Almost everyone can agree that video is the most effective type of content that most people prefer nowadays. It can deliver a message effectively by engaging with your viewers through sounds and visuals. But at the same time, the video production process can be laborious. So, if you genuinely want it to work, understanding the primary steps involved is crucial.
There are three necessary steps in producing a video. These are pre-production, production, and post-production. Each stage will guide you through the entire video production process and tips to help you feel in control.
Primary planning stages of video production
The first stage in every video production is what you call pre-production. It's where you carefully plan how you want your video to go and the steps that you need to take to make it happen. But because of the tedious process of planning a video, it's also the most prolonged phase in the entire production process.
Questions to ask yourself during pre-production
Many people may get confused about it, but pre-planning is a part of the entire pre-production process. It starts the moment that you begin conceptualizing the video. That's why it's crucial to ask yourself a few essential questions to help you get started:
- Why do you want to produce a video?
- How will your video help you with your content strategy?
- What's the video's primary topic?
- Who are your target audiences?
- What's the goal that you want to achieve by making the video?
- How will you present the content?
- Who will help you produce the video?
- Do you have a time frame for the video?
- How much is your budget?
- When do you want it to get published?
- Where will you upload the video?
Asking yourself these questions will help identify your objectives for making the video. But ideally, you'll get the answers for most of these questions when you work with a video production company.
Learning about your target market
If you want your video to become successful, you need to identify what your target audience wants. So, if you haven't had the time to understand your viewers better, now is the perfect time to do it.
Try to go beyond the necessary statistical information like their age, location, and gender. You also need to know your audiences' interests, common problems, and the questions that they most often ask.
Establish your core message
Now that you've established your target market, you can finally combine everything to develop a strong core message. Consider your audience when setting a core message. Think about what your viewers want and how you want to make them feel after watching your video.
Then, once you have all the details set up, you can find it easier to determine what your audience needs to see in your content so that they'll get encouraged to take action.
Set a video strategy
Creating a video strategy can help you produce a video project that can send your message across effectively. During this phase, it's best to form a plan to help you create your video. However, don't feel bad when a few things don't go your way. Remember that a good strategy will go through a couple of changes over time. So, don't pressure yourself too much if a few things don't go as planned for the first time.
Instead of sulking over at one corner, try to create a clear framework that you can refer to, encouraging you to make more effective videos in the future. Doing so will ensure that you won't go over your budget and that your video will deliver a better ROI in the future.
Write a clear video production brief
Now that you have an idea about creating a video strategy, your core message, and your target audience, it's time to start writing a brief. A content brief is an iterative process or an introduction that will help you focus on the video's overall content. Even more, it'll also help you deliver a compelling message to the viewers without going array from the video's goal. You can always refer to the content brief so that you won't get distracted from other unimportant details later in the production process.
A production brief should contain a summary of the information that you've compiled beforehand. It should cover the video's objective, target views, core message, the budget allocated for the video, and the deadline. Also, you should include the target outcome and how you'll achieve a positive return on investment.
How to create a manuscript
Once you have the video production brief ready, it's now time to create a manuscript. A manuscript, or what most people refer to as script, is a text written for a play, movie, or in this case, a video. It's also where you mark the crucial camera angles needed for each scene, as well as the details that'll show specific points of time in the content.
Create an in-depth script
It's crucial to create an in-depth script when creating a video. In that you, you'll know everything that should be going on. Also, it'll make things easier once you edit all the clips.
There are no limitations or rules when it comes to writing scripts. You can either use bold, captions, or even italic text, depending on what makes sense for you. You can consider separating each part of the script to SPEAK, B-ROLL, and TEXT. In that way, you can quickly identify how each scene will go.
Write it in a conversational way
Although some of you may not notice it, there is a considerable difference between the way we speak and how we write. So, when you write a script, it needs to sound like it was something that a person would say and not something that you'd write.
The best way to do it is by reading it aloud to yourself. Doing so will give you an idea of how the script flows. From there, you can make the necessary adjustments so that it will sound more conversational.
If more than one person speaks in the scene, doing a table reading is an excellent idea. In that way, everyone can deliver a performance of the script and even give you an idea of the video's flow and rhythm.
