5 Tips to Succeed At Pre-Production


It is sometimes hard to tell when pre-production starts and ends. Pre-production ends ultimately as soon as you pull into the location and begin unloading the gear. The key to being successful is to be as prepared as possible, however you don’t always have the time to do a camera test or even scout a location. So what do you do? You have a lot of options, but here’s what we do at 522.


Know The Client’s Goals and Audience

You can’t tell the story without knowing this information. To ensure the video is effective, you need to know who will be watching the video and what you want the viewers to do after watching. This tip sounds simple, but it needs to be done first before you can go onto the next step. Furthermore, if it isn’t done completely, you run the risk of not fulfilling the client’s requirements. Make sure you take the time to listen to the client and ask any questions. Do not move onto the next step until this is complete.

Get Your Team Together

Although the items do not necessarily need to be in order, It is important to inform members on the team what is going on. This allows them to do a little research and get the wheels moving on the project. If it is up to the creative team to find locations, the team must begin calling potential places to shoot- in order to gain permission, and they must figure out if there are any cost associated. If it is the client’s job to gain access to locations, be sure to follow up with them consistently until everything is cleared. Once you are set on locations, it is time to do a location scout.


Some may wait a little longer for this, but as soon as I know the location I begin making a list. I like having my list of gear organized to know if there is anything we need to rent. The story and location will determine what gear is most appropriate. If there are new cameras available or if we are having trouble deciding between two (or more), we’ll do a camera test that is very specific to the project.

More Research

This and gear can be interchangeable. Gear is what personally inspires me and drives me in my work, so I like to start with it as soon as I can. Do what works best for you and the project. In this stage of research, I recommend creating a mood board where you can post videos, pictures and even notes. This allows you to utilize your team’s creativity and knowledge. It is important to take in everyone’s idea but to make sure you don’t stray away from the original goals.

Shot List and Production Schedule

At one point you may have been talking about shots and brainstorming a schedule. It is time to put it in writing, discuss with the team and get organized. The more organized your shot list and production schedule is, the more smoothly the shoot will go. Even though this is the last step in proper pre-production, leave yourself ample time to do it right. On set, new things will come up, and a good creative team can not only work around them, but they will be able to make the most out of them. Having a detailed shot list will make sure you get everything you need, while allowing you to be creative and get shots that you didn’t think about before.

That is how we do pre production at 522. We call all agree, it works very well for us! For questions on the pre-production process or anything else related to video production, shoot us an email. You can comment below or shoot me an email at rruscher@522productions.com.

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