This is the pre-production phase.

If there’s a traditional script, this is the time to review it, make any changes, select the cast, find locations and suppliers, and plan the filming and editing phases.

If the project is not scripted, it may be a documentary or interview style shoot where you’ll have to figure out the questions you’ll be asking your subjects.

In corporate video production, it’s vitally important to be clear on the story and to plan the shoot down to the smallest detail.

The camera operators still need to plan their shots and decide on equipment, and the production crew have masses of details to work out, including location logistics.

A good place to start is by asking:

  • What story or message do I want to tell the audience?
  • What style and techniques do I want to use to tell the story?
  • How will the audience view the production?

It’s a lot less expensive to work out these details on paper than it is in front of the lens. Having a strong idea of what you want your finished piece to be before you shoot will help you relate that idea to everyone involved. It will help everyone stay focused on the goal.

There are many different tools to help you develop the style and techniques you’ll use to tell the story of your production. These include:

  • storyboards
  • shot lists
  • lookbooks
  • play lists

This planning phase is also where the shoot is scheduled out. The more you schedule, the less you leave to chance. This will help you prevent common mistakes like committing to doing more than is possible in one day.

It’s most cost effective to shoot everything in one location before moving on to the next, which is why most productions are shot non-linearly. If you’re using multiple locations, you’ll definitely need a shooting schedule.

There are many good project-planning software options available, some of them specifically for the film and video industry. But spreadsheets, mind-maps, lists and calendars are often just as effective for smaller productions.