What To Expect From The Video Production Process
Creating a production schedule is the foremost step in the video-making process. A well thought-out and detailed production schedule will ensure that your video stays on-budget and meets your deadline. But creating a timeline of events and deliverables can be tricky. There are several variables to consider when making a production schedule that will guarantee a smooth process and avoid costly mistakes.
THE 3 PHASES IN THE PRODUCTION SCHEDULE
- Pre-Production: The Planning Phase
- Production: Lights, Camera, Action
- Post-Production: Putting It All Together
When you work with LAI Video, there is one big decision that will ultimately inform what production will look like for you:
Will your project be documentary style—in other words, will it be distilled from live interviews with real people telling real stories to support your message in a candid, unscripted way? OR will your message resonate better if it’s told through the performances of actors working with scripted content?
Let’s call these different paths documentary style (or docu-style) and narrative productions, respectively.
There is some overlap, of course! In either type of production, you are sure to encounter the following:
- Lighting Equipment
- A Producer
- A Cinematographer and/or Director
- A Creative Director
- A Production Assistant
- Real, live human subjects (professionals, paid or otherwise)
The list above, broadly speaking, contains all the moving parts and personalities that make production production. Something is going to occur—a sit-down interview or a staged baseball game—and LAI Video is going to capture it. The difference is in how that something unfolds and the structure the video will eventually take (in post-production).
When it comes to executing an incredible video marketing campaign, the truth is that a lot of it comes down to pre-production.
Think of it this way: You know when you’re sitting around in your garage with your bandmates, just noodling on your guitars, and then BAM! You play something, and you’re like, “Whoa, that’s it, the hook that will sell millions of records!” Pre-production is the jam session where video marketing rock stars are born.
You see, pre-production meetings are a much-needed chance to talk about shoot logistics and scheduling. But they’re also a chance think differently about your entire marketing strategy, and to brainstorm new, out-of-the-box ideas. And, what’s more, when you have LAI Video backing you up, there’s always be an expert on hand to let you know if your 10-minute video idea—like an epic, wailing guitar solo—may actually reach its zenith somewhere around the 90-second mark. And we’ll walk it back together.
Pre-Production Task List
Let’s get our pre-production check list out of the way. You won’t encounter all of these tasks in the course of a single project, but here’s a comprehensive collection of all the things that make pre-production such a big deal in the overall process:
- Kick-off calls
- Research and asset gathering
- Production scheduling
- Interview question crafting
- VO artist casting
- Real live human casting
- Mood-boarding and storyboarding
- Location scouting and permitting
- Costume design
- Prop hunting and other visual magics
If that seems like a lot, remember that LAI Video will be doing the major lifting for you. It’s nice having a big, strong, full-service production house band to play with, right?
The point of this comprehensive list is to get your message and strategy down pat before we get anywhere near a camera or a key light, or, you know, the stage. Pre-production informs the work of every maker who will come in contact with your project, whether they’re an editor, shooter, designer, animator or writer so they can confidently rock your message, brand, or event to the extreme limits of video greatness.
Anyway, let’s riff on a pre-production best practice that you’ll thank us for absolutely insisting on.
Helping You Identify the Right Representatives
When shooting an interview-based video, whether it’s a dynamic, day-in-the-life project with a single interviewee (like the work we did for the Certified Financial Planner Board’s “I am a CFP Pro” campaign), or a multi-interview case study, similar to what we did for real estate developers with these promotional pieces), pre-interviews are critical to confirming you have the right people on board.
We’ll contact your subjects together, demo your messaging goals, and try out interview questions we’ve drafted. This is when we develop a sense of each interviewee’s energy and storytelling potential. And it’s not unlikely that we’ll uncover something we hadn’t known or wouldn’t have found out about until the day of the actual interview. We can tease out the best details while prepping our subject for the spotlight.
Pre-interviews are a must for helping refine your message—without capturing an interview that feels scripted.
Finalizing a Killer Script
Scripting is a great example of how important pre-production is for the quality of your finished video. Because scripting isn’t solely about the words. It’s about exploring all the elements of your concept and making decisions to assemble them in a way that enhances the message you want to share with the world.
