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How to build a successful video production workflow

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Published Apr 14, 2022

Video content as a marketing tool is becoming increasingly popular across all platforms. Businesses, marketers and creatives are finding video to be the most effective method of communicating stories and engaging with an audience. However, video production is no small feat - even the shortest, simplest videos often require days or even weeks of preparation. Most video professionals know that the best videos look like they were easy to make, but the truth is that they require a lot of diligent, organised work.  

Building a comprehensive video production workflow is crucial for producing consistently good content. Whether you’re running a production agency or creating your own in-house content, preparation is key, coupled with a smooth, clear workflow that helps keep the project flowing.

Why Do I Need a Production Workflow?

As you probably know, video production can be a complicated, multi-faceted undertaking. With so many moving parts, it’s easy for something to go unnoticed or unhandled. Taking on big projects without planning can potentially lead to poor results or unhappy clients. Thankfully, a concise workflow eliminates many of these potential pitfalls and allows everyone to be on the same page, preventing potentially costly miscommunication. A thorough workflow will help the production team stay on track when it comes to time frames, the use of resources, and—most importantly—budgeting.

Creating a Successful Video Production Workflow

Although video production can be overwhelming, there is a method to the madness. Regardless of whether your project is large or small scale, the following guidelines will hopefully help you develop a video production workflow that works for you. 

A video production workflow is typically divided into three categories: pre-production, production, and post-production.

Pre-Production

The pre-production phase is all about planning, building a script, deciding on a budget/timeline and location scouting. Take a look at the following steps to help make sure you've correctly prepared for your next shoot.

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  1. The Idea – Before filming a video, the production team needs to turn the big idea into a concise, manageable creative brief, often referred to as a “treatment”. The creative brief covers a wide range of aspects: the concept and message of the video, brand requirements, deliverables, targeted audience metrics, generalised budget, etc. 

  2. The Script – Once the creative brief is complete, a writer needs to churn out a script. After a few edits and brand approval, the team can build a storyboard and shot list which will guide the crew on the day of production.

  3. Location Scouting – Using the creative brief and script as inspiration, it’s time to find the right location for your video. Utilise your resources and stick to the budget as best you can. Sometimes content creators can call in favours and access free spaces. If you aren’t that lucky, you can find whatever you need with location hire companies. Video shoot location platforms like Tutti can help you locate the perfect space that meets all your project’s specifications. 

  4. The Schedule – The schedule should not only include what is happening and when, but also who is involved and what their duties are. Every job on set requires different information. The acting talent shouldn’t be asked to arrive until the hair & make-up team are set up, and catering doesn’t need to show up until closer to scheduled meal breaks. This is the production crew’s chance to organise the day as efficiently as possible. 

Production

Production is where everything comes to life; all the pre-production plans are executed in this phase. This is where the footage for your video and everything else comes together to execute the vision. Here are the main things that need to happen during production. 

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  1. Prep Location – Most video shoots require an on-set producer to keep things running smoothly. Before the day begins, they should check that everything is set up properly on location, including available bathrooms, hair & make-up areas, craft services, and even the actual set. The shot list should be reviewed with the Director and the Director of Photography, and equipment and costumes must be loaded in. 

  2. Prep Set – The lighting crew should get the proper lighting set up for the first scene, and the sound techs should get the talent set up for sound. Simultaneously, the talent should be in hair, make-up, and wardrobe so that they are ready to go when they are needed.

  3. Film – Once everything is ready, then it’s time to actually go for it! If everyone, from the sound guy to the actors, does their jobs well, then the day should go smoothly, and hopefully, be fun too. 

Post-Production

If the project is under a strict deadline, then it’s even more important to stay consistent with your workflow in post-production. You need time to review the footage and make sure you got everything during production. If not, you may need to schedule pick-up days or re-shoot sessions. In other words, this is not the time to let up. Here is a basic post-production checklist. 

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  1. Sort Equipment – Whatever equipment was rented for the production needs to be returned in time to avoid any late fees. This includes everything from sandbags to rental trucks and could potentially take a whole day. Typically, a production assistant is responsible for this job. 

  2. Review Footage – Sorting through the footage will take some time, as it must first be organised and synced with the audio. Only then can creators really get an idea of what they have and what they may still need. 

  3. Edit – Once everything has been reviewed, it’s time for the editor to turn it into something magical. Using the script and creative brief, the raw footage will be whittled down until it matches the original vision. 

  4. Reviews and Re-Edits – Once the project has been edited, it will be sent over to the client or brand for feedback. After they review the project, more edits may be necessary. This process goes back and forth until a final edit is agreed upon and approved. 

Bonus Tips

A clear workflow can make the difference between a successful production and a messy, stressful experience. With so many moving parts, project managers and video producers must be organised, but don’t get discouraged! Keep these few bonus tips in mind: 

  • Stay focused
  • Encourage your team
  • Remember the vision
  • Take it one step at a time

We hope these guidelines and suggestions will help take the stress out of your video production. With a comprehensive plan of attack, you can stay focused on the fun stuff: creating innovative and inspiring content that audiences will love.