The Method Behind the Madness of Video Production

Red Fox Media - Video Production - Birmingham, AL - Burdette Video Shoot 004A few months ago I was working on a video shoot for a client. As we moved our equipment inside and started setting up, my client said, “I had no idea this much was involved in producing a video.” This is a remark I often hear when producing videos. People will comment on the amount of gear we have to carry around with us and at the amount of time it takes to set up and shoot each scene. They talk about our attention to detail when it comes to lighting and blocking camera movements. They marvel at how much footage we shoot just for a thirty-second TV commercial or a three-minute corporate video. Producing high-quality videos is something we take great pride in, but it’s also something that demands a lot of our time and resources.

Even before we roll onto the location for the first day of shooting, our work has been going on, behind the scenes, for a few weeks. There is so much that has to be accomplished during pre-production to ensure that the actual shoot runs smoothly and efficiently. For articles on the importance of pre-production, you can browse through these articles, “Preparing for a Video Shoot,” “Scheduling Your Production,” and “If Only the Flux Capacitor Was Working.” Some of the tasks that demand our time and attention during pre-production include:

  • Creative meetings with the client to go over conceptual ideas
  • Writing a script
  • Revising the script
  • Scheduling the shoot
  • Location scouting
  • Securing locations
  • Casting (if necessary)
  • Hiring the crew
  • Prepping and loading the gear



Depending on the size and complexity of the project, our time spent in pre-production may last as little as five hours, all the way up to forty hours. Once the shooting date arrives and we arrive on location, we have to:

  • Unload the gear
  • Conduct one final walk-through
  • Move furniture to make room for the gear
  • Set up and light
  • Set up the camera
  • Block camera movements
  • Tweak background elements that are in each shot
  • Direct the talent
  • Prep the talent for audio
  • Slate, shoot, and log each take



And this process will repeat itself for every location. Again, our time in production will vary depending on the size and scope of each video project. We might spend as little as 1/2 day on location, but we might spend as much as five to seven days to capture all the footage necessary for the final video.

Once the shoot wraps, we take all the assets back to our office to begin editing. This is a process that largely goes unnoticed, but here are some action items that we must accomplish throughout post-production:

  • Transfer all footage from tapes or external hard drive to the editing system
  • Set up the project and import all assets
  • Go through all the raw footage, shot by shot, and make notes on what’s happening in each scene
  • Mark shots as usable or unusable
  • Begin rough assembly of the video to formulate the narrative structure
  • Record a scratch track of the voice-over to be used temporarily throughout this initial phase
  • Listen to any and all on-camera interviews for relevant and usable sound bites; mark these for use later
  • Insert the interview segments and compile them with the b-roll segments
  • Present the rough edit to the client for notes
  • Make revisions; tighten the edit
  • Make music selections
  • Insert the music
  • Direct the voice-over talent during the recording session
  • Insert the voice-over
  • Mix all audio
  • Create and insert all graphics and titles
  • Present to the client for notes
  • Make additional revisions if necessary
  • Color correct every shot to ensure optimum quality and color accuracy
  • Render and export the final video
  • Deliver to the client



Post-production can, by far, be the most time-consuming aspect of the production process. It’s not uncommon to spend as much as 40 hours on a 3-5 minute video for a client. To date, I believe, the most we have spent in post-production on a project has been 80 hours for a 7-minute promotional video.

I believe that video production is an artistic medium, and, as with all art, doing it well requires a certain amount of time and effort. So, the next time you want to work with a professional video production company, just know that the cameras, the lights, and the familiar call of “Action!” is only the tip of the iceberg.

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