What do you think of when you think about producing a video? If you’re like most people, you likely think about either a guy with a camera on his shoulder or a big budget film. But producing a commercial is very different from both of those things. It’s neither the behind-the-scenes TikTok you see while casually yet infinitely scrolling, or the months-long productions of Hollywood films.
The video production process has SO many details you’d simply never think. And there’s a forest of complexity you have to go through to end up at a stunning, professional product.
You may be thinking “But Ben, we hire BX to handle all the details, why would we ever need to care about this?” That’s a good point and a great question!
Here it is: If you don’t know anything at all about what it takes to make a great video you won’t have the right expectations. Which means you’ll be either confused, frustrated, or both throughout the entire process. Plus, you won’t be able to make intelligent, creative decisions about one of your best marketing assets. We know that the best videos are made out of a back-and-forth partnership with our clients. So it’s a way for you to be an involved partner.
Case in Point: Pre-Production Madness
The next thing to do after approving a script is shoot the video, right? It’s what most people’s minds go to, but our brains immediately start going wild with planning. You can probably guess that we need to location scout, talent scout and assemble the right team, but it’s so much more than that.
You ever think about parking? Of course not! And you shouldn’t. But it’s one of those little details we slave over. For instance, if we’ve got a shoot day with three locations we can’t have 20-30 people scouring each area for street parking when we’ve got a scene to capture. We’ve got to get the key people setting up stat. Which means we’ve got to contact the city, know the registration numbers of each parking meter, and get permits ahead of time to reserve our spots. And do it for each location. It’s a detail, but it makes a huge difference the day of the shoot.
Or take location scouting. You want to shoot at Santa Monica Pier? Get ready to acquire a county permit, city permit, Santa Monica Pier permit, and usage rights and licensing to be able to show the rides. Oh yeah and insurance riders. Gonna need insurance in case anything goes wrong that day. And in this specific instance, because the pier is so popular, you’ll also need to shell out ten grand. It’s a lot, but it could be worth it for your video. Or we could consider more cost effective options. These are the things we are always considering for our clients.
We don’t need to go through every aspect to give you the sense that pre-production planning needs to be thorough and detailed. We just need you to know that before we get to shoot day, we’re doing things like figuring out the right tonnage of the grip truck and if it fits where we need to film, and making decisions on dollies, jibs, and gimbals and a myriad of other creative and logistical choices. And it’s all to make sure the shoot day goes smoothly and we have everything we need to make your video a success.
The Science of Video Art
“We’ll just edit that in post” is not as much of a thing as you may think it is. Yes, we can do a lot in post-production, but so much of the detailed work is in the art direction ahead of time and during the shoot.
Take cameras and lenses, for instance. There’s a lot you can do about color, tone, and cropping after the fact, but a lot of the feel of a video is in what cameras and lenses you choose, and those decisions get baked into the footage we capture. Think about the camera as the computer, processing all the visuals you capture, and the lens as the perspective and filter we put in front of that computer. We use very different cameras and lenses if we’re shooting people vs. technology. Because you want the look of skin to be very different from the look of tech. Sometimes you want the video to feel warm, sometimes you want it to feel light, airy, and clean. All of this requires more than the push of a button in post.
Once we’re on the shoot, details start to make huge differences. As in, rotate-the-camera-half-an-inch type of details. Case in point, we may have three separate people controlling the camera at any given time. One to physically move the camera, one to point the camera (and you thought that was the same person!), and a third to focus the camera. They work in tandem to create the seamless motion you see in the finished product.
Even things like music or voice overs we often need to do ahead of time so we know exactly how to time and choreograph the shoot. Because the timing is so critical, we’re often making decisions in real time about split-second differences in execution. It’s why we often go through multiple takes to get things exactly right.
Knowledge Really is Power
There’s even more to the process than a log this, but we won’t overwhelm you too much with the details. Just know that we are considering and planning for them and will reach out for your perspective when needed. Because the point is that knowing about all these details gives us power to do exactly what we want to do with your video!
So get creative with us. Throw out ideas whether you know if they’ll work or not. Dream big and dive in with us throughout the creative process. We’ll work together to make the whole thing a professional, artistic, and most of all fun, process.