First-timer: how to approach a video shoot

by Francesca Goudousaki /

So, one day your client asks: “can you put a cost together for the planning and filming of a video?”. It’s something you’ve never done before and might sound scary at first (your company isn’t a specialist video and film production agency, after all). But fear not, if you put the work in and perform some risk analysis well in advance, you should be fine.

  1. Objective:

As with any campaign or project, you need to start with the ‘why’ before the ‘how’. Find out what the purpose of the video is and who it’s targeting, before you start making promises and planning. Review the brief in great detail. If you’re unsure of what to make of it, don’t be scared to ask – it will be worse if you keep quiet and get something wrong later down the line.

  1. Budget:

It’s vital to have an idea of what budget you have to work with, so that you can deliver a proposal that meets the objective, while staying in line with your client’s expectations. Having said that, they might be able to manoeuvre slightly, so it’s best to give them a couple of options on some factors. For example, venues can vary greatly on cost and there may be more than one option your client could consider. Putting all your eggs in one basket might lose you the job.

  1. Quote:

Ask your head of production to cover all bases on the quote. Remember, videos don’t start and finish at the filming stage. Considerations include, but aren’t limited to: cast, script, film/video production crew, your team (who will help plan and oversee the filming on the day), a suitable venue, post-production.

  1. Planning:

You now have an agreement in place. Time to start planning. You can’t be thorough enough when it comes to researching all the variables – the small details make all the difference. Keep in regular contact with your film crew to ensure they are briefed and understand exactly what is required. Once you have your checklist, make a briefing pack for all relevant parties. This can include logisitics, filming equipment, a change of clothes, an umbrella… expect for the worst and have a back up plan in place. Keep your client updated on the essentials throughout the planning phase. Oh, and remember to send the approved script to the cast well in advance of the shoot!

  1. Execution:

Having planned everything, you should be feeling pretty relaxed. Don’t get too comfortable though, complacency breeds failure. Make sure everyone on set knows their role and what to expect over the day. Run over the script with the cast, lend a hand to the film crew, check in on your colleagues – communication keeps everyone on the same page and allows for a smooth operation on set. Once the film crew have taken enough suitable shots, the next step is post production and edits. Welcome to the world of rushes or ‘cuts’: go back to the brief and select the best cuts to use for the final production of the video. Edit as required and add in any agreed graphics at this stage. Send for client approval, make any necessary amends, get sign off. Et voila.

It might not always go exactly to plan – but if you stick to these basic tips you’ll be on the right path!

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