There’s a reason that the phrase–“We’ll fix it in post,” exists. People who say this don’t have a buttoned-up process for their video production project so they rely on an editor to shine the footage and gloss over any mistakes. My husband, and business partner, who’s an Emmy-awarding winning Director/Editor, has many stories of boxes of tapes arriving on his door with nothing more than a note saying, “Here’s what you’ve got. Make it great.” He has done it many times, but it’s not really fair to ask someone to take over the ship without a map.
Now, the quicker turnaround required for video production means you must use an established process, beginning in pre-production, to create smart, creative video quickly.
So, as a marketing executive purchasing video production services, what do you need to know before you arrive on set? Here are the five tips you and the video production team should implement before you create a project, which will allow you to toast your project rather than reach for the Tylenol bottle.
- Every Project Needs a Creative Brief
The creative brief should outline many things, but the most important are:
- The main message of the piece
- What does your company want the piece to accomplish?
- The tone that needs to be conveyed
- Background about the brand and brand standards
- Video examples that you like
- Project mandatories AND
- Additional creative assets you want created such as stills and thumbnails.
Later, you’ll know you’ve achieved success when you can map your project back to a fulfilled creative brief that clearly outlined your goals and specifics.
- Are Questions About Details Being Asked?
We create what we call a “Job Start” sheet that gathers all of the details about the project. This is shared with the video production team and the client. This doc includes:
- Distribution – What length versions are needed for the various social channels?
- Conversion – What is the call to action and how is that executed? What are the conversion goals?
- Sponsorship – Is the material sponsored and how is that sponsorship shown within the creative?
- How does the video fit into the overall digital or broadcast campaign?
- Additional creative assets needed such as stills that need to be taken during the shoot, or a specific voiceover type or person needed.
- Is the Video Team Meeting As a Team?
Why should the editor only get involved when a bunch of files show up on his or her computer? Make sure that the video team pre-production meeting not only includes the production crew, but the editor(s) as well. The Creative Brief and the Job Start sheet will drive the structure of the meeting to keep everyone on track.
- Make Sure the Crew is Skilled
I know that this one sounds obvious, but since we’re in the day and age when everyone thinks they can shoot and edit because they have an IPhone, be sure you are contracting with a skilled team that includes: an experienced audio person, a camera operator or operators and, importantly, a hair and make-up person. No one looks great on camera without hair and make-up, especially real people. Trust me.
- Notes and Transcripts Will Speed the Process
If you’re working from a script, you’ll have a version finalized before production, but if you’re working documentary-style, the producer needs to keep a working outline and taking notes in the field. Once the shooting is done, those notes, outline and transcriptions of the interviews will help the producer create the video story more quickly.
I hope that these tips help you establish your own process for video production, or give you a roadmap of what to expect from a video production company. With video turned quicker than ever before, being buttoned-up ahead of time will keep you from coming undone in the edit bay later.