For many of our corporate clients, video production isn’t a normal part of their daily routine. Therefore, when starting a corporate video production, our clients (or potential clients) often ask what’s involved with the process. For all of our video production projects, we map out activities based upon three key phases including pre-production, production and post-production.
Pre-production is the planning phase and most important part of the process. Good planning not only saves money, but also ensures that the outcome of a video meets our client’s objectives. The production phase includes the actual shooting of the video, and post-production is where we edit the video and implement the final touches. It’s an exciting process when all the elements come together. Here is a detailed breakdown of the three main phases of a corporate video production.
The pre-production process serves as the foundation for the project. We consult with our clients to determine their objectives, budget and target audience. Pre-production typically starts by developing a detailed project plan that helps guide each phase of the project. The plan outlines key deliverable dates and references any dependencies such as review timeframes and approvals.
One of the first tasks is to establish a creative approach to meeting the requirements of the project. We typically develop a “treatment” or outline of the video that describes the creative approach. This document facilitates the approval process and ensures all team members are on board.
In most cases, we craft a script to serve as the master plan for the project. A well thought-out script saves time and money during the production phase. It outlines the individual scenes of the production as well as the visuals, locations, cast members, props, costumes, narration and special effects. Scripting ensures that the right message is conveyed. Once the client signs-off on the script, the production team begins talent auditions and location scouting.
In cases where we predominantly use interviews for a corporate video, we typically develop questions. We prepare interview questions that help facilitate a discussion between the Director and interviews.
Location scouting is also an important step. The right background settings need to be identified and secured before production continues. Locations are assessed according to their overall aesthetic value, acoustics, cost, logistic feasibility, utilities and ease of access. Some locations may require special permission or permits. These need to be secured before production begins.
Talent auditions and casting occurs in conjunction with location scouting. Talent is assessed according to their look, voice and ability to convey the right message. Auditions are held and the right people are identified to fill each part in the script.
A storyboard is often created to help the Director communicate their ideas to the production team and client. Not all of our projects require storyboards, but for those videos that involve abstract ideas, or complex shots, we use this deliverable to help guide the creative direction keep everyone on the same page. It’s essentially a visual representation of the script. It includes annotations that describe what is going on in each scene and offers other important information such as camera angles, etc.
Once the activities in the pre-production phase are complete, the production phase gets under way. The crew is assembled and the video is shot according to the production schedule. Film crew sizes vary from a three-person crew to a larger crew of more than twenty members. Typically, our Director customizes the right crew for the project. The balance of crew members consists of a director of photography, camera operators, a lighting director, sound recording artists, gaffers, grips and production assistants. Make-up artists and wardrobe consultants can be available to assist cast members for their scenes.
Film crews use whatever equipment is necessary to shoot the footage and match the visuals outlined in the storyboards or treatment. If you want to checkout some more details on what to expect when a film crew arrives, read a blog entry from our co-owner Chad Vossen.
Voice-over recordings are also completed during the production phase by professional voice-over artists. If voiceover is required for the project, we organize auditions, send files to our clients and obtain approvals for the final talent. We always encourage clients to sit in during the recording to ensure they get the delivery they are looking for.
This is the final phase in the process. The video footage is assembled by the video editor and edited to ensure the video conveys the right message and has an emotional impact on the audience.
The editor adds graphics and special effects, such as motion graphics and 3D animation, to enhance the impact of the video. Sound mixing and editing is required to create the audio tracks. Music will either be selected from a music library or if needed, custom music is composed and recorded. Color grading may be required to enhance any color variations within the raw footage.
Ultimately, we build in several rounds of revisions for our clients. We recognize the investment our clients make in video production, so we want to make sure we get it right. For the most part, projects include the delivery of a rough draft, fine cut and final cut.
After the tweaks are made to the video content, the final product is encoded according to the client’s requirements. DVDs are becoming more and more rare, but we still author custom DVDs with complex navigation menus. However, the bulk of what we do is prepare files for broadcast or the web. During the final phase of the project, we develop all of the file formats you’ll need for a specific type of distribution. If you need broadcast-quality files, we’ve got you covered. If you need files for your site, YouTube or another content delivery network, we’re experts in handling the encoding process.
So, there you have it. This effectively gives you a rundown of the major phases of a corporate video production. Although every project is different and every story can be told a different way, we always use a standard methodology to meet the expectations of our clients.