You don't need to memorize each line word per word. If it's going to be short, you can use a piece of paper and post it in front of you to see it. Just make sure that the font is big enough so that you can see it without squinting.
Form a storyboard
A storyboard is a sequence of sketches that can help you visualize how your video will go and the scenes that require footage sources or animation. Even more, it also allows you to turn your ideas into tangible goals that closely aligns with the script.
When creating a storyboard from scratch, you need to start by imagining how each shot will run. Determine the position of your subjects and where the lights should go. You also need to include the visual references for each video as an inspiration for each scene. You can also create roughly sketched storyboards that'll show the kinds of shots that you need.
Whatever and however you want to create the storyboard depends entirely on you. You can make it as complex as possible or even draw some stick figures, too, if you have limited drawing skills. The important thing is that you can establish the overall timeline by ensuring you've established the video's key scenes and elements.
Scout for the right location
Meanwhile, if you're planning to do the video outdoors or if it requires live-action, sourcing for locations is the next best sound decision. You need to ensure that it has enough light to make the scene look clearer when viewed on-screen. Also, you need to have a backup plan if ever something goes wrong during the shoot. Anything can happen when you do it outside. So, it's best to have a backup plan if ever it starts to rain.
Another thing that you need to remember when filming outdoors is getting the right permits. Some locations require you to get proper permits before shooting. So, it's best to get it taken care of before you start filming.
Remember that location scouting is crucial for your B-roll footage. It provides a context for each scene, which helps the viewers relate to your subject.
Getting the right cast
For video projects that require an actor or actors, casting is the best way to select the right persons for your project. It often involves a couple of auditions performed by actors in front of a panel. This panel usually consists of the director, casting director, and film producer.
The casting panel then asks the actors to perform their audition piece to see their skills. Then these performances will get taped for further assessments. They will also make a couple of comparisons until they arrive with a final decision.
There are times when companies outsource the entire process to casting agencies. They'll do the initial assessments and then send them to their clients to make their final decisions. These casting agencies often have an existing catalog of talents that they can contact to get the role.
Meanwhile, if you have yet to find the right casting agency to work with you, there are several sites out there that can help you connect with some fantastic freelance voiceover artists around. It's a viable option, especially if you don't have the time to scout for the right casting agency.
This scenario only applies if you're shooting projects requiring the right actors to do the script. People who vlogs or streams need not worry about casting the right talent to do the job.
Creating a schedule
Now that you've planned everything else needed for the shoot, it's finally time to make a schedule for it. You can start by organizing the schedule around the time that you need for each shoot. It should also include the distance between each location and the actor's availability.
Aside from the actors and the location, you also need to consider the crew and the permissions. It would help if you thought about the people behind the camera, like the crew and the makeup team. Meanwhile, if your project requires many of these elements, hiring an experienced producer should do the trick. Otherwise, doing it on your own can be extremely challenging.
What are the processes involved in the production phase?
There are several things that you need to think about when producing your videos. Aside from filming, it also includes lighting, camera, microphones, and backdrops. Here are a few subjects to better understand the process to help you with the entire production phase.
Preparing the location
The first thing you need to do is to check the shooting location and prepare for each scene. You need to check the entire area to see which parts might cause a problem once you start filming.
Also, try to search for the best spot to begin filming the subject of the video. Check the surroundings and see if it's clear of any distractions. Check if any wires are lying around and check for any clutter that needs to get tidied up.
Also, it would help if you prepared everything before you start the shoot. Preparing the location is the best time to set up any backdrop if you need it.
Setting the camera
Now that you've finally set up the location, the next stage is to set up your cameras. When finding the right spot for your camera, you first need to understand the shot's function.
Will it be extremely wide to get a view of the city? Or will it be an extreme close up shot to convey a specific emotion from the character? Getting a few answers to these questions can help you determine the rest of the process.
When thinking about the framing, you need to consider the following elements to visualize the frame:
- What will you place in the foreground?
- What should the viewers see on each side of the image?
- Do you need a specific background to convey your message?
- Should you blur the background and foreground?
- What kind of shot do you need for the scene?
- What kind of angle does the scene need?
