Video Preproduction: Common Questions and Costly Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to video preproduction, we get lots of questions about the process. Pre-production is the first of three phases of video production where the planning and coordination occur. Honestly, it is the phase that some clients just want to skip over and get to the “exciting” stuff. Unfortunately, that is a big mistake. Everything you do in this phase sets the foundation for success. Here are the answers to some of the most common video preproduction questions.

Why all the questions about company strategy? I just want to make a video.

Thinking it’s just a video is a big mistake. Everything you produce really should be a part of a strategy, not a one off. It needs to be aligned with your organization’s goals, the look and feel of your company. And if you think of it as a one-time thing it likely won’t be very useful to your organization or its brand. If you really want the production company to help you, you need to share your strategic goals with them.  What are your company goals and where do you see the video fitting in?

Who should be involved?

This is tricky. If you do not get the right people involved early on you can head down the wrong path. This is especially an issue with larger companies where you may need executive buy-in or legal sign-offs. Talk about who should be involved. A good way to proceed is to start brainstorming with a larger group and then get it down to a few key decision makers. If the people at the table don’t understand the big picture of the company, they’re likely to miss key messaging for the video. You should also be aware of any company changes that might affect the project. That can include branding updates, leadership shifts, organizational or personnel changes.

How much content can you communicate in a 2:00 video?

One of the most common mistakes is trying to do too much in a short period of time. People have a limited attention span. If you try to pack too much into a video people will turn it off. You can’t overwhelm the audience with too many statistics, too many messages, or too many points of view. You need to be very clear and synthesize the content and we have strategies that will help you do that. One easy thing to do is have three key messages- no more.

Can I use the same video for multiple audiences?

Video needs to be very targeted, and you must consider your audience. Someone that has used your product or service needs and wants to know different things than a new buyer. Advanced training for experienced professionals is different than new hires. If you are a manufacturer that serves different industries, you may want to show how your products are applied to meet their specific needs rather than do a general video. Additionally, what your employees need to hear may be very different than what your customers want to know. If you consider the different audiences during preproduction, you can create a number of different targeted pieces simultaneously using the same raw video.

How do I determine a budget for my video?

I like to say that creating a video is a lot like making a car. We can make a Mercedes or a Kia. Often clients have an idea of what they want to spend. In that case, we tailor the project to the budget. We know how many days we can shoot, hours of graphics and more that can be accomplished.

If you do not have a budget in mind, we offer different ways to produce the content using cost ranges. You get to decide what you are comfortable spending. Start with the end in mind. There are certain techniques and styles that work really well for training. And there are budgets associated with this type of production. Trying to wow someone with a new product or service? This type of video requires a higher level of creativity and production value. And a bigger budget.

A common mistake is to try and do too much on a modest budget. When dollars are limited, keep the production simple and well-executed. When you do need a show-stopper, spend more money. Always align the budget with the results you want to achieve and you won’t overproduce or underproduce your video.

Are you looking to create a new corporate video, or have video preproduction questions you need answers to? Give our team a call and we’ll provide you with the answers you need.

CEO at CK and CO | Website | + posts

Cynthia Kay founded Cynthia Kay and Company media production 35 years ago. The company produces communications for organizations from Fortune Global 100 to small businesses. A graduate of Michigan State University, Kay holds a master’s in communications from Western Michigan University.
She is the Past Board Chair of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the National Small Business Association (NSBA). Cynthia has been honored with many awards including numerous Tellys and Woman Owned Small Business Supplier of the Year from Siemens in 2018. She has been named One of West Michigan’s 50 Most Influential Women 5 times. She is also the recipient of over 30 broadcast awards from UPI, AP and other news organizations.