What Does Video Production Entail?


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What Is Video Production?

Video production is the process of producing video content. It is the equivalent of filmmaking, but with images recorded digitally instead of on film stock.

  • Videos come in many shapes and sizes, from a simple iPhone video all the way up to major Hollywood films. For most videos, there are too many moving parts to leave your process to chance.
  • There are three stages of video production: pre-productionproduction (also known as principal photography), and post-production.

What is the video production process?

Video production is more than simply pressing the record button on your video camera. The process of creating a video from concept to completion consists of three phases: Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production. Phase one (Pre-Production) is where all the planning and coordination happens, phase two (Production) is when you capture all the elements that will be in your final video and phase three (Post-Production) is where all the elements get edited together and combined to create the final video.

Explaining the Video Production Process

While the video production process will vary based on the style, content, timeline, effort, and budget, there are some basic building blocks that are common among successful video producers

Phase One: Pre-Production

The first step in the process of creating a video is all about preparation and setting the groundwork. During this phase, it’s essential to do the planning, research, problem-solving, and organization necessary to set your video project up to be successful.

The pre-production phase includes:

  • Video strategy/goals
  • Budget/scope
  • Story selection
  • Project timeline
  • Script creation
  • Talent/characters
  • Production team/equipment needs
  • Location Scouting

In order to identify all of these elements, it’s important to conduct a series of meetings. Again, this process will vary based on the team and the scope of your project, but here are some basics to help you get started

What Does Pre-Production Entail?

  1. Fact-Finding: Bring your company stakeholders and video production team together to discuss the purpose, strategy, and goals for your video and how it will be used after it is finalized. If you are planning to work with an external video production company, this is the part of the process where you’ll want to communicate things like branding, target audience, and the tone and feel for the piece. 
  2. Pre-Production Meeting: This meeting is typically held between your video producer and the primary point person for the project. Make sure to set the timeline, identify the characters, and finalize any location details. This meeting can be done over the phone or in person.
  3. Site Visit (Optional): Depending on the complexity of the shoot, it can be helpful to do a site visit to your location, especially if neither the producer nor videographer has seen it.
  4. Shoot Preparation: Prior to showing up on-site for your video shoot, your video producer should ensure that scripts have been reviewed and approved,  interview questions discussed, characters are vetted, a schedule is finalized and locations are confirmed. All these details will help ensure that the production phase goes smoothly.

Phase Two: Production

  • The meetings are over, the preparation is complete. Now, it’s time to have some fun! The production phase is where you capture all the interviews and footage for your video. This is the part where the story begins to come to life.
  • The production phase is where all the raw materials for your video will be captured. If you have specific visions, ideas, or visuals that you want to be included in the final product, be sure that you have clearly communicated that with your producer before the end of the production phase.

What Does Production Entail?

  • Setting up the sound/lighting/video equipment
  • Conducting interviews
  • Recording voice-overs (if they are needed for your project)
  • Capturing b-roll (extra footage that is used to support your story)

Especially if you are using an external video team, we recommend the primary point person is on location to act as the conduit between the video producer and your brand.

Phase Three: Post-Production

  • After the production phase is finished, the producer and editor go to work. During the post-production phase, your video production team will begin the process to organize, plan, and edit the actual video.
  • Your producer will carefully review all the footage and transcribe all of the interviews conducted. Then, they will assemble the story and the video editor does their magic to bring all the pieces together.

What Does Post-Production Entail?

  • Logging the interviews
  • Producing the final story
  • Music selection
  • Video editing
  • Reviews/approvals
  • Final Delivery

Your video production team will handle all the nuts and bolts of making your project come to life. So, just sit tight and wait for the magic to happen. This process takes some time and creativity, so don’t expect that it will happen overnight.

Every production company will have different timelines for the post-production phase, but you can plan for it to take approximately 6-8 weeks unless you’ve discussed another plan with your company

Note: if you are looking for a project with shorter turnaround time, be sure to mention that to your video team. Many companies have the ability to work within your timeline if you make that clear from the beginning of the project.

Once your video team has created a draft of the video project, it’ll be time for your project point person and key stakeholders to step back into the mix:

  • Initial approval and revisions: Once the initial version of the video is edited, it’s time to review the work. Assuming there are some changes that need to be made, the revision process can begin. If you are working with a video company, there may be a predefined number of revisions or hours set aside for revisions.
  • Final Delivery: Once the video is finalized and approved, it’s time to export the video to its final format. If you are planning to use the video on a specific platform (or platforms) be sure to communicate that with your video team. All platforms (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) have slightly different specifications for optimal video playback.

