How to Create A Video Production Timeline
In the spring of 2021, we picked up a cold call from a potential client who wanted to run a national video ad campaign. 17 days later, the video we produced for them went live.
Would we recommend doing it that way? No. But did it work? Absolutely. We delivered a premium video that’s up to our high standards while finding creative ways to crunch the timeline. And most importantly, the client knew what needed to happen to clear any hurdles that would get in the way of the deadline.
Our typical turnaround is 6-8 weeks. Of course, rules are meant to be broken every once in a while and we love scrapping what’s normal if it means doing great work for our clients. Sometimes we shorten the timeline, and sometimes we need to take longer to find the perfect concept, hone the strategy, or nail everything down during pre-production.
The point is, your project is more important than a rigid timeline, but it’s helpful to get a feel of what our typical process is, so we can all go into the project with the right expectations.
What is the timeline for producing a video?
All things being equal, we typically take 6-8 weeks to collaborate effectively with our clients, take time to do the strategy right, and ensure quality production. Here’s what our process usually looks like.
Strategy, Concepting, and Scripting — 1-2 weeks
Pre-production — 2-3 weeks
Production — 1-3 days
Post-production — 2-3 weeks
What factors affect the production timeline the most?
Among the hundreds of variables that can affect the production timeline, here are the ones we see that have the most impact:
The most important part of the process is you. Ideally, you’ve got a few months before you need your video, but we also deal in weeks or even days (it’s rare but it happens). Your deadline is our starting point, and we work backward from there.
Live-action brand videos tend to take more time than animated explainers, for example, and our timelines flex accordingly.
A longer video doesn’t always guarantee a longer video edit. A five-minute testimonial video? Not a long timeline. A 30-second creative commercial? Perfecting the shoot and nailing the edit takes more time.
Special Locations, Talent, or Request
It almost goes without saying, but if you want to to film say, a fun pier at night, no problem. If you want that pier to be Santa Monica pier, you’ll need the money, scheduling, and permits to get there. Likewise, if you want a specific actor because of their personality or influence, it takes time, money, and expertise to get them. If you want an actor that’s like them? We can give you several options. Point being – we can move mountains with the right tools and communication.
How long does a video take to make?
Here’s a more-detailed breakdown of the timeline:
1. Strategy, Concepting, and Scripting
If we’re starting from scratch (without a script), we need to take some time to understand who you are, who your audience is, and what problem you’re trying to solve. Once we know that, we can develop unique concepts that all help you target your audience in different ways. We actually love to go back and forth in this stage, hearing your feedback, throwing out some concepts, honing others. It’s what will lead to a great script, and ultimately a better video. All that collaboration takes time, and it typically will take a couple weeks to move through.
Planning the shoot is an art and science that is where so much of the magic happens. The look, feel, and personality of the video is brought to life during this stage of the video process, and it takes time, resources, and creativity. Typically, pre-production includes the following:
- Art direction
- Talent scouting
- Location scouting
- Choosing/hiring a crew
- Set design
Production is a fast-paced, whirlwind experience where everything seems to happen seemingly at once. All that prep during pre-production helps us keep our shoots moving at a good clip, so we can maximize the crew and talent for the hours we have them. As far as the timeline though, it’s not the biggest player. Expect a shoot for a single video to take one to two days, three to four at the most.
Editing is a unique blend of detail, vision, and art. And to get it just right, you need time. Time to sort through all the footage, to craft the storyline, add in details and graphics, and make sure the color is stellar. Plus, there’s always collaboration with the client to make sure it’s shaping up the way everyone wants. That can take a few rounds of edits over the course of two to three weeks. Usually, post-production involves these things at a minimum:
- Sound Production
- Motion Graphics
- Visual Effects
Video Project Timeline with BX
There’s no one-size-fits-all timeline, and that’s how we prefer it. The best videos aren’t the ones that are done on a perfect schedule, they’re the ones that meet your goals and your deadlines. Find out how we can help you produce your next great video and let us help craft a timeline that works for everyone.