Understanding why you need video and how the video production process works.
Video is an invaluable medium for any digital online strategy. It has an enormous power to expand the reach and engagement with the story of your organization and through search engine optimization — video can potentially increase the likelihood of a front page Google result by 53 times — and through a greater emotional connection with the audience. Viewers are 10 times more likely to engage, share, embed and comment on video than readers are on blogs, because they can see, hear and ultimately feel the story behind your organization, event or product.
1. What is your video for?
Before you reach out to a production company, it is crucial to establish what story you want your video to tell. Perhaps you are showcasing your purpose, and highlighting the issue your organization is seeking to address or change: “This is who we are and why we’re here”. Maybe you are seeking donations, members or publicizing a fundraising or awareness event. Or you are trying to rebrand, or engage with your established community in a fresh way. Know who your audience is, the heart of the story and determine your goals from that start so you have a solid foundation for your film. That way, your production company knows what to focus on.
2. Creative collaboration
The best part of working with a production company is that you have a team of professional creatives who, through a collaborative process, can bring the story you want to tell to life. Once you have established the ‘why’ you can sit down with your production team and start to get the creative juices flowing! Here are some key points to have in mind for that first meeting:
- The budget. Even if you don’t have an exact figure in mind, it’s extremely helpful for the production company to have a ballpark of what you can/want to spend. They can then give you an idea of what’s possible for what you have to work with.
- The time frame. Is there a deadline you must meet? If you know the film is for an event, which is scheduled 30 days from the initial meeting, the production company will be able to set out a clear schedule, and ensure any equipment and crew needed are available and booked. Bigger projects take longer to plan, so if you have a huge project in mind, make sure you give your production company enough time to make it happen for you!
- The audience. Is this video going on your website, in a digital newsletter or being sent to other organizations? Do you want snippets for social media platforms like Vine and Instagram? How do you intend people to see it?
- Stylistic do’s and don’ts. This gives the creatives a great jumping off point. If you know that you want a lot of dynamic animation and an upbeat soundscape, tell them! If you know you don’t want naturalistic handheld camera work, and you don’t want to hire actors, tell them that also. That way you can ensure that your story is being communicated in a way that complements your brand.
- Trust the professionals. These are the people with the experience and creative know-how of bringing stories to life. Use them and trust that they are working to ensure that your video has the reach and impact you want, on the audience you are intended it for and tells your story. They know what works and what doesn’t — listen to their advice and allow the process to be a creative collaboration. Establish the level of involvement you are expecting — do you want to ‘ok’ all creative decisions, attend the shoot and have a hand in the editing or do you want the production company to simply bring you the final, finished film? A balance between the two is typical.
After finalizing the budget and film treatment/script, this stage of the process involves all the planning required for the shooting of the project: storyboarding, employing production assistants, casting actors, reaching out to interviewees, hiring equipment, sourcing locations and props — they will lead the charge on making sure that everything runs smoothly for the shoot. Make sure to maintain communication so the production team knows that everyone is on the same page, when it comes to making creative decisions. This must always be a dialogue and in the case of differing creative opinions, a healthy discussion!
Alternatively, you might have hired your production company to film your event, in which case let them know exactly what you want them to focus on during the day with a schedule.
4. The shoot
The production company will capture your film. Depending on the nature of the project, you, or a representative from your organization, can ask to be present during this process, or at least part of it. Shoot days can be extremely long and may involve many changes of location, lighting and camera set-ups. If you choose to attend, make sure you know what your day will look like. Of course if the shoot day is filming your event, you will be there!
5. Post production
After the project has been shot, the animation and other effects, like graphics and logos, will be assembled and it will be edited together. During this process, you will be invited to view a “rough cut” of the video so you can get an idea of how it will look once all the effects have been added. The benefit to this is the ability to make minor changes before more time has been spent finalizing the film. Once both teams are happy that the film is complete and meets (or hopefully exceeds) expectations, it can be rendered, exported and delivered to your organization.
One Story Productions creates compelling films for nonprofits, foundations and companies of all sizes who are changing their communities through their efforts, products and services.