Tips for a successful production
We've created this detailed planning guide to help you understand the video production process for the corporate, business and promotional videos we produce. It's our goal to have clients that feel comfortable and are familiar with the production process. Sharing this planning guide is one way to let you know what to expect.
We encourage you to take a few minutes to read about the production process, bookmark this page and share it with your associates.
Video is a powerful and effective tool in this age of rapid communication. If you don't include video as an integral part of your business, you are losing ground to your competition that is reaping the rewards of including video in advertising, communications and marketing. Online video is more accessible and affordable than ever.
Rapidly changing technology benefits anyone desiring to produce a video —whether it be a training program, marketing or promotional video. For illustrative purposes, we'll use a corporate video as the production you're needing to create as we walk you through our production process.
We divide our projects into three segments:
1. Pre-production—this includes the creative and scripting process, decisions on budgeting and the hiring of the company that will create your production.
2. Production—the actual filming of the program. A trouble-free shoot is achieved through diligent planning during pre-production.
3. Post-production—during this phase the program is edited. Graphics, titles, logos, music and narration are all added. Drafts are provided for review and feedback. Once completed, the video is delivered as web-ready files. DVD's can be produced if 'hard copies' of the project are required.
It's our job to guide you through the production process so you can focus on your day-to-day tasks while we 'do the heavy lifting' in creating the video. It is a collaborative process, and a client that's engaged with us usually ends up with a better product, but it's our goal to make the production a pleasant experience that you'll want to repeat with us..
With more than 20 years experience in the broadcast and corporate video production arena, the Atlanta Video Production team can often generate estimates after just one phone call with our client. We listen to our clients, their needs and follow up with questions allowing us to prepare an estimated cost for the production.
In estimating a cost, our goal is to maximize the production value for the budget. Some clients know how much they have budgeted for a production, others do not. I'll be honest and say it's much easier to know the price range so we can deliver a budget that's suitable.
You can compare it to purchasing a car. Cars basically do one thing: move you from point A to point B. How you move, though, is another matter. You can spend $15,000 or you can spend $50,000 (or more) to achieve the same goal. Video is similar. You can spend $4000 or $15,000 (or more), but instead of leather seating and satellite radio, we're determining days of shooting, narration options, graphics and editing - even camera options - that make the most of the budget available for the production.
I'm simplifying the budget process somewhat, but it's important to know that just like cars, not all videos are created equal. Your budget determines how much time we have to work on your project.
I should mention that I really like to deliver a realistic budget that won't change - unless you alter the scope of the project. Some companies provide a lower estimate with the idea of getting you in the door, then adding costs once the shoot is over, knowing it's too late for you to walk away. So let me say this again - unless you alter the scope of the project, the estimate we provide is the final cost of the video.
Budgeting and pre-production start the collaborative process on your production, so let's look at what we do during the first phase of the project.
Pre-production is your least expensive part of the project and what I believe to be the most important part of the production process. What you do during this phase can avoid problems later. Similarly - what you don't do during this phase can result in problems later.
If we were building a house, this would be the design phase. We haven't started building as we need a blueprint first. We need to know your objectives and desired results for the video. What do you want viewers to do after watching?
What interviews, locations or graphics need to be included in the production? Do we have access to all those people and places that will aid in making the video a success?
If applicable, we develop a script or outline to guide us through the video so we have a chance to make sure we've covered all the important elements.
We'll ask questions and offer suggestions and tips to make the video more effective. Our years of experience in corporate and broadcast productions are put to use in each of our projects, regardless of size or budget.
A project kick-off meeting is a great time to determine the key elements and sort through the items mentioned above. Even if you have a completed script, it's best to allow input from the producer so refinements and streamlining can be made.
Taking time to refine the script and the accompanying shot list are two of the most important items in your production. These two items determine much of the production (filming) schedule and post-production (editing) time.
We will also determine deadlines, including shooting dates and locations, personnel involved and other logistics relating to the production along with the delivery date.
Some clients like to rush through this section, but just like building a house, it's best to have a good plan and solid foundation before building.
Don't get me wrong, I don't like paralysis by analysis, but working carefully and thoughtfully during this phase almost always results in a better production.
It's our job to guide you and make this a pleasant experience. No two productions are identical, but this overview covers the majority of our corporate marketing, promotional and training videos.
Once scripting is complete and the location scout has been made, shooting days are scheduled. Since the shoot normally involves the scheduling of several people, including you or your representatives, considerations should be made to ensure everyone is available on the preferred shoot date prior to booking the date.
On the day of the shoot, the location should be ready for the crew. If the location include employees working their normal assignments, these employees should receive notification in advance that the production will be occurring. Appearance releases are needed from everyone identifiable and appearing on camera.
For those appearing on camera for an interview, we suggest they wear solid-colored clothing. Earth tones work best but by no means are required.
Filming almost always takes longer than clients expect it to take. We schedule what we believe will be sufficient time for setting up each shot, filming the scene or interview and moving on to the next setup. While we are aware of the impact filming can make on a busy location, trying to rush an interview or skip a meal break is generally not a good idea.
Appearing on camera can be stressful for those not accustomed to doing so. It's our job to help sooth nerves and make our guests comfortable. Having bottled water, snacks or lunch provided goes a long way in keeping them happy so they can focus on giving their best rather than worrying about a growling stomach. In all honesty, the same applies to the crew. A fed crew is a happy crew. If we are scheduled for a full-day shoot, we'll discuss options in advance so arrangements can be made.
The filming days are the most expensive days of the production in terms of labor. Therefore it is important that we have an accurate shot list and script so time is not wasted on determining what to shoot. The director should be able to work directly from the shot list and script. Adding or changing shots and scenes could create an overtime situation that may not be budgeted. Make good use of your pre-production time to iron out issues in the script to avoid problems on the day of filming.
Our gear is travel-ready, so we'll arrive with a cart of equipment (often more, occasionally less depending on the project) and get to work setting up the camera, lighting and microphones. Of course, every production is different, so some projects may take more time than others to prepare for our first interview, event or webcast.
We'll keep you informed throughout the day on our progress and alert you to any issues that require your attention.
It's our goal to have a safe and productive day of filming.
Once the video has been shot, the work begins in assembling the many components, including the visuals, graphics, voice-over and music.
Prior to the first editing session, the footage will be logged and a database created for the location of specific shots, called selects, that we will use in the final video.
The selects will then be placed in order on a timeline according to the script. Your footage is a digital file from capture to final delivery.
A first draft of the video will be created to ensure the proper shots are in their proper place within the program, along with the voiceover track. This is done prior to the addition of graphics or music.
The first draft is then posted online on a password-protected page which allows you to share the link with other project stakeholders. Online reviews allow for faster feedback from our clients and help to keep the project on schedule.
Once the basic line-up of shots has been approved, additional footage (b-roll), graphics, voiceover narration and music will be added in subsequent sessions. We typically go through three to four rounds of revisions on each project.
After final approval, your video will be encoded for the web. We can encode meta-data into your video to aid in search engines finding and offering your video to their search results.
Creating a video can appear to be a challenge, but with our experienced professionals, you'll find it stress-free and perhaps even fun!
Take the time to communicate with us to ensure we know your vision for the production. At the same time, allow us to make suggestions to improve your vision. Seldom have we ever told a client that their video should be longer. We almost always find that the message can be delivered more effectively in a shorter time span.
We've been producing videos for broadcasters and corporate America since 1990 and bring a level of expertise to your production that few companies can match.
From concept to completion, Atlanta Video Production delivers A Higher Definition of Video.
Please call us anytime at 770-558-4059 to discuss your project. We'll be happy to provide a free estimate.