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Pre-production

In filmmaking and video production, pre-production formally begins once a project has been greenlit.

At this stage, finalizing preparations for production go into effect. Financing will generally be confirmed and many of the key elements such as principal cast members, director and cinematographer are set. By the end of pre-production, the screenplay is usually finalized and satisfactory to all the financiers and other stakeholders.

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During pre-production, the script is broken down into individual scenes storyboards and all the locations, props, cast members, costumes, special effects and visual effects are identified. An extremely detailed schedule is produced and arrangements are made for the necessary elements to be available to the film-makers at the appropriate times. Sets are constructed, the crew is hired, financial arrangements are put in place and a start date for the beginning of principal photography is set. At some point in pre-production there will be a read-through of the script which is usually attended by all cast members with speaking parts, the director, all heads of departments, financiers, producers, and publicists.

Even though the writer may still be working on it, the screenplay is generally page-locked and scene-numbered at the beginning of pre-production to avoid confusion. This means that even though additions and deletions may still be made, any particular scene will always fall on the same page and have the same scene number.

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Let’s really think this through before we start is likely the best business advice you will ever receive. Too many video production projects start part way through the process – with a ‘cool idea’, a bad idea, a misguided idea or worst of all, no idea at all. If you haven’t taken the time to properly plan out your production, it will likely fail. By ‘fail’ I mean fail to achieve any measurable business objective. (Being ‘up on your website’ isn’t a meaningful business objective.)

There are many different types of videos that you can create to promote your product or business and there are many factors and costs that go into the production of a video. This post was created to provide the reader with a tool for planning a video production as well as to give the reader an appreciation for the many elements and tasks associated with the creation of a corporate video. Your video project won’t necessarily require each of the steps described below. In fact, some projects (i.e. recording an expert talking-head for training purposes) can be quite straightforward and only require a few of these steps. That said, the success of your video project will largely be determined by the time and effort you put into properly planning your project. If you don’t have a great idea and a solid shooting plan in place no amount of production or post-production expertise and experience can save your project.

Pre-production is the phase of further developing ideas and planning prior to the process of production.
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