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The Professional Difference: Planning Your Video

In this installment, we’ll look at another differentiator between those who pursue film and video production as a hobby, and those of us who are professionals: planning.

One of the most common questions I get as a professional is, “What will it cost to shoot my video?” As a professional, what I think is, “What will it cost to produce your video?” This is an important distinction because the cost of creating a finished product that is dynamic and engaging is not just the cost of shooting it, but the cost of writing it, planning it, shooting it, editing it, and distributing it.

The planning phase (AKA pre-production) is what we will focus on here, because it is the phase of production where you have the most control over your result, and the greatest means of controlling costs. When I explain this, I am often asked, wouldn't it be faster and less expensive to just go out and shoot the video and skip this phase?” My answer to this question is an unequivocal, “No” for a simple reason: Talking and Writing are much cheaper than shooting and editing. If you have a good plan that considers your budget, time-line, and, most importantly your goals for your video, everything will fit together correctly the first time. Re-shoots are avoided. Things don’t have to be “fixed in post.” Budgets and time-lines are met. Goals are achieved.

Here is a good description of all the things that are commonly done in pre-production of a film. Some or all of these activities may be required for your project.

So the next time you need a video produced, make sure the company or person you work with understands the importance of planning. If they don’t, find someone who does. I know a great little production company in Berkeley, CA that can help… really, I do… :)