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Video Production: Client-Perspective Basics in 6 Easy Steps

Just the parts that clients need to know about the video production process.

Video Production Design: Understanding the Process From a Client's Perspective

It Much More Than Cutting-Edge Video Cameras and Video Editing Software

Video production design involves so much more than an expensive camera, lighting, and editing software on a speedy computer. True, as with so much in this digital world we live in, the cost of entry is largely, exactly that… cost. Almost anyone can scrape together the change to buy the equipment. Almost anyone can follow the plethora of YouTube video tutorials.

In fact, a word about all the wonderful, skilled video production designers out there like Earl Chessher — who, while double-checking the spelling of his name,  I learned has an article almost scarily similarly named as the one you’re reading, so check it out here. Let me clarify that this article is not about bashing other’s methods. I’ve learned a bunch from Earl and our other peers. Their insight regarding the nuts and bolts is spot-on but comes from a designer-centric perspective, which is fantastic. 

This article is geared to prospective clients, business leaders, and entrepreneurs, professionals who don’t (and shouldn’t want to) know in detail everything there is to know about video production.  

High-End Video Camera
Innovative video editing software, cameras, and lighting are important,
but there's much more to the process than what money can buy.
Photo credit: Bruno-Massao

An Easy Video Production Experience In 6 Steps

While, true, as a client you need not know the technical how-to of putting together the video — how to use a camera or edit footage, etc. — it is important to have a rough idea of the steps involved so you’re not stuck wondering “shouldn’t so and so be ready by now”? (A note about this too-frequent limbo feeling below.) 

Contents

The Concept

Video Production begins with conceptualization, where you discuss with me your message related to your business and marketing goals; your target audience, whether B2B, B2C, or both; your budget, resources, and window of time; and you initially envision that message to be communicated. I offer my years of advertising and graphic design experience to guide you. This will serve as a honing or fine-tuning to ensure that your corporate identity is maintained, and that the end product aligns with those marketing goals and other print and digital collateral you may have already produced.

The Shoot

Even before completion of the master script, and well before the day of the shoot it is time to consider locale, time of day, and talent. Will outdoor or indoor shots or some combination of both better serve your marketing needs? Would aerial shots add value? As your advocate, I will help you weigh the cost-benefit of choices that make a relevant dollar difference. 

Details of the shoot are subject to change — later steps may force a change of strategy, and weather always has its say, day or night, inside or out. 

The Video Script

Then a script is crafted to ensure that the final piece fits any time constraints necessary to meet, depending upon the channel or market in which it will appear. Often, it is wise to write the script in such a way so the long-form video to accommodate editing down for shorter spots yet still preserve your marketing message. Through creating a master script, the message’s finer points — its emotion — will often emerge. Unfortunately, too many less experienced or more impatient individuals — I’m not sure which — video producers skip this step. I have years of copywriting and copy fixing experience, so there’s no need for you to spend hours worried over your keyboard.

Day-of-shoot Coordination

We’ll already be a couple days into the process, but this is the day many other individuals and firms consider the start their video production process. We unbag the cameras. The assistants and talent are on-hand.  We set the lights. With the master script as our guide, allowing variations based on what unfolds at each moment, we collect content in a methodical, disciplined manner.

As your video production designer and advocate, my task is to bring order to the process. I remain open to others’ observations and suggestions while being unafraid to guide talent into a fifteenth take, if necessary to get what we need. I am dedicated to making every moment of your time, your every dollar, a smart valuable investment.

But, also as your advocate, while I’m keeping the ship on course, I’m there to assure you it’s okay to have fun. Because every shooting day is special, both unique in some ways and predictable in others. Different in in that nothing happens the same twice: and the same in that something unexpected always happens.

No amount of planning can guarantee a perfect shoot day. It is the experienced video production lead’s responsibility to manage as much as possible but to roll with the punches at each inevitable unpredictable turn. A good video production lead and crew can spot the opportunities in the midst of such surprises.

And sometimes it’s the video production lead’s responsibility to the client to pull the plug on a particularly troubling day. Maybe the sun was out, but the sky decided to opened up in the middle of the open field we were in. The backup of the backup of the backup lights burnt out. The model who showed up didn’t match the headshot or the resume they submitted. Anything and everything can and has gone wrong. Likewise, anything and everything can and has gone right, despite appearing doomed by circumstance.

Video Production Editing Software
For your video production, I call upon my network of vetted professional
video camera operators, photographers, and as necessary,
experienced video and audio editors, talent, etc.

Sequencing and Editing: The "PRoduction" Part of Video Production

Here are the hours hunched over a keyboard snipping and piecing together audio, video, and construction stills and stand-along graphics to make the final piece cohesive and smooth, yet still fit the time constraints we’ve set up. This, in my opinion, is where the men (and women) are separated from the boys (and girls). This is where the experience and drive to make things tight and accurate comes into play most.

And because of the conversation and planning that has gone into the process up to this point, we can all be assured that we have the best start we could have provided ourselves. I strive to complete editing in one or two days, my goal being to show you as early as possible the first “finished” piece, so you can view it, sit with it for a while, and with fresh eyes, offer your constructive feedback for the typical one or rounds of editing.

Delivery of Product

The finished product is output and delivered to all specified channels. My goal is to deliver as far before any media deadlines to allow ample time to apply edits or changes and still have time for careful review.

And that’s it. Rinse and Repeat.

The benefit of producing additional videos

Because most of the design cost associated with establishing your video look and feel has been spent invested in the production of your first video, many organizations approve further videos, knowing their design costs will usually be less.

To clarify that point, think of a sales sheet, the first piece of its kind that a company needs. So that every sales sheet has a consistent look and feel, that first sales sheet design will be comprised of designing the template for all sales sheets for a client, then the specific sales sheet that has been requested. The first of any product will include that template design work, but all followup pieces of that type will not. From that point, it’s mostly but not entirely a matter of changing out content.

Take a Look and Let's Get Started on Your Video!

Below is recent video production example. If you like what you see, clicking the big orange button to get started on producing your first video.

Suggested graphic design services related to video production: digital graphic design, and advertisement design

That too-familiar limbo feeling associated with not knowing what's going on.

Many of my clients are what I call “design rescues“, individuals and organizations who have been bitten by unethical players who either under-deliver or outright take the money and run. To that point, before we get started in earnest, I offer your organization my proven track record of professional discipline to attention to detail, correct application of your corporate brand, and campaign creation that only the experience of a seasoned art director and graphic design can offer.

I have over 10 years of art direction experience across every channel, having worked with multiple simultaneous national clients across most professional industries. This experience translates into value at every step. And therefore I can usually guarantee a typical spot of 90 seconds in 5-7 business days, with editing, time versions, and delivery to the channels you’ve targeted.

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