Updated: Sep 24, 2019
How does one make a great video?
All videos are created, generally, with the same process. I will break this down for you in a simplified way to get you familiar with the process. Making a video can be broken down into 3 phases. First is creative development or simply, the idea. This phase is also referred to as the preproduction phase. The next step is shooting the video or the production phase. And lastly, get all your footage stitched together for a final video, the post production phase.
What does each phase consist of?
Starting from the beginning you will need to get creative and come up with an idea. What is this video about? What do I need to say? A script is a great tool to guide you through your video. This script can be as simple as a bulleted list of things you want to talk about and show to the viewer. Or it can be a full blown movie script detailing scenes, camera angles, dialog and action.
Creating a video can be a very messy process and a script will help you keep things on track. This is also a very important time in the project. Here is your opportunity to get your message structured in a way that is compelling for the audience. Storytelling becomes the key tool you will use in the script writing part of this phase. I don't want to sound harsh when I say this but that step will make or break a video. You want to be crystal clear about what you are saying and wrap it up in an engaging story. If you miss either one of those you will end up with a video that's "ehh" instead of "wow!" We have seen plenty of examples of "ehh" movies. Lately movies are focusing more on the "cool" factor and forget about the power of a great story.
After your script is done (we can also call it your "plan"), you will use it to determine what and how you will need to shoot it. Your plan should give you a good sense of the details. Like, can I shoot this in my office or do I need to go on location somewhere? Will we need to be outside? If we are outside then I might need a way to capture clear audio. Maybe you won't be talking on screen but have decided on using voice over to support the video. How are you going to record the voice over? Notice how there are a lot of questions when planning your video. This is where you try to think of all of the possible questions that may arise during your shoot. The more you can answer the smoother the rest of the phases will go.
After you have preproduction figured out it’s now time to go into production. Here you will start shooting and capturing what you need to make your video. If you've done your planning in preproduction, then you should be able to go into this phase with some confidence. This is also where a lot of hard costs come into play. You may need to buy or rent equipment. You may also need to hire people to operate said equipment. Having a great team here is key for projects that are too big to handle by yourself. Simple videos may just need one or two people to help out. Videos with a larger scope will need more hands on deck. The preproduction phase will also tell you things like “I need to shoot on location.” If that’s the case you may need permits. Your plan may also need some visual effects. Knowing this will help in setting up the shots correctly, i.e. green screen.
With principal photography in-the-can you will transition into post production or “post”. Post is where you put your video together. This is where the magic happens. This is where you can see if all the planning you did was enough. It might not be enough, and you may find that you’ll have to go back out and shoot some more. This is called a pick-up shot. Hopefully you wont. Usually the budget doesn’t have the room for pick-up shots and this can start to bloat the final cost of the video. Sometimes you can’t avoid it though. When planning this out in preproduction there is the possibility of not seeing something. It would be smart to leave some room in the budget to allow for this. Heck, if you planned well, you might even save some money or have extra to beef up the post. While in post you will also need to create the graphics you need as well as any visual effects. Did you shoot someone on green screen and need to make it look like they are on Mars? Post is where you would do that.
Paying attention to all of the phases will help you in creating your next video. Each phase is important in it’s own way and if you don’t cut corners it can be a very fun process. Creating a video is a lot of work no matter the scope but it’s also very rewarding.