Understand the Video Process

Ready to make a video? Prepare to expand your horizons and reach new audiences! Video is a great start to growing your brand and pushing it out into the world. So what goes into making a video? 

Many underestimate the amount of time is takes to make a video. This often leaves a disconnect between the filmmaker and client. As filmmakers, we believer it's our job to provide an understanding of the process.


Pre-Production: Envision

1. Find the Story

Before written word, stories acted as a way for generations to pass down their lineage and history. A child is told a story of his great grandfather and this would allow him to form an emotional bond with his elder despite having never met him. This emotional component is what makes stories such an effective advertisement tool. 

This is why our #1 focus when creating a video is to nail down the story you'd like to share. Through an in person or phone conversation, we'll help determine the goal of the project and the story we're going to tell. Here are a few questions to spur dialogue:

  • What is your mission statement?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What is this video looking to accomplish? 
  • Are there other videos you've seen that resemble the style you're looking to create?
  • What resources do you have? Location? Time? Budget?
  • Will this be a narrative or documentary style piece? 

The story doesn't have to be 100% solidified before shooting (especially for documentary style pieces), but the better the vision, the easier the post production process.

2. Write the script

At this stage, our writers will organize our thoughts, scribbles, emails and phone calls into a physical script. The script is then sent off to the client for feedback. Should you choose to make changes, we offer one re-write opportunity. Further re-write options are available upon request for an additional fee.

3. Producing

Some scripts, usually narrative, may require some further pre-production work. For example, we may need to secure actors, locations, rent gear, etc. Timing for this section all depends on the complexity of the project. 


PRODUCTION: EXECUTE

Now that the script is written, it's time to film this bad boy! The script may only take one day to film or it could require multiple days. Usually, we are able to execute the script in one day.

1. Set up

Setting up the shot can often take longer than expected. For interviews, we need to find a spot within your location that will be visually appealing on camera. In some spaces this may take longer than others. In addition to finding the location, we may also need to set up lights. We primarily aim to use natural light, but in certain circumstances lights are necessary to reduce shadows and create a more attractive image. 

2. Filming

Smiles. Laughter. Fun. We capture everything on the script. We recommend not having commitments scheduled immediately after the shoot as filming can often take longer than expected. Having time allows for more creative freedom. 


POST-PRODUCTION: EDIT

1. Ingest, Organize, Sync

First we have to ingest and organize the footage. It's always exciting to see how much we recorded and quickly look through the footage. Some projects are less than 64 gb while others can be 500 gb. As you can imagine, it takes much longer to import 500 gb. 

Second, we sync the footage. Sound and video is often recorded separately in order to get high quality sound. We use a program called Pluraleyes to combine the visuals with the audio. Once the footage is synced, we import the footage into our editing software, Premiere Pro. 

2. Find the puzzle pieces

For documentary style projects especially, it takes time to watch what we captured and choose "selects" that might be used in the video. This process can take anywhere from a couple hours to weeks depending on the amount of footage. The amount of footage captured can be a huge factor in the cost of a project. More footage requires more time in the editing room.

3. Choose the beat

Youtube is annoyingly good at flagging content that uses unlicensed music. For this reason (and to avoid legal issues), we always use royalty free music. We choose the music off of royalty free music sites such as AudioJungle.com or our personal favorite, PremiumBeat.com. There are other sites as well but we choose these as budget friendly options. The price of the song is in addition to the amoutn for services rendered. 

Choosing which track to use is one of the hardest parts of the editing process. Since we edit to the music, we aim to choose the song prior to beginning the first cut. However, we wait to purchase the song until the very end of the process (unless the client gives permission beforehand). Until the song is purchased, we use a watermarked version. In order to create a more dynamic edit, we sometimes prefer using multiple tracks through out the video. We'll suggest this if it is a good fit for your project.

3. Crack the code

This part is where the true art of storytelling begins. What goes first? How to transition between topics? Who says what? How do we intertwine all the parts? What shots do we use? What's the pace? Etc. 

After a certain amount of time of reviewing the footage, the "aha moment" comes and it's finally clear how the story will be told. We call this "cracking the code". After the code is cracked, the rough cut follows soon after.

4. Cuts & Notes

The rough cut is an unpolished edit that generally shows where the video is headed. We offer two note change opportunities where the client can give their input on the direction of the piece. This allots to three edits -- 2 rough cuts and 1 final version. Should you wish to have another edit following this amount, no problem; however, we will have to add an additional fee for the extra time.

5. Put on the Make Up

Once the video has been approved by the client, it's time to clean it up. We do this by "mixing the audio", making sure that the audio levels are even throughout the video and the music is evenly mixed with the dialogue. Another element is "coloring the video". In this part, we adjust the contrast, the saturation, shadows/highlights, etc. In other words, we make the video look and sound better than it already does. 


Timeline

If you've made it this far, congratulations. I know what you're thinking, "Wow! This is a ton of stuff! How long does this all take?". Once again the process can vary from project to project. There are basic projects that only require 1-2 days of editing (usually when the client doesn't have any notes) while there are others that take a month or longer. The timing all depends on the amount of footage recorded, how long it takes to "crack the code", the notes the client gives, and the turn around time on the client's notes. We generally suggest being open to your video being completed within a month of shooting; however, we can usually turn it around much quicker than that.