What is Video Production?

What Is Video Production? - Artex Productions - Miami, FL

Do you have a video idea that needs to be brought to life?

This blog post will answer the question: “What is video production?” and provide an overview of the Video Production process. It will also discuss the phases of video production and various considerations in detail so that you can make an informed decision about your video project.

Video Objectives

To produce a successful video, you need to first understand the message that you will be delivering.

Some of the questions you should ask about your video include:

  • What kind of video are you trying to produce?
  • What is your desired outcome and purpose?
  • Who will watch the video and be affected by it? Business? Consumer?
  • Do you want to direct their attention or sell a product?
  • Do they need an introduction before diving into more detail about a topic?

The type of content matters because it determines how much information should be included in the various phases of production of your video.

Ask: Who is this video for?

A successful video knows to whom it is speaking. If you do not have a firm understanding of who your audience is (what they like, how they think, etc.) then be sure to stop and articulate that here. Some videos completely miss the mark by missing the audience.

If you’re not sure, it’s time to do some audience research. Developing a deep understanding of your audience can be difficult, but there are three key ways to learn more about them: interviews, feedback and social media.

Depending if your audience is business or consumer, videos will need a completely different tone. This can have a major impact on the creative process.

Interviews provide insight into the most common problems your customer faces and who they identify with or strive to emulate. By asking the right questions and listening closely for their response, you can get an idea of what they need.

Feedback is news from the front lines – data collected after your customer experiences something you created. It’s often qualitative and in-depth, telling you how people feel about a product or service that they’ve interacted with before deciding to buy it again. Get comfortable hearing direct feedback.

Social media is an invaluable source of research, providing you a direct line to your audience. Are there groups on social platforms that relevant stakeholders are members of? What are they saying? What are they asking? What are their needs? Oftentimes this data can be collected for free or at a low cost.

Get deep into the mind of the audience, and know who exactly this video is for, and this will help build a strong foundation on which to make decisions throughout the video production process.

Video Phases – Process Overview

There is always variation in style, content and budget but no matter what type of video you are producing, the general phases are:

Pre-Production – the planning and coordination for your video takes place during preproduction

Production – shooting or capturing all the elements (footage to film or digital) that will be in your final video (this phase is sometimes called videography)

Post-Production – the phase that includes editing together different elements to create the final video

A brief introduction to each phase of video creation is below.

Video Pre-Production

Time to get organized!

The pre-production phase is where the most video planning takes place and can last for a week or more depending on the video complexity. In order to keep your video production on track, there are a few considerations that need to be made during the initial planning stages. It’s important to make sure that you get together all of the necessary assets like pictures, video clips or audio / music files before production starts. In this phase it is also important to identify any potential risks in your video project so that they can be addressed early on.

Good planning will help ensure your video project’s success, so this is potentially the longest phase of the video production process, but to have the best experience, it’s absolutely necessary.

Tips for success: The most important consideration is what timeframe you are working with. If your project requires a quick turnaround time, it is advisable to notify the team at an early stage so they can plan accordingly.

The Pre-Production Phase includes:

The idea taking shape

Gather up your ideas and start to map out the vision for the video. This is where you crack open your notebook and start to sketch out what this video will be about: Who are we talking to? How does it all fit together? This step can involve a lot of research, since there might not be any material yet that goes in-depth into the subject matter at hand. It’s also good to get creative at this stage: start ideas free flowing and make lots of notes!

Video goals and budget established

As mentioned above, the goals for the video should be outlined, and an initial budget should be determined. It will help to have the budget established to track expenditures on the business side.

Story finalized

Your ideas should come together to form a story. What is the story we’re telling to  our audience? What is the essence of your video, and how does it all come together in a cohesive way?

Assemble these ideas and concepts into a finalized story for your video.

Script created

The story being told is going to need a script.  This is the stage where you can really start to think about exactly how your project will unfold.

The words for an announcer, remarks in sound bites, the script for actors, and matching graphics with music or other sounds: the script is the roadmap for your video production.

The cast selected

If your script includes people, you will need to hire talent to make your story come alive. It is always advisable to have a professional actor, but sometimes amateurs can be used for smaller roles.

The production schedule is set and crew availability is determined

The production schedule, or shooting schedule, is the chronological plan that your project follows to ensure that the video production goes smoothly. It’s a simple breakdown of the scenes, talent, time, cast, company moves, and day breaks. While setting this up, the availability of the desired crewed is confirmed and slotted into the appropriate days. A schedule will help keep the project on track.

Necessary equipment sourced

Besides the common equipment (cameras, tripods, mics, lighting, etc.), is there specific equipment needed for production (stabilizers, drones, etc.)? Does the availability line up with the production schedule? Are there specific considerations, such as shooting indoors versus outdoors, or perhaps the weather?