Whether you’re creating a short PSA video (like CropLife America’s Know Your Enemy), a longer animated explainer video (like the Information Technology Industry Council’s video on Artificial Intelligence), or hybrid video (like the Aluminum Association’s Drive Aluminum video) with animation and scripted content, LAI Video can help you find the most compelling narrative for your project.
Our in-house writer will consult with you to hit your key messaging goals and help you stick to a running time. We use a two-column script format, one column for video (all things visual) and one for audio (all things ears). It’s also your first glimpse at the finished project. The video column contains brief descriptions of each proposed scene, the content of graphics and animation, including any on-screen text, or stage direction. Some imaginary assembly is required, but the script is structured to show the interplay of the copy and our proposed visual content. It’s the scriptwriter’s job to set your project on a path to success, and to hopefully win a few of those rare un-ironic retweets when all’s said and done.
Pre-Visualization: Thinking Through Even the Tiniest Details
Pyrotechnics, strobe lights, and lasers have elevated many a rock god of old in the halls of fame. But who dreams this stuff up, and how? You might ask yourself the same question when you watch one of LAI Video’s awesome animated pieces.
Creating custom motion graphics is time-intensive, involves a tremendous amount of detail, and, done right, creates highly-rewarding work. But even our extremely talented designers and animators don’t dive into it without some solid preparation. All that glitz and polish comes from “Pre-viz.”
Pre-viz is when the work of our collective imagination is translated into something we can see, judge, and refine. For a live-action narrative, it may be storyboarding, or creating the rough shot-by-shot guide for what the camera sees for each beat of the script.
For custom animation, we will move sequentially, refining the look and feel of the video with mood boards before moving on to creating fully-realized storyboards for each unique scene written in the script.
Pre-viz is not only about getting your visuals just right, it’s also about making sure we’re on the right track to delivering the video you always wanted, quickly and without hiccups or delay. After everyone’s minds are blown with how good it looks, we’ll blow them all again when we go into production.
As Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph. You make it.” And that’s Production: The stage of the video process where ideas and planning are set in motion. Where the story we’ve talked about, scripted, and planned for is given its first breath of life.
Think of video production as a milestone on your calendar that falls, as you will have guessed, after pre-production and before post-production. It’s the only time certain technical and creative choices are made. These choices give your video—be it an event opener, 30-second PSA, or short-form doc—the character and depth that will make it stand out.
HOW THE PRODUCTION PROCESS WORKS FOR NARRATIVE PROJECTS
Kind of. If by narrator, you mean a very constructed and specific message, then sure, there’s a “narrator.” And actually, there really might be, in the form of a voice over. All the work that goes in to create a typical “live-action” television or internet advertisement—that’s a narrative. And even if you want to make a quick, 30-second spot, to do it effectively, you need talented actors, producers, creative directors and cinematographers to stage an engaging and coherent storyline.
In a narrative production, a script has already been created and finalized to shape your piece. On location, your director will also be using storyboards, created in advance, to better visualize each scene, guide the action in the frame, and inform the placement of cameras. At LAI Video, we do not use megaphones. We use a producer, and he or she will have already lined up all the details in pre-production. And while our team always comes with a solid plan, there’s nothing paint-by-numbers about it. Conditions on set, schedules, and logistics can shift without warning; your producer will be running point to keep everything, and everyone, in line.
Creating a narrative piece is a time-intensive process. It’s likely to involve multiple setups and tear-downs as we reposition cameras, lights, and audio recording gear. Compared to a two-camera interview, you’ll probably encounter more complex lighting solutions, and depending on the talent, more takes (which also means more outtakes!).
Here are things that are generally unique to narrative production:
- A script
- Props and set dressing
- A teleprompter
- Actors and extras
The narrative style provides an opportunity to tell your story in the exact way and with the exact words that you choose. It’s a chance to take your brand some place new, try on a new visual style, or tell a story in a way that will evoke real emotions.
Go ahead, inject some humor, or deliver a concise and high-impact message. Narrative production lets you dial it all in at the volume, tone, and intensity that suits your needs.
HOW THE PRODUCTION PROCESS WORKS FOR DOCU-STYLE PROJECTS
Yes. Exactly. LAI Video has excelled at capturing unscripted and informative stories through candid interviews for, like, ever. And we’ve also got our first feature-length documentary under our belts. Our docu-style work wins awards—for our team, and our clients.
