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Preparing & Planning for your Video Shoot in 10 Easy Steps

I wish we spent less time preparing for our video shoot.
– Said No One Ever

Before you dive right into recording your video, it pays to be prepared. We’ve compiled the ultimate list for you so you don’t miss a thing!

1. What’s Your Key Message?

Why are you making this video in this first place? Describe it’s purpose. Also, write down what are the main takeaways you want your audience to get out of the video?

2. Outline the Information You Want to Share

If you or anyone is speaking in this video, it will sound more natural if you know the main points you want to talk about and in which order. If you want to fill out the outline into a full script, go for it, or if you are more of a wing it with an outline, then practise that. But the basic thing you need here is your words and content. This comes before the visual planning. So tighten these up and practise. Read it out to others and see if it makes sense.

3. Mark up the Outline into a Storyboard

Now it’s time to make notes on your outline/script that reference the type of shot or scene for each point. If you are speaking the entire outline to the camera, you’ll want to change up the position you are in, change camera angles (add close-ups, wide shots, mid lengths etc) to add more interest to the viewer. Watch a few videos in the same style you are making and see how they change things up to add interest. It might also be necessary to add ‘b roll’ or supplementary footage when you are describing something to your audience that needs a visual. For example, if your topic is on water pollution, besides scenes of you speaking and holding up the offending plastics, you’ll also want to show scenes of pollution in the water while you are still speaking. Mark the section where this would best fit. Looking for stock footage for your ‘b roll’? We have some stock footage here or get us to shoot it for you! At the end of this process, you should feel like you have plenty of information to guide you during the shoot itself.

4. Leave Yourself Enough Time

It’s easy to think this will all take a half an hour. But when you get to practising the shoot below, you’ll see that it takes time setting everything up, allowing time for retakes, moving things around. So it’s a good idea to book more time than you think you might need – not just for the entire shoot but for each scene or section on your outline. Make sure you account for the entire process, which means thinking about how long it will take to do things like setting up a shot, prepping yourself (or the talent) shooting the video, and even the breakdown of the set. No one wants to be stressed and rushing around, and scheduling more than enough time is a great way to ensure you get every shot that you want and that the process is a smooth one.

5. Do a Practise Run, or a ‘table read’

Before the camera rolls, be sure to run through it all together ‘live’. If you or someone is speaking crack open your laptop and record yourself/them on your camera speaking. Stand up (don’t sit, your vocals sound more relaxed when you are standing) and read the lines aloud with the same energy and performance style as you would on camera. Take this time to rework any lines that sound too formal. In fact, just stop in the middle when a line sounds off, then edit it until it sounds more conversational. You want everything to sound natural and not ‘staged’.

By making ‘mini’ draft recordings, it helps to see how it all looks and sounds ‘on film’ and to ‘hear’ yourself in audio format (if you can’t bear the screen just yet, just hit record on your voice memo app on your phone and do it in front of your mirror – unless you are working on a team). Then listen and watch how it went. What can you improve?

6. Lock it in!

Once you’ve run through the lines at its very best a few times, stop! Last minute changes late in the game can make things worse on filming day, not better.

Want this as an easy to fill in document? Click here to download!

Ready for filming day? Head here for a read through of making the most of your filming.

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