What your video production doesn’t know can hurt you. Many people who have little experience working with video production companies usually feel a bit overwhelmed. They understand that they need to produce a video for their company, non-profit, school, etc. but beyond some basic generalities about the project, they aren’t sure what the video production company needs or needs to know. If the entire process is to run smoothly, you need to provide the video production company with some logistical details. A good producer or director will know to ask you these questions, but it’s still a good idea to have this information in-hand when you discuss the project with your video production company. Here are some details that need to be hammered out:
- What/Who the video is for
- The goals/objectives of the video
- The desired length of the video
- Where the final video will be shown (website, public event, seminar, trade show, in-house communication, sales meetings, etc.
- The deadline (Read this post regarding video production deadlines and how to schedule your video project accordingly.)
Technical Details About the Project
- The video format (standard-definition or high-definition)
- If standard definition – widescreen or standard 4:3
- If high-definition – 1080i or 720p?*
- Script-writing responsibilities (will the video production company be required to conceptualize and write the script, or will your department handle that task?)
- On-camera talent (will the project require professional talent to be provided by the video production company, or will your company provide employees for the video?)
- Voice-over talent (will the production company need to provide this, or do you have someone available that you have used before?)
The Video Shoot (this will help the video production company determine how many shooting days are necessary)
- The amount of material that needs to be shot
- The specific people/places/products/etc. that needs to be shot
- The number of different locations
- The number of people that need to be interviewed
- The amount of archival footage, stock footage, and/or stills that will be needed
On Location Considerations
- Addresses and directions to all locations
- Contact person for each location
- Loading/Unloading zones
- Specific location protocol (security concerns, where to sign in, where the video production company can and cannot go while at the locaton)
- Staging area (an out-of-the-way place at the location where the video production company can store their gear)
I recommend taking the video production company representatives on a tech scout of each location before the shoot, so you can go over these details and clarify any unresolved issues. A good tech scout will catch potential problems before the shoot begins.
Clear, consistent communication between yourself and the video production company will be of enormous benefit when the shoot begins. Take the time to conduct thorough pre-production planning. Provide the video production company with everything they need. Your finished video will be a lot better because of it.
*Don’t let the higher number – 1080 make you think that it’s better, or has a higher resolution that 720. Both are official high-definition formats. The difference is mainly in how the two formats record an image. The “i” in 1080i stands for “interlaced,” and the “p” in 720p stands for “progressive.” An interlaced image is created by breaking the image you see on your screen into two separate “fields” – upper and lower. Scan lines reproduce the image on the screen by scanning horizontally, top to bottom. On the first pass, the scan lines recreate every even line. On the second pass, the odd lines are recreated. The horizontal lines are interlaced to show you the complete picture. In HD video, there are 1080 horizontal scan lines. A progressive image is created by scanning the entire image in order, all at once, much like a single frame of film.