Using multiple cameras can be significant. But if you will be using more than one, you need to determine the best angles that will suit your desired product. You need to remember the 180-degree rule if you'll be shooting from several angles.
Also, you need to ensure that you use a tripod to stabilize your camera. Meanwhile, you need a gimbal or Steadicam to get smooth camera movements if you're going for handheld shots.
Understanding lighting setup
Besides setting up your cameras, you also need to think about setting up the set's lights. Having a good lighting setup is vital for getting quality images from your camera.
There are countless ways to set up the lights, aside from the various kinds of lights available today. Remember that the location of your lights plays a significant role in getting a good image.
You can use light mobile Fresnel or even thin LED-panels to light up each scene. To help you get the right set up, you need to consider the contrast between the shadows and the light. Understanding the distinction better can help produce a better effect on each of your scenes.
The temperature of the light matters, too. You see, every artificial light has its temperature. Using it to your advantage can help you define the entire mood of each clip. If you're looking for something in between night and day, tungsten-balanced is a perfect choice.
Meanwhile, the accessories that you use can help you manipulate light to your advantage. A few of the accessories that you can consider are flags, diffusers, reflectors, and even gobos.
There are so many things that you can do with lighting. So, you need to ensure that you have more than enough time to get everything set up before the start of the shoot. Your schedule should include the setup time, which should depend on the number of the locations that you're shooting in and the types of shots that you need.
Fixing the audio
Sound quality is just as important as video quality, especially when it comes to any media project. So, it's always best to set up the microphone to ensure excellent audio.
Understanding the three most common microphones can help you achieve great sound throughout your video.
- Directional microphone. You can mount the directional microphone directly on the cam or a boom arm. It can be useful, especially if there's more than one person who works on the scene.
- Lavalier microphone. You can place the lavalier microphone on your subject directly by attaching it to any piece of clothing that he's wearing. It can either be wired or wireless.
- Studio microphone. Like the lavalier microphone, you can directly put the directional microphone into an external audio recorder or the camera.
Using a microphone is crucial, especially if you're doing live streaming or voice-over work. It also suits podcast-style videos, since you'll mainly use it for speech. While several models are available with a USB option that lets you plug it to your PC, most high-quality microphones need a good sound card and an external preamp to make it work.
Meanwhile, if your video requires a voiceover, you need to ensure that it's appealing to your target viewers and that the way your actors deliver the script should embody the video's core message. Once you've recorded the voice over and edited it, you can then insert it into your video timeline during post-production. Doing voiceovers is incredibly helpful, especially when you're doing scenes with actors.
Directing the talent
Instructing talent is one of the most critical parts of the entire filming process. Without a reliable acting cast, you won't get to convey the message of the video effectively.
The way they deliver their lines heavily influences the dynamics of the entire project and its audience appeal. So, even if you're working with veteran actors, it's still essential that you or the director keep your goals in mind to get the performance you need from them.
Rolling the film
Once you've entirely prepped everyone and has the lighting, camera, and audio set up, it's finally time to pick up the lenses and start filming.
Before you press the record button, you need to ensure that the camera has the right settings. Check the white balance and the focal length before starting the shoot. You should also check the shutter speed and the frame rate for better images. It would help if you even looked at a few factors: bit depth, bit rate, and the color scheme.
As you look at the storyboard while doing the video, it's also essential to get b-roll footage while you're at it, too. You can either shoot it from various angles or let the crew and the talent set it up. It's crucial to have as many shots as possible as long as it fits the video's narrative.
Once you're okay with shooting the video, it's now time to go to the final stage of the video production process - the post-production.
Post-production often includes preparing the footage, adding captions, and putting in graphics or animation. It also includes color correction, music, and color grading. It's also the time where you do sound editing and green-screen keying, too.
So that you'll understand it better, let's take a closer look at each of the steps.
Preparing every footage
Footage preparation primarily includes transferring your video and audio files from your camera's memory card to your computer's hard drive. It also includes creating back-ups for every file in case something goes wrong.
Besides transferring files and creating backups, you also need to divide each footage by saving it into the right folders. Then, you can import these files into your preferred editing programs and create proxy files. So that you'll find it easier to locate the footage in your editing software, labeling it accordingly is a must.
