When I first started film school my video mantra was – “We’ll fix it in post” but I quickly learned that I could save myself a lot of post-production heartache by spending more time on pre-production and planning before picking up the camera. If you’ve ever worked on a creative project, then you likely understand the benefits of planning before attempting to create something truly amazing.
To help you avoid a potential post-production disaster, plan ahead – creating a production schedule and making sure you have all the essential equipment ahead of time will make a world of difference for all the work that follows. You don’t have to learn this lesson the hard way! Here’s a quick rundown of things you should consider before starting your production:
Review the creative brief in detail and make sure you understand exactly what your client is looking for. For more information on this take a peek at one of our earlier articles for guidance on How to Engage Your Client
Scripting & storyboarding will help keep you and everyone involved with your production aligned on the overall vision and objectives for the video. It may be helpful to have a read-through with the cast and crew before the shoot as well.
Calculate your budget and determine how much time, money, and resources you can afford to spend on equipment, talent, crew, locations, props, and so on.
Prepare a production schedule to keep your production on track and meet your deadline on time. If the production is large enough, consider making a call sheet too. That way everyone involved knows when and where they are needed.
Scout locations & hold a casting call. Find the right talent and get permission to shoot at your selected location. Try to invision how the location will look and sound on video, so that you can determine the crew and equipment needed, which brings me to my next point…
Get all necessary equipment. Rent, borrow, or use an equipment swap program if you are strapped for cash to get a camera, light kits, and microphones.
Prepare the releases and bring them to the shoot for all of your talent to sign and fill out. It can be difficult to track people down after a shoot, especially if it’s on a more spontaneous project like a documentary.
You may want to add or eliminate some of these steps. The level of work you put into pre-production can vary depending on the scale of your project. How do you prepare for your productions? Do you have any horror stories of how you learned a video production lesson the hard way? Share your experiences in the comments!