Fail to prepare, prepare to fail is my motto when it comes to filming. And this is one of the best bits of advice I can give. Even above all the technical wizardry I’ve picked up over the years. If you don’t have a clear plan or understanding as to why you’re shooting a video, what the video is about and who the video is aimed at, then you’re really not doing anything worthwhile.
Once you’ve figured that all out, it’s time to start planning your shoot. Get this right, and everything that follows should be a breeze. Here’s how to nail your pre-production prep.
1. Storyboarding Shouldn’t Feel Like, Er, Paddleboarding!
Storyboarding is a vital part of any shoot. What it does is allows you to document how your video will look – and, in turn, what you need to capture on the actual day of the shoot.
If you know what type of shots you need, then that will help you figure out what your lighting needs are, where your camera should be, when make-up should be on hand, and if your audio guy needs to get in a little closer… and so on.
Storyboarding is where the whole video is made – well, after the script that is. Think of it as a map of your video.
2. Waste Of Time… Management
Running a tight ship is important for so many reasons. Maybe you’re on a budget and your location is costing an arm and a leg every hour you run over. And likewise with your talent and crew.
Make every second count. For instance, maybe you need to capture a beautiful sunset for a magical ‘golden hour’ glow. Well, as the name suggests, you’ve got around an hour to capture your footage.
Otherwise, if you miss the opportunity, you’re already playing catch up. Falling behind on schedule will often have a snowball effect on the rest of your production. So, manage your time and manage your team.
3. Location, Location… Umm, Oh, Location!
I’ll skip talking about location scouting for now, although this is very important. Instead, I want to focus on the massive production value you’ll gain from having a great-looking location.
I’m sure you’ve quickly skipped many YouTube videos where some random Tom, Dick or Harriett sitting in front of the camera with a background that makes you want to weep it’s so bad.
First impressions matter a great deal when it comes to videos – it’s a visual medium after all. A good-looking location or a well thought out and lit backdrop will engage viewers for longer and keep them watching.
4. All The Gear No Idea!
What I mean by that is, make sure you have the correct equipment for your video. It’s a match made in heaven, like pairing a great glass of wine with a dish that fits.
For example, if you’re shooting a mini-doc in super low light conditions, think about what camera will work best, such as a Sony a7sii Mirrorless, which is great for run and gun low light situations.
Further, do a ‘once over’ on all your equipment the night before your shoot. Check to see that all the batteries are charged, memory cards are wiped and that everything is working as it should. Last thing you need is a faulty camera or dead battery mid-shoot.
5. Always Be Ready To Rumble
There are occasions where you’re going to find yourself with little or no time to plan ahead for shoots. It happens to us here at Viddyoze, whether it’s a last-minute request or a reschedule that leaves you with little time to do your due diligence.
Because we know this is a reality, we have measures in place to help us out:
- Our batteries are always on charge or charging
- Our cameras are regularly checked and updated
- Memory cards are plentiful
- Everything is to hand or in its place
It also helps that I can lead from the front, think and react quickly, and direct and manage a team effectively. And you can too. If you put the above points in place, you’ll also gain the experience to think on your feet when needed.
- Storyboarding will provide you with a very clear outline of how your videos will look. It will also help you plan your shots and manage you production
- Keep an eye on the time, move people along when needed and be aware of environmental factors outside of your control (like weather)
- Never forget the massive impact a good looking and well thought out location or backdrop will have on your video content
- Pick the appropriate equipment for the different scenarios you’ll be filming in. And make sure it works prior to filming
- Make sure you’ve learnt all of the above so that when you’re chucked into the deep end with no planning, you can still put together an amazing shoot
Pre-production sorted? Figure out what else you need to do during post-production.