Meanwhile, others sync their audio from external recorders to the clip to ensure it's in tune. Although these steps may seem tedious, doing these steps will make the next process a lot easier.
Editing the video
Once you have all the video and audio files ready, it's now time to proceed with the next step--- video editing. Video editing is where you put everything together to create your video. At this point, you assemble all the video and audio files into the final project.
Video editing often involves importing all files, including videos, audio, graphics, and music, into the timeline's editing program. Thus, making it easier for you to edit everything together in a single file.
Step-by-step-guide in editing a video
Step 1: Import the files. You need to import all files from your primary camera into the software timeline. From there, you can start building the narrative for the video. Once everything is all good, you can start importing your b-roll footage and pick the best pieces.
Step 2: Tweak the footage. Soon after you've transferred the files, you can now start removing any scenes that aren't necessary for the output. It would help if you also looked at sentences that might sound gibberish or unneeded, too.
Step 3: Add music and graphic components. After you've completed tweaking the footage, it's now time to add some music and visual elements into the video. It's probably the most tedious part of the entire video editing process since you'll need to use more than one program to accomplish everything. That doesn't even include the time that you'll be spending editing each scene, too.
Adding good music while working is a great way to get yourself inspired to create unique pieces of content for your viewers. Even more, it can also take your video to a whole new level and even keep people engaged.
Using several tracks can even convey the right moods for each scene. It can also help your audience feel like they're moving forward through each scene as they watch the entire video. Just ensure that your media content is long enough to use several tracks. Doing so will give your audience enough time to adjust to each track's transition so it wouldn't distract them.
The music that you choose should blend well with the video's overall tone and mood. It should also help you convey your message and should match your target audience. Fortunately, SoundHills has everything that you need when it comes to quality music.
SoundHills is a stock music site that offers its client the best sounding royalty-free music at a very affordable price. Listen to five of our tracks below and see what we have to offer. Then, if you're interested, you can access the entire library to see more of our song selections.
Creating an audio track mix
Getting the right music is necessary, especially if you want your video to look polished. Although websites like SoundHills can offer you access to a wide array of copyright-free songs, there are times that you need to mix the audio tracks to create a unique track for your project.
Coming up with a good sound line can be challenging. So, you need to figure out a way to approach it differently. One way to do it is by mixing a music track by carving out space for each element with panning and equalizers. Also, you can use the side-chain effect to place the voice. In that way, you can duck the music a few decibels every time a person speaks.
Meanwhile, if music plays a massive role in the scene, you can try adding the footage and then cutting it to fit the track's natural beats. Keep in mind that music has a natural rhythm to it. You can use that rhythm as a guide to making each scene more cohesive.
Adding captions and subtitles
Another feature that's becoming crucial for any media content is 'subtitles.' You'll never know when your views get seen on devices without sound, or if there are people who prefer watching it without any audio.
Having captions and subtitles can help viewers understand your content even without listening to the script. It can even open a lot of doors for a wider audience who speaks a different language. But is there a difference between captions and subtitles?
Subtitles vs. Captions: Discussing the difference
Most people often see subtitles and captions as entirely the same thing. But there are subtle differences between the two that you might want to know.
- Subtitles. Subtitles present the narration and the dialogue used in the film as spoken by the characters. There are also times when they translate these dialogues and narrations depending on their target viewers.
- Captions. Captions are almost similar to subtitles, except that it also includes presenting other audible effects. So, if there is any music playing in the background, you need to describe it through words so that the viewers will know about it. The same goes for loud noises that the characters hear in a scene or even thunder's distant sound.
What are open and closed captions and subtitles?
Both captions and subtitles can either be closed or open, depending on how you need it.
- Open captions. Open captions remain visible and are "burned-in" to the video file itself. So, there's no option to switch it off.
- Closed captions. Viewers have the option to turn the closed caption off and on. The caption file is also separated, which means that you need to create a .srt-file that contains the transcribed texts.
Learning the basics of color grading and color correction
One of the final steps you need to do in the entire video production process is color grading and color correcting. Though people often use this term synonymously, these two processes are entirely different things.
What makes color correction and color-correcting different?
