You know that guy, Julius Caesar? Well, he once said that “experience is the teacher of all things”. I’m not sure how much I trust advice from a guy who invented a salad, but that seems like a pretty spot-on assessment of how incredibly valuable experience is.
No matter what challenge you’re facing – rappelling down a ravine, baking a souffle, or starting a video production – experience will always provide a more successful outcome and keep everything from going “Splat!” While you might learn a great deal by ‘winging it’ on your own, you risk greater costs in time, money, and even safety, by not implementing the knowledge from others who have gone before you.
Don’t venture into the unknown alone! Check out the following three things to know about video production learned from experience:
Nothing’s As Easy As It Looks
The very first lesson I learned back in Film 101 was that we as viewers take in what we are seeing without realizing the extent of effort and thought that went into every shot and every scene. In video production, this lesson appears over and over again as each production brings it’s own unique set of goals, strategies, and challenges.
For example: You might simply think delivering a scripted message on camera is easy and breezy. Well OK, it’s not rocket surgery, but it does involve more preparation and practice than most people think:
- It requires writing a concise script and rehearsing it aloud, adjusting the script to sound more natural as spoken word. It then requires additional practice out loud to ensure natural delivery.
- While a teleprompter can be used on set, this can also take some getting used to. The words scroll up as you read them, so you’ll want to get used to the pace and avoid moving your eyes too much.
- Working for hours under the hot lights can also bring challenge. It’s important for talent and crew to stay hydrated, focused and energized to give their very best throughout the production.
There are so many things to consider both with regard to what is actually being seen on-screen (setting, plot, actors, scripting) as well as strategic or technical details (scheduling, video length and technical specifications, distribution).
Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
The most useful advice I can give you here is to be aware that a video production is a process, and to partner with an experienced team that helps you consider every detail in pre-production, and helps you stay positive and on-task in production.
Every Detail Matters
As you start planning your next video production, you might be tempted to sideline some of the small details such as: hair and makeup, wardrobe or professional talent. All of these details are the key to taking your video from ‘meh’ to ‘mah-velous’. So, while you might consider them secondary to other initial details, make sure you don’t overlook them or exclude them altogether!
Professional talent – such as an actor, spokesperson or voice-over artist – can bring a whole other level of value to your production. Their training and experience bring additional nuances that create realistic and seamless engagement with the viewer. They can also help create a diverse range of footage, thereby giving you many choices of different takes that can be utilized in your final video.
Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. – Christopher Lasch
Few things are more important that upholding the quality of your brand image, and details like hair, makeup, and wardrobe contribute directly to that image! If you plan to feature actors or company representatives on camera, it’s wise to hire a professional hair and makeup artist. They can ensure hair is appropriately styled and kept in-place throughout filming, and can also reduce glare and enhance natural features of the face.
Wardrobe will also require some thought: What will look best on film, and properly reflect your brand? It’s best to have choices of wardrobe, and also ensure items are clean and pressed. You don’t want your viewer distracted by that weird white fuzzy that’s stuck to your CEO’s shoulder now do you?!
Your production day is kind of like summer vacation in this way: You spend so much time planning it, looking forward to it, then enjoying it, and then suddenly it’s all gone! Before you know it the weather is colder and you’re wondering why you didn’t go stand-up paddle-boarding or get more of a tan! Your video production day will come just as fast, and though you’ve planned extensively for the big day, time is a fleeting asset that you cannot control.
The best way to manage your production time is …drum roll please …with a schedule and checklists! Checklists (including a shot list) will help you stay on-task with each shot you need to film, and what is needed for each shot to be right: which props, actors, script or crew specialists. The schedule will help you realistically interpret the time needed to ensure everything on your checklist is in place and that the footage can be captured a few different ways, if necessary.
Seriously, if you’re a hyper-organized nerd like me, you love the idea of a tight schedule and thorough checklists. Luckily for you, if you’re partnered with a great video production team, they will be the ones creating the schedules and lists with you.
They should work closely with you to evaluate your specific goals using video production or video marketing in NYC, and to walk you through the many challenges of a successful video production.
While I’ve given you the three above things to think about, my final word of advice here is to seek out an experienced video production team that’s been around the block, and knows how to make a production rock! This way, you’ll benefit from the experience of others, and be well-advised as you experience your very own NYC video production.