What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Videographer: Production and Post-Production
In Part 1 of this blog, I gave an “Executive Summary” of what to expect when you work with a professional videographer. Then, I went into detail about pre-production, that is, everything that goes into organizing your video project before the day of the video shoot. If you want a refresher on what you can expect during pre-production, you can find it here.
In Part 2, I’m going to talk about:
- Production: Recording on site, both of interview(s) and of b-roll, that is, visuals that will support the narrative of the video. Also called “the shoot.”
- Post-Production: The editing phase, which starts once all video and audio elements have been captured.
Production – What Happens at the Video Shoot
- Set up: At your site visit, your videographer will have scouted the best place to record your interview based on what will make an interesting background; available light; and other factors. Nonetheless, depending on the situation (or if there was no site visit due to time or budget constraints), expect at least an hour for your videographer to set up and check light, audio, and other factors before your interview starts. At a recent video shoot, we knew which room we’d be shooting in – the business owner had a home office beautifully decorated in rich, Mediterranean colors – but we had to rearrange nearly all the furniture to get the right look, including distributing just-enough-but-not-too-many objets d’art to provide visual interest without being distracting.
- The Shoot: This includes shooting the interview(s) and capturing b-roll.
- If you are being interviewed, rest assured that your video team will have you go through your questions and answers several times, until you are satisfied with your delivery and/or the editor believes they can create something workable out of what they have.
- For detailed tips about being on camera, see my blogs chock full of advice for being on camera, Part 1 – Mindset and Part 2 – Practical Tips.
- It is ALWAYS better to capture more interview footage and b-roll than you think need, than not enough and have to schedule a second shoot date. This is another reason to schedule several hours for a shoot.
- Size of your video team: it’s recommended to have at least two video pros on site, so one can focus on the technical side such as camera, audio, and lights; and the other can conduct interviews, check shot set-up, coach and guide the speakers, and direct the camera operator and the participants. While it’s possible for one person to handle it all, it’s not optimal. Adding additional elements – such as a boom microphone, one of those mics-on-a-stick that require a dedicated operator; or a large number of “extras” to organize – may require additional video staff, which translates to “added cost.”
- It’s a wrap!
- After capturing interviews and b-roll, your video team will depart to go work their editing magic on your project. All you need to do now is relax and celebrate a successful production day.
One of the great things about post-production (also known as “editing”) for you, the client, is that you hardly need to be involved at all! Here are some of the things your editors will be doing while you wait to see your video dream come to life. The process I’m describing is specifically for an interview-style “About Us” video, but the steps are similar for other videos, too. When editing, we’re going to:
- Convert all your footage to be loaded into the editing system (in our case, Final Cut Pro X)
- Go through interview footage to select options to create the narrative. We recently did an About video with two interviews – a photographer and one of their clients – that resulted in about 25 minutes of footage to sort through for 2 minutes of final content. The selection process is time-consuming, but fun.
- Distill the footage down to the essence of the message. Sometimes we have to leave off really cool stuff because there is SO MUCH good content. For the photographer, I could have done an entire video on the history and influence of headshots as he described them, but again: 2 minutes only.
- Select the b-roll that goes with each part of the message.
- Choose a background music. In our company, we decide ahead of time if the client wants to choose the music, or wants us to do it for them.
- Assemble it all, including graphics and send to the client for review as a First Draft. “Graphics” includes stuff such as your logo, website URL, and “lower thirds,” which are those little bars at the bottom of the screen with people’s names and titles.
- Send the client the video for review.
Here’s an important note on timing: unless a “rush job” is requested, expect the initial editing process to take at least two weeks. Editing is an intensely creative as well as a technical process. As an editor, I know that taking several days to work on a project will get the best results. This is true even – or perhaps especially – if I spend no more than half of each day editing in the initial phases, then “sleep on it” in between. This pattern is supplemented by the occasional moment of “waking up at 3am thinking ‘Eureka! I know what to do with that section now!’”
- Client reviews the video – as I mentioned earlier, I encourage you view your video several times, share it with colleagues, and “sleep on it” yourself before submitting edits.
- We then make any client requested edits, and do audio polishing, and any other finishing work – like a carpenter sanding and smoothing out rough edges – to make it look and sound fantastic.
Working with a videographer who is dedicated to detailed pre-production can save you time, money, and headache. It will minimize the amount of planning you have to do personally, because the video company handles most of the administration. You’ll also maximize the chance of having an efficient video shoot that runs on time and on budget. When you combine this thorough pre-production with attentive on-site production by your video team, and patience on your part while the video is being edited, you have the scenario that is most likely to result in a video you not only love, but also gets you the highest ROI.