the silver screen. Actors are perfect for the demonstration of products, because they act as an anchor for the viewer. How else could people watch QVC for hours upon end?
We have relationships with several agencies in the southeast from which we can access to find talent. With our experience in producing and directing movies, we have talent acquisition down to an art.
Step 2: Principal Photography Process
Our production process has been developed from the ground up. Our goal for creating this newly used production process was to reduce as much waste as possible, without sacrificing quality, or the experience for our clients. We wanted to be different from other video production companies. We wanted our crew members to always stay focused on the client’s needs and assist other departments during idle times. Every project is created with positive energy and the clients doesn’t get billed for “Jeremy Bluetooth” texting his girlfriend.
Forget being forced into video production packages which put you over budget and never accomplish your organization’s goal. Because we have created a new production workflow, we are in a better position to accomplish more work in less time. To better service your specific needs, we provide two standard production service times: half-day and full-day.
The half-day production is a four-hour production day and is perfect for one location
shoots, such as interviews and talking head videos.
The full-day production is a 10-hour production day and is suitable for any other type of production, from company overviews to long-form safety and training videos.
If you’re in need of a shorter production length than four hours, just give us a call and we’ll create a special production day-just for you.
Cinematography is the art of capturing footage, which is used to invoke different emotions during different parts of the scene. Key factors, but not inclusive of good cinematography is composition, forcing perspective (lens selection), and camera movement.
As with photography, successful cinematography relies heavily on the composition or framing of the scene. The subjects location within the frame has a huge emotional effect on the viewer. A skilled camera operator not only knows how to use composition to get the right emotional response, but also how to use forced perspective.
Using the two extremes, a scene shot using a fish eye lens has an angle of view which is very wide and the depth looks exaggerated and open. In contrast, a scene shot using a telephoto lens has an angle which is narrow and the depth looks compressed and closed off.
Lastly, is the knowledge of knowing when to move the camera. The skill is demonstrated by the the ability to move the camera and vary the audience’s viewpoint during the scene without calling attention to the movement.. The movement of the camera plays a considerable role in the emotional language of the film and the audience’s reaction to the subject.
The most basic camera movements are called “panning” and “tilting”. Panning is a horizontal shift from a fixed position, just like turning your head from side to side. Tilting is a vertical shift from a fixed position similar to tipping your head up to look at the sky or downward to look at the ground. These movements are made with the basic tripod.
More advanced camera movements turn a boring video into a cinematic success: “dollying” and “craning”. Dollying is accomplished by placing the camera on a moving platform called a dolly. The dolly is moved closer or farther from the subject, creating a certain look. Camera cranes or jib arms are used to move the camera both horizontally and vertically. Cranes operate from a fulcrum point, from ground level to high in the air, as well as swinging from side to side or a combination of all of those moves.
Remember the movie, “Cloverfield”? Many of the moviegoers all over the United States walked out of the theaters feeling ill.This is what happens when you handhold the camera. For this reason, we only handhold the camera on very specific situations. Our production tools include tripods, Steadicam, cranes, and dollies. The resulting image looks more polished, more professional, and your audience doesn’t get motion sickness while watching.
Our projects are always shot using some form of camera stabilization. At the very least, our cameras will be locked down on a tripod. We prefer to use the tripod, along with a dolly.
By combining the tripod and dolly with a camera crane, the production value elevates to shots seen in your favorite Hollywood film. The camera crane, or Jib allows the camera to move both vertical and horizontal. Combine the crane with a remote, movable head (camera base), and you have a camera that is unbound and can make moves of 30ft in all directions from the tripod base.
Let’s not forget those awesome camera drones. Yes, we have camera drones and are eager to use them, however the drone comes with some restrictions, which must not be overlooked. The FAA lays out specific regulations concerning the use of drones. Both federal and state requirements can be found here: Rules and Regs
We make sure that any time we use the drone to capture your footage will be shot within the confines of federal and state laws. Our operators have had special training by the government and possess the necessary licenses required by law.
Lighting is a huge differentiator when it comes to professionally produced videos. We use a range of lighting styles: tungsten, fluorescent, and LEDs, which range in power from 150-watt lights to 5,000-watt lights. We have the ability to light almost anything.
Tungsten lights are high output lights, much like the incandescent lights in your home-only much more powerful and a lot hotter. These lights are the backbone of lighting large and small areas, and are perfect for people. Tungsten lights, in our opinion, have a more natural light quality.
