Production process is not easy to compile. To be successful as a video business owner, you have to figure out how to produce numerous projects at profitable rates on a regular basis. Being busy is great, but without proper planning and execution throughout the production process, things can quickly get out of hand.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind so you can keep projects running smoothly no matter how busy you are.
1. Get plenty of B-roll.
Develop a shot list template before the shoot and make sure you get everything on that list and then some. If your list calls for a shot of a lady answering the phone, be sure to shoot a wide shot of it, a medium shot and a tight shot. That way, each sequence can cover about 15 seconds or more in the completed video if necessary. It could definitely improve your production process!
When possible, plan to overshoot each scene. It will make the editing process much easier.
2. Pay attention to continuity in production process.
In the same shot sequence as above, make sure you keep track of the details like which ear the phone is on, what direction the person is facing, etc. so your shots will cut together nicely in post-production. I’ve learned the hard way that if you aren’t consciously thinking about it during the shoot, it will bite you in the butt.
With the tapeless cameras, we all use these days, it’s incredibly easy and efficient to simply take a look at the previous shot before rolling on the next one. That way you can make sure you get it right every time.
3. Make sure you have plenty of handle on the front and back of each shot.
When you get a shot, hold it for a second, then start your move or tell the actor to start their action. Then, after you have completed your move or the action is complete, hold the shot for a second or two before cutting. In the analog days, this was so you could be sure that your camera didn’t start recording over the previous few seconds of tape.
In today’s world, this technique still applies because the extra second or two at the beginning and end can give you the flexibility needed to add transitions, etc. in post.
4. Always check and/or clean the lens.
This seems like common sense in your video production process, but we’ve all forgotten at least one time to clean off the lens before shooting. There is nothing more demoralizing than to realize you have an hour of footage that contains a big dirt spot in the middle of the screen. Don't forget to cleanup your camera time-to-time!
5. Study the client’s brand materials before starting your production process.
Most clients have already spent a lot of money to develop their brand materials such as logos, brochures, print ads, etc. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel when putting together a graphics package. Instead, see if you can use files that were created for the other marketing projects and simply animate the various layers to bring them to life.
Clients appreciate this much more than trying to build something from the ground up in most cases. Plus, if graphics aren’t your strong suit, applying simple animations to their existing brand materials will make you look like a genius in many cases!
Another option is to simply hire a freelance motion graphics person and share the brand materials with them. They’ll be able to come up with something that looks really cool but stays within the boundaries of the client’s branding guidelines.
6. Get the client to confirm that you have the approved version of the script before sending it off to the narrator.
It’s easy to want to rush this part of the project but it’s important that you make sure you have the correct script before you spend the money to have it read by a voiceover artist. I ask clients to email me the version of the script they have approved as the last step before I send it off for narration.
That way, if they send me the wrong version, they are liable for costs associated with re-reading the script. Also, sending off the wrong script delays the project and there’s no time for that.
7. When possible, send the finished video to the client electronically for them to review and/or approve.
You are busy. Let clients take their time and schedule meetings internally to review and discuss their corporate video you produced. Then, when they are ready, they’ll send you a list of revisions to make.
The other alternative is for you to sit in on the review session which can take a couple of hours or more of your time. I prefer to send the file electronically or at the very least, drop off a DVD so I can get back to work on other projects.
I use YouSendIt.com (not affiliated) to share large files with clients and it seems to work pretty well most of the time. Some have issues accessing it due to firewall restrictions but they are the exception, not the rule.