After working in media production for more than three decades I have gotten pretty good at anticipating the questions that arise about the video production process. Here are the answers to the top five most common video production questions.
What does it take to create a video start to finish?
There are actually three phases of video production that you need to work through to create a great video. Video pre-production is what most people like to skip, but it is critical. This is where you create the plan that drives production and postproduction. It would be like trying to build a house without architectural and technical plans. During video pre-production you:
- Determine the goal
- Develop content
- Decide on a style or treatment
- Vet interviewees
- Scope out locations
- Create a budget
- And more.
During production, you make the plan come alive. You write the script, shoot the video, create sample graphics or animations. You record soundtracks and find music, if needed.
Post-production is where the magic happens. In the editing room, the audio track is assembled. Decisions are made about what interview clips and b-roll shots are used. Graphics and animations go from concept to completion. Final files are created. A good video production company will archive all raw video and completed deliverables.
How long does it take to complete a video project?
That’s a tough one. Every project is unique. Unless you are creating a piece that requires shooting over a long period of time or extended travel, most projects can be completed in 3-6 weeks. However, we have turned projects in a day when onsite at product launches or industry shows. Here is a tip. Don’t rush pre-production. Take the time to be sure you have considered everything and make a good plan. If you don’t you will be making changes that cost time and money.
Are there parts of the video production process we can do ourselves?
This question makes me cringe. Some people fancy themselves as scriptwriters or producers when they do not have enough background to know the pitfalls. Writing for video is very different than print. Shooting with your iPhone often gives you terrible audio. Motion graphics is probably the most difficult thing for do-it-yourselfers. The big question is- what skills do you have? If you have written for video- yes, we are happy to have you take on that task. If you are able to shoot video, do you have the proper equipment, understand lighting and audio? A factor to consider is how long it will take for you to do the work versus a professional. Maybe you do want to take on pieces of the production, maybe not. Take stock of what capabilities you have in-house and what should be outsourced.
How can I be involved?
Every client has different needs and wants. Some of our clients want to be highly involved and go on shoots. That is great and we keep them in the loop with advance notice of scheduled activities. Others just want us to do it, particularly if we have worked with them over the years. The level of involvement is up to you and based on your comfort. You decide- highly involved or just oversee the production. One thing to note. A production company should have a very defined video production process that requires you to review and sign off at critical points. Read the script carefully. Be sure that the location looks good. Approve graphic treatments… and please don’t change your mind after everything has been created. If you do, it may impact your budget negatively. And speaking of costs…
What does it cost to produce a video?
The perception is that video is expensive. It can be but it does not have to be. Costs are based on the time it takes to accomplish the individual production elements. That includes scripting, days on location, talent, hours to edit and produce graphics. If the scope of the project is well-defined, it is easy to provide a tight range of costs. It is more difficult when there are lots of “unknown factors.” That is why it is important to have great communication early-on. There is no rule of thumb for a per-minute cost. That is because it is the level of production that impacts the dollars. A simple on-camera presentation with a few graphics costs a lot less than a sizzle video with hours of motion graphics that wow the viewer.
The video production process can be painful or a lot of fun. Want to know more? We’re happy to answer all of your video production questions or help you with your next project. Just give us a call at (616) 776-0354 or fill out our contact form.