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Preparing for a Scripted Video Production

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In my last blog article, I discussed preparations for shooting an event video. This week, I’ll discuss how you can make your scripted video production go according to plan.

The video production script

As with most things in life, making a plan is the first step to insure the success of your shoot. The last thing you want to do on production day is to worry about what you’ll shoot. Yes, things sometimes happen on shoots that are unpredictable, but you definitely want to keep them at a minimum.

A script is a document that breaks down the production into shots. Since video encompasses both audio and video, it identifies what will be seen and what will be heard.

My scripts often include lots of detail such as what everyone in the shot will be doing, props, text, music, camera moves, etc. It’s the blueprint for the production. It represents the ‘marching orders’ for what everyone will be doing.

After the chronological script is done, you need to prepare a ‘shooting script’ that contains a shot list of everything that will be filmed in various locations. Just because you will eventually see the edited video in a logical sequence, that’s not the way it is produced. We group all of the shots according to location.  So even though it may seem disjointed to shoot all of the video by location, it’s much more efficient that way. A professional announcer, model or actor will have no difficulty saying their lines or otherwise acting according to the shooting script.

Script for Chicago video production

Getting back to the script itself, you can include the framing of the shot, whether there will be people in the background, items that will be in the background of each shot, etc.

There is no end to the detail you can include in your script. Within reason, the more detail you include, the better prepared you and everyone else will be. Surprises are good for parties, not video shoots. You can have fun on the shoot, but in terms of tasks, everything must be predictable and workman-like.

The location of your video shoot

As with a non-scripted production, you want to prepare for the location as much as possible. If the budget allows, do a site inspection to visit the environment in which you’ll be shooting. At the very least, try to get photos. If you have your script done, visualize where each shot will take place. Know where the actors (if any) will stand, what they’ll do, what they’ll say, how they’ll be expected to dress, etc.

What will the video cameras be doing?

You’ll want to know where the camera(s) will be situated, what type of shot each one will be doing, what the background looks like, etc. If you have two cameras, you might want to keep one with a wide shot, also called the establishing shot, to capture ‘the big picture’. Then use another camera for close ups of the actor who might be talking or doing something. This gives you an opportunity to cut between the two during the video editing process, which makes for a much more interesting video than just filming someone with a static shot.

Speaking of cameras, what will they be doing? Will they zoom in, pan across the scene, be wheeled around on a dolly, or across on a slider, etc.? This is a good time to assess the best use of camera filters, lenses and lighting.

Make sure the audio is good!

If you’re recording audio, check to see if there is any background noise. Machinery, air coming from vents, extraneous noise coming from planes, trains and automobiles and other distractions should be checked for and prepared for before the shoot, not at the shoot.

Can you get around the noise when it’s show time? Do you need to shoot on the weekend or in the evening to avoid distracting noise, traffic patterns, noisy neighbors, etc.?

Test your audio. Take a shot, then play back the video. Make sure everything looks and sounds good before charging ahead.

I thought this was going to be a two part blog, but I see that I have more to cover for next week’s entry. I’ll discuss some other ways to prepare for your scripted video production.

If you would like any assistance with any aspect of video production or video editing email us at or call the office at 773 252-3352.

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