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Jed HammelOct 15, 2022 4:28:25 PM5 min read

Pre-Production - Demystifying Video Production



For the second edition of our "Demystifying Video Production" series, we are digging into the Pre-Production phase, often called "Pre-Pro" for short.

This series of resources is designed both for those new to the video production process as well as those already familiar with video production. 

 Logistics, Coordination, and Pre-Planning 

concept-g40f299c4d_1920The pre-production phase is the time to do all the planning, logistics, and creative ideation needed to execute the production day and post-production process.The goal is to specify, solidify, and plan each task needed in order to bring the vision of the video to life.

We suggest allotting 3-4 weeks for pre-production planning for most video projects, although shorter timelines are possible for less complicated projects. However, for more complex or long-term projects, pre-pro can take a couple months. 

Examples of pre-production tasks include:

  • Creating a Project timeline and project milestones
  • Creating a script, interview questions, storyboard, or other creative story guidelines
  • Coordinating and scheduling interviewees, actors, production crew, and other stakeholders
  • Determining technical "specs" needed for the final video file(s)
  • Creating a "Run of Show," shooting schedule, or schedule for the production day(s)
  • Preparing crew, cast, and other stakeholders for expectations for their role on the project
  • "Tech Scouting" locations with the video crew and  other stakeholders
  • Working with office managers, building managers, event staff, and local municipalities to schedule locations for the production day. This also includes determining details such as parking, equipment load in options, getting security passes and permits, and so on
  • Preparing questions, narrative scenes, key messaging, and other creative direction
  • Specifying a plan for details such where/how/when/who will provide food for cast and crew, making sure likeness releases are signed, that everyone knows where to park on the production day, how to get to, and when to arrive on set
  • Planning B-roll, staged scenes, and other footage needed to best tell the story.
  • Planning and creating motion graphics and other art assets
  • Keeping in touch with each stakeholder to help everyone stay on task and that the project is on schedule

There  are a number of other broad stroke and granular steps that we could include on this list, but the above is a good start. In a future article, we will take an even deeper dive into the steps and overall approach that we use for planning a production.

The bottom line is that precise planning and coordination in advance is the best path to ensuring that your vision for the video comes to fruition.

 Brand Considerations

It is important for you to be able to give the video production team high-resolution version of your logos, your branding guidelines, brand colors, fonts, and other art assets as needed for projects that will involve custom motion graphics.

From a more strategic level, it is also important that you have in-depth discussions with the video team so that they understand the nuances of your brand as much as possible.

This includes knowing and understanding your organizations mission, differentiator and value proposition, core values, and your organization's story. Having an understanding of your brand's target audience, "Buyer Personas," and general tone and "vibe" is also important.

Creative Direction

brushes-gbe4382f7d_1920Whether it's a documentary, narrative, a commercial or a training piece, videos should take you on a journey, tell a story, and engage with you emotionally. This is the art of it.

The creative side of things is a more nuanced than simple task planning, it requires a more of a "feel" or "gut check" approach to determining if the video you are creating is in alignment with your vision for it.

We suggest that you check in regularly with yourself and your team to make sure the project is on track creatively. So you can ask questions such as:

Does the look, feel, and tone of your creative plan draw you in, inspire you, or otherwise hit you on an emotional level?

Do the creative choices align with your initial vision for the video?

Does the creative team understand, appreciate, and "get" your brand?

It can require a number of discussions, sharing of illustrations or video examples, and iterating on ideas to determine how best a video can represent your brand, but it is a very important step in the creative process, so remember to plan time for this part of the process.

Motion Graphics

 Motion graphics include animated logo "bumpers" at the beginning and end of the video, “lower thirds” (name/title of folks in the video placed in the lower portion of the screen), animated charts and graphs, signs, logos, or full action scenes. And of course, your vision could be to have the full video could be animated.

For basic bumpers and lower thirds, the process is relatively simple. Once our animator has your logo, brand guidelines and names/titles of folks, they can create mockups for you to review/give notes on and iterate from there.

For complex animations, or videos with a number of animations needed, pre-pro and creative advance planning and a longer post-production process needs to be accounted for time-wise.

Our Next Edition: Production

Our next edition of this series will cover the second phase of production, which is... "Production." This article will cover what happens on the day(s) that that the video is filmed.

If you'd like the us to email you a quick note when each of the posts are live online (as well as links to our Video Garage podcast episodes, please click here. Or please check back on The Video Garage Resource page!

Thanks for tuning in!


About The Video Garage:

The Video Garage is a Boston-based media production company that specializes in high-end, B2B & Educational media production.

We partner with innovative and mission-based clients to realize their visions through professional videography, photography, 3D images, animation, and more. 

Our goal is to become your long-term partner, and for every project to represent a pivotal moment in our client's success story.

We work with startups and research labs in the STEM space, small and medium sized businesses across virtually all industries, Fortune 500 companies, and world-class educational institutions in Boston, Cambridge and across the globe.


Jed Hammel

Chief Culture Officer, still trying to make "Fetch" happen.