VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
‘Photography is Truth.
And cinema is truth twenty four times a second’
GREAT FILMS START HERE!
This is our simple guide to how to make great video and film.
If you’re new to video production (or just want a refresh of the film production process) here’s our step by step guide.
In other words, from a film production point of view – everything you’ve always wanted to know about how to make a film!
Below we cover:
- Pre Production – what we need to get organised before we film;
- Production – the actual filming;
- Post Production – the stuff to get your film finished.
So grab a Production Schedule (for more details of those stick with us) and let’s get started on our video production process …
WHAT IS THE VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS?
To ensure your film production is to the highest possible standard, we formalise the video production process to ensure nothing gets missed out:
- We create a film script that achieves the objectives of the production and, if necessary, will be able to be cleared for broadcast;
- We make the maximum use of your production budget by negotiating hard with the many suppliers we use;
- We ensure as far as possible that from start to finish the video doesn’t suffer from ‘mission creep’. We know this happens quite a lot with less experienced production companies;
- We retain overall quality, both technical and creative, throughout pre production, production and post-production.
- We prevent cost and time overruns. We’re the video production company that delivers what we promise with our productions – in terms of budget and timescale as well as creativity!
So let’s make a video …
VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS: PRE PRODUCTION
As we’ve discussed, Pre Production covers everything we do on your behalf right up to the first day of filming.
So what is Pre Production exactly and why is getting it right so critical?
Let’s look at some of the things that pre production planning will cover in our pre production checklist:
Normally everything starts with writing a script. But actually working out how to write a script can be quite challenging.
Fortunately, we have many years scripting experience for you to call on; we understand how to start writing to make the most of your product or service.
But what is a script? Well, it’s more than just the words people say. Professional script writing will involve every aspect of what’s seen and heard – the actors, the words they say and all the details of the scene, location and a lot more.
To illustrate the video script we often produce a storyboard. And if you want to have a go yourself, check out our Blog. Often, scribbling things on paper really helps the creative process.
So why not have a go? You don’t have to be able to draw; stick-people are fine!
Storyboarding helps you solidify your thoughts. How to make a storyboard that works is something takes years of practice! But that’s where we can help with our storyboard service.
3. Director’s Treatment
With a production of any reasonable size, the video director will write a ‘treatment’ – his or her vision of what the piece will be like, how it will staged and the ‘tone of voice’ it’ll have.
This document is the ‘style guide’ for the piece and will have a bearing on many factors – the type of style of lighting, the camera moves and framing, the art direction and so much more.
Essentially the treatment is a style and content guide for the piece as well as the director’s vision for it.
4. Finding Actors, extras and voiceovers
They say all the world’s a stage but finding the right people to act in your film can be a little more challenging.
But luckily for you, we’ll be able to call on the services of some the North’s best casting agents to help you with this.
We’ll also be able to find you a whole army of extras, if required. And as for voiceovers we can arrange for not just English but many other languages – common and obscure – for the commentary if you need ‘localised’ versions for other places.
5. Film studios and location scouting
Whether you want to film your production on location or in studio, the North has a wealth of facilities.
With its rich and varied land and cityscapes, many different film locations are available within a short drive. Our location scouts can turn up some amazing places! We’ve had some real successes with location scouting and have worked in some amazing video locations.
The North is also well equipped with movie production studios. Using film studios makes sense for certain types of productions. We can advise on studio hire and everything that goes with it, including set design and build.
6. Set design and construction
Shooting in a studio, it’s likely that you’ll need a set design.
We work with some skilled art directors and production designers to ensure that the set works for the production and looks great.
From sourcing the right sort of chairs to designing a whole 1940’s development lab, we have the people with the right experience and the contacts to be able to deliver just what’s needed.
7. Sourcing Props
Does your film require authentic tropical clothing from the nineteenth century?
Or a 1950s car for a period piece?
We’ve had to source these and many more obscure props and costumes over the years so whatever you need we can organise the prop hire required.
8. Shot list
A few days before we film, the Director will pull together a Shot List. Bear in mind that for speed we’ll generally shoot everything out of order, to minimise the amount of time spent moving the camera and lights around (as that takes up a lot of time!)
So the shot list will have all the scenes and all the camera angles in the order that they will be shot in. This ensures that nothing is forgotten and different camera shots are missed out.
On some productions, this will be combined with a shooting script, with all the dialogue and action marked up.
VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS: PRODUCTION
By now we hope you’ll appreciate that a Production Schedule to organise everything is vital!
This ensures that everything comes together for the filming.
If you’d like to know more, see our production schedule template in the Resources section below.
Setting up lighting is a skilled job and a critical part of the production process. There’s more to it than meets the eye and an experienced Director of Photography (DoP) is essential for larger-scale productions, to allow other crew to concentrate on their own responsibilities.
However on smaller productions or for interviews/testimonials the camera operator normally does this job.
A DoP also needs to be able to work fast, as inevitably the video producer or director will be asking ‘how much longer?’ every five minutes!
2. Set Dressing
A complex set may require quite a lot of dressing. We work with some great art directors who are experts.
But if we’re just shooting in an office it may be just a matter of tidying up and moving the plants around.
But rest assured, the video director will want to change things – perhaps several times. That’s par for the course … so just accept it!
Once we start shooting video, the director will work with the talent to get the best performance possible, often rehearsing sections first. This is known as ‘blocking’.
If YOU are the talent, we will normally have spent time with you in advance, preparing for this moment, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. But accept that someone may well powder your face or brush your hair all of a sudden!