Color correction often involves fixing any visible issues within the footage so that everything will look as neutral as possible on the final output. You can also use it to copy the color from the original scene as well as to compensate for any changes in the material because of the locations and the cameras used.
In other words, color correction is the scientific process of resolving any mistakes during the filming. Thus, making your content look more professional and polished.
For example, if your scenes have overexposed shots, you can quickly fix it by tweaking the white balance and the contrast. You can also resolve it by improving the skin tones of the actors.
Unlike color correction, most people see color grading as an artistic process. It's where you give your video a distinct look that will help your audience identify your craft.
It can be pivoting towards particular color profiles like in several Hollywood movies, or it can be saturated, depending on your taste. Color grading can also include color separation and motion tracking. It can even be adding film grain to give a video a more analog look.
Overall, it's an exciting way to reinforce your visual brand in your content. So, whatever you may want to do in the future, try your best to be consistent with your coloring to establish your brand.
Adding graphics and special effects
Although it won't apply to all kinds of video production, there are times when generating graphics and other special effects can help your video stand out and come alive.
Adding graphics and even animated text can help breathe life into your work by visualizing your ideas and emphasizing a few essential points. For example, if you want to focus on a particular graph, you can have it animated to help your audience concentrate on a critical figure.
Adding special effects is also ideal for products that you're explaining. It'll help keep your project more exciting and pleasing to the eye, especially when your customers scroll down through your product's website.
Optimizing and distribution
Now that we've discussed almost every part of the video production process, it's now time to save the file and choose the correct format. Keep in mind that the file format can affect the quality of the video. So, you need to select the one that will still serve its purpose. For example, an HD version may be ideal for client presentations and conferences, while a more compressed and shortened clip can be ideal for social media posts.
Once you figure out the format for your video, you also need to decide the online host for your videos so that you can share and distribute it based on your strategy. Depending on your budget, there are several hosting sites that you can use to distribute your video.
1. Paid platform
2. Free channel
3. Own server
Generally, it's highly advisable to host your video on a paid platform so that you can gain full control over how it'll get distributed. Even more, it'll also give you access to advanced analytics as well as optimization.
However, if you don't have enough budget for it yet, then free channels like YouTube and Vimeo can also be practical options.
Learning the basics of Analytics
Making a successful video doesn't end with just saving the file and uploading it. You need to figure out if it's also working as it should.
Learning how to set up analytics and interpret its results is ideal for knowing if your video is successful. Using paid hosting platforms can automatically provide you access to all the data that you need to measure your video's progress. But if you're using a free video channel like YouTube, then you may need to use a different analytics tool to get the data that you need.
Learning about these things is crucial for the entire production process. So, if you fail to measure your video's success, you'll never learn from your experience and make improvements soon.
Promoting your video
Once you've learned the basics of analytics and have picked the right platform to upload your video, you can finally start promoting it based on the strategy that you came up with earlier.
When marketing your video, you need to focus on your target viewers and your core message. You need to make sure that you upload your view where your audience will see it and in a way that can help convey your message.
To help you get started, here are a few ways to market your video:
- Social media seeding' on platforms where your target audience commonly spends their time.
- Utilizing SEO to optimize your video using the right keywords
- Working with PR to boost your content
- Working with key influencers to spread your video
- Allocating funds for ad spend to advertise your video on television
- Using email marketing for video promotion
You're now ready to start filming
Alas! You have finally reached the end of the entire video production process! Congratulations! Although everything can be tedious and overwhelming, the process itself will soon be worth it as long as you have a passion for it.
Remember that there's no such thing as perfection when it comes to creating content. So, don't spend a lot of time on endless revisions. Start making a video that'll make you happy, and that embodies the message that you want to send across your viewers. If you don't have the skills or time to do it, hiring an external production company is an ideal choice. Learn to trust them and let them do their tasks. You wouldn't be working with them if you didn't trust their skills, after all. So, if they tell you that they can do something to make the script better, trust them.
It's only normal to feel exhausted about everything that you've learned. After all, there are so many things to remember when producing a video. But if you start by organizing your thoughts and creating a strategy, you'll end up with excellent products that your audiences will likely share.