The Video Creation Process: A Short Guide
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Have you ever started to create a video for your business and immediately felt overwhelmed? You heard all of the stats about how great it is to create and share videos so you jumped in and all of a sudden you were floundering in the deep end of the pool. If that’s you, you’re not alone. When I have conversations with business owners that are interested in creating videos, they usually have hesitations and fears in a few areas. One of those areas is the video creation process. If you hire a production company or an agency to handle your needs, they should educate you and walk you through this process, but if you’re getting started on your own, here is a quick guide.
First, I have a few notes for you. The process can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. If you want to storyboard each shot, it’ll take a bit more time, but you can do that. If you want to sit down and start talking to the camera to get your thoughts out, you can do that too. Everyone that makes videos develops their own process over time based on what works for them and what they’re creating. You'll have to make a few projects before you get the hang of it, which brings me to my second note: the most important part of the creation process is just getting started. I’m pretty bad at this and have to work at taking my own advice. You’ll never complete a video if you never start it. So start rough. Start ugly. Refine your project. And refine your process.
Now there are three classic phases of professional video creation and I have a bonus phase, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. The three phases are preproduction, production, and post production.
Preproduction is everything that happens before you hit “record.” You might write out your idea or a summary of the video. Then you might script the dialogue, the voice over, or action. You can create storyboards to know what you want your shots to look like and then create shot lists to describe those shots and help plan how you’ll capture them. Some projects require hiring additional crew and cast. Those conversations and decisions happen in preproduction. You’ll look at locations and get permits if you need them. Then you can decide what gear you need or if you’ll just use the gear you already have. Sometimes I start listening to music in preproduction, but that’s just a process development of mine over time that works for some projects. I’m sure you’ll develop your process to fit your needs.
Production is so fun and challenging. It’s my favorite part of the process. It’s when you take the gear out, put your talent on camera, and make some magic. I won't go into a lot of detail here because how production happens depends so heavily on the type of project that you’re creating. For me, a typical production day would look like this. I’ll get to the location a little early to make sure that everything is in order. Then I’ll stage the area by unloading the gear in one spot and prepping another area for filming. That usually involves cleaning or moving some furniture around. Then I’ll put the camera together and configure it based on what I’m shooting. At this point, the day can go a number of ways. Maybe I need to set up lighting or audio. Or maybe I can start working on b-roll. It just depends.
If you’re creating a video yourself, an important part of production that you need to remember is this: when you’re done filming, protect your media. Don’t rest until your SD cards, or whatever you’re recording to, are safe and preferably backed up.
Post production is the phase after recording. This is when all of the raw material that you planned and captured is refined into a finished product. This involves editing the footage, color correction, color grading, audio work, graphics, and visual effects. Again, this can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like. Some people skip this step altogether and just publish unrefined cell phone footage. I would recommend taking some time to work with what you captured and present it well to your audience.
I have one bonus phase for you and it is publication. I think a lot of people miss this step because it happens outside of the classic three, but it is crucial! Too many people, whether they do the video themself or hire it out, they miss it. Don’t invest your time, money, and energy into a video project only to post it on YouTube and get 50 views. You’re going to be disappointed. Have a plan for how you will publish your project. Is it a broadcast commercial? Are you going to promote the video, share it, ask your audience to share it? Are you going to put some money behind it on social? Is it going to live on your website? Is it contributing to an email campaign? How are you going to utilize this video to actually achieve the goals that you set out to achieve? Maybe 50 views are all you need, but make them the right 50 views by the right people. My point is, you’ve worked too hard up to this point to throw a video up on Facebook on a wing and a prayer. So make a publication plan.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.