If production in the narrative genre is about asserting more control over your story, docu-style is about giving it the opportunity to emerge. Or at least letting it ride that candid interview wave. With some coaxing, LAI Video will help you discover an authentic, seemingly extemporaneous voice (who also happens to be articulate and get the point across) for your corporation, non-profit, association or academic institution.
Of course, making your brand look good starts with the people who speak for it on camera. A little powder and blotter paper goes a long way. But the real trick is helping interviewees feel comfortable being the center of attention. Our process is designed to do just that. LAI Video’s crews come in all shapes and sizes, but we always aim for efficiency. A producer, a cinematographer—maybe two. This keeps it feeling intimate. Casual. So conversation flows naturally and the messaging feels authentic.
But docu-style doesn’t mean we’re limited to talking heads and b-roll. We have a variety of tools and techniques that will enable us to tailor your content to your unique goals. For example, something as simple as incorporating a motorized slider into a standard two-camera interview, or shooting so that our editors and animators have a lot of blank canvas to work with later in post-production.
For communications with a human-sized story arc, we have a number of documentary-inspired flavors to choose from. By no means comprehensive, this list should give you a feel for the range of docu-style corporate video:
Whether we’re traveling across the country or keeping it local, we always come prepared. Our goal is to capture just the right content to tell your story. When we drop the footage on the desk of one our makers, they’ll be ready to dive right in and quickly assemble a solid first draft. Sure, there are always things we can fix after the fact, but we don’t lean on post-production to make good videos—we plan ahead and shoot efficiently. That way, our editors, designers and animators can focus on taking your story to the nth degree of fire. Or, you know, top drawer, best-in-corporate cool.
You’ve worked too hard defining your brand, sharpening your message, and proving your value to expect anything less. Let LAI Video treat your brand with the loving care it deserves, at every stage of the production process.
How the Production Process Works for "A Day in the Life" Video Projects
You know the saying about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes? “A Day in the Life” video productions show what life’s like in another set of footwear and it’s a type of promotional video that’s gaining momentum in the video production and marketing industries.
The purpose of “A Day in the Life” video projects is to shed light on someone else’s experiences. A lot of times, these videos tend to focus on one aspect of your life, such as your profession, fame, or illness. Other times, they focus on a group of people with a common thread, like those living in aa war-struck country or working as AI developers.
If you’ve seen any “A Day in the Life” video productions, you may have noticed they have a laook that’s similar to documentaries, which makes sense since they take an approach that’s focused on honest depictions, interviews, and b-roll footage.
With their ability to tug at our heartstrings and share honest depictions of people’s lives, “A Day in the Life” video projects are picked to accomplish several goals, including:
- Expanding brand awareness by giving a firsthand look into the company
- Depicting the impact of injuries or illnesses
- Exploring the benefits and role of a product, career, or service
- Generating interest in the upcoming launch of a product or service
Whether you’re looking to educate your audience or inspire them to action, you can’t go wrong with an “A Day in the Life” documentary.
Examples Of "A Day In The Life" Documentaries
Check out a couple samples that we’ve hand-picked:
- Life of a Scout: This campaign dives into what it means to be an Eagle Scout. From the journey of Ben Motta, who developed an emergency kiosk to prevent drownings at a river, to the accomplishments of Nick, Leo, and Steven Cantos, who each did projects that helped their local community, audiences learn what it took for these individuals to become Eagle Scouts.
- Rise Up: These “A Day in the Life” promotional videos highlight how a series of individuals began in retail and rose through the ranks due to their passion for their newfound careers and interest in helping people.
With their emotional power, “A Day in the Life” video series are compelling. And when you want to make a powerful statement that connects with audiences, they’re a smart choice.
After all that pre-production—the research, planning, story boarding and pre-interviewing—and after the video shoot we planned and executed with surgical precision, are there really any big creative decisions left to be made in post-production? A misconception we have sometimes encountered about the post-production process is that it’s nothing more than pushing buttons to connect the dots that we laid out earlier in the process. So, what really happens in post-production?
You don’t need to understand every aspect of the video production process. But, wrapping your head around the range of creative decisions we make during post-production will help you collaborate more effectively with us. Together, we’ll create awesome, award-winning, and most importantly, high-impact video content that will help you achieve your marketing goals.
