The 5 W’s of video production

5Ws

Getting ready to start producing videos for your website? Below are 5 things to consider before you go out and rent the camera for your next block-buster.

WHO

When choosing your actors, there are a lot of decisions to make. It all begins with the script, but very quickly comes to the question – in-house or professional actors.

In-house actors can be a great choice. They know your product better than anyone else, there is huge value when customers walk in and recognize their favorite people from your latest video, and they are free! How could there be any other choice?

Not everyone is comfortable on camera. First time reactions to the lens can vary from being stiff and cold to complete freeze-up. Retakes can extend your shooting day into shooting “days”, and you always run the risk of your video never completely getting that “natural” feel.

WHAT

What are you show-casing? A product, your company, your staff. Having a defined topic will make it easier to write the script and to get buy-in from all of your stake holders.

WHEN

Whether you are scheduling your staff and facilities, or renting a location, the timing of your shoot is a critical detail. Do you have enough time for setup, practice, retakes, tear down, and miscellaneous problems that Murphy guarantees will happen?

A few hints to help here:

  1. Finalize your script as soon as possible. There is a lot more effort involved in learning the script, and designing the set than you probably realize. For a small “talking heads” video, a week in advance is still cutting it close.
  2. Always have all needed materials ready to give to your film team (video team, actors and producer) no less than 24 hours prior to shoot. Make sure your actors and producer have had time to get to know each other.
  3. Have everyone show up to location at least 1 hours prior to the scheduled shoot. This gives a little time for last minute updates, final checks on your equipment and products, and if everything is going well time to relax and prepare to look natural.

WHERE

Location, location, location. It’s always true. Don’t shoot your great promo video in the small office at the end of the hall. Sure, its convenient and out of the way, but when your project is released to youtube, do you want it to “look” convenient and out of the way?

When scouting your location, consider the following:

  1. Sound and noise levels. Does the room echo, is it in a high-traffic area, or perhaps a lot of machine noise. There are techniques to replace the sound after the shoot, but the most natural voices will happen during the shoot. Don’t waste it by picking a sound unfriendly location.
  2. Every location will need some design effort. Whether its making room for lights and cameras, or redesigning the entire room to match your script – there is work that will need to be done. Make sure the building manager will allow the necessary changes – and always clean up after wards.
  3. While you can add light to change any environment, there may not be enough room for the lights and the actors. Be aware of natural lighting that will be available on the day / time of the shoot – and use it if you can. It will give you a more natural scene, and leave room for everyone to breath.

AND WHY

All too often we get customers who want to shoot a video for their web page. That’s great. But why are you making the video?

Whether it is part of your marketing message to show off your wares, an intro to your team and facilities, or a demo to users on how exactly your product works — your video should have a reason to exist before filming day. The why dictates the script, the filming style, and basically every other detail of what you are about to do. Without it, you will only succeed in being another of the 100 hours of video that are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Start with a reason, and stand out from the rest.

That’s it

While these are not the only questions you will face when developing your video project, they will give you basic information that you need to elevate your video above a majority of the material being uploaded and save money while you are at it!

Written by: Chris Gamble

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