We will work through the shot list until we ‘wrap’. Although it’s a high-pressure environment, we try to keep things as relaxed as possible – it will deliver a better performance from cast and crew!
VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS: POST PRODUCTION
It’s everything that happens after the filming’s over, but specifically what is post production?
It’s the editing, sound mixing, computer graphics and colour grading that turns several hundred gigabytes of data into a finished film – THAT’S video post production!
1. Voiceover recording
Often we will record the voiceover after filming but before the rest of post production. This allows us to sync the edit to the voiceover’s delivery.
Of course, changes can be made afterwards or even during the process if required.
Often the voice over recording takes place remotely. Especially for foreign languages when it’s essential to use native speakers, voiceovers are based throughout the world and we are used to ‘remote direction’ of them, using Skype or Zoom.
Sometimes we will cut to a ‘guide’ and record a voiceover once all the editing is completed.
2. Music production
Sometimes we’ll suggest that specially-composed music is used on your production.
Often this will take the form of a musical motif (something that adds to recognition of your logo) together with incidental music to be used in the rest of your productions.
We use some great composers for this – and composed music can really add to the overall impact of your films.
3. Video editing
Video editing is the next process taking place.
We have our state-of-the-art 4K-capable editing and grading facilities in-house but depending on the requirement sometimes work with an outside video editing company offering more specialised equipment.
We will often return to the edit later in the production process to prepare alternatively framed versions of your films for Social Media – in formats like 1:1 and 9:16, as opposed to the regular 16:9 format we shoot in.
4. Sound editing
Decent sound is 50% of production values so it pays to get it right.
We spend a good deal of time (a lot more than many production companies) getting sound right because it pays!
The post production process of combining the music, sound effects, natural effects and voiceover is a skilled job and it needs to be right so everyone can hear what’s going on!
5. Colour grading
Often the difference between a movie and a corporate video is the skill and care taken to grade all the pictures.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here at SPL we take great care to grade all our pictures to get the very best out of them – and make them look awesome!
What is colour grading? The simple answer is that it’s a process that matches all the shots and creates an overall ‘look’ to your film – just like a movie!
6. Versioning and subtitling
Different screen formats used will require us to re-edit your film if you want to make it look its best on Social Media, as most people watch in ‘portrait’ mode, so we’ll re-format for that.
Often we also edit much shorter versions adding subtitles as well to aid retention.
Adding subtitles to video is something we’re highly experienced in, using specialist transcribers and a custom-built system. How to add subtitles to a video is an art in itself, so ask us for more info!
VIDEO PRODUCTION RESOURCES
TEXT AND LINKS TO FOLLOW
We are very happy with the final product, which is rapidly accumulating views - and likes - on our YouTube channel. The video is polished and engaging with a fluent voiceover and narrative trajectory that is compelling and intriguing.'
The attention to detail from brief to final film from SPL is superb. Getting to grips with the issues, showing clear understanding of the task in hand and then executing it is rare and Ian managed to do this perfectly and quickly. His guidance and suggestions resulted in films that exceeded our expectations. I can’t recommend SPL highly enough.
If you had to go into a warzone, you'd want Ant Middleton beside you. Whatever happens, you know he's got your back. If you're making a video, you need Ian Sandall. He's the Ant Middleton of the video world. Ian knows what has to happen to make a successful video. Whether it's your own money or your marketing budget, you can relax if you get Ian involved. Thoroughly recommended.
We were delighted with the videos produced by SPL. We were also impressed with Ian’s understanding of our processes, enabling him to ask the right questions when interviewing and then structure the videos to appeal to our target audiences. I can highly recommend SPL to anyone looking for a professionally-produced technically-based video."
"Working with SPL Communications, has been an excellent experience. This was our first attempt at creating professionally produced YouTube videos. Ian Sandall's experience and guidance made this process stress free and the production seamless. We are delighted with the results. We will be using Ian again, and would recommend him without hesitation."
"We all enjoyed working with Ian Sandall, SPL Communications. He understood exactly what we needed from the first phone call and we are really delighted with the professional video he has produced for us. Ian was enthusiastic and proactive throughout the project which made working with him very easy. He visited our engineering factory prior to filming, liaised with the engineers and office staff to be filmed and guided the preparation. Highly recommended."
"This is the first video RoC has produced and SPL Communications (Ian Sandall) was chosen based on their experience in the architecture and construction sector.
Ian has been an absolute true professional and has guided us gently but firmly down the road to creating the most engaging company video. I would highly recommend him to any company."
"We commissioned Ian to produce a series of testimonial videos of our dealerships.
Ian was amazing. He took into account everything we wanted to get out of the videos and delivered above and beyond.
During the whole process, there was clear and regular communication with various suggestions, additions and changes. He made the whole thing effortless. Polite and professional all the way through. I can imagine we will be seeing him again for more."
"If you are after someone who is flexible, dedicated, understands your vision and someone who doesn't stop until the final result is perfect then SPL Communications should be your go to! I've lost count of the amount of hours i've spent working with Ian across 2022, he became a part of a team for us."
"Ian was very personable and easy to work with both from my perspective as the project manager but also for the members of staff who had to get up in front of the camera, which was very much out of their comfort zone.
Everyone throughout the organisation was delighted with the final versions of all the videos produced and we’re already seeing the benefits of using these within our recruitment marketing activity."I would absolutely recommend SPL Communications to anyone considering them for their video production work."