Why Is A Video Production Process Important?

  • Dependability: Whether you’re shooting on location, in a studio, at your office, or at a friend’s home, there are a lot of moving pieces that have to come together. Does the time and place work for all members of the crew? How about actors or spokespeople? Identifying all of these details is crucial, and it is essential to do it in a logical, systematic fashion.
  • Predictable Timeline:  Video production takes time. For anything more than an iPhone video, you don’t just pick up a camera one day and have a video in your hands the next. So, how much planning time do you need before the shoot and how much editing time afterward? It’s only guesswork unless you have a real process. An established and tested video process can help you go from an educated guess to an accurate prediction.
  • Accurate Pricing: Speaking of pricing, most production rates are based on time. The more hours required to plan, shoot, and edit the project, the more it costs. And when you add extra days or crew members that obviously add to the total time (and price). 
  • Fewer Revisions:  When you nail down your objectives, discuss the details in pre-production, and then execute to match your vision, you shouldn’t end up with many revisions at the end of your project. On the other hand, if you go through that whole project without a real process, you may end up with problems that require extra editing and time to resolve.

Different production companies and videographers may have different processes, but the bottom line is that process allows video teams to have a predictable pace, dependable results, ensures quality and accountability

Making Video Production Even Smoother

Now you know the steps it takes to produce a corporate video, you’re ready to dive into your first video project without fear. But before you go, here are my last tips on making video production as smooth as possible:

  • Be organized. Do your research in good timing. If you want to use your logo in the video, get a high-quality version ready to save rushing around at the last minute.
  • Remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Don’t spend forever on endless revisions. Create a video that you’re happy with and that fulfills the brief, and then let it loose!
  • If you don’t have the expertise, resources or time to produce video content in-house, look externally. Find the right video agency for you and let them guide you through the process.
  • If you’re working with professionals, trust them and let them do their jobs. You chose them for a reason after all. So if they tell you something isn’t working in your script, they’re most likely right.
  • Keep learning and trying new things. The only way anyone becomes an expert in the video is through practice and experience.

What are the common problems in video production? 

The one great thing about this business is, there’s something new every day. The one bad thing about this business is, there’s something new every day.

Whether you’re an experienced videographer, just starting out, or considering taking the plunge into the freelance life, there are challenges you will face throughout your career. The good news is that you’re following in the footsteps of many people who overcome these obstacles every day and here’s some practical advice on dealing with them.

1. Lack of communication

It is really in need that the client to be an active part of the process. Active also means timely If delivery of a series of videos is done, and there is feedback from you after a couple of days about changes that you need, but then there’s radio silence for two weeks, it is assumed that everything you wanted fixed has been attended to. It really doesn’t help you to call three weeks later and say “Oh, and I want to change this, this and this.” Your time is valued, and same courtesy is expected from the clients. So, if you’re going to give feedback, make sure it’s all the feedback, or at least give a head’s up that you may need more time to go over the videos more thoroughly.

2. Scheduling delays

From the client’s standpoint, common problems can include scheduling delays sometimes because of unforeseen problems like equipment failure or a staffing crisis, other times because of unavoidable problems like bad weather for outdoor shoots or sudden inaccessibility to a shoot location, disagreement on crucial elements like graphics and animation or the mode of editing, extensive script rewrites, and a final product that looks good on its own but doesn’t fit in properly with a larger business plan or social media campaign.

Except for the problems involved with scheduling, all the above issues can typically be dealt with through thorough communication with the video production company. It’s rare that clients and a production company are so in tune with each other that everything is a flawless mesh from the start. Patience is rewarded.

3. Finding work

The most immediate challenge every freelance videographer will face is finding clients. This isn’t a onetime challenge; it will be the reoccurring theme of your entrepreneurial journey.

When first starting out as a videographer, you will probably apply for everything hoping to get something. This may be a necessity to get a steady paycheck, but it can have a detrimental effect.

Decide the type of video you want to specialize in, build your website and showreel to emphasize that you are an authority in this style of content and start applying for jobs. Many platforms offer the chance to bid for video projects of all sizes, such as peopleperhour.com, freelancer.com, freelancevideocollective.com, and indeed.com, which can be a great place to look for regular work.

The best way to find new clients is through word of mouth and referrals from your happy customers. The more customers you have, the bigger your network of references is, and the more likely it is that you someone will recommend you for future video work. That said, you will only get referrals from satisfied customers, so you need to manage your clients well.

