If you’re not including the video medium in your marketing arsenal by now, you’re missing out big time. 86% of consumers want to see more videos from brands, and most marketers have risen to the challenge. A majority (87%) of businesses now use videos as a marketing tool, whether to promote sales, improve brand awareness, or simply to engage their current audience.
It’s easy to make a video. A quick shot on your mobile camera and you’re done. To make a good video, however, is another story altogether. It starts with an understanding of video production and the process it entails, regardless of whether you’re producing your video in-house or professionally with a video production company.
Producing a video is more than just hitting ‘record’ on your camera and calling it a day. Video production refers to the process of creating video content in a digital format, and is usually carried out in three phases: Pre-production, production, and post-production. It’s like baking a cake: pre-production concerns obtaining and mixing together ingredients, production involves the actual baking, and post-production calls for the icing to create your gorgeous end product. Below, we’ll go over each phase more comprehensively to aid you on your journey to creating the perfect video.
Pre-production involves all the planning needed for your video. Don’t be fooled by how deceptively simple this sounds, for pre-production, is arguably the most crucial, and tedious, phase of video production. The more comprehensively planned your video is, the smoother the rest of the process will be (and vice versa!).
Ideation: Every video starts with a story to be told. This manifests itself through ideation. Here, you and your team will have to come up with a concept for your video, including who your intended audience is, how you want the video to make them feel, and what call to action you want them to achieve afterwards.
You should also think about the mood, look, and feel you want your video to have. It’s also important to keep in mind the delivery date you expect your video to be completed by, and understanding the constraints that may come with it.
Write the script: Once the skeleton of the video has been laid, scriptwriting here serves as the flesh to fill it up. This should tell the story exactly as imagined before and determines the shots to be taken during production later. The script might go under several revisions to fully reach its storytelling potential.
Create a shot list/storyboard: Once the script has been finalised, shot lists and storyboards are made to create a concrete vision for your team. Storyboards are meant to form a visual representation of the script, and pictures the shots that the production team should be taking during the actual shoots. The shot list is a document that maps out everything that needs to be taken for the video. It serves as a sort of checklist for the filming crew.
Scout and confirm locations: Assuming that you’re filming a live-action video (though animation is in trend these days), you’ll need locations to film in. You should already have locations in mind after creating the storyboards, so this stage involves scouting them out and making sure they line up with your expectations for the shoot. Some locations require permissions ahead of time, so it's best to get this red tape out of the way early.
Define the budget: By now, the budget should more or less be finalised to ensure that you can afford elements like the locations and equipment needed for the shoot.
Book the talent: Several decisions need to be made here, including whether you’d need to hire voiceover narration talent, whether people from your organisation will be in the video, and if you’d need professional actors, among others. You might want to consider hiring a casting agent to find the people you are looking for if the budget allows it.
Get equipment: It is important to secure all the equipment you’d need for the shoot. To start, it’s essential to get a camera, microphones, and lights. Accessories depend on what you need for your video. For instance, if you’d like a fog machine for a spooky effect.
Production schedule: The end of pre-production is nigh. With everything neatly organised, a schedule for your shooting days must be prepared for the crew to follow on the day itself. This will serve as your bible for production: it must include every piece of information you’d possibly need, from the contact numbers of the relevant production crew, to a timetable of each day, at each location.
This might be the most thrilling part of your production: the actual filming! Here, everything planned during pre-production comes to life. If well-prepared, this should be the smoothest, quickest part of the process.
Prepare the scene: Before filming, all equipment needs to be set up according to plan. This includes everything from lights to the camera. Some directors may block out where actors should stand to get the best angle for shooting before actually filming.
Get behind-the-scenes footage: If you’re on-site during filming, it might be a good idea to capture behind-the-scenes footage that could be used for additional content in the future, whether to upload on social media or in another video revealing your process.
Store your footage: As soon as filming wraps up, remember to store the footage in a safe hard drive to prevent any risk of losing everything your team worked so hard for!
If pre-production was the most tedious, and production the shortest, post-production is definitely the longest phase when it comes to video production. This calls for putting everything filmed earlier into one coherent piece, before going under revision after revision to polish it and ultimately reveal your idealised end product. Understandably, this will take time.
Edit your video: This is a highly collaborative process that requires immense trust between all the parties editing the footage. To begin with, all the raw footage is first uploaded and organised into the relevant software. Video editing software includes Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premier, and Sony Vegas. This might include syncing audio from external recording devices as well as footage across multiple cameras.
Afterwards, the footage is assembled roughly into the planned narrative. From then on, editing is an iterative process where the video is continually polished until the editor is satisfied. This includes incorporating in b-roll footage, transitions and removing unnecessary pauses.
Once the overall story of the video is complete, graphics and special effects are added in if needed.
The audio is then edited. Relevant audio software includes Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, and Audacity. Here, loud breaths, hisses, and any background noise that may distract the viewer is minimised as far as possible, before picking music or any other audio meant to be mixed in, including voiceovers. The music selection is crucial for it heavily contributes to the feel and mood of the video. The audio should be equalised to ensure that everything sounds as it should. Dialogue should be clearly heard and background music should not take center stage in the audio.
Colour grade your video: After the video has been more or less completed, the video is sent to a colourist. The colourist first colour corrects. This entails fixing any glaring issues with the video, including standardising variations in colour across different times, locations, and even cameras. Colour correcting could also mean mending an overexposed or underexposed shot, mending the white balance, the contrast, skin tones, and more. All of this is done so as to create a blank canvas of sorts, a neutral baseline for the colourist to get their real work done: the colour grading.
Once the video has been colour corrected in its entirety, colour grading begins. Where colour correcting might be more technical in nature, this part of the process is more artistic in which it sets out to achieve a particular emotion or aesthetic throughout the video.
The look may involve changes in saturation, or colouring towards specific colour profiles. Other changes in this stage include colour separation, vignetting, or even adding film grain for a more retro look if intended.
Upload the video: At this stage, your video is complete. The only thing left to do is to distribute it. The video should first be rendered according to the platform it’s meant to be uploaded on, though the mp4 format is usually used across most digital platforms. Once done, distribution may mean promoting it on social media, using paid advertising to get it to your target audience, or asking influencers to encourage their followers to watch it.
Though immensely rewarding, the video production process is definitely an arduous journey that may seem daunting to most. If you’re keen on making a video and have no idea where to start, consider hiring a video production company with the expertise and resources to help you achieve your goals. Whether or not you do, it’s definitely worth knowing what goes on during the video production process to guide you throughout your project. For quick revision, here’s the process in checklist form for you to refer to when you start producing your own video!
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