A production not guided by pre-production will likely go over budget and time, making it an integral part of the entire production process. In addition to researching big picture video production how-to guides, video pre-production should be one of your primary considerations.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the three things to get right during the video pre-production process!
1. Conducting Location Scouting
The importance of location scouting for your video can never be overstated. Likewise, the location of the shoot is a crucial part of pre-production. Without knowing where you’re going to shoot your video, how will you know what production decisions to make or how the film will look?
While scouting locations, keep the following in mind:
- Script knowledge is essential
- Visit each site in person and record your experience through notes and photos
- Make sure to go at the time of year when you wish to shoot
- Visualize each shot by taking the shot list with you
- Check for route logistics and consider the vehicles involved
- Imagine how the shoot will be affected by different weather conditions
- Ensure ample power supply
Doing your homework beforehand and scouting the perfect locations for your video shoot can be the difference between a smooth shoot and a production nightmare.
2. Securing the Necessary Permissions
You will likely need specific permissions to film anywhere you’re recording, whether an animal, an adult, a child, a national monument, a public place or a private park. These permissions might include:
Permission to access the location
It can be costly if you fail to obtain the appropriate permissions before you begin filming. The filming schedule could be disrupted, and you may be unable to release the final film. Legal problems are not the only potential consequences.
Public ‘private’ spaces for filming
Filming a private event in a public space may also require a license or a permit. Depending on where you are filming, there may be restrictions on what you’re allowed to do. For example, public transportation operators must consent to filming even when you film on their property.
Taking exterior shots of buildings
There is no need to get permission to film outside of a building, but this, again, depends on the building type. It is not advisable to enter military establishments, for instance. Most exterior shots of buildings don’t require permission from the landlord; however, you may need permission for certain locations.
Indoor filming in a private setting
Before shooting inside a building, double-check who owns it. A tenant’s agreement does not guarantee a landlord’s approval. Always seek permission from the relevant authority, whether it’s a landlord, municipal authority, local business, or government entity.
3. Choosing the Right Equipment for Filming
Equipment selection is likely to be the last piece of the pre-production puzzle. To narrow down what equipment you’ll need, you’ll need to know what scenes you’re going to shoot, at what locations, and who you’ll need to capture those shots.
You should include the following in your film production starter kit:
Your film production hinges on this. So be sure to choose one with excellent audio recording capabilities. Whether you’re looking for a cinematic camera or a 4K camcorder, you’ve got a lot of options.
It’s best to use a tripod for smooth pans unless you’re making a home movie or a mockumentary-style production.
It’s impossible to guarantee great light all the time, so if you’re not on a sunny day, you might need additional lights. Therefore, choosing something that can effectively fill in the shadows is advisable.
Consider wireless microphones if you have the budget. Using these will give you a little more freedom and flexibility when shooting.
Getting home and checking the sound only to discover interference or other nasty surprises is no way to spend hours capturing your film. You can monitor the sound quality as you record with a good set of headphones.
You will be able to capture different shots if you use different camera lenses. Therefore, it is essential to have a variety of lenses on hand to ensure that you can capture everything you need, from wide-angle pans to close-up bug shots.
Make sure you don’t run out of juice mid-shoot and ruin all your plans!
Video Pre-Production: Final Thoughts
The video pre-production process should be carefully planned and executed to ensure that filming runs as smoothly as possible. By following these three steps, you’ll be prepared for any eventuality and ensure that you remain on time and within budget.