How To Plan Your Business Video (Production)
October 11, 2016
The success of video marketing is steadily rising, and a marketing video will no doubt help your business grow by attracting the right clients, keeping them engaged, and converting qualified leads into sales.
But it’s important to realize that while a great promotional video will do wonders as a marketing tool for your business, a badly produced video will not only be a poor investment, but it could seriously damage your business brand.
Video production may seem very glamorous (and in many ways, it is) but it also requires a lot of work and skill. A video production can quickly derail in the wrong hands, which is why it is a wise business decision to invest in a professional video production crew to plan, shoot, and edit your business video.
The first thing your professional video production crew is going to want to do is sit down with you (the client) and plan everything down to the finest detail. This pre-production phase takes place well before a camera is turned on and a single frame is shot.
Pre-production may seem lengthy and arduous if you are inexperienced in video production, but every good video production company knows that the secret to a great video shoot is meticulous planning.
Once your pre-production and planning is flawless and air-tight, you are ready to enter the production phase and get on with shooting – finally!
The production phase, of course, comes with its own set of challenges.
To help prepare you, here are 5 key elements to executing a successful production.
1. Clearly define everyone’s roles
No one should ever walk onto a set without knowing exactly what their role is.
The director, the camera operator, the gaffer, the boom operator, the grip… all these people work together like pieces of a well-tunes machine to get the job done.
Everyone should be assigned a role in advance and when they come to the set, they should be fully responsible for filling their role. That way, nothing slips through the cracks and production will stay on track and on schedule.
Alternatively, you can also run into problems if crew members’ roles overlap too much. You definitely want to avoid a situation where you have “too many chefs in the kitchen.”
For instance, when too many people try to direct, you can end up wasting time, energy, and focus managing power-plays and conflicting points of view. This dynamic creates an atmosphere of animosity and confusion and is a recipe for an unruly and volatile set, ultimately hurting the video production.
Of course, when you work with a professional video crew, everyone is familiar with the roles they take on, and they are professionally trained to work together as a team.
But sometimes, even when business owners hire a professional video production crew, they make the mistake of not letting the videographers do their job once production is underway, and try to step in as a director, scriptwriter, or some other crew member.
Don’t get me wrong, it is first and foremost the job of the video production company to create a final product that aligns with the client’s needs. Always.
That said, the client goals and needs should all be determined way before the shoot starts, during the pre-production phase. The script, shot list, location, wardrobe… everything should already be decided on by this point, with nothing left open for debate. Ideally, the professional video crew should be fully prepared to take over the shoot and it is in the client’s best interest to step back and let them deliver at this point.
2. Stay on schedule
Time is money in video production.
People, equipment, and locations are all billed for every hour you use them.
So use them well.
You need to be ruthless with your time on a video production shoot. Do not deviate from the plan, from the scripts, the shot lists, etc. Again, if you did the mandatory planning, this should not be an issue now.
Going overtime will not only add expenses, but you will exhaust your crew and talent too. Your videographers and actors will make more and more mistakes the more mentally exhausted they get, and while professionals will have more endurance than amateurs, even they will succumb sooner or later. They are, after all, only human and everybody gets mentally exhausted at some point. Do not mentally exhaust your crew and talent. Pace them so they are good to cross the finish line.
Leave all experimental or superfluous shots for the end of the shoot day, so that if you run out of time, you won’t pay a big penalty.
3. Shoot lots of b-roll and multiple takes
Resist the temptation to get everything in one take.
Always have a backup take of a shot. When shooting an interview, get a close-up and a medium shot, so you can seamlessly recut the interview later, if necessary.
If you’re shooting a pan of some scenery, do a fast pan and a slower pan, because in the editing suite, one might work better than the other.
Shoot tons of b-roll. B-roll is cutaway footage that your editor can use in post-production to cover up awkward transitions or continuity errors that might occur, so your finished video will look smooth. Shooting ample amounts of B-roll will save you lots of anguish down the road in the editing suite!
Also, don’t forget to shoot an establishing shot (or opening/closing shot showing the location where the business video takes place). You often need this seemingly innocuous footage so that the beginning and end of your business video don’t seem too abrupt.
Neglecting to get enough footage during video production will come back to haunt you in the editing suite during the post-production phase of creating your business video. And by then, it is too late and there is little to nothing you can do to save your business video.
4. Focus on story
Never lose site of the endpoint.
Always remember that first and foremost, you have a story to tell.
Do not get caught up in getting complicated or extraneous shots that may end up on the proverbial cutting room floor because they do not add to your story.
Approach video production with the end vision of the final edit already in mind. When you are shooting, know exactly where each piece of the puzzle fits.
5. Keep your cool
Video production is intense work.
You need to manage everyone’s collective energy on set.
For some people, this is about as simple as herding cats.
But it is imperative that your video production crew and talent stay productive, moving forward toward a common end goal, with good humor. There is no room and no time on a video production set for insecurities, mental exhaustion, and overbearing egos.
Work with a team that demonstrates excellent communication skills, even temperament, and the ability to navigate through unplanned upsets. Work with a team who is focused on delivering and over-delivering a final product that wows the client and serves the client’s needs. These so-called “soft skills” will go a long way during video production and make the difference between a good video shoot and a great one.
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.