Pumping Up the Pre-Production Stage of Video

When we think of creating a video campaign, the “pre-production” stage tends to be the proverbial elephant in the room that no one wants to deal with. Like it or not, if you don’t put effort into the necessary evil that pre-production, you won’t have a very good video. Find out some basics as to why pre-production is truly necessary (and not so evil after all).

Thoughts about pre-production—and the reality

The general attitude toward pre-production is that it is tedious, lacks creativity, and is the “grunt work” stage of a video’s journey. Its importance, however cannot be overemphasized. Without pre-production, everyone involved—client and production team—embarking on a video campaign have no plan (or blueprint, map, or whatever term applies) of action to work from. And if the video is an advertisement for a brand or business, maximizing the pre-production stage far more important. Here’s why:

Preproduction keeps the client and videographer—literally—on the same page

The client who represents the brand and the production team that’s been hired to create the video must confirm everything involved at the outset. That may seem obvious, but there are many points that must be reviewed and decided upon. These include:

The purpose of the video

Aside from hopefully increasing the brand’s visibility, a number of questions need to be answered that build the foundation of the purpose behind the video. 

  • What does the brand offer, and what needs does it serve? 

  • Who is the target audience for this video? 

  • What would be the most effective style, tone, and overall mood that would deliver the message to the target audience and make them want to learn more about the brand? (There are many options, ranging from a basic commercial to an educational video, that can attract an audience.)

These are but a few questions that you and the client must address and arrive at mutually agreed-upon answers. These points are then put together in an outline or treatment (or both), which ultimately become basis for…

The shooting script

As popular as user-generated content and viral videos are—where spontaneity rules—keep in mind that the traditional approach (i.e., sticking to the script) is the plan of action you have to take when filming a video advertisement that represents a brand. Even if you are taking the “documentary” approach where customers answer questions and give their opinions, those questions must be clearly worded with the right intention beforehand. Yes, there will be revisions and edits along the, but now you and the client are clear on the right direction for the intended video. Care to strengthen the vision of how the video ad will look? Take the time to create…

The storyboard—the diagram of how the video will look

One of the age-old complaints that everyone has said at one time or another is: “That’s not how I imagined it,” or “This is not how I pictured it from the description.” Yes, even with a script that describes everything—from setting to the acting talent that’s selling the brand—down to the smallest detail, there is the nagging concern that different ideas of how the ad will play out in the minds of the client and the video production team. Enter the storyboard—a sequential series of drawings that visualize the look of each shot of the planned video ad. To complement the storyboard, consider…

The “shot list”

The “shot list” is culled from the final shooting script of the video ad for the purpose of accounting for each and every frame that is to be filmed. What would be more frustrating, for example, then reviewing a rough cut of the video ad, only to discover that one very important shot was not taken? It could happen, and the “shot list” is one more ounce of prevention that one should listen to. Oh, and while on the topic of listening…

Audio concepts

While the application of music, sound effects, and other audio components to a video is usually done in the post-production stage, it does not hurt to have at least a concept of how a video ad is going to be heard as well as seen. By keeping an awareness of “sound” during pre-production, you’ll save yourself a lot of “fury” and expense later on. Why add to production costs if your audio is off? Which brings us to…


If there is any part of video creation that everyone is more adverse to than pre-production itself, it would be the budget. How much money—and where it is being spent—determines whether or not a video ad will be created. In some cases, the original concept of the video may need to be altered in order to fit in with what the budget allows. This is another factor where the client who represents the brand and the video team must be in accord. And in today’s economy—where inflation increases on a near-daily basis—the budget behind a video campaign must be adhered to down to the very cent. 

As a side note to the budge factor, if you are planning a video campaign in the near future and are considering cutting back on costs, don’t skimp on pre-production. When looking at the bigger picture, pre-production is proof of the saying: “It costs money, because it saves money.” That is why pre-production is not a “necessary evil” but a collection of steps that make every stage of creating a video as orderly, timesaving, and cost-effective as possible.

The ultimate value of pre-production in video

Here is an equation to consider: The more complete the pre-production phase of a video campaign, the better the finished product will be. This in turn leads to a delighted client as he or she sees the added interest a well-crafted video attracts to the brand that’s being promoted. And all because of great pre-production.

Are you considering a video campaign to get your brand or business seen by more possible customers? The EGC Group is a full-service agency that accommodates every aspect of video—with special attention to pre-production. Our branding and development department will help pinpoint the audience who would appreciate your brand. Then, the account and creative teams will bring your video campaign to life in The EGC Content Studio

So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step of the “pre-pre-production” stage of your video campaign by getting in touch with us to learn more.