pre-production checklist

Taking the commitment to shoot a video for your business is a wise move in 2022. Online video is predicted to be the leading source of web content by 2022, with 82.5% of all web traffic. Having a pre-production checklist is not a must— and that’s where businesses go wrong. Many decide to “wing it” or skip steps, which never gives as good a finished production as one that is thoroughly designed and crafted.

Of course, this means that there’s plenty of competition, but that’s why you’re here. To stop the scroll and this starts way before the lights and cameras are turned on.

What is pre-production?

Pre-production is the foundation of any film project. Here’s your time to brainstorm, plan and get the creative and organisational ball rolling before the cameras do. By the end of this read, you’ll have a solid knowledge of steps to take so that you are prepared for shoot day.

The pre-production checklist

Although no list is capable of being truly exhaustive— each project will have its own nuances— here is a comprehensive look at what the majority of video projects will need to prepare.

Script

While you can wriggle the order around a little, the script has to come in the very early stages of development. Script changes do happen mid-shoot, but polishing the script so that it’s engaging takes time, which is why it’s good to start early.

Budget

How long is a piece of string? Setting your budget and working backwards is the best way forward. Budget will have a big say on the location of your shoot or if you’ll even have a shoot location at all. Perhaps animation is the way to go, which is often a more affordable option but can still deliver a strong message and impact. Having non-negotiables is essential to figure out. What’s necessary for your production to be a success?

Map out Timeline

With timelines, it’s crucial to leave some wriggle room. The main components are:

  • The Creative Planning Stage
  • Pre-Production
  • Production
  • Post-production
  • Distribution

Review these stages in bitesize chunks. Detailing the deliverables under each stage will help keep your team on track.

Storyboard

A storyboard is a series of sketches that represent the individual shots planned for the video. Your storyboard template allows you to share your vision with the rest of the team. Feel free to include directions for camera angle, lighting, transitions, dialogue and any other important details.

Location Scouting

Finding a location can take time, especially if you need multiple locations to suit your production. See if you can nail these down early on— the panic of sourcing a place last minute when you already have crew and talent cast for a specific, and quickly looming, date is a nightmare!

Make sure that whoever is location scouting is versed in the storyboard and script so that it can house the set.

Once you have the location and a date/dates booked, it’s time to move on to the next stage.

Talent

Casting your talent is a huge part of pre-production.

Thankfully, there are plenty of casting resources available online— many sites will let you filter their database. For example, by voice actors or a particular accent.

Once you’ve found your potential actors it’s time to audition during the pre-production stage. When filming for business production, all these steps can feel overwhelming but they pay off in the finished product. Casting a professional who can quickly learn lines and is engaging on camera makes the process so much easier.

Crew

So you have your talent— it’s time to source crew members.

Hiring a video production company has a lot of advantages here. The crew is already familiar with working together which makes for a more efficient, and oftentimes creative, dynamic. It’s also a one-stop shop where all the professionals you need for your shooting, and post-production, are available under one package.

You can also hire professionals individually. This will take more time and organisation, but there may be certain members that you’ve worked with before and would like to continue doing so.

Shot list

To prevent shoot from becoming chaotic— a shot list is very useful.

A shot list is a document that maps out everything that will happen in a scene of a film, or video, by describing each shot within that film or video.

It’s a detailed checklist, providing the project that gives a narrowed focus on the day. It also prevents the shoot from finishing up with unfilmed scenes.

Draft Video Script

Your first draft will likely have changed since sourcing location, hiring talent and everything in between. Here’s your opportunity to tidy up loose ends and detail specific directions also.

Our top tip would be to focus on creating natural dialogue. Many businesses focus on sounding professional, and in doing so go overboard with jargon and long, robotic passages. Check through the script with someone not directly connected to the filming. A fresh pair of eyes can help to tighten the dialogue and finalise a flowing script for shoot day.

Gear

If you’re working with a video production company, they’ll look after this component.

Otherwise, you’ll need to compile a list of what your DP, gaffer and/or Key Grip will need for shooting. Be sure to walk through the list with the crew heads so that they know exactly what’s required tech-wise for each scene.

Looking to create a video?

There you have it— your pre-production checklist for business! We have over 15 years of experience helping Irish businesses, big and small, create high-quality video content centred around storytelling through our craft and expertise.

If your organisation needs high-quality and compelling videos, you can get in touch with us at VideoWorks Dublin.

Our sister companies, VideoWorks Belfast and VideoWorks London, are also available to help with your next production.