4. Managing clients

The most satisfying form of work a videographer can get is repeated business. Whether it’s within weeks, months, or even years after a project, having the same client come back to you is a great feeling. This is possible when you treat customers correctly and deliver quality work on time and budget.

Communication is vital, especially when managing expectations. It is a good idea to have a Workflow Guide that you can send to clients when pitching for work. Detail your production workflow, including shoot preparations and how you deal with edit reviews and delivery of the final film. It doesn’t need to be extensive, but this initiative can put a client at ease by understanding the process and knowing their project is in safe hands. It can also be an ideal opportunity to create basic terms and conditions; for example, limiting the number of reviews the client can have on each film.

Business owners can be nervous when commissioning video content: substantial time and budget are often spent on productions, and there is a lot of pressure to get it right. One big part of your job of a videographer is to guide the client through the process, troubleshooting as you go. Don’t actively mislead your clients if there are problems, but be ready to get creative in solving them.

5. Pricing

The biggest challenge to working as a freelance videographer can be knowing how to price your services. If you’re working on your own, be prepared to cover most roles throughout the production. This may also include planning, location recces, script editing and storyboarding. Don’t be afraid to charge for these pre-production duties when required.

The expectation is you’ll have Day and Hourly rates for your shooting and editing services. When starting out, expect your rates to be lower, but they’ll rise in line with your experience and skills. For post-production, it’s not unusual to differentiate between rates for standard offline editing and online steps (grading, audio mix, titling) and even motion graphic creation. Knowledge of advanced programs like Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion should be reflected in a higher rate.

When deciding on your filming rate, consider how much input is required from you on a shoot. If you’re being hired just as a camera operator as part of a larger crew, you’ll have fewer responsibilities than being a self-shooting director. Before filming talking head interviews, learn from your client whether you’ll be required to direct people inexperienced with being on camera.

One crucial factor in setting your fees is to consider your kit. If you have your own gear, the value depreciates over time. Whether you have a separate charge for the use of your equipment or it’s factored into your Day rate, that money should be there to cover the cost of insurance and long-term replacement of existing kit.

6. Keeping up to date with kit

Committing to a particular camera might dictate the work you can undertake. If you want to combine photography with video, DSLRs and their mirrorless cousins offer great flexibility. If you lean more towards event filming that requires long record times–such as conferences or sporting and artistic performances – a video-only focused camera might be a better investment. Those without a fixed lens still allow you to invest in glass to achieve more creative and even cinematic results.

The continuous advancement of digital cameras might make you feel you’re already behind as soon as you make a purchase. Likewise, a client might require 4K image resolution, stabilization, or gimbals that you don’t own. Thankfully, the rise in peer-to-peer rental sites has made trying and hiring kit easy and affordable. Platforms such as Fat Lama and Kitmapper are full of fellow professionals offering their equipment for convenient rental. If you do make an upgrade to your kit, you can use these services yourself as a seller, to make money from your gear even when you’re not using it.

Don’t be afraid to be upfront with clients about when any extra kit is needed to be hired in for a job, as ultimately, that should be budgeted for and not paid from your own pocket. After all, you’re trying to earn a living, and retaining profit is the only way that’s possible.

7. Finances

With money in mind, it’s vital you have control of your finances from the start of your freelancing adventure. Services like QuickBooks and Xero offer accounting tools that are simple to use once you grasp the basics. More importantly, they make invoicing – the most critical part – easy.

Consider the tax implications and variations in responsibility between operating as a Sole Trader or as a Private Limited Company (Ltd.) Some larger corporate clients many only work with suppliers listed as limited companies, which will require you to learn about how such entities are structured, the level of accounting, and the mechanics of paying yourself.

Ultimately, all forms of tax are legal issues, and compliance is worth taking seriously to avoid being caught out in the future by shortcuts taken in the present. Talk to HMRC about your options and don’t be afraid to ask them for help at any stage. When looking for an accountant, start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or fellow videographers.

Set aside money each year for insurance and accounting fees. If a couple of projects per year cover these costs, it’s well worth sacrificing immediate gain to be covered when policy renewal and Self-Assessment season arrives.

There are many more challenges you may face in your career as a videographer, but if you can master these few, you will have a solid foundation for a successful business.

Conclusion

While every production company and video project are different, there are some key elements that will help your video project go as smoothly as possible. Whether you are working with your internal video team or a video production company, make sure that you have an established video production process that helps account for all the different variables of your project.

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