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Video Production – Understanding and Navigating the Process July 23, 2012

Video is a powerful medium. It moves beyond flat marketing to add excitement and immediacy to your message in ways that mere words and photos cannot. Video is a key ingredient to any successful marketing initiative. If this is your first foray into video production and, well, you just don’t know what you don’t know, below are some tips to help you navigate the video production process.

  1. PLAN: The projects that are carefully planned have plenty of lead time and a clearly defined goal tend to have the best outcomes.
  2. TIMELINE: Define your timeline and work backwards. If your video needs to be ready by a certain date, make that known ASAP so the production company can work backwards to determine when production must start in order to meet your deadline.
  3. BUDGET: Many factors determine costs (crew, scripting, editing, talent, locations, etc.) but if you accurately convey your goal and vision the production professionals will advise on what it will take to accomplish it. If you already have a pre-determined budget, state it upfront. If your goals don’t match your budget, a good production company may be able to suggest innovative or creative ways to accomplish your goals with a different approach. But be realistic…you can’t drive a Mercedes if you have a Honda budget.
  4. KEY FACTORS: Knowing these key factors will go a long way in communicating your message:
    1. Goal for video (sales tool, educational, product demo, etc.)
    2. Audience (corporate types, students, moms, etc.)
    3. Length (be engaging & entertaining but concise and to the point; length is directly related to cost.)
    4. Video elements needed (interviews, b-roll, stock, graphics, animation, talent)
    5. Deliverables (web, DVD presentations, broadcast TV, etc.)
  5. ESTIMATE: Once you relay the above to the production pros, they will (or should) provide you with a line item estimate.
  6. CHOOSE: After deciding on a production company (remember, don’t decide purely on costs. Check out their website, look at samples of their work, ask to speak with previous clients. And remember the old adage…you get what you pay for!)
  7. CREATIVE MEETING: Now that you’ve chosen a production company, sit down with the director/DP/producer or all of them and start hashing out the details. You need to decide on crew, equipment, locations, talent, scripting, shot list, b-roll, schedules and deliverables.
  8. SCRIPT: Draft a script. Whether it’s an outline with message points or an actual verbatim script…have one! It may take a few drafts, but it is your roadmap for the video. Without one how will you know where you are headed?
  9. SHOT LIST: What interviews, b-roll, stock footage do you need to tell this story.
  10. GRAPHICS: Make sure to give the editor your company logo, fonts, color schemes, any relevant animation so your video is consistent with your brand.
  11. PRODUCTION SCHEDULE: Shoot days, locations, crew call times, equipment needs for each shoot. Remember to consider weather, time of day, and surrounding events. Nothing worse than trying to shoot a serene beach shot in the middle of a sweltering day during spring break.
  12. POST PRODUCTION: The editing phase. Determine an editing schedule with deadlines and sufficient time for client reviews and revisions.
  13. DELIVERY: Once approved, confirm your deliverable formats and a final deliverable date.
  14. PROMOTE IT: Now that you have a great video, promote it! YouTube, Vimeo (other video sharing sites), social media, your website, proposals, electronic newsletters, showrooms, lobby, etc.

Lauri Oliva

Lauri oversees business development and project management for Digital Cut Productions.

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