A video planning checklist is the best way to think through your project before you start.
It will help you cover all your bases and leave no stone unturned. Too many video production projects start part way through - with a 'great idea' or no idea at all.
If you haven't taken the time out to properly plan out your video project, it will likely fail. And by 'fail' I mean cost you unnecessary money and time and likely not achieve any measurable business objectives. But we don't want this for any business.
That's why we've created this checklist to give you the tools for planning your next video production. Everything from the many elements and tasks associated with film production to the importance of pre production and planning. We've got your back!
Don't rush: Believe it or not, filming is the shortest part of video production. Pre production, or the preparation phase, takes the longest. It's here that you'll do all the planning, scripting, storyboarding and casting.
Keep reading for a step-by-step checklist that helps you navigate pre production and start your video project on the right foot.
10 keys to success
- Know the end before you begin
- What are your objectives?
- Who is your audience
- Determine your video's budget
- Talent and actors
- Draft your video script
- Visualise your video with a storyboard
- Gather Materials and Equipment
- D-day - the day of production
1. Know the end before you begin
Knowing the end lets you determine the critical information needed for your pre production planning. Ask yourself:
- Where is video going to end up?
- Are you posting the video on social media or youtube?
- Is it going to be used for training, promotion or nurturing?
- Is the video part of a series?
Once you have established some of the core goals of what and why you are creating a video, you can then start making a plan. Remember, don't pick up the camera first, put pen to paper.
2. What are your objectives?
What kind of video are you looking to make? How-to. Testimonial. Case study. Corporate. Social. All of these types of videos are shot differently with varying goals and structures. You need to think about the purpose of your video. Whether it's to motivate, raise awareness, influence, educate or promote; every video needs a clear business objective, otherwise you're wasting your time. Lack of key focus is the principal reason business videos fail.
Answer this question:
What do you want to happen when your audience finishes watching your video?
3. Who is your audience
And on that note, who is your audience? You now know what type of video you're going to create - but who do you want to watch it? Understand your current demographic and consider who your brand needs to appeal to in order to grow.
You have to know who your customers and prospects are and you have to develop a differentiated message that will resonate with that specific audience.
4. Determine your video's budget
You can have all the crazy ideas in the world. But if you don't have the budget, you simply can't create it. That's why you need to know your money limits. Ask yourself, what can you afford for this video?
It's all about return on investment (ROI). And remember, a great video doesn't have to break the bank.
5. Talent and actors
If you are going to be having people in your video, who are you asking to be on camera? Are they a professional (or amateur) actor? Is a co-worker playing the part? Is it a customer? Or is it just you recording yourself in your office?
Regardless of who you invite to be in your video, you need to make sure you are preparing them. You will want to talk through the big idea and share the script with them later on.
When it comes to the day of filming, make sure they know what their role is and what you expect from them. You should also tell your talent what to wear and any requests for hair and make-up.
TIP: Always get a signed media release form allowing you to use them in the video
When choosing a location, you need to know what background you want to film on, how you're going to get there and what permissions you need to record in that location.
Beyond permission, go visit the locations around the same time of day you are planning on filming. Scout it out and make sure it's going to meet your needs:
- Are there obstacles that might get in the way?
- Are there noise issues, like construction?
- Is the lighting going to work?
At the very least, go to the location and see how it will match what you are planning. Then make adjustments.
7. Draft your video script
Write down everything that'll happen in the video down in chronological order. Start with the problem and work your way onto the solution, with any specific details you need to include.
Your first draft can be a little messy or even just be a bullet-point outline. It's all about getting the ideas onto paper. From there you can tighten up the script as you go. Do your best to make all dialogue sound natural. Anything too dry or too corporate and you will make people want to click away.
TIP: Remember not everyone knows your business jargon, so keep it simple and strong
8. Visualise your video with a storyboard
This is the stage where the concept and messages turn from an idea into a big picture idea. It's all about planning camera angles, assets and talent needed. Who and what is going to be in each shot. Consider the following:
- Is there voice-over or dialogue?
- Do you use animation or graphics anywhere in the video?
- Are there actors, presenters, employees or other people in camera and if so, who and how?
- Do you use music or sound effects to set a tone or maintain a pace?
In this step, you determine the style, the flow, the length and the structure of your video. It's the physical manifestation of the story. The more detailed your storyboard is, the easier production becomes. Make sure your storyboard shows the script/narration, the action on screen and the supporting elements. A well written storyboard holds everyone involved accountable.
Answer this question:
Do you have an exhaustive list of everything that needs to be included in your video?
9. Gather Materials and Equipment
As you create your storyboard, take note of any objects or elements you need to gather. Write a shot list and break down everything needed for each shot. From actors, to props, locations and assets. The more detailed list, the more better prepared you can be for the day of filming.
Tip: Think about brand colours, logos and images you are going to use throughout your shots to make sure your brand is strong throughout your video clips.
10. D-day - the day of production
With all your planning and pre production in place, d-day should be relatively straight forward. You have your location, your props, actors and elements all ready to go. You know the script and you can tick off the storyboard as you from each shot. Ultimately, there should be no curve balls that come your way, because you've put the time and effort into getting your ducks in a row before filming. Your video shoot should be all about putting the video plan into action.
There is a lot to think about leading up to undertaking film making. All this isn't to scare you off or dissuade you from making a video. The opposite in fact. The hope is that this list makes your first video easier to produce. With time, practice and a little organisation, you’re sure to have a successful production process that results in a finished video clip you can be proud of.
Just make your first video. Then on the second video, apply one tip from this article. Then on video three, add another tip and be better prepared. Follow the pattern, and keep making videos that are better and better
There is a lot to consider when making videos. It can feel overwhelming, but getting some of these video tips in place will make it easier, faster, and less costly.
Why do you need to hire a video production company?
Let's be honest, video production done well and done right, takes time and effort. Whilst anyone can make a video, we do it every day and have mastered the process.
Would you like us to create a powerful storytelling video for your business? Get in touch to chat about your video production.