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If you’re a brand, right now you’re either making or planning on making a video. Or you should be. It’s the contemporary currency for engagement.

Even though everyone is making videos, most people don’t know the process behind making videos. The good news is: All videos — regardless of type, length or purpose — go through the same five phases.

Below, we’ll walk through the five phases of video production as they relate to the work we do for clients. Understand these phases, and set yourself up to understand today’s dominant form of engagement a little better.

Phase 1: Development

The first step in our process is to discuss with the client what they want to achieve with their video and figure out how we can build upon their initial thinking.

Here are some initial questions we often ask our clients:

  • Why do you want a video?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What action do you want viewers to take?
  • What does success for this project look like?
  • Where will the video initially be published?
  • What is the marketing and distribution plan?

From here, we create a development package that includes an idea, plan, timeline and budget. Once this is in place, the client approves the project and we transition to the pre-production phase.

Phase 2: Pre-Production

This is when we do everything we need to prepare for a successful video shoot: writing the script, creating storyboards, preparing a production schedule, auditioning talent and preparing the cast, hiring and preparing a crew, securing equipment, finding and securing locations, selecting wardrobes and so on.

It’s a ton of work, and because it’s not the “sexy” work of rolling camera or chopping up footage, it can seem less important. But in fact it’s pivotal. This phase involves thousands of decisions that affect the success of the next three phases and the quality of the final product. It’s important to spend appropriate time here and get all those decisions right.

Phase 3: Production

The main task of production (or “principle photography,” if you’re a film geek) is to capture the project assets. In other words, this when you roll camera, create the animations, etc.

Here is where all the time and energy spent preparing culminates into something special.

Phase 4: Post-Production

And here is where you turn something special into something final. In this phase, we edit the video; add music, audio effects and voiceover; adjust sound and color; add titles and credits; create special effects; create publicity materials; and release the project for your target audience.

Phase 5: Marketing & Distribution

Once the project is out in the world, we need people to watch it. So we’ll shift our efforts to the marketing and distribution plan our team drafted for the client back in the beginning of the process.

Some of this process you probably knew about. But maybe some you didn’t. If you want to know more about any of these phases (trust me: each one is a world unto itself), get in touch.

If there’s one thing we like as much as creating engaging work, it’s picking apart the things that make it engaging.

About

Paul leads the video production unit for Weber Shandwick on the West Coast. He directs all aspects of production from concept to finished product for both broadcast and the web, providing creative and strategic direction for visual digital media.

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