Scouting locations

When scouting locations, you have to consider the vision for the project’s aesthetics, while balancing practical things like permission, cost, distance and general logistics. A location may seem perfect visually, but it may also come with challenges which render the location impractical for your purposes. Be sure to remember the basics like parking, cell reception, power availability, space for general maneuvering, and bathrooms.

Pre-production Meetings

During pre-production, one or more meetings may be required to identify all the necessary elements of the project. Some of the meeting agendas will include:

Initial fact finding: find out from the project’s stakeholders and video production team what the desired purpose, strategy, and goals for the piece are. If you’re working with an external company, make sure to communicate your branding tone and feel during this phase of the process.

Pre-Production Meeting: At this initial meeting, the primary point person for the project and your video producer will discuss information on the duration of filming, locations to be used, and identity of characters. The meeting can take place over the phone or in-person.

Optional Site Visits: producers and/or videographersmay want to visit the location of a shoot before production begins to get an idea of any challenges that may arise during filming.

Shooting Prep: Prior to the production commencing, your video producer should ensure that scripts have been vetted and approved, questions are prepped for interviews, and characters are prepped. All these details will help ensure smoother sailing come production day.

After all of this, the video content is finalized. A script will be written based on the pre-production meetings described above, storyboards are created to illustrate each scene in detail before filming begins. The script may also include a shot list which lists scenes by number with an indication of each shot’s specifics, including detail such as the camera, shot size, and shot type.

Video Production

Lights, camera, action!

In the production phase, the crew will be responsible for capturing all of this information and turning it into a finished product. You may need to hire different types of crew members (and specialists) depending on what you are trying to shoot – like an animal handler if you want to film wildlife in its natural habitat or professional chefs if you’re cooking.

This phase involves filming all of your content (footage) in order for it to be eventually edited into a finished video. It can also include voice overs, interviews, narration or animation. Any specific ideas around visuals should be communicated before Production ends. An important consideration to keep in mind is the amount of time you want to spend editing. Creative editing can correct some mistakes, but it’s preferred to get what is needed during Production.

The Production Phase includes these elements:

  • Setting up equipment
  • Conducting any interviews
  • Recording audio (voiceovers, etc.)
  • B-roll – any supplemental footage intercut with the main shot

When using an external video production team, be sure to have a point person on set to ensure the production is staying on vision and on brand.

Video Post-Production

After production, the producer and the editor go to work in post-production. They will organize, plan, and edit your video.

Your video will start to come to life as the producer carefully reviews all footage and transcripts interviews. The editor assembles the video story, while a skilled editor performs their magic to perfect it.

Elements of the Post-Production include:

  • Logging the interviews
  • Final story production
  • Music
  • Editing
  • Reviews and approvals
  • Delivery

Your production team will handle all the detailed work of bringing your project to life. During this phase there’s little to do except wait for them while they make your vision a reality. The process takes time, so don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Post-production varies in time depending on the company, but it’s typically between 6 and 8 weeks unless you’ve discussed an alternative with your production team.

Video Draft Review and Delivery

Once your video team has completed the draft of the project, it will be time to bring the point person and stakeholders back in to be part of the review. Assuming that there are some changes requested, revisions can begin. Many times there are a pre-defined number of revisions or hours set aside for revisions when you are working with a video production company.

Once you approve the final video, it’s time to export it to its final format. All platforms (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) have their own specifications for optimal playback. No matter what platform the video is headed to, be sure to communicate the specifics to your video team first.

The Importance of Having a Process

Dependability: Whether you are shooting at an outdoor location, in a studio, or other indoor location, there are many pieces of the production that have to come together. Does the time and place work for all of the members of your production crew and cast? For example, do actors or spokespeople need to be present at a specified location on specific days? These details are crucial, and it is important to do it in an organized, systematic fashion.

Predictable Timeline: Video production takes time. With any project outside of filming with your phone for immediate upload, you have to take some time and put in planning effort beforehand. So, how much planning time do you need for pre-production, production and post-production? Unless you have a process, it’s only guesswork. A proven video production process can help you go from an educated guess to an accurate prediction.

Accurate Pricing: Most production rates are based on time. It follows that the more hours are required to prepare, shoot, and edit a project, the higher its price. When you add extra time and crew, the cost begins to climb. Having an accurate budget is incredibly important.

Fewer Revisions: The end of the video production process shouldn’t involve too many revisions if your objectives are clear from the beginning, pre-production planning is sound and production vision is executed well. Otherwise, if you go through the whole project only loosely following a process (or having no process), your video may end up with issues requiring extra editing and time.

Production companies and videographers may have different processes, but the bottom line is that process allows video teams to maintain a predictable pace, high-quality results, and accountability.
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Read: What Does a Production Company Do?

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