September 30, 2011 \ Geoff Birmingham
Two Tools for Video Pre-Production

MIT Admissions Office Film Schedule

A couple posts back, I shared a few suggestions for how to create a filming schedule during the pre-production phase.  As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, pre-production is what can make or break a video production.  Here’s another scenario.

We are working with the folks in MIT’s Admissions Office on a music video of sorts that communicates the magical world that new students will enter when they come to MIT.  There are jugglers, students on stilts, football players doing lab experiments, robots, and a massive atomic microscope.  You get the idea.

So there are a lot of moving parts to pull this all together, and the question is how to most effectively coordinate it.  Short answer:Basecamp and Excel.

For anyone unfamiliar with Basecamp, it is an excellent collaboration tool.  One of its greatest benefits is that it allows teams to collect emails in one place as an archive of sorts.  So rather than having a billion emails flying all over the place among multiple people, all messages are stored within Basecamp, and we can go back to old messages in the archive rather than sifting though our inboxes.  It has also been useful for us as a way to create to-do lists and keep track easily of what needs to be done before our shoot.

Excel has been valuable for creating and adjusting the schedules for our filming dates.  Each of the separate scenes in the music video are basically puzzle pieces.  We placed the pieces in the Excel grid and shifted them around as things changed.  Each new version of the schedule was then uploaded to Basecamp.

End result: a stress-free pre-production experience, leading to (we are quite confident) a stress-free film shoot with MIT.