Three Phases of Video: Pre Production

Camera crew on set with interviewee
Ryan Pratzel

At a high level, a new video project can be broken down into three phases. Inside each phase is a set of milestones. This is the first in a series of three articles that will take a look at pre production, production and post production.

Pre Production

Pre production is the planning phase of your video project. While it can often be overlooked, this phase should get your full attention and a portion of your overall budget. If you focus on pre production the other two phases should run smoother and you'll be happier with the end result.

Pre production should address, at minimum, the following items and milestones:

  1. What is the message? Engage all stakeholders to ensure this is clear.
  2. Who is the intended audience?
  3. How will the video, film, documentary be distributed?
  4. What is the budget?
  5. Where will filming take place?
  6. Scheduling, where will filming take place?
  7. Will the project require actors or voice over talent?
  8. Draft a script and review and revise. 
  9. Crew and equipemtn. Determine how big or small of a crew you need and the appropriate equipment.
  10. Storyboard (Nice to have when you have the budget)
  11. Create a shot list. This will be used by the crew during filming.
  12. Site survey. Visit the filming locations in advance.
  13. Call sheet is created.

It's ok to start a project with a pre production budget and then determine the budget for production and post during the pre production phase. Why do this? Production and post will vary widely and you'll determine how you want to tell your story, aka create your video, during the pre production phase. It can sometimes be impossible to budget the next two phases without pre production.

If you're making a simple corporate video with a handful of interviews with executives or clients, estimate $2,000-3,000 for pre production meetings and planning. The more complex the project, the higher the pre production budget.

Sticking to the plan

Before a project moves into production, the client team should be ready to move forward and have completed the steps in pre production. Sticking to the plan is important. Changes during production or post production do occur, but may incur additional costs. Clients are cost conscious, as they should be, so it's important to understand the budget impact of deviating.

Want more information?

Contact the Creative Liquid team and we'd be happy to discuss the process for your project.