Here are the three big components of the video post-production process:
Videos utilizing motion graphics and animation are one of the coolest and most versatile marketing tools that businesses, trade associations, and non-profits can use to take their video communications strategy to the next level. With animated content, you gain access to visual tools that can bring the biggest, most out-of-the-box ideas to life. Animation is particularly valuable if you need to present complex ideas in an easy and even fun-to-consume package. It’s also a powerful tool for evoking emotions and connecting with viewers at a gut-level. Animation gives you the power to transport viewers to a different time and place and bring big, complex ideas down to Earth.
For the 65% of the population who are visual learners, animation can be the key to cracking open the data that showcases your organization’s value. LAI Video’s team of talented designers and motionographers excel at making tedious topics visually interesting, and delivering data in ways that will help channel audiences toward deeper brand engagement.
Typically, corporate animation falls within these two broad categories:
- Custom Animation—Featuring original design elements and illustration for a hand-crafted, perfectly-branded look and feel.
- Hybrid Animation—Bringing together motion design, kinetic typography, and photo or video content to create a dynamic, category-bending messaging tool.
Both approaches will provide you with a lot of control over how you tell your story. But, just as it sounds, custom animation allows for more granular control over the look, feel, and action going on inside your animated world. And it’s in post-production that we set that world in motion.
Yeah, sure, we made some big decisions in pre-production. Working with mood boards curated just for your project, we pinpointed the design elements that suit your brand and message perfectly. And from there we plotted your story, frame-by-frame with storyboards. But it's in post-production that LAI Video’s graphic designers and animators bring these storyboards to life. This is a demanding and time-intensive process, especially because getting the right look and feel for your content extends beyond graphic design. Our animators have to fine-tune the physics of your animation. For instance, how will design elements interact with each other? Will kinetic typography appear with an elegant flourish, leaving other design elements in the scene undisturbed? Or will it land with a thud, sending ripples through the frame?
Just know that when someone compliments the design of your finished video by saying it looks slick, or smooth, or just plain cool, you can chalk that up to the magic of post-production, and in this case, to our sweet, sweet motion design.
Hybrid animation projects use motion graphics as a kind of visual framework to hold together a wide variety of video and audio assets. Photos, charts, news clips, user-generated phone footage and, of course, our own professionally-shot footage can be combined to create extremely dynamic content. We might transition between full-frame animation and video content, allowing the unique storytelling properties of each medium to inform your message. Or we might use animation and other visual assets, composited to occupy the frame together. Used in combination, or individually, these hybrid animation styles are a potent way to show and tell your story.
While hybrid animation is typically just a little simpler, and potentially more cost effective than a custom animation piece, this approach still offers plenty of room to play with design and emotion. Take these quirky, hype-inducing, kaleidoscopic show graphics, for example. And for fact-based, well-ordered promotional and even docu-style projects, the graphic packaging of hybrid animation is an amazing way to inform, persuade, or inspire, whether you’re promoting a cause, or paying tribute to an industry.
Bold character animation, elegant kinetic typography, enhanced interviews, and custom lower thirds and bumpers, and more: LAI Video has a reputation for creating smart motion graphics. And we make it all happen in post-production.
The Video Edit
When LAI Video’s editors dive into a batch of raw footage, there’s already a lot of creative baked in. But outside the basic rules of storytelling in conventional promo videos, explainer videos, and day-in-the-life videos, to name a few, the talented people editing your content have plenty of opportunities to let all the creative juices flow.
In post-production, our editors set the tone by selecting the right musical underscore, establishing the pace of a story, using novel transitions, adding graphic overlays, and making subtle (or bold!) choices when it’s time to apply color correction.
So it should go without saying that LAI Video is not a post-house hired to create content on an assembly line while clients call the creative shots. Our editors are master storytellers and video marketing gurus—and in most cases, accomplished videographers and animators too! They see the world a little differently than the rest of us. They’ve helped us amass an impressive portfolio of work and earned the complete confidence of our clients along the way. LAI Video’s editors have proven their ability to make real-time decisions on behalf of brands. Even in an overnight capacity, they can create amazing stories on-site, while everyone else is asleep.
