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Video Production Part I: Preparation

June 21, 2018 | Natalie Frei | Methods & Tools |

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Video has become a standard format to disseminate information and to report on a variety of events. In a series of three blog posts over the coming weeks, I will revisit key steps of video production: Preparation; filming and post production. This first part outlines how to get from the idea to filming.

Natalie Frei, SDC

 

Goal

Before you start worrying about video production, you should be very clear about why you are doing this. Are you sure that video is the best format for what you want to communicate? Use the flowchart below (German) to figure it out:

flowchart (Custom)

Click to enlarge. (Medienausbildungszentrum MAZ)

 

Target group and channel

 

Who are you “talking” to? Answer this question as detailed as possible. What is your audience pre-existing knowledge, do they understand jargon, what needs to be explained, and most importantly; what do they want?

 

Where is your video going to be published? The context of a video is decisive for its content and function. Is it part of an article or is there going to be a report next to it or at least the possibility to write a few lines? Then you can avoid mentioning too many numbers, complicated terms and names in the video and write them down instead; facts & figures are much better absorbed through text, while emotions, opinions, atmosphere and non-technical explanations go better with video.

 

One sentence method

 

Once you’re clear about your goal and target group, try to describe your main objective in one sentence.

Example: “The audience learns how malnutrition causes students to have problems with concentration and how this undermines education project efforts”.

Now memorize your sentence and remind yourself throughout the remaining production process.

 

Storyboard

 

A storyboard delineates your video’s sequence of frames and scenes and is basically the masterplan for production. For every scene, think of the actions shown, voice over or spoken lines, the shooting angle, framing, lighting, special effects, music, etc. The more detail and thought you put into your storyboard, the easier the rest.

Picture1

Find templates here

 

 5-shot sequence

 

In the process of creating your storyboard, you will notice that you need different angles and frames to tell your story. There are different terminologies and theories about them, but a story typically needs five different shots. Ideally, you plan the sequence of those shots in the storyboard and later put them together in post-production (wait for the 3rd blog post in this series for more about cutting techniques).

Extreme long shot

 

 Interviews

 

Unless you write a screenplay where every line is defined for the actors to repeat, your video will probably contain interview parts. In preparation for interviews, do some research on the person and topic before you do an extensive prep talk about goals, topics, questions, taboos, etc. After this talk, make a list of questions and memorize the first one.

 

More about prep talks (German)

 

 

Congratulations, you should be prepared now! In the next episode of this series, we will talk about filming.

 

 

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