Why Pre-Production Planning is a Must for a Successful Video Shoot

Why Pre-Production Planning is a Must for a Successful Video Shoot

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Just like any project you take on, having a good plan of action prior to actually starting is a good idea.  This week on the Reel Rebel, Stephen Schweickart briefly covers just a few reasons why pre-production planning and creating checklists is so important to ensure you have a successful video shoot.

When you are planning to shoot a video you need to have some basic things in place prior to picking up the camera to start shooting.  If you don’t, not only will you likely waste a lot of time and money, but you run the risk of not having any sort of backup plan or schedule in the event things don’t go as smoothly as you’d want.

Basics of Pre-Production Planning for Video

Here are the a few of the main things you want to make sure you have prior to scheduling your shoot:

Have a script.  This is the most obvious since you need the script to know what it is you are going to film and how you are going to deliver what you film into a clean, concise message.

Create a storyboard.  Even if you don’t have a full storyboard written out, you at least want a shot list to avoid finding out later that you forgot a major piece of what you need for your video.

Make a checklist.  If you don’t have a checklist of supplies you need for a shoot you can guarantee you’ll forget something crucial like extra batteries or film and will end up spending time that should be spent capturing your shots, running around finding supplies.  Check out this comprehensive example pre-production checklist from UCSC.

Obtain your permits.  This may seem like a tiny detail but if you don’t have a permit from your local film office and you start shooting at a public location, you run the risk of the police coming to put an end to your shoot – most likely at a time that is most crucial to capturing the shot.

Provide food and drinks.  Even shooting a short clip takes time and you need to make sure you have provided something to eat and drink for your cast and crew.

Make sure you have power.  Obviously without some kind of power your lights, camera and other equipment will not work.  Be sure you know what your power supply options are for a location you are shooting at and be prepared with additional options in case of outages.

This is just a short list of items you want to ensure are in place prior to production.  As with anything, the better your pre-production planning the more smoothly filming will go on the schedule day of the shoot.

View The Full Video TranscriptDropdown chevron

Hi, I’m Stephen Schweickart with VScreen where we make videos for companies and today, in partnership with ReelSEO on the ReelRebel, we are going to tell you why pre-production is important.

Most amateurs think that shooting a video is a piece of cake. They think they can just pick up a camera, find a location, and start filming like they own the place. Well guess what? That’s not the case. If you do that, you’re begging the universe to dump every problem it can think of on you and your shoot is going to fall apart. This, my friends, is why pre-production is so flipping important.

You’ve got to shake that John Wayne “I can do anything” attitude and sit down and make a plan. There’s a lot to think about when you’re running a film shoot, and not having some sort of outline of events will get you way behind schedule before you can even say ACTION.

So obviously you need a script. This is generally the first part of pre-production since if you don’t have a story to shoot, then how do you plan to film anything? Workshopping the script into a clean concise message whether it be a narrative or an informational video like this one is paramount for creating a successful video.

Another huge step is storyboarding, but you guys are obviously already storyboarding pros since you’ve watched our video about that process already. Oh you haven’t seen our video on storyboarding? That’s kind of rude… but hey you can just click right here and go scope it out. But trust me, having a shot list before you get to a shoot is key.

Make an equipment checklist. Why? Because if you don’t you’ll pack up your gear, drive over to your location and that’s when you’ll realize you forgot batteries, or a specific light, or some other thing that you definitely didn’t write down. Make a list, check it twice, and you’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to rush around town trying to find something to replace an item you forgot.

The last thing I’m really going to try and hammer home is permitting. Sounds really fun, right? No, it’s not, but it’s an essential part of shooting on public property. Want to shoot in a park? Then you need a permit from your local film office otherwise the second your tripod legs hit the dirt, the 5-0 are going to roll up on you, and while you will wind up with an interesting story to tell, your day will be wasted and you’ll be stuck hauling your gear around to another shoot that hopefully you get properly permitted.

On top of all that you need to make sure you’ve got food and drinks for your cast and crew, power to run your lights, enough tape or SD card media to cover your whole shoot, and a host of other things that if not thought about beforehand will bring your shoot to a grinding halt one way or another. So take our word for it, pre-production is the most important phase of making your video. Do it right, and you’re almost guaranteed a successful shoot.

We’ll get into some specifics of pre-production in later videos so give my good friend the subscribe button a tickle to you don’t miss out. And, if you don’t, whatever. We didn’t want to be your friend anyway…


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