WORKING WITH A VIDEO PRODUCTION AGENCY – WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
Following on from our blog post last week, we wanted to give you a little insight into the processes involved once you have decided it’s time to produce your first marketing video. We describe ourselves as a video production agency, which means that we are a video production company that also offers video strategy and activation. We will explain these in a little more detail below but put simply, it means as well as being experts in producing video content we also help to unlock its full potential. We help you to understand your goals before production begins and design a campaign to ensure that the content is working hard for you once production has finished. We are a creatively-led company that offers everything you need in-house. Take a look at the various stages of the process below.
Strategy and Planning: Lets Establish Those Goals
The planning stage is all about content strategy. Having a strategy in place is essential if you are to maximise the video’s effectiveness, achieve your goals and avoid it becoming just another piece of ‘orphan’ content. By putting in place a proper strategy, you are also able to make budgets go further by repurposing and reusing content and integrating it across multiple digital and offline channels.
There are several techniques to putting together a detailed video marketing strategy which can include:
- Audit of your existing content
- Audience profiling
- Mapping your wider business objectives
- Analysing your competitor’s output
- Defining your brand identity
- Buzz monitoring
Once this is established, we can take what we have learned about your business and its goals and ensure this information is in mind throughout all of the creative processes which come next.
Pre-Production: Now We Need to Build a Strong Concept
Pre-Production is often overlooked, but it is so crucial to producing effective video content. Even videos that seem to be ‘ad-lib’ or ‘off the cuff’ contain some essential ingredients.
Creative Idea Generation and Scripting
We always ensure we are going into the creative part of the project with a brief, detailing what you want to achieve, your activation plan, a creative framework and some key metrics and KPIs to measure success, all of which we will discuss in the strategy and planning phase.
Any good production agency will have its own in-house creatives, who will be instrumental in translating the brief and generating a strong concept behind what your video will look and sound like. The amount of input you have in this process is really a case of how you prefer to work. Your nominated project manager will help establish this working relationship, where you can feed your own ideas and input into the process and eventually sign off on the finished script and concept.
At the end of this process, we end up with a script and a storyboard. This will help everyone visualise how the video will be shot via a series of simple illustrations. It should detail lighting, colour, framing as well as how any transitions or effects will be used in post-production.
Planning and Logistics
This part of the process is really all about logistics and planning for the shoot. Depending on the scope, style and format of your video this may be a complex or fairly straightforward task that may or may not require much input from you. If we are creating an animated film for example, then there is no need to physically travel to a location to shoot (although voice actors or presenters may need to be sourced).
Some of the considerations we take into account before shooting your video include:
- Scouting a location or booking a set
- Assembling the right production crew (we have in-house capabilities as well as a comprehensive and consistent pool of talented freelancers)
- Ensuring we have the right equipment (again, we have in-house production equipment with the ability to quickly and easily hire any additional equipment required at the best rates)
- Sourcing and hiring actors or presenters
- Sourcing and hiring makeup artists and additional crew
- Making sure licencing and all other red tape is taken care of
- Creating a project schedule and managing that schedule
- Putting together contingency plans in case the shoot has to be postponed or cancelled (due to bad weather, unplanned illness, etc.)
- Working with clients to ensure the shoots fit their own internal schedule. Business goes on regardless and we always work hard to minimise disruption.
Once everything is taken care of it’s time for us to set up and start filming.
Production: Let’s Take That Concept to the Set
Unless you or your staff are going to appear in the production, there’s little involvement in the actual production stage from the client side of things. Of course, it’s natural that you might want to attend the shoot to watch what’s going on, but it’s best to let us do our thing unimpeded. This is what the script and a detailed storyboard are there for. Depending on the nature of the video being shot, we may want to make sure that the client is on hand to answer questions so that filming can resume. Production can be expensive so it’s important to avoid any unnecessary delays.
We will direct the shoot and will film as many takes as we feel necessary to get the video looking as it should. This will involve making sure that everyone in front of the camera is relaxed and delivers a convincing performance, as well as getting the lighting, camera work and sound just right.
Our other main role is to make sure we have the right footage to put together a polished film that corresponds closely with the agreed script and storyboard.
Post-Production: Bringing Everything Together in the Edit Suite
The post production phase is where everything comes together to create the final product. There are many processes involved and which ones we use depends on the type of video we are producing. They include:
Editing: The main task will usually be editing, in which all the footage is stitched together to form one continuous film. This will involve examining many hours’ worth of footage to find the material that best represents the script and storyboard. A good brand video must grab the audience’s attention and hold it there. It’s the job of the editor to keep it interesting, consistent and on message. There is sometimes the chance that the client will want to give feedback during this process but it’s imperative that, if you do, you don’t stray from the storyboard.
Visual Effects and Animation: Many videos will contain graphical effects of some kind. This could include kinetic typography, motion graphics, stop motion, infographic or more complex 3D animation and visual effects (VFX). The affordability of this technology has dropped significantly in the last five years or so, meaning many more clients are deciding to take advantage of it.
Sound and Music Editing: Musical score has the ability to liven up even the dullest subject matter. The choice of music will usually be agreed in the planning phase but many other sounds and effects can be added after the final edit has been signed off. Music and sound are crucial to setting the pace and tone of the video and this falls to the job of our editor.
Voiceover: If your video contains a voice-over then this will have to be recorded during the edit or in some cases after the final edit has been signed off. Sourcing a voice-over artist will have been arranged during the pre-production stage.
Colour Grading: The final job in the post production stage is to colour grade the video. This will be done by our specialist who will be able to create a unified colour tone across the whole edit, whether its bright and garish or soft and filmic. A good colour grade is instrumental in establishing mood and conveying the message of the video, whatever the intended look and feel may be.
If you’re thinking of creating a marketing video (or any other type of video) and would like to know more about what working with a video production company involves, why don’t you give us a call on 01652 409431 today and we’d be more than happy to have a chat.