Proper planning is key when determining the how’s and whys of your video shoot as well as the when’s and where’s. If you don’t have a plan then you are likely to have a video that looks unprofessional.
Why are you shooting the video? This is the first step in video preproduction. What this means is that you have to know the purpose of the video that you’re shooting. Are you shooting a short video for YouTube? Are you shooting a commercial? Knowing exactly what you’re shooting is a crucial part of the video preproduction process.
Who is the Video for? You may think that your audience is you but this is the farthest thing from the truth. If you want to make some sort of point with your videos you should be as far removed from the process as possible. Who your audience is will determine how your video will look. For instance, are you shooting for a younger, more ‘MTV’ kind of crowd or are you shooting a video the older generation. What about senior citizens? For a younger audience you’ll want to shoot in a quicker, less fluid fashion while for older audiences you want to shoot at a slower pace. A good way to find out how to shoot for your audience is to look at other videos and see how they are shot. Doing this will help immensely.
Where will you be shooting? When it comes to location you should do what is called a location scout. What this means is that you go physically to the place where you want to shoot your video. If you’re going to shoot a one man news show this isn’t so difficult as you’ll be shooting in your bedroom or a personal studio but many videos are shot in places outside of the normal area. You’ll want to visit these places to be aware of any problems that may pop up during shooting such as extraneous noise.
Other reasons for scouting a location is to make sure that there are enough power outlets for cameras and lights, restrooms (trust me!) and to make sure that you’ll be able to have food an water for your crew and talent. As the saying goes: A happy crew is a well fed crew.
When will you be shooting? Speaking of the actual place where you’ll be shooting, you’ll want to visit that location at the same time of day that you’ll actually be shooting. In other words, if you have a shot that calls for early morning or very late at night then you’ll want to visit that location at early morning or very late at night. Doing this will help you in your planning.
What will you be shooting? This is where a shot list comes in. The first step you need in creating a shot list is to make a very detailed list of every little thing you want to see or hear in your video. By doing this you’ll have a road map of how your video will look.
How will you shoot your video? Now that you have your shot list you’ll want to know how to go about shooting your video. This is the culmination of all the other steps in the video preproduction process. To keep this process as simple as possible a shooting schedule will keep everything on track.
It’s important to keep your shooting schedule in groups such as when you’ll be shooting and where you’ll be shooting. In other words you should try to get all your midday shots in as close together as possible. Same as the location shots and any other variables you can think of.
Remember to plan your shoots! Doing so may seem like a lot of work and it is but if you just show up at a location you’ll waste time figuring things out at that time. And it’s important to remember that when shooting your videos that time is money. Imagine the work it would be having your crew wait around for you while waiting for you to decide something. Planning your shots will make your shoots easier in the end.