Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Well Begun is Half-Done"- Preproduction Planning Guide by Victor Van Rees & Tom Oates

Aristotle, an early proponent of detailed preproduction planning, is credited with the phrase - “Well begun is half done”. Surprises and change orders mid-project tend to derail a production schedule and increase costs. Thinking through all the details of any project will not only keep your production on budget, it will enhance the quality and effectiveness of your video. The following is a check-list of items to consider when planning a video project...

PART ONE: Creative Approach/Messaging

  • What is the objective of the video? What do we want the audience to think, feel and do after viewing the video?
  • Who is the ideal viewing audience for your video.
  • How will the audience benefit from watching the video?
  • What key messages do you want to get across in the video?
  • Who is going to write the script?
  • How much specificity, facts, figures, talking points must be provided to the script writer?
  • What is the desired tone, manner and mood for the video?
  • Is there any existing video footage or graphics that can be re-purposed in the video? 
  • Can stock footage/graphics be utilized in place of original location shooting?
  • Have you identified individuals to be speakers in the video?  If so, how people will be included and are there bios and photos available for each person?


PART TWO: Production

  • What specific geographic and/or building location(s) will be required for shooting the video?
  • Will crew travel be a cost consideration – most labor is based upon portal-to-portal?
  • Are there additional locations available for b-roll shots or atmospheric shots that might be needed for cutaways - people working, building amenities, etc? 
  • Has a shoot location(s) within the building been determined - Rooms/Location
  • Is the location ‘noise secured’? (clear of construction/traffic or outside noise, office conversations, elevators, foot traffic)
  • Are there windows at the location (will we have to contend with sunlight/exterior lights)?
  • Will outlets for lights be available and will there be a building electrician or maintenance person available?
  • On the day of the shoot, what hours will we have access to the location? (we may need to arrive early for set-up and stay late to finish the shoot). The crew normally arrives approximately 90 minutes prior to the scheduled “roll tape” time.
  • Will the building/location be accessible? (i.e. not locked if it is too early/late in the day)?
  • What is the parking & loading protocol? What information will building security need for all crew / vehicles involved?
  • Who should the crew contact upon arrival? (name, phone number, email address)?
  • Are location or filming permits needed for this location? Have they been filed with appropriate offices? Will copies of the permits be needed on-site during filming?
  • Is a separate insurance rider – Certificate of Insurance (COI) - needed for this shoot? Will a copy of the COI be needed on-site?

PART THREE: Post-Production

Prior to editing, all music, graphics and voiceover narration must be finalized.  Plan for  the following items prior to initiating post-production and editing, either before, or as soon as possible after the shoot is completed:
  • Do you have specific ideas on music or voice-over talent for your video or would you like suggestions? 
  • Is there a corporate branding guideline to be followed?
  • What type styles for titles or other text in video?
  • What graphic design and colors should be considered for transitions?
  • Are their existing charts, graphics or photos to include, and do they need enhancement?
PART FOUR: Deliverables

  • What format – DVD or web based?
  • Are either custom design labels and packaging required?
  • Closed captioning required?
  • Foreign language versions required?

Now you have considered nearly every element for budgeting and planning your next video project. You can now expect a more accurate budget, a better production experience and less stress.

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