How To Plan Your Business Video (Pre-Production)

September 27, 2016

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If you are a business owner, you should seriously consider creating a business video or series of business videos.

A professionally produced marketing video uploaded to your company website will keep visitors’ attention longer and convert more leads into sales. A video commercial on your company website will improve your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Business videos are also very effective sales and conversion tools on social media and other online platforms. Video is an emotionally-charged, easy-to-digest form of content that has proven time and time again that it can get your company’s story out to the right target audience.

For these reasons, the return on investment on a marketing video is often very high.

But there’s that word – investment.

As with anything, when it comes to professional videography, you get what you pay for.

Regardless, the initial costs required to produce a video promo or series of video commercials can overwhelm many entrepreneurs who would otherwise benefit greatly from investing in business videos.

Everyone wants to save money on video production.

So what’s a good way to keep video production costs down?

The best way to run a cost-effective business video shoot is to plan, plan, and PLAN.

Then you plan some more.

In other words, the secret to great video production is great pre-production.

Here are 6 ways to cut down costs by cutting down on waste — waste of time, waste of money, waste of people, and basically waste of any resources that go into a successful, professional business video shoot.

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1. Batch your shoots together

If you’re planning on doing a series of videos, it is more cost-effective and time-efficient to batch all your video shoots together.

For instance, let’s say you want to produce a video a month for a year. That’s 12 videos in total.

So you and your professional video production team will need to come up with 12 scripts, secure locations and equipment 12 times, gather cast and crew 12 times, coordinate and schedule 12 times…. You see where this is going?

Or you can be smart about it.  You can sit down and write out your scripts all in advance and then shoot them all in one day. Or even two or three days, depending on the complexity of your business videos – the point is, you won’t have to regroup your efforts and expenses 12 times, and you would only need equipment, cast, crew, etc. for a fraction of the number of time.

This extra effort in pre-production will save you massive amounts of time and costs in production.

2. Rehearse

When producing a business video, you don’t typically hire professional actors.

You might hire some professional actors here and there, but for the most part, business videos tend to star real people just being themselves: such as the business owner or founder, the employees, and the satisfied customers. Using real people gives authenticity to a business video, especially when you are shooting honest testimonials from satisfied clients, or happy workers who believe in the company’s purpose.

That said, if you’re a business owner (and not a professional actor) and you’re going to star in a business video, it is very important that you rehearse before the scheduled shoot day.

Rehearse in front of trusted coworkers or in front of a mirror, or better yet, record your rehearsal performance with a smartphone. Make sure you maintain “eye contact” with the camera lens, make sure you maintain confident posture, that your words aren’t garbled or unclear, and even test drive your wardrobe.

Look – no one expects you to be the next Meryl Streep, but you should really prepare for your moment in the spotlight because you don’t want to waste time when production is in full swing.

Sure you can always do more takes, but the more takes you’ll be required to do, the more tired and frustrated you will become (again, this is something non-professional actors are unaccustomed to) and you will actually make more mistakes and your fatigue and diminishing confidence will show through on camera.

If you go in well-rehearsed, the lights, crew, and camera staring you down will be far less intimidating, and you’ll bang out an enthusiastic take without as much effort.

3. Location scout

The location you choose to shoot your business is of utmost importance.

Never assume that a location you have in mind is “just going to work out.”.

Go to the location in advance and make sure the environment isn’t too noisy, that windows and natural lighting won’t interfere with the shoot, that there aren’t too many reflective surfaces that will expose camera and crew that are trying to remain hidden during recording, that there is enough space to shoot with equipment and crew and that all these things won’t be different depending on what day or time of day you intend on shooting.

It might seem trivial, but you would never believe how much time gets wasted because of small, overlooked details regarding the chosen location.

Even if you’re shooting your business video in your own office boardroom, make sure that the space is signed out and booked in advance and that it will be clean and orderly when your video production crew shows up. Don’t waste time that could be used shooting by being unprepared, trying to figure out window coverings or cleaning up clutter that was left behind from a meeting that ran overtime just an hour earlier.

4. Co-ordinate schedules

If your business video consists of several interviews with different people, it will save you time and resources to co-ordinate and schedule them so that they all convene in one location, such as your video production company’s studio.

You don’t want everyone to show up at the same time, though. There is no sense in having people arrive all at once only to have them wait around for their turn in front of the camera.

You will have to schedule your interviews throughout the shoot day, giving each participant ample time to do their part of the shoot, and not have too many people waiting around getting restless, but you don’t want a lot of wasteful lag time between takes, either.

Furthermore, if there are make-up and hair artists involved with the shoot, you have to delegate enough time for these professionals to their jobs as well.

Finally, remember to allot time for the equipment to be set up and dismantled as well.

There are a lot of people and tasks you have to schedule when planning a successful video production, and figuring out how much time people will need can be tricky. An experienced video production crew should know how to handle this, though.

5. Permits

If you are shooting on location, or even just outside your place of business, you may need permission or a city permit to be allowed to shoot in a public space.

Make sure you look into this well in advance so you are not caught off-guard and your shoot is halted or stalled because you don’t have the right paperwork in place.

Worse, you might even get fined for shooting in a place where it’s illegal to do so. You may be surprised how often it is prohibited to shoot video in spaces that otherwise seem open for public use.

If you are unsure whether or not you will require a shooting permit for your business video production, be sure to ask your professional videographer.

6. Don’t try to “fix it in post”

Video editors have an inside joke. They love to laugh at people who think that if you skimp on pre-production and don’t properly plan your production, everything can be fixed later in post-production.

Well, on the surface they may laugh, but really on the inside, they really hate it when people say this.

And with good reason.

Post-production might be the farthest thing from your mind when you are planning a shoot, but every professional videographer knows that you have to “shoot for the edit” or else your business video is sunk even before you begin.

A great videographer already knows what the finished product is going to look like before you shoot a frame.

Do not make the video editor’s job harder and waste their time (and therefore your money) because you didn’t plan well, changed your script at the last minute, and neglected to shoot some essential footage that the editor needs in order for your story to make sense in the final product.

Again, proper planning and pre-production will ensure a smooth shoot, and a fast and seamless edit down the road. And that’s how you keep your costs down!

If you are in the Pittsburgh area and looking for a production company to shoot your business video, contact Josh Birt at Josh Birt Media Productions today. We can travel to other states as well.

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