Video Production Phase Basics
A brief guide to the steps in the video production phase process.
Video production officially begins on the first scheduled day of shooting. After going through the pre-production process, you have a script in-hand and have planned each day’s shooting schedule. Now your crew and talent know when and where they need to be and what parts of the script are being shooting.
Production Process Steps
The video production process is centered on the needs for each day and includes what the camera will shoot during that time. The call sheet determines when the cast and crew are needed on-set; what the scenes that are expected to be shoot and at what times; location information; and the anticipated times for breaks and lunch.
The following is a standard breakdown of the production process.
It’s imperative to have a safe and secure location for the cast and crew to work. Depending on the needs of the video production, a fire marshal may be required to be on-set during special effects or a police officer may need to stop traffic when shooting begins. When working with celebrities, hiring security personnel provides peace-of-mind and ensures a safe environment
Actors should feel safe to express themselves as well. To do this, the production may need to block off parts of the set or location so on-lookers aren’t distracting the performance.
Based on the script and storyboard, the director will walk through his vision of the scene and guide the actors into the expected emotional performances. The director will also block the actors (tell them where to move and when within the scene). The key department heads such as the cinematographer will watch this process so they can decide the lighting set-up of the scene so that the actors are well lit wherever they move in the space and their equipment doesn’t conflict with the blocking.
Other key figures observing the rehearsal may include:
Production Designer and Prop Master
Sound and boom operator
Gaffer and Grips
Once rehearsals are complete, the actors are removed from the set so the crew can begin setting up the lights, cameras, all and other equipment, and art and set design. Actors will often head to costume and makeup during this time or review their lines. Depending on the costume and makeup choices, this part of the video production process may take anywhere from minutes to hours.
Video Shot Basics
Setting up the lighting may be a time-consuming process and can take several hours depending on its complexity, the number of crew available and any number of obstacles, such as shadows, power generation and weather, which may include rain, wind or even the movement of the sun and clouds.
Changing shots within a single scene may involve a complete tear down of the lighting and resetting it based on the focus of the camera.
Simple, static shots may need nothing more than a tripod or even a Steadicam (this involves the cameraperson having the camera attached to them for easier mobility). Complex camera shots may involve the use of cranes or tracks requiring longer setup times.
Cameras must also ensure they are not visible in glass, water or any other type of reflective surface. Reflections can cause complications in even the most simple camera shots
Finalizing the Production Stage
Once the lights and camera are set up, it’s time for action. The actors are brought back and there will generally be a run-through to ensure the lighting and camera are placed correctly and the actors know their blocking. Minor corrections may be needed before video production begins.
For each shot, multiple takes are frequently required if actors forget a line or miss a mark, or if an issue with lighting, camera or sound occurs. Anything from a door shutting to a plane flying overhead to phone ringing can cause the need to cut and start over. Both conversations and ringtones must be silenced during shooting.
Part of the video process may include capturing b-roll. B-roll is footage that doesn’t include the use of actors. Examples include a shot of a computer screen or the exterior of a building to establish location.
When video production begins, you may not even need to be on the set. While it seems exciting from the outside, most of the day is spent in a ‘hurry up and wait’ mentality where crewmembers are setting up shots and the actors are brought in for a brief period to perform their lines.
When pre-production is meticulously executed, production is set up to operate efficiently.