Strand Studios

The Production Process

The Video Production Process

Before entering the video production process, you should have already established what your overall strategy is. Do you know who your audience is or the audience that you’d like to target? Do you have a clear set of objectives? Are you aware of the kinds of videos that your competitors are producing? Do you understand what makes for an engaging story? Do you have a plan for marketing and know which format you’d like to use?

If you have answers for all of that it’s time to move onto the video production process.

Pre-Production

The first part of the process covers all the initial research and planning for the video.

  • Storyboarding & Scriptwriting: Once you’ve established the brief it’s time to move onto the script. You can use software like Celtx which helps with professional script formatting. If necessary you can work with a storyboard artist to sketch basic illustrations of shots, ideally you would want a directors input for this.
  • Location Scouting: Once you have the script it’s wise to sort out which locations you’d like to use for filming. Certain locations might require permissions. When possible have a location scout visit the location prior to the shoot to feedback room dimensions, light sources etc.
  • Legalities: Consent release forms are required from anyone appearing on camera. Make sure you’ve got permits and your health and safety regulations in order.
  • Casting: Find people to be in the video, you might want to use staff or hire in actors. Depending on the budget and scope of the project you may consider holding auditions and read troughs before arriving on location to shoot.
  • Hiring Crew: You’ll need a crew during the production phase. Depending on the scope of the project you may need more people. At the very least you’ll need a director, camera person and sound operator. Increasing the scope you could also bring in someone for makeup, lighting technicians, camera assistants (for more complicated setups), a data manager. There are a lot of specialised roles which improve quality while mitigating risk.
  • Renting Equipment: Some crew will own kit but at the higher end of the production market equipment is very expensive to own out right which is why many productions rent.
  • Production Management: You will need someone to work as a producer, which means working with the director to organise the shoot. From hiring in talent and equipment to scheduling and keeping on top of the admin side of the production.
  • Asset Building: When making an animated video, graphical elements need to be prepared for the animation process.
  • Scheduling: The producer will look after the schedule, produce call sheets and make sure the production stays within budget.
  • Directors Prep & Shot List: The director will likely pre plan shots, if they haven’t opted to use storyboards a shot list can often help with the running order of the shoot day.

There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to planning a shoot, a video production company can guide you through this process. Always have a contingency plan for when things don’t go to plan. Sometimes circumstances out of your control can delay a project.

Production

There’s a hierarchy on set which needs to be respected so that the production stays on track and doesn’t become confused. At the top is the director, he/she will lead the charge and will consult with the rest of the crew throughout the day in order to get the project done.

  • Directing: Has control over any creative decisions during the shoot. They will work closely with the cinematographer, DoP (director of photography) or camera operators regarding which shots need to be captured. They will also work closely with the on screen talent to get the right performance. On bigger shoots the director will have supporting staff as a 1st/2nd/3rd AD (assistant director).
  • Art Direction: The art director works closely with the director and is in charge of props, styling, wardrobe and the finer details needed to make the video look the way it’s intended to.
  • Producing: The producer will keep an eye on the time during the shoot. They will organise cast and crew, if need be they will secure accommodation and travel details for anyone involved.
  • Cinematography: The responsibility of the cinematographer will fall on the person operating the camera. Camera crews can be big or small depending on the type of gear being used. It’s not uncommon to have a camera assistant and a separate focus puller. Sometimes more specialised operators will be hired such as gimbal operators or drone operators.
  • Lighting: The visual tone is often set by the way the actor and location is lit. Lighting technicians exist for this very reason.
  • Sound: On location sound is important, when possible you will need a lav mic setup with additional backup mics. The on location sound operators job is to listen out for any audio interference during the take.  
  • Data Technician: Sometimes refereed to as a DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) will create data backups of the footage captured on location, some also grade on set.
  • Photography: The photographers job is to capture all the behind the scenes for additional promotional purposes.

There are additional roles that come into play on bigger productions. The general premise, the bigger the budget, the more staff, the less risk involved with each person filling a specialised position.

Post-Production

The final section is where the finished film comes together. The director and editor will work together to bring the film to life.

  • Editing: The editor will be in charge of stitching the footage together and organising the edit. They can sometimes work with directors or the client directly regarding sequence changes. 
  • VFX: Titles, logo animations, backgrounds, kinetic typography, there are a lot of uses for VFX in live action video. Any graphical assets needed in the video can be implemented at this stage.
  • Sound & Music: Audio can be added at this stage. It’s important to have the proper licensing for music that’s going into the final video. You cannot use any piece of music, you must obtain a music license. Production companies can help with this process finding additional audio which is legal to use.
  • Voiceover: If required the voiceover will be added into the video during the post-production phase.
  • Colour Grading: The final stage of the process is the grade, colour grading sets the tone for the entire video. It’s wise to hire a specialist for this position so they don’t push the footage to far causing it to decrease in quality.

And that’s everything you need to know to get started in the world of video. If you’ve found this training useful and would like to discuss a project, get in touch.