What is Pre-Production?

July 10, 2020

What is Pre-Production?

So you’re ready to shoot a video, but first you have to get through a lengthy process called “Pre-Production.” But…what exactly is pre-production?

Pre-production combines all of the steps that occur in between the project kickoff and the first day of production. Throughout this article, we’ll take you through the 7-stage process of pre-production. You will gain an understanding of each step’s importance, along with how that step fits into the overall process!

Discovery: Learning About You

Would you trust your brand with somebody who doesn’t know your business inside and out? Of course not! In order to effectively market your business, your video partner needs to fully understand it.

At Consume Media, a 90-minute discovery session is always the first step of pre-production. Our team will dive deep into your company, services, audience and culture. We’ll ask both the easy and the tough questions. This process allows our team to seamlessly integrate seamlessly into your marketing department, enabling us to get a head start on understanding what is resonating with your audience. Some questions we may ask are:

  • ‘How are you currently investing in Digital Marketing?’
  • ‘What are your most popular products/services?’
  • ‘What do you see as the future of your company’
  • ‘What is your company’s spirit animal?’

After this kickoff meeting, our team will have the basic information needed to officially get started on your video strategy! We now understand the personality and style of your brand, your history with recent marketing strategies, and your business goals. The next step is taking this knowledge and creating a blueprint for success. This blueprint is called the Creative Brief.

Creative Brief: Creating Your Concept

The creative brief is where your video marketing plan begins to take shape. We outline which video types you should be focusing on, how long they should be, concepts, styles and goals, in addition to suggested advertising methodologies. Every creative brief is different, as every company is different. A fashion firm needs different videos than a B2B Technology firm. A local company needs a different strategy than a global firm. We use the information learned during the discovery session to create a strategy tailored directly to your business’s needs and goals.

We rarely expect the initial Creative Brief to be the same as the final version. There is always room for revisions, and we will always listen to your feedback and work together to create the perfect recipe. Once the Creative Brief is approved, it’s time to begin the script writing process.

Scriptwriting: Telling Your Story, Verbally

After learning about you and creating your initial video marketing concepts, it’s time to begin the storytelling process! The backbone of any great video is a well-written script, which will vary greatly depending on the type of video we’re producing. For example, a customer testimonial video is not about writing a script, it’s about coming up with the right questions to ask. A brand video can be creative and include chickens and unicorns, or simple and straightforward. A video blog should be educational and informative. All of these scripts need to be written with the appropriate voice, style, and personality that reflect your brand and work toward achieving the goals we set during the discovery session.

From SaaS to municipalities to non-profits, our script writers have told the stories of companies of all sizes and varying industries. Your discovery session is the key to your scripts. The more information we learn up front, the more knowledge we will have to tell your unique story.

Storyboarding: Telling Your Story, Visually

Now that we have crafted the message, it’s time to create the visuals. While the script is the backbone of your story, the storyboard is the blueprint for your visuals. There are two documents that must be created during this stage: the shot list and audio-visual timeline(A/V).

A shot list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of the shots that we want to capture during production. Using both the concept and script as the guide, we brainstorm the shots that will bring the story to life. Here we decide not only what we want to capture, but also how we want to film these shots. Is this a close-up shot, or is it wide? Is the camera static, or is it moving? Are we using a crane or a drone?

The audio-visual (A/V) timeline combines the script with the shot list, showing how the audio and visuals interact throughout the video. This document will typically have two columns, where the right side is video (shots), and the left side is audio (script). By separating these two aspects and laying them side-by-side, the A/V timeline creates an easy-to-understand summary of how the video will ultimately look.

Production Schedules: Organizing Your Shoot

We are making moves! Our video now has a script, shot list, and most importantly, the A/V timeline. We now know exactly what we need to do on set in order to create the video(s) of your dreams. The next step is to organize the shoot and create the production schedule.

A production schedule has two main purposes. The first purpose is to set client expectations. There is nothing worse than arriving on set and being clueless as to how the day will unfold. By setting a production schedule, both the client and producer are on the same page. If there is some part of the schedule that doesn’t make sense, the client has the opportunity to review and send out any necessary changes before the shoot date. The second purpose is obvious–to keep the production on schedule. While there are often minor changes that occur on set, having this foundation keeps everything organized and on track.

Casting: Choosing Your Talent

Not every video requires professional talent, but for some videos- this step can make all the difference. For example, you would never consider casting talent for your ‘customer testimonials‘ video; you want these reviews to be 100% authentic. However, for a brand video, casting can be key.

When casting, it’s important to choose wisely. You want to make sure that your talent appropriately represents your company and that they are relatable for your ideal customer profile. If your audience is relatively young, we cast young talent. If your audience is wealthy, we make sure they wear the appropriate clothes to play the part. Using professional talent can enormously increase the production value of your video at a cost that’s manageable for most budgets.

Location Scouting: Choosing Your Scenery

Like casting, location goes a long way in determining the look and feel of your video. For customer testimonials, it’s important to choose a location where your customers feel comfortable, like their office. Speaking on camera doesn’t come naturally for everyone, so it’s important to take every step possible to make sure the testimonials look natural.

For non-testimonial videos, the location depends on how your company brands itself. Your video can be shot anywhere from vibrant offices for a young, professional feel, to home locations for a personal, heartfelt feel, or anything in between!

Last But Not Least

As you can see, pre-production is a crucial and detailed phase of the video production process. It’s a long and creative process that doesn’t happen overnight. Fortunately for you–we make it fun! During this process, everything is fluid. We have full control to alter the script, A/V timeline, locations, etc. We also have the ability to find inspiration from award winning videos, and devise similar approaches that make your video look like a million dollar production. Your video producer will take care of all of the paperwork, allowing you to worry solely about the creative process and approval.

Our team at Consume Media is very experienced in the pre-production process, and truly believe that this is the most important of all of the video services that we offer. Years of learning and adapting our process has led us to this fool-proof approach. Our clients love the fact that they are always informed and have the power to make changes to the video before the cameras have been turned on. The only surprise we want our clients to experience is the surprise of receiving videos that are better than they ever imagined! If you’d like to learn more about our process, and video marketing in general, click “Let’s Chat” below to schedule a free video marketing consultation!

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