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How To Series: Producing your First Video: Pre-production Part 1

Pre-production Part 1

You have been tasked with creating a video for your company. Where do you start?

You start with a plan.

After 15 or so years of freelancing, I know that there isn’t always time or money for all of these pre-production tasks, but I believe that for any video production, this is THE most important step to creating a successful video. So whether you are creating the video yourself or you are hiring a production company, keep all of these steps in mind.

What is Pre-production?
Pre-production is both a fact finding mission that you explore with your client or boss and a plan for budgeting, shooting, editing and distributing your video.

Step One: Determine your audience.
Are your reaching new customers, existing customers, employees? Or should the video hit a specific target market like teens, or young adults.

And what will the audience come away with after seeing your video. What will be the impact? Do they get to know your company better, are you creating trust? Is this is the best product or service they will find? What do you want the audience to remember?

2. Choose an approach.
Are  you producing a brand story? A customer story?  Best practices, employee incentive or training video? Or is it theme related to open a conference, or tradeshow? All of these approaches require  different types of production. (In future posts, I will choose one of these approaches and walk you through the production process.)

3. How will the audience view your video? And where?
Where will the video be accessed? Your company website, YouTube, Vimeo, your social media page or DVD distribution? A kiosk at a trade show or projected on a screen at an internal meeting. Each of these will need a specific video file format, even require different licensing for stock video, photo and music that you may include in your video. Do your research and make sure you produce a high quality product with the proper permissions for the distribution channel you need.

4. Determine your budget amount?
Once you determine an amount you can spend, it’s time to explore what production assets already exist and what you will need to create. Do you have video friendly graphics? Who could you interview, do you need a narrator or spokesperson? What are the locations you can shoot in?  Just think: (Audience & Impact )+ (Approach) + (Access) = Production Costs. A quick tip, if you have the money, hire professionals for as much of the production as you can. But before you start looking at resume’s be sure to complete as much of the pre-production you can. You will save money if you can keep the planning in house and hire the professionals to write, shoot, edit or be on-screen talent. Your stress level and your video will be better for it!

5. What story will you tell?
What is your video about?  Start to explore the story, keeping in mind your audience and your approach. And don’t be afraid to review what has already been produced for your company. This will give you a sense of how to communicate to your company’s unique culture.

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
 

(From Rudyard Kipling’s, “Just So Stories” )

Try Kipling’s problem solving method of using six questions: who, what, why, where, when and how? This isn’t the traditional way one would use this method, but I use it sometimes to just get started at looking at my subject and story from different angles and approaches.

We’ll use a product called “widgets” as our subject.  The widget has been around for about 10 years.

The who of your story: ” The inventor, or the founder, or a happy customer or great employee? Can you tell the story from this perspective? Maybe the widget itself is the main character. A day in the life? (Example: Here’s a design story from Bentley shot on an Iphone)

What/When are widgets? How are they made. Are they bigger, stronger, lighter, than other widgets. What materials are used, how is it designed, from the ground up? The best time to use a widget? (Example: How to knock off the maker’s design)

Why buy a widget? Does it give you superpowers, make your day better, speed up your work, make you happy? (Here’s one for the girls!)

Where and how to buy a widget. How about “The epic hunt for the best widget ever”! or  a travelogue of your neighborhood and the best part? Yep, where you buy the widget.

So you have your story, your approach, and what format to deliver your project in and a budget. The next steps continue with some more pre-production such as script writing and gathering assets from the company’s design team. Check out next week’s blog for the second part of this How To Series. Or subscribe to my newsletter to get weekly updates in your email.

And now a cat video that is also a product video, or review or something…hey it has cats!

 

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