Video Pre-Production

By Scott Davis

| Video Production


The Importance of Pre-Production for Video Production

Every successful video production needs to start with a great pre-production phase.  Whether you’re working with a large or small team of film professionals you need to be as prepared and organized as possible. Pre-production sets up all the elements needed for a good shoot, allows you to plan how your ideas will be implemented, and can even help save money in the long run by making sure there are no unnecessary mistakes on set. Whether your production involves a large budget and crew or you’re working on a smaller scale, your pre-production process can stay pretty much the same. Read on and learn the basic elements of pre-production to help you prepare for your video or film  production.

Why Do You Need Pre-Production?

Think of pre-production as the foundation for a successful shoot. Without it, you’re flying blind and likely to encounter unexpected hiccups along the way. Pre-production is your chance to solidify your concept, map out your shots, and ensure you have everything you need ready and waiting when it’s time to hit record. It can be tempting to rush into filming, but trust us – taking the time to plan and prepare will save you a lot of headaches down the line and free you up to have fun when you get deeper into the production process.

A Producer Can Help With Your Video Production

While you may think that one person can handle all aspects of your video shoot, designated a producer or producers to handle the organization and pre-production will help your project tremendously and can alleviate stress for everyone involved. A good producer is organized, knowledgable about everything happening in the production and is the problem solver for all the, well, problems. They’re like the foreman of a construction site, making sure everything runs smoothly. Is that what a foreman does? I actually have no idea.

A Guide to  Your Pre-Production Process

So we now know why pre-production is important for your film or video project, now what the heck does it involve? It’s essentially two parts: knowing what’s needed and getting what’s needed ready to go. Organization is key. Make charts and checklists to assure you have all the information. These elements could include scripting, scouting locations, hiring crew and actors and budgeting for your project. Let’s get deeper into it, shall we?

Create a Video Timeline

First you should get a good sense of when things need to be finished. We’ll talk about daily schedules a bit later, but right now you can create a video timeline. Here we want to know when shooting needs to start and finish, when editing happens and when the whole lasagna needs to be served to the dinner party. The lasagna is your video, the dinner party is the people seeing your video. Start from the end and work backwards. Know what date you need to deliver your video or post it. Make sure it’s finished before then. From there you can give yourself milestone dates. When does editing finish? When does editing start? etc. Make sure to factor in some buffer time for any complications along the way. Too much time is always better than too little.

Make Sure You Have a Video Creative Brief

Before you start shooting, it’s crucial to have a creative brief and study it. A creative brief is like a blueprint for your video  production. It outlines your objectives, audience, style, tone, and content. You may have received one from a client for this project or your may need to create one on your own. This document will help you ensure that everyone involved in the project is on the same page and that the final product meets your (and the client’s) expectations. Like I said above, make sure to read it several times so you don’t miss anything.

A Script for Your Video

At this point you might already have a script you’re excited to shoot. If not, pre-production is the time to create one. Depending on your project and how you like to work your script could include very specific dialogue and detailed actions or just be a basic outline of what you want to shoot for your video. Just remember that your script is for everyone involved in the production and you want it to help every department as best you can.

A Video Storyboard

A storyboard is another great tool to help every department in your production get on the same page. It can also help in your pre-production process so you can visualize everything you’re going to need for each scene; sometimes things can be overlooked when just looking at a traditional script. When working with clients, a storyboard is also a great way to get your vision across. A storyboard is basically a visual script that outlines all scenes shot by shot son you know what you want to capture. And the best part? It doesn’t have to be perfect or detailed! You can just sketch out what each shot will look like. For more information on the storyboarding process, check out this post here.

Making a Budget for Your Video Production

Filmmaking isn’t cheap and creating a budget can seem like a difficult task, but it’s actually pretty simple once you get started. First things first, think about your overall goal for the project and how much you’re willing to spend. Then, break down the costs into categories such as equipment, talent, location fees, and post production. Don’t forget to factor in any unexpected expenses that may arise. Remember, it’s always better to overestimate than to be left short on cash.

