Step-by-step Live Action Video Production Process

From grainy home videos on your dad’s camcorder to multi-million-dollar budget Hollywood movies, everything comes under the umbrella of video production.

When it comes to live-action video shooting, there is a process to be followed if you want to attain the desired outcomes.

Before you start live shooting, you need a solid overview of what are the key steps involved in a video production process.

If you know what to expect, you can successfully manage the project and keep your workload to a minimum. Leaving the process to chance may over-burden you.

How to plan a live video production?

Contrary to what one might think, video production is not just pressing play on your iPhone. There is a huge build-up before you can actually launch yourself in the production process.

Whether you are an indie filmmaker, a digital marketer, or an internal communications expert, you must have the hang of shooting a video, it can come in real handy.

However, there are certain particularities and baggage that comes with shooting a live-action video that you need to be aware of.

These are all very essential units of video production that every producer should know before shooting a live-action video.

They vary based on the style and type of your content as well as budget and deadlines.

Here is the complete checklist of the steps you can cross off while producing a professional-grade video.

So, you can stop feeling like a deer staring into headlights and feel a little more in control about the whole video production process.

 

video production

1.     Know your audience

It does not matter what is your product, knowing your audience is pivotal to your success.

Knowing the demographic and the psychographics of your audience helps you drastically in deciding what would attract them and make them the most attentive.

This is why you must have an exact idea of exactly who you are pitching to. Knowing what they want and how they think will help you direct your creative decisions in a fruitful manner.

Gain insights about your audience and relate to them through your video. You need proper research in order to accomplish that.

2.     Land on objectives

No product comes into existence without a certain objective and goal. Here is where you need to clearly define them in order for your video to have a strong voice and message.

A product built on clear objectives has a strong call-to-action.

Here are a few pointers for a ‘SMART’ objective development.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

 

3.     Develop a core message

Keeping your ultimate goal in mind also streamlines the idea of what you need to get your audience to do in order to achieve that goal.

Your goals for the video are also rooted in how you want your audience to think and feel during and after the video.

For example, if you want to increase the number of subscriptions after a period of free trials, you have to get them excited about the product in your video.

Push your objective in a way that it seems to the audience that it is their own personal goal to achieve. This joint objective is the core message of your video.

Always try to constrain the number of messages to only a few. Too many messages can lead to a confusing video and in turn a confused audience.

4.     Come up with a video production strategy

Now that we have the more basic things out of the way, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of your video production process. Lay down the groundwork.

A very strong production strategy is determinant to the success of the video. How are different things going to play out in terms of logistics is how you avoid wasting time and resources.

There are some things that you need to decide before-hand like:

  • In-house or external production.
  • Distribution
  • Budget/Scope
  • Schedule

There is no need to feel intimidated or overwhelmed. Learning how to make a good production is a learning process based on trial and error.

Instead of doing guesswork, it is more advisable to consider hiring a video production agency and observing them closely in order to learn the ropes.

5.     Writing a project brief

Having a comprehensive project brief is how you ensure that you are staying on track.

It may sound challenging and technical at first but it is essentially a document comprising of all the above-mentioned points including audience insight, core message, video objectives, budget, schedule.

This document is to include every ounce of relevant information that you have collected in the research phase of your project. Make it detailed, make it solid.

Now that the planning phase is out of the way, let’s talk about the three phases of production.

Pre-production

Pre-production is the initial stage of any production. If you nail your pre-production, it can prove to be the blueprint for success.

This phase, like planning, has the ability to ward off any potential crisis down the road. It is in fact, mental visualization of your video.

It gets into the nitty-gritty of the video before we start shooting in order to not waste time on set. Pre-production itself is divided over different areas. We will look at them in detail.

·       Design a creative strategy

You can write your creative brief on the strategy of your project brief. It is time to put your thinking hats on and brainstorm an idea that will stand out.

A creative brief is very important because this is the whole idea your production will stand on. A creative standpoint is the whole life of a project.

Jason Mamoa stars in the Ad campaign of Rocket Mortgage and the strategy that the creative directors have employed is to completely throw off the viewer in addition to having a few laughs.

Directors employ a wide range of creative strategies when it comes to developing a creative angle. Although comedy is the most convenient approach, the emotive appeal is also a very frequently used strategy.

Sometimes it is the element of surprise, other times it is the relatability that strikes a chord with the viewership. Knowing your target audience and being familiar with the product is pivotal in this regard.

Ultimately, brainstorming to coin the right idea is the most important step in every video production process. Don’t be dismissive of any outlandish idea. You need to stand out, don’t you?

Here are a few pointers that can help you streamline your creative process.

  1. Look at what has worked in the past and take inspiration from it.
  2. Be unique
  3. Be mindful of the target audience.
  4. Do not shy away from thinking outside the box.

Whatever idea you land on must be in line with your strategic brief.

·       Write a script

Writing a script is undoubtedly the most important phase of pre-production.

This is where your creative approach dominates. It may feel like just about anyone can write, however, it is very important to be modest and leave it to someone who has real expertise in writing a script.

A script is a foundation on which the entire structure of the video stands. Here is where you cannot leave anything up to chance and you have to cover all your basis. Include each and everything you would like to see playing out in your video.

Here are a few things you need to be mindful of when it comes to writing a killer script.

  • Have a natural flow.
  • Appeal to the human side, be emotive.
  • Stay relevant
  • Direct to your target audience
  • Be brief and concise, don’t flail about.
  • Make sure your point is getting across.
  • Include all the necessary information.
  • Keep your core message visible

While you are doing all that, don’t forget to read your script out loud. Sometimes things look very good on paper but just don’t sound right. Eliminate that unforeseen before you start shooting.

