You know that you need a video to excel in the new era of digital marketing. You’re ready to get things off the ground and shoot your first video.
The only problem? You have no idea how to plan a video shoot.
But that doesn’t need to hold you back. Keep reading for a complete guide to planning your first successful video shoot.
Know Why You’re Doing the Shoot
Before you shoot a second of film, you need to know why you’re doing the shoot at all.
Seems pretty obvious, right? You’re doing the shoot so that you can make a video for a marketing campaign. But that’s not enough.
You need to know exactly why you’re making the video and who you’re making it for. What are you trying to accomplish with this video? Who do you want to see the video? What do you want them to do as a result of seeing the video?
All of these questions will change the type of video you shoot and what that video looks like.
If you’re shooting a promotional video, you need beauty shots of the product or location. If you’re trying to raise money for a project, you want a video that shows where you are–and where you’re going. If you’re shooting an educational video, you’ll need clear explanations and visual examples.
This will help you get clear on what you need to show in your video. It will also help you figure out what you need for the shoot.
Plan Your Video in Advance
That brings us to the next step: plan your video in advance.
You can produce a polished video on a shoestring budget, but you have to plan ahead.
The best way to do this is storyboarding, which is the process of planning the composition of each shot like a still photograph. Some famous films have extensive storyboards that could be called art in their own right, but you don’t need to create the next Godfather in storyboard format.
All you really need to do is clarify your shots and scripts in advance. You should also know how you’ll transition between shots and whether or not the camera will move.
This will help you figure out two things: where you’re doing the shoot and what you need to complete the shoot successfully.
Decide Where and When
Once you have the storyboard, you can decide where and when.
Many companies do marketing shoots in their own offices, but you can also do a shoot around town. If you’re trying to show off a property, go there.
Either way, take the time to scout a location before the shoot.
When you scout a location, you’re checking all of the following:
- Power availability (can you plug in your camera?)
- Lighting (do you need to bring lighting with you?)
- Acoustics (how will mics perform?)
- Access to the location (will you be trapped lugging equipment up four flights of stairs?)
- Crew-friendly amenities (does it have a bathroom? what about parking?)
Remember, preparedness is the best way to guarantee your shoot goes well. Also, a happy crew is a helpful crew.
Get the Right Equipment for the Job
From there, you’ll know what equipment you need for your shoot.
Common equipment necessities include:
- Camera (mid-range DSLR will serve you well)
- Microphones (shotgun microphones are handy, but you can also use clip-on mics)
- Food and water (a fed crew is a happy crew)
Don’t forget about the equipment you’ll need when you’re done. You’ll need basic editing software. Those doing videos sporadically can make do with Movie Maker or iMovie, but if you plan to make videos often, it’s worthwhile to invest in an Adobe Premiere Pro subscription.
While it’s not technically “equipment”, you’re also going to need a cast. You’ll need to figure out what the cast will say, what they’ll wear, any props they’ll need, and how long you need them there. Tell them in advance if they need to do anything to prepare.
Get Permits (or Permission)
Once you’ve got your site, you have to make sure you’re actually allowed to shoot there.
Depending on where you are and what you plan to do, you may need different types of permits. The National Park Service, for example, has strict rules about permits for film and still photography, so plan your shoot well in advance so you have time to get your permits in order.
If you’re shooting on private property, you may not necessarily need a permit, but you do need to at least ask the owners for permission.
While you can shoot guerilla style (i.e. no permits and no permission) if you want your shoot to go right, save yourself the trouble and do things properly.
Make Sure You Have Power
Finally, it might seem abundantly obvious, but make sure that you have power!
Seriously, it’s astonishing how many video shoots have everything lined up, practiced and ready to go…only to find that they can’t do the shoot because the camera is dead and no one brought extra batteries.
Your boss will be furious, your cast and crew will be annoyed, and you’ll have to disrupt schedules a second time to get the shoot right.
Don’t be that person. Charge your camera batteries and spares the night before, check the batteries before you leave the office for the shoot, and make sure you’ve got at least one spare battery on hand.
Time for Your Video Shoot!
So, you think you’re ready for your video shoot?
Remember, the difference between a mediocre video and a great video is planning. You can shoot a video on a shoestring budget as long as you use your resources well. But if you don’t know what resources you have, it’s hard to figure out how you’re going to use them.
So long as you know in advance what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, your video is already a step ahead of the rest. Plan, shoot, edit, release. Simple as that.
Author: Benjamin Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Writing Service. With an extensive career in digital marketing and web development, Ben’s knowledge of the industry has enabled small businesses to scale and grow through well-crafted content and strategy.