A common video production obstacle and how to eliminate it
The day of the video shoot has finally arrived. Production day is usually filled with a mix of excitement and nervousness. There can be several unknowns. Did the person you are interviewing prepare adequately? Has all your gear been properly checked prior to production? You traveled a significant amount of time to get to the location and you often do not quite know how it will look. Is there enough space? Is it noisy? Can you create a friendly backdrop? Is the lighting adequate? But your team will do the best job possible with the given resources of time and budget. You’ve been in similar situations before.
The day goes fairly smoothly and you feel good about the outcome of the day. Yet, your team has a subtle feeling of insecurity about the footage. You are thinking “Did I get the enough b-roll?” Will the footage work in editing as you hoped? This feeling of uncertainty can be quite pervasive for some video creators.
Back at the office, you finally get to see the video footage on your large monitor, and at first glance it looks quite good, and you smile. And now comes the test. You have scrubbed and organized the video footage and it’s time to dive deep into video editing. Then comes the first irritation – your interviewee responses turn out to be slightly different than what you had remembered. As you prepare the audio and sound bites you are starting to see gaps in the b-roll to represent the spoken words. But you make it work as you look through the footage again to find the right shot. While you have plenty of footage – many shots don’t quite work. After a day of editing, you are starting to become slightly panicked, as you confront initial struggles to make the footage and the audio work. Eventually, you feel you got a pretty good first draft, so you send it to the client for review. The client response is not what you hoped for as they explain that the video “just doesn’t look quite right”, “the content just doesn’t click…” Disappointment seeps in. Now you contemplate getting more footage but it’s too late, the due date is rapidly approaching. You keep submitting revisions but you just end up with more revisions. You find yourself in an seemingly endless cycle of revisions and changes working long hours into the night.
The number one challenge video production teams must overcome
Stop! What happened here? The described scenario is far from uncommon. And I know from speaking with many other videographers and clients’ marketing teams that that experience is far from unusual or rare. I had similar experiences early in my video production career and I had to learn a few costly lessons.
When reviewing a video draft which does not look and feel as you expected, the cause is often a lack of pre-production planning. It has little to do with the type of camera or lenses you used, it is not that you are missing an epic drone shot, neither is the recording format to blame. These items are all important but none matter as much as proper planning.
Focus on the video marketing results
When first speaking with a new client it is critical to understand which audience you are trying to reach and establishing firm clarity on the desired results. For example, a software company may want to increase the number of app downloads or subscribers, a non-profit may need to raise a certain amount of money in the next quarter, and the corporate client may to want to increase client awareness and education about their latest product design. Establish a firm grasp on the results. Each video production phase that follows will always be tied to the desired results. Once you have a solid understanding about the client’s desired results, then you go on a story-finding journey. What type of inspired stories will help communicate with the audience and achieve the result your client is after? There are a limited number of story types and I will write about them in an upcoming blog post.
Key video production points
The important point to remember is planning which involves a lot of research about the clients, theircustomers, and the industry. The research may include reading available client marketing material, research online, and pre-production interviews with company managers and with the client’s customers. You will gather plenty of material, which you may then weave into an inspiring story. Develop a sense of deep curiosity and adventure when doing your research. I know it can be challenging to get the budget you need to do all this research, and clients may become impatient and wonder when filming will finally begin. In those cases, reaffirm that all the preproduction will help create more value and help achieve the desired result. Whether your are developing a script first, interviewing folks for information gathering, or storyboarding, it all comes back to achieving the desired result. Make sure you get your team’s buy-in at each step as you move forward.
Proper pre-production planning will make the shoot and the editing much smoother. When the first draft is submitted there will be no surprises for the clients reviewing the video. Everything they see is expected. Most of the time the subsequent revisions are far fewer when a lot of time is spent during the pre-production process. Essentially, you are shifting some of the time it takes to create the video from “endless” revisions and changes, to spending more time during pre-production.
The important advantage when taking more time to plan a production is that the desired result of the video is far more likely to be realized. The entire video production process will be much more enjoyable which results in happier clients and video producers, and better results.
Related blog post: How to create truly inspiring videos