Make sure that the reading of your script sounds very good. It is all about previsualization.

Figure out the logistics

As you write your script, it becomes clearer and clearer what you would require while shooting. It is a very smart decision to start writing all of that.

The things you might need can be everything including props, costumes, locations, recording equipment requirements. Doing this helps you contain your budget to the pre-decided scope.

One thing you can also do to facilitate your process is to make notes about what you want the performing talent to be like in terms of appearance and personality.

This will help you both in the direction and auditioning phase of your live-action video. In a pre-production meeting that is supposed to take place between a producer and the primary head of a production project, you will find that having these details out of the way comes in handy.

It will help you finalize important details about budgeting, scheduling, scouting locations, and making the resources available.

Fact-finding

Make sure while you write your script that it is well-researched and thought through. Having multiple perspectives really helps in this regard. Make sure that everything you write is in line with your brand identity and positioning.

Nothing you have in your script should be so off-beat and unbelievable that it is unsettling. You can exaggerate as long as it makes sense.

Be accurate about facts as you don’t want a PR crisis at your hands for spreading fake news.

·       Preparing for a shoot

Before you start recording, it is very important to prepare for it. Make sure that you have finished and reviewed the scripts. It is very important to get them approved by all the stakeholders.

Arrange a rehearsal with the talent in order to smooth out any problems they might have with the script. Address any question cast and crew have from you and entertain all the concerns.

All of this will help you achieve a smoother and hassle-free production phase.

Production

Now that you have given all that you could to the planning, it is time for the main show-down. This is when you get to play the field because the production phase is essentially breathing life into what was just words on paper.

Channel your creativity to a maximum during this phase. While recording all your footage, make sure you are mindful of the common dos and don’ts of video production.

Go through your raw footage thoroughly. Make sure that the visuals are good to use and come up to the standards of what you had in mind.

Remember, as long as you are in your production phase, there is always room for improving the footage.

There are some major elements of production:

  • Lights
  • Sounds
  • Conducting the recordable actions
  • Recording any audio or composition that you need separately
  • B-Rolls to fill in the gaps.

It is advisable for you to be present on set if you are hiring someone from the outside like an agency to record your video.

This way, it remains easier to satisfy the producer and prevent material from getting lost in translation.

Post-production

After the production phase sees completion, it is time for the phase that could potentially make or break a product. Post-production wields a lot of power when it comes to live-action videos.

This part needs high levels of organization and special attention to detail with an eye for finesse. You will process and organize the plan with your editors.

It will include rigorous watching and re-watching of the existing clips to a point of becoming sick and tired of them already. But you do this to shortlist the best ones and the useful ones from all the takes.

Don’t be reluctant to waste some of the footage as oftentimes, trying to include all the footage makes the video lengthy and cumbersome.

You need to be picky and exhibit immense taste. Get second and third opinions on it to have an unbiased perspective.

Here are some things you do in post-production.

  • Logging interviews
  • Shaping the final story
  • Audio track selection
  • Video editing
  • Review and approval
  • Render

It is like a big, beautiful, real-life puzzle coming together. Let your editors take charge of the technical aspects of the process while you closely monitor the overall aesthetics. Make sure your core message is not getting lost in the editing.

Post-production is often a lengthy process. It is important to not rush it. You have to be clear about any deadlines you are working with to your external production team for them to be able to accommodate you beforehand.

Revisions

Now that the editing is done, you have been handed the first exported draft. But don’t think that your work is complete. Not by a long shot.

You have to bring back the stakeholders like your investors etc. for them to review and approve it. This is how you avoid lawsuits and disgruntled clientele. Make sure you incorporate their feedback.

You have to carve out a separate chunk of time for revisions. There are normally two phases of revision itself. Assuming that the stakeholders have input that you can work with, you can spend the first phase clearing that up with your editors.

Now that you have exported the revised format, you have to consult the stakeholders again and see if they have gotten what they wanted.

The important thing to remember here is to clear the rate of revisions with the editors beforehand.

Now comes the distribution. You may need to consult some experts on how different platforms like Youtube, Facebook, TikTok will support your video optimally.

If you want a consultation about how you should go about shooting your video, you subscribe to MotionCue services.

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Virtues of following the video production process

When you are producing a video, you have to be certain that the cast and crew are all comfortable with the script, storyline, location, and schedule, etc. Convenience is something that you get to plan in the pre-production phase.

You can avoid uncertainties and mishaps by following the proper protocol of the video production process.

Following a logical and systemic order of things is always going to help you when it comes to live-action videos.

A production that has followed the step-by-step process always has a predictable timeline and makes all the deadlines.

A decent and deserving amount of time allotted to all the three phases of production is what ensures the transition between an educated guess and an accurate prediction.

A planned production also helps you stay within your budget. If you do not go by a planned production process, that ultimately ends up prolonging your schedule.

A prolonged shoot means only one thing: more costs. If you go by the book when it comes to planning, shooting, and editing the video project, you can save up the costs that go into the wages for extra days that go into the extra time required to overcome inconveniences.

When you already have your objectives, plans and groundwork laid out, the process and execution look more like the ones you originally envisioned. This saves you the hassles of repeated revisions.

Conversely, if you start and end without this process, you may end up with a project that looks nothing like what you had in mind and then you end up sending it for revisions, further adding to the costs.

So, if you want a predictable pace, dependability along with quality and accountability from your staff, going for a step-by-step process is the right call.

Posted by Fatima Najeeb
06.22.2020

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