Pre-production

In simple terms, a well-produced video needs a couple things:

  • a comprehensive PLAN created by a passionate and determined producer
  • intentional use of filmmaking tools (lighting, shooting, editing, etc.)

It doesn't matter what your plan looks like, as long as it helps you contemplate all the aspects of your video. Some things that should be included in a pre-production plan would be:

  1. Diegesis/Question: What is your film's story? Does it have an arc? OR is the point of your film to answer a central question for the viewer? Note what you need to film and what you need to voiceover. Make a script if need be.
  2. Style: Do you know how you're planning to show/tell your story? Is there a video style you would like to emulate from the internet?
  3. Schedule: Check the school calendar, consider upcoming assignments, and note when alternative time gives you the flexibility to film what you need. Also make a plan for what shooting and editing time you will need. When will you need to reserve a camera? Always assume you'll need extra time. Filmmaking comes with unforeseen bumps along the way.
  4. Roles: Who is doing what? Each role should make conservative suggestions of what they need by when to get their part accomplished by the final deadline.
  5. Budget: Depending on the nature of your film, you might need to purchase some props or objects, like food if you're covering food in Germany. What will you likely spend, and what is your plan for payment?
  6. Soundtrack: Not sure what you want yet? Search the internet for Creative Commons-licensed music on SoundCloud, Jamendo, ccMixter.org, and many other platforms. I also have a CC music folder I can give you of music I've acquired over the years that is free to use.

Planning tools

imageThere are many tools at your immediate disposal.

If you like words, written brainstorming, scripting, etc., try the production report template. This is also a good format if you are collaborating with other people. Google docs are easy to edit synchronously and convenient to read and edit in the field.

If you want to focus on getting all the shots you need, create a camera shot list. This is helpful for a shooter or if you need to film non-sequentially in different locations. I also like using apps such as Wunderlist or Reminders to make checklists that I can read and tick off very quickly.

If you are a visual person that enjoys sketching, maybe a storyboard is for you! On the Pages application from iWork, they offer a storyboarding template under miscellaneous, in case you want to map out the sequence with visuals. This makes your plan look like a comic strip, similar to the image here.

As I said, it doesn't matter what your plan looks like, as long as it helps you plan your time, effort, and resources effectively, whether working alone or with your production crew.

Head now to the production stage...