What Goes Into Video Production? (And why is it so gosh dang expensive, Ben???)
Updated: Jul 16
Video production is a multi-step process that involves planning, shooting, editing, and delivering a final product. Whether you're producing social media content, a commercial, a corporate video, or a film, the steps involved in video production are largely the same. With the increase in social media content, some of these steps have been forgotten or deemed unimportant. My goal is to teach you all of the necessary steps to produce a great video and hopefully help you understand why video production can be so time-consuming, expensive, and most of all, WORTH IT!
Step 1: Pre-Production
Pre-production is the planning phase of video production. During this phase, you'll determine the goal of your video, identify your target audience, create a script or storyboard, and plan out logistics such as location, equipment, and crew. Here are some tips for the pre-production phase:
Define your goal: Determine the purpose of your video. Are you trying to promote a product or service, educate your audience, or entertain them? This will help you determine the tone, style, and content of your video.
Identify your target audience: Who is your video intended for? What are their interests and preferences? This will help you tailor your video to your audience and create content that resonates with them.
Identify who YOU are: this is a step that I harp on in everything I do. Many people (including myself when I first started) wanted to be a business for everyone. Maybe in the very beginning, which I call the "Beg-Borrow-and-Steal Phase" that is ok. Trying to just survive your first year or two should be the goal, so I can't fault you there! But as you grow, understand that you are not for everyone, and everyone is not for you. You may feel like turning away clients is a bad thing, until you realize how much more time and energy you can use towards the clients you are perfect for!
Create a script or storyboard: Write a script or create a storyboard that outlines the visuals, dialogue, and other elements of your video. This will help you visualize the final product and make sure you're capturing all the shots you need. It's easier to be creative BEFORE the shoot. Talk about filming from a top view looking down, the Point-Of-View of a fish in a fish bowl, or even below the feet walking on the ground looking up (hint - use clean glass) because once you enter into the actual filming, there isn't much time to think!
Plan logistics: Determine the location, equipment, and crew needed for your shoot. Make sure you have everything you need to execute your plan.
Step 2: Production
Production is the phase where you'll actually shoot the video. This involves setting up equipment, capturing footage, and directing actors or presenters. Here are some tips for the production phase:
Set up your equipment: Make sure your camera, lighting, and audio equipment are set up properly and functioning correctly. Test everything before you start shooting to avoid technical issues later on. Did you bring your cards? Chargers? That one little connector piece you forget every single time???
Capture a variety of shots: Don't rely on a single shot to tell your story. Use different camera angles and movements to add visual interest and variety to your video. Like I said, plan ahead to keep it interesting and creative, but don't lose focus of the big picture.
Direct your actors or subjects: Provide clear direction to your subjects to make sure they're giving you what you need. No one can see what is happening in the camera except for you, so you gotta be an over-communicator! [The WORST :)]
Monitor your audio: Make sure your audio levels are consistent and that there's no background noise or interference.
Step 3: Post-Production
Post-production is the phase where you'll edit and refine your footage to create the final product. This involves selecting the best shots, editing them together, adding music and sound effects, and color-grading the footage. Here are some tips for the post-production phase:
Organize your footage: Sort through your footage and select the best shots for your video. Make sure you have enough footage to tell your story effectively.
Edit your footage: Cut your footage together in a logical sequence, paying attention to pacing and continuity. Use transitions and effects sparingly to avoid distracting from the story. My general tip - if you are cutting to different camera angles every two seconds, then adding in crazy transitions every other second, you need to go back to the basics of how to actually tell a story and capture the moment. You can only mask poor work for so long.
Add music and sound effects: Choose music and sound effects that enhance the mood and tone of your video. Make sure they're not too loud or distracting.
Color grade your footage: Use color grading to enhance the look and feel of your footage. This can help create a consistent look throughout your video. Did you use a LUT? Did you figure out color grade and feel of the story beforehand that best matches the mood and setting of your story?
Step 4: Delivery
Delivery is the final phase of video production, where you'll render your video into a final format and distribute it to your audience. Here are some tips for the delivery phase:
Choose the right format: Select the appropriate format for your video, depending on where it will be distributed and how it will be viewed. It takes me roughly 1.5 hours to export the video from my editing software to my hard drive, and another couple hours to upload said video to whatever video player device I have chosen. It's not just one click and it's all done!
To Sum It All Up
Well, if you look at video production from this point of view, it sure does seem like it will take some time. If you ever see me frustrated, this is probably why. That or I'm hungry. But honeslty, video production is so worth it, and so fun for me and for everyone involved! It's just a few more steps than I think most people realize. :) Thanks for reading!!!