Pre-production: The Step You Can't Skip - Midweek Productions
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Pre-production: The Step You Can’t Skip

Pre-production: The Step You CAN'T Skip

Pre-production: The Step You Can’t Skip

Imagine this – You want a video to promote your brand so you decide to find a crew to go out and shoot. You get the footage back but nothing makes sense or strings together. It feels like your video team gave you a bunch of random shots and soundbites but no story.

Our team has seen this far too often and we’ll tell you which critical step was missed – PRE-PRODUCTION.

Pre-production in video is everything that happens before the first shoot to make a project a success. It takes time and due diligence and should not be skipped. Here are some of the things that go into it.

Budgeting, Planning and Scripting:
For the sake of understanding, we can liken it to building a house (coming from someone who’s never built a house). You need to come up with a budget and a plan before you come anywhere near sending out the builders out to do their thing. What can you afford, what do you need and what do you want it to look like?

When producing a video with the Midweek Productions team, we’ll have an initial project kickoff call to discuss what you are looking for and what your budget is. (Refer to Budgeting for your Branded Content to help you figure that out.)

From there, our production team will work on scripting. Pre-interviews are conducted with the potential on-camera talent to see what the real story is, the details that should be included and anything that can be left out. This is where the story takes shape and a script is created to make the story come to life.

Map it out:
Back to building. Once you have an idea of what you want your home to look like, an architect will draw up the plans that include function, safety and design.

In pre-production, this is when the storyboard and shot list are created. This is a vital step to have a successful shoot because it will essentially give the crew a checklist of what important shots to get. This will ensure that everyone involved (from the client team and our production team) is on the same page.

If you are interested in learning about the specifics to build a shot list, check out this blog.

The Logistics:
Just like you need a location and building permit to build a home, there are locations, permits and paperwork that come along with video production.

This is when the pre-production team does research, scouts locations and gets the proper paperwork filled out. This includes, but is not limited to: production insurance, location permits, talent and crew agreements and contracts. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!

Choose Your Style :
Do you want this to have a more vintage and warm look to it or should it be modern and crisp?

Videos (just like houses) do not come in one style. There are different shooting techniques, color and gear to choose from that will have an effect on the style. Cameras, lighting and lenses are just some of the gear that go into it.

For our short documentary Above It All, we knew we would be shooting in a beautiful setting and wanted to have a more vintage look to it. We used Bausch & Lomb, Super Baltar Lenses that originated from Rochester, NY (near where we both grew up!) in the 1950s. Not only did it create a soft look, but we were also able to have fun with flares, like the shot below.

Schedule: Call Sheet:
Most people link pre-production with coming up with a schedule and call sheet and they are correct! The call sheet provides information like locations, crew contacts, weather, emergency information and a schedule for the day.

In addition to the shoot schedule, you also come up with a post-production schedule to make sure deadlines are met.

Why it’s important:
Pre-production is the foundation for a successful video. Not only does it ensure that the ‘i’s are dotted and the ‘t’s are crossed but it creates a clear plan of action to make your video efficiently and successfully. When pre-production is done right, there should be little to no unpleasant surprises along the way.

We get it, once you decide you want a video, you may be excited to get right into the field, or have a fast turnaround, but it’s important to remember that there are many steps to take before the camera starts rolling.

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