When it comes to the edit, the ability to coax a story from a shapeless mass of content may not put them on the same level as the great Michelangelo, but he pretty much sums up the work of our editors when he writes, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
Discovering the story in a jumble of candid interviews for docu-style projects can send an editor on a bit of a scavenger hunt. Guided by production notes and an outline of your messaging goals, they’ll comb through hours of interviews and b-roll footage. But digging out the most insightful soundbites, delivered with the most confidence or the right emotion, isn’t the end of their work. These must be assembled to create a cohesive and compelling story. Editors support and enhance their choices by adding relevant b-roll, graphic elements and visual effects—all of which can be tweaked and tuned to support your message.
The success of a scripted, live action video hinges on the skill of the editor. For projects with humor, the editor plays a big role in delivering laughs with just the right comedic timing. And for more dramatic storylines, our editors excel at making the most of subtle creative decisions. In this example, simply inverting the usual narrative structure by starting at the end, so to speak, the editor cranks up the viewer’s curiosity early. Small editorial choices like these will help keep viewers hooked.
The process of color correction provides yet another avenue for creative decision-making during post-production. While we always light our subjects to look their very best, almost every image will benefit from some adjustment in post-production. Basic color correction is key to achieving the clean, professional look that will position your video to win the confidence of audiences and showcase your brand.
How much color correction we apply falls on a spectrum. At one side of this correction spectrum is the process of fixing flaws to achieve the most natural, life-like image possible. At the opposite end of the spectrum are corrections made to achieve a distinct aesthetic. Every video falls somewhere on this spectrum.
One of the essential goals of color correction is to ensure consistency between multiple cameras and different shots. When a project uses footage captured at different locations and times of day, color correction is used to create a seamless look between lighting environments. Ensuring flesh tones look natural and that the features of interview subjects are well-defined in our compositions are some of the most important fixes we make in post-production.
More assertive color correction techniques, like the color palette we used in this PSA, fall on the opposite side of the spectrum. Here, we’ve thrown out the natural “in-camera” colors and manipulated the image to create a striking, high-contrast look.
Bold, subtle, or somewhere in between, color correction is an extremely effective way to create visual interest and draw the audience into your story. It’s one of many post-production tools that LAI Video uses to deliver world-class video content.
And this list is by no means comprehensive. We do plenty of audio correction and add sound effects in post-production too—whatever it takes to delight, surprise, or bring your audience to tears.
LAI Video is a full-service video communications firm. Every member of our team takes pride in producing awesome video content that’s devised, from pre-production through post-production, to fulfill each of our client’s unique marketing and communications goals. Sure, your content will truly begin to take shape in post-production, but great video marketing content is always the culmination of a well-planned production process.
In post-production, the efforts of our producers, writers, designers, shooters and editors reach a creative boiling point, and from all that frothy creative energy we deliver powerful and professional video storytelling.
FAQS FOR VIDEO PRODUCTION TIMELINE
You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers about video production durations. Check out the most frequently asked questions about video production timelines and our answers below:
- Which types of video marketing take more or less time? Some kinds of video marketing do take longer than others based on their length, post-production requirements, and their style. A five-minute animated video, for instance, is an example of a project with a more extended video production timeline than a two-minute live-action branding video.
- What factors influence the video production timeline? Tons! Your video’s duration, style, scale, and, props can all affect its schedule. Take this example of a video production timeline. Would an animated video or a talking heads video take longer? An animated video would be our bet, but target video durations may change that.
- How far in advance should project requests be submitted? The sooner, the better! Waiting to submit a project with a tight deadline can make it difficult to find a video production company that can make it work in that timeframe. Even if your plan isn’t complete, submit it early and your video production team can help you finish it.
- What happens in case of project delays? We can’t speak for other video production companies, but at LAI Video, we deliver. Our team has worked several live events and created recaps for the closing ceremonies, which meant we were reviewing, compiling, and editing footage overnight to meet our client’s needs. We also produced powerful videos overnight that blew our clients away while touring the country on a bus to end childhood hunger.
While production timelines all include pre-production, production, and post-production, the steps and turnaround times for each can vary based on your project’s scale and style.
START YOUR VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS
Are you ready to deliver that big sound with your video marketing strategy? Take your production process to the next level by contacting us now.
You can also call us at 202-416-4660, email us, or live chat with a member of our team right now.