Video Production 101
Quick. What’s this? Well, it’s a clothespin, right? Not on a film set. On set, we use these to clip things near hot lights because it won’t melt or get hot. On set, they are never called clothespins. They are called C-47s. This happens a lot in the film industry. A tool or process that is really quite simple is given a fancy technical name and that can make video production seem more intimidating than it really is.
Hi, I’m Matt Krzycki, the creative director here at at Good Side Studio. The purpose of this video is to give you the information you’ll need to know what’s possible, how to ask for it, and how to be sure that you are getting it when you hire a production company. I am not going to bury you in a lot of technical details, just the basics that you need to know. Producing a video is a four-step process, pre-production, that’s the planning phase, production, that’s the shooting day or days, and post-production, which is editing; and distribution, which is getting it all out there. Before you even start, it is essential to begin with the end in mind.
Start with two questions in mind. Who is my target market? What is my desired outcome? Your desired outcome might be to sell more software, expand your law firm, or get more people involved in a cause you are passionate about. Our desired outcome for this video is not just that you will learn about production, but that you will contact us about producing a video for you. Yeah, that is absolutely true. This video is a lot like what we create for our clients. On the one hand, it will help people anywhere hire any production company.
On the other hand, we anticipate that a number of viewers will see Good Side Studio as knowledgeable and easy to work with, and that they will contact us to produce their video. By the way, the call to action is where you ask your target market to do something related to your desired outcome. In our case, it’s contact us. The better idea you have of who your target market is, the better you can tailor your call to action to achieve your desired outcome. By the way, that is a great test of a production company. Do they ask you very early in the process who is your target market and what is your desired outcome? If they do, it shows that they are organized and focused on your goals.
The first person you will meet pre-production is the producer. You can think of the producer as your project manager. Pre-production is the most collaborative phase of making your video. The producer comes with a certain set of film-making skills, you come with knowledge of your business and its environment, and pre-production is where the two come together to create a strong program. The producer’s first job is to understand your goals and to help you define them clearly.
Your responsibility is to define them. The producer will help you with that, but again, they’re your goals so only you can truly define them. Next, the producer will coordinate the project and let you know what to expect. They will propose a budget, schedule, hire a crew, and present you with options like location. Your job is to make choices from these options and re-direct as needed. If you are providing the location and the people who will be on camera, you may also need to coordinate those things.
The big day is here and we are ready to start shooting some video. You are going to meet a few new people on this day, so let’s take a look as who they are. First is the director. This is the person who directs action, and makes sure you get all the shots to put your video together. Sometimes the producer and the director are the same person. The videographer is the camera operator, also known as the director of photography. The production assistant will do everything from ordering lunch to preparing actors or getting a last minute prop. On a simple shoot, this might be your whole crew. Or, on a bigger project, you might have a hair and makeup artist and specialized crew members who manage the lights and all the other technical details.
The production company is responsible to provide all of the necessary crew and gear. They will manage the recording of the video, and they will manage the schedule for the day, letting you know how things are going, and if there are any changes. Your part should be easy. Basically, be on hand to answer questions that come up, and enjoy the show. Production is a lot of fun, and it is a lot of fun to watch. By the way, if you are going to be on camera, we will make this as easy as possible. All you have to do is be yourself.
The first round of post-production is the rough cut. Think of it as a rough draft of your video. Remember, when you are looking at a rough cut, it’s rough. Don’t sweat the small stuff right off the bat. Editing should be a linear process and you should be thinking about the big picture at this point. If there are big changes to be made, now is the time to do it. You don’t want to be making big changes to a relatively complete video after your editor has spent a lot of time fine-tuning it. A great editor will both listen to your ideas and offer their own. Sometimes the rough cut nails it right away, and sometimes it takes a couple rounds to get the story right.
Once you are happy with it, we have a fine cut. The fine cut should have just the right clips, the graphics are right, the timing is good, and the music should be in place. Once you sign off on the fine cut, the editor is going to take one more pass, and this will be called the final cut. It is where audio gets sweetened, color gets corrected, and the final minute changes are made. The editor’s job is to provide you with cuts to look at. Your job is to give them feedback and re-direct as necessary. Then the editor will make revisions, and when you get to a final cut, you will sign off on that. Whether it’s for TV, DVD, or the Web, how you approve your program is how it is going to go out there. I really want to encourage you to carefully proof your final cut before it goes to distribution.
There are three main ways to distribute your video, broadcast, DVD, and on the Web. If your piece is for broadcast, the production company should handle all of the details for you. If you are going to DVD, they will either handle duplication in-house, or they will manage it for you through an outside vendor. Again, you shouldn’t have to learn a lot about the technical process. Web video has become such a cost-effective way to get your video out there that we have dedicated an entire program to it. Let’s wrap this one up so you can go on to check out Web Video 202 next. Remember, video production is a four-step process, pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution. Start with the end in mind, and keep asking yourself, “Is this the video that is going to get me to my desired outcome?” Give us a call to talk about your project, 206-322-1576. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.