Producing a quality live-action video or animation is an intricate process. A lot of thought and action needs to go behind the procedure, starting with a proper pre-production strategy. The capital invested in this course will directly affect the quality, budget and time-frame of the video production.
What is Pre-Production?
Simply put, everything leading up to the date of actual shooting is considered pre-production. There are various stages of video production from conceptualising to execution. For a great video, many bases need to be covered before the camera finally starts rolling. Glossing over them will ultimately hurt the video quality.
Pre-production ensures that all the planning, logistics and estimates are taken into account before the filming or animating process (as beautifully explained by Kasra Design) begins. It also lets the entire crew be on the same page about what needs to be done. For the client, pre-production is vital because it enables them to articulate what they expect from the video and be involved in the planning process.
It is, therefore, crucial that an adequate pre-production strategy is in place for every video production. The stages involved in a video’s pre-production will further elucidate this fact.
Stages of Pre-Production
There are numerous stages of pre-production, even more than production and post-production combined. Below is a step-by-step guide on approaching pre-production strategically.
- Goal Setting
If someone is making a professional live action video or animation, it must have a clear objective. The first step of pre-production is determining and clarifying that objective. One must be able to answer these following questions –
- What is the purpose of that video? Is it advertising, brand building, entertaining or merely educating the viewers?
- Who is the ideal target audience?
- What is the message of that video? In other words, what should viewers do after watching it?
Once these questions are answered properly, the brainstorming part becomes considerably easier.
There’s no other way of putting it except that it boils down to money ultimately. How much one is willing to spend determines the quality of one’s video to a large extent. Although a bloated budget does not necessarily ensure a great video, you should have a precise idea about how much fund is available for spending and plan the next steps accordingly. The necessary cost of video production has come down in recent years due to technological advancements. These days, one can produce a professional video even if the budget is not astronomical.
- Brainstorming and Research
It is one of the most significant parts of pre-production as this is where all the possible ideas and angles are discussed. Having more than one approach of execution is essential. If one plan fails for some reason, there will be another to fall back on.
Research is equally important. No matter what kind of video one is producing, factual accuracy is something that one cannot compromise with. Since many people from different fields will be watching the video, it is paramount that there are no factual discrepancies present in it.
A good script is a prerequisite for a great video. It should get the message across efficiently and define a clear call-to-action. A lot of time should go into creating and revising the script before it takes its final form.
- Production Schedule
This is the beginning of the execution stages of pre-production. It involves meticulous planning regarding when, where and how the shoot will take place. One must also take into account the equipment requirements at various shoot locations. A rock-solid production schedule will allow you to keep the enterprise on track and reduce any extra cost due to late delivery.
- Shoot Planning
Once a script and production schedule is ready, the next step is planning for the actual shoot. There are various aspects of shooting which require careful deliberation. Is there a need for casting? Are there are any permissions to take? Which locations will be needed and have appropriate measures been taken regarding the same?
There should be a proper roadmap concerning these and other shoot-related issues to avoid any possible delay.
- Preparing The Cast
If there is a cast, you’ll require a thorough briefing and the script well in advance. It’s a good idea if the director meets with the cast during the pre-production stages and intimates them properly regarding the team’s expectations from them. If it’s an animation, this is where you need to spend time and develop characters, props, environmental designs etc.
- Organising dates
The entire production will fall flat on its face if crew members do not show up on time for shooting. It is, therefore, paramount to have a robust call schedule which should be delivered to every crew member. The team should also take into account potential delays while creating this schedule.
The difference between a good video and a great one often lies in the diligence of the pre-production process. Time and money invested here will inevitably reflect on the video quality.