Scout Your Locations

Take a look at your script and storyboard and make a list of all the places you need to find for your filming locations. Finding these locations might take some time but when you lock down that perfectly amazing location it can be a pretty great feeling. Scouting your locations is really important. Even if you think some location looks great online or in pictures, it can be helpful to take a look in person to make sure it’s as perfect as you think, doesn’t have any potential hazards or other problems and, if you need to record sound, isn’t right next door to the airport. Some other things to think about: is there enough parking? Will you have enough electrical outlets? What’s the natural lighting like?  Also, for most projects you’ll need to get clearance to shoot there, including any necessary permits that might be required. Take a look on google for what the rules are in your area.

Hire a Crew

Depending on what your budget looks like you may have a large crew or may just be running with a few talented folks. Either way, having the right person for each job is obviously very important. is a great source to find professionals for each role. Don’t forget to think about finding a great hair and makeup artist as well as a wardrobe person. These are often overlooked part of the crew but can make all the difference in a great video or film  production.

Have the Right Equipment

Make sure you have the right equipment you’ll need for the job. It’s important to check with all the departments to make sure they have everything they’ll need. You might need to look into a rental company for some items, so make sure to think about that when budgeting. (You might also need insurance for this items).

Generate a Shotlist

Making a detailed shot list is a great way to be organized when you get to shooting. Think of it as your blueprint for the shoot day. Not only will it help you stay organized and efficient, but it will ensure that you capture all the necessary footage for your project. Analyze your script with your director and figure out every set up that will be needed the day of the shoot. When you create your shot list you can include lists of every character, prop, background actor and anything else you might need for the day of the shoot.

Cast Talent for Your Video

Finding talent for your video  production is fun but can also be difficult for certain roles. How you find your talent is up to you. You might personally know someone who will be great, or you might hold auditions. You can even hire a casting company to find the perfect actors, dancers or models for your project. Don’t forget to consider if you’ll need some background actors for your video as well. As a producer you’ll need to get talent releases from everyone and work out the payment process as well.

Make a Schedule and Call Sheets

By this point you have your timeline and your shot list, now you can put together your daily schedule. This means figuring out which shots you’ll be doing on which days and at what locations. It can be difficult to fit everything in but make sure to give enough time for every shot and every individual set up. Talk with your director and DP to make sure you know how much time will be needed. Again, too much time is always better than not enough time. Everyone likes when you’re ahead of schedule. And don’t forget a lunch break!

You’ll also need to create a call sheet for each day of production. A call sheet is essentially a schedule for your shoot day that includes important information like call times for cast and crew, scene breakdowns, and location details. By creating a thorough and well-planned call sheet, you can ensure that everyone involved in your production knows where they need to be and when. Plus, it can help you avoid any last-minute surprises or delays. You can find great templates and resources online to put together a working call sheet you can update each day.

Extra Tips for Effective Pre-Production

Now that you know what needs to be done in your pre-production phase of creating you video, here are some additional tips that should help.

Your Pre-Production Checklist is Your Best Friend

One of the most helpful tools you can use to ensure everything is in place ahead of filming is a comprehensive pre-production checklist. By breaking down all your pre-production tasks into manageable steps and ticking them off as you go, you can stay on top of things and avoid any last-minute surprises. It’s also helpful to create checklists for each day of production to make sure everything on set is taken care of.

Use Your Team

Working with a production team is great because everything doesn’t have to always be solely one person’s responsibility. Listen to other’s ideas and embrace any help you can get from your team. Delegation of duties can be a life saver with pre-production.

Be Organized and Stay Organized

You’ve spent so much time getting organized for your video  production, now it’s important to keep that level of organization all the way through to delivery. Use that checklist, make sure all the information you have is up-to-date, make sure the entire team is communicating and letting you know when changes have been made.

A Well Planned Production Leads to a Well Executed Video Shoot

Video pre-production is the best way to ensure that your video production will run smoothly. As you can see, it requires a lot of organizational skills and preparation but it gets easier the more you do it and often you’ll be using mostly the same process for each video  production.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with pre-production for an upcoming video or film production, our team of professionals at BLARE Media are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services and let us assist you in preparing and organizing your next video!