Fluorescent lights are nothing more than the lights in your average commercial office building, but with much better bulbs. These lights are great for small areas and run at very cool temperatures.
LEDsare becoming much or popular in the video production arena and the cost of using these lights have dropped significantly over the last several years. LEDs were once used as indicator lights in vehicles and electronic devices. Today, those lights are now lighting on-location sets for small to mid-sized sets. These lights are better for scenes, where people aren’t the main focus.
Depending on the application, we may choose to use one or all of these lighting types.
Because sound is 50% of the production, we take great care to assign specific microphones for each requirement. These include: shotgun microphones (on or off boom poles) lavaliere microphones, and room microphones. We always try to record directly to the camera, when possible. It eliminates the need for an additional personnel and saves you money. We say, “when possible”, because that always isn’t the case.
If the sound occurs far from the camera or from several different sources, then we record to an external recording device, where a sound engineer controls the sound through a portable mixing board. These types of requirements usually involve numerous individuals being recorded for sound, simultaneously.
Step 3: Post-production Process
Post-production is like a Chef in the kitchen of a high-end restaurant. All of the ingredients must come together in the right order, in the right amount, and at the right time. Too much of an ingredient can spoil the entire dish; the same is true of editing together a video. Post-production requires a firm understanding of stories and how the viewer will react.
This is our little secret, because our chief editor is an avid reader and brings with her the knowledge of several thousand stories, books, and prose. Weaving a story from video footage, graphics, music, text, effects, and sound recordings is no easy feat. This little secret is your door to success.
Video editing is the key to making sure that the project you’ve worked so hard to produce during the pre-production and principle photograph phases is a success. The editing process involves compiling the footage in an arrangement which tells the story, as well as adding the appropriate details, like transitions, music, titles and graphics, as needed.
A good editor is both creative and technical. The talent and technical abilities of the editor in the editing bay is a paramount aspect of the process and can make or break the final results of any video marketing project.
The creative part of video editing involves making the decisions about what elements to keep, delete, create or arrange in a visually pleasing manner. Technicality comes with the ability to use the software necessary to copy the various elements into a single video and compiling for final viewing and distribution.
We rise above the typical mediocrity of your average video production company. Our award-winning editing team amplifies the final cut of the video, by delivering a much more compressed, lossless (no quality lost) encoded video file.
It’s a scientific fact that music has an effect on mood. Frontiers in Psychology found that music distracts the mind from the outside world and allows us a method of escape. It also helps the listener to invoke a sense of belonging to a given social group and makes them feel accepted.
It has also been reported that through music, a person could control the emotional state of the listener and bring them into any state from calm to angry, by slowly adjusting the intensity of the music. That being said, take comfort in that our musical library has thousands of royalty-free music to choose from. Pairing the right music is a crucial step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ll help you decide what music to choose based on your goal.
We have access to millions of song to choose from for your video project. You have the option to choose a song track with vocals or without vocals. In our opinion, choosing music tracks, with vocals, is perfect for sizzle reels, or an overview of an event. For most corporate video projects, we’ll suggest that music beds without vocals are a better choice.
Can’t seem to find the right music for your project? We’ve got you covered. We offer custom music composed in house by our resident audio engineer. This also means your specific needs and requests will be baked into every facet of the project, creating a truly one-of-a-kind experience for your viewers; dictated by you.
High quality effects shouldn’t stand out, but should blend into the environment. Taking the extra time to create those effects can make a scene look incredibly more realistic, without looking over-processed.
One such effect that we often provide to our clients is sky replacement. Video camera don’t have the dynamic range that our eyes have, so shooting the exterior of a building will always leave the sky looking washed out.
By taking that extra step of sky replacement, the image now comes alive and is if your viewers are seeing it in person.
Green/Blue Screen Videos
Green screen, as well as blue screen has been around for some time and has now gained popularity in the corporate video world. No longer are you bound by location when shooting your video.
Our team will match lighting with the background image, so that you seamlessly blend into the environment. Believability is the key to shooting green screen footage. Light it incorrectly, or from the wrong angles and it just looks bad.From executive interviews to full soundstage green or blue screen Cyclorama wall productions, we can handle most any cinematic project requirements.
Motion and Camera Tracking
We have the ability to add elements to scenes that weren’t in the scene when we shoot the footage. By using special software packages, we can track the movement within a scene and “pin” items to the tracked locations. Ten years ago, this was major Hollywood type effects, but today, as long as you have a good editor, you can add things to the foreground, background, pin logos to objects, or just remove something all together. If you can dream it, we can create it.