March 10, 2011 \ Geoff Birmingham
The Video Production Process, Part II

caution sign

In a post from last week, I talked a little bit about the video production process and how it usually starts with the discovery phase.  During discovery,  the producer and client spend some time  in advance of production talking about the goal of the video, deciding who and what should be in it, and then mapping out a plan for the production.  This is a pretty logical approach, and we never  suggest deviating from it.

But I suppose rules are made to be broken.  A recent client  proposed that  we film just one day, “see what we get,” and then go from there.  His approach wasn’t as haphazard as this perhaps sounds, but the shoot-first-ask-questions-later strategy was not one we had taken before.  However, we decided to follow his lead after he assured us that he could get approval for a second day of filming if we deemed that necessary.

Guess what?  It worked.  Our guy is relatively new to his institution, so he didn’t know real well all the people who were candidates to tell its story.  So he rounded up a bunch of people to interview, not knowing how any of them would really “perform” or what, specifically, they would have to say.

All of them did quite well, but the bigger point is that delaying the second day of filming worked to our advantage.  Once we had the chance to review the initial footage and identify where the gaps were, we were then able to go into the second day of filming knowing precisely what we wanted to capture to complete the video successfully.  Presto.

We still wouldn’t fully endorse the “see what we get” approach because there’s an element of chance that we prefer to avoid.  In some situations like this, however, it can work well.  Just two caveats: 1) you have to be certain that the higher-ups will approve an additional day of filming if needed; and 2) the turnaround on delivery of the video cannot be a quick one – postponing the second day requires a longer production schedule.