Step 1: Preproduction Process
You don’t build a house without blueprints. You also 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:
Production Planning Meetings
Preproduction planning meetings save time and money. Miss this step or omit it, and you will throw your money away. Planning ensures everyone is on the same page, and that all parts of the production are scheduled.
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: 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 hedges needed to be trimmed and the landscaper shows us with a three-ton industrial tree trimmer. Site survey’s help us to determine the appropriate equipment needed for your specific production.
Site Surveys have two effects: they keep your cost down and they allow us to be better prepared for the shoot.
Visiting a location before the shoot tells us what lighting will be required, what sound equipment will be needed and what rigging should be brought along. This saves you money, because we won’t bring an entire grip truck, charge you another $1,500 equipment rental, and only use two extension cords from the truck.
Location scouting or site surveying can best be described as a trip to check out the shooting location in advance to spot potential problems and ensure that you have all the equipment needed for the production day. Typically the site survey is done during the same time of day that the video will be shot to understand what to expect during that time frame. There is a host of problematic issues that can ruin any sort, but can easily be avoided with a thorough site survey.
It’s important to determine if there enough natural light, or will the crew need to bring more, and if so, how much more and what color temperature? Another potential issue is background noises that might be heard during the filming. Traffic sounds, white noise of moving water, and voice echoes can ruin your chances for high quality sound.
All electrical outlet locations are noted. If there are an insufficient number of receptacles, the Director may require a generator to power lights, monitors and charging equipment. If outlets are plentiful, but far from the production area, then many heavy-duty extension cords may be required.
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.
Often a permit is required to film in a public place, so it’s important to confirm that you have permission to film and you have a signed property release. If filming is going to interfere with traffic or normal day-to-day business, then we’ll obtain the required permit.
We take photos, and lots of notes during the site survey to use in the storyboarding phase, and to be sure to remember the details of the location after we are back in the office. Site surveys can make or break the day of the shoot, without proper advance preparation, your shoot may be a huge failure.
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’s a series of hand drawings or animated characters showing the action of each scene, and it helps both you-the client, and us-the production company. 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. This tool allows for everyone involved to see the vision of the project. 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...it benefits you.
It’s much easier to move scenes, make changes and add additional scenes at the storyboarding stage than after the crew shows up for the shoot…it benefits us.
There is another reason why storyboards help move the production along smoothly; it helps the editor understand the order of the scenes, and how they should be edited together. The cost of storyboarding saves time and money for tall organizations.
Once the ideas for the project are down on paper, it's time to begin the process of writing the script. 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 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.
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. This is a common mistake of inexperienced video production companies. Scripts should be written in short sentences, so that the observer has a clear understanding of what’s being presented.
The goal of today’s video marketing is to be a high-presence attention grabber. We make it easy to turn out spectacular videos that feature new product introductions, internal communications, marketing messages, and corporate image presentations.
A large part of the preproduction planning process involves selecting a format (or combination of formats) to use for your project. Below is a list of several formats that are commonly used in television and video formats to give you an idea of the styles that might best benefit your goal.
• Interview: Interviews can be formal or informal. A formal interview might take place on a set with the host seated behind a desk. An informal interview could be similar to a reporter interviewing the person in the scenario in which the video references. The interviewer may be seen or unseen.
• Documentary: A formal documentary uses a voice-over to describe the events featured in the video. Another less formal option to having a formal narration would involve asking questions of the actual participants that will lead to a story from which you may cut your entire documentary, in the real words of the participants.
• Video Magazine: Usually two hosts are seated together and banter between themselves between video clips, the tone is light and entertainment value is greater than usual.
• Storytelling: A storytelling piece requires a complete script and actors to perform scripted lines. This is the most complicated format, including hiring actors as real people conveying real emotions and recreating events.
• Talking Head: This is the simplest format. Talking heads can be shot with single or multiple cameras and typically only involve one person reading a script directly to the camera.
• Product Demonstrations: A comparison between the old and new products can be a great element. Product demonstrations feature an expert or actor performing the demo. They can be serious, or light and funny, as long as the integrity of the product demonstration has a clear message.
• Testimonials: Testimonials can be powerful. Informally shot on location, or formally on a set… a testimonial from an expert or an experienced customer or employee is key. Keep in mind that having an expert might provide material that substantiates confidence in your product or company. Sometimes a little science can go a long way.
A storyboard is a series of images and pictographs used to depict the composition of a video, scene by scene. Each storyboard scene consists of the layout of the property, where the scene is to take place, the characters in the scene, camera angles and movement plans, and the dialogue and movement of the actors and/or products.
The storyboard diagrams act as a guide for the production and post-production stages of producing a video, as well as giving the customer an idea of the vision of the video. Without a well-defined storyboard, the video production team’s job becomes virtually unmanageable and there is no guarantee the finished product will match expectations.
The storyboard is a valuable tool for everyone involved with the marketing project. When the customer, director, camera operator, and editing team all have the same understanding of the goals of the video, a quality production is obtainable.
Creating a storyboard also allows the customer and the production team to experiment with different ideas and sequences before filming. Adjustments can be made at this stage, without the added cost of the production and thus saves time and money for everyone involved.
Video production is fairly a new concept to the business community, and thus a vulnerable area for lawsuits. Ultimately, you are responsible for anything that you post in your videos. Unlike some smaller production companies, we have an entertainment attorney available to us, for everyone’s benefit.
We always alert you to any known legal issues during the preproduction process. We’re diligent in getting all 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. Some companies use “popular” music when producing videos for corporate clients, which is a game that we choose not to play.
We pay strict attention to the legal requirements of each shoot. We do our very best to insure that all release forms and contracts are signed and processed. Using a production company who doesn’t adhere to the legalities of multimedia production are taking on huge risks.
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 voice that you would ever need…or want. We’re even good friends with the voice of BARNEY THE PURPLE DIANOSAOUR. 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.
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?
Imagine casting someone from Iron Man III, or Under The Dome, or Super Natural. We can make that happen, and at a price that’s well within your budget. Casting is just another important part of the process.
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.
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”.
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.
Regardless of your requirements, chances are, we can find the right fit for your video. Call today and find out how we can help you find the right talent for your silver screen production.
Step 2: Video Production
Bringing the right production equipment to the job is just as important as what's captured through the lens.
Step 3: Postproduction
The magic created through the eyes of the editor is like icing on the cake. Its also where the storytelling happens.