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How to Plan a Video Project: The Objectives

This post also appears on DPBestflow.org

This is Part 01 in our series on planning a project.

If you do not make informed decisions early on in a video project, it may result in an enormous amount of time spent “cleaning-up” or “fixing it in post.” This can compromise the quality and vision of the work or require a redo, often at your own expense. With the proper amount of planning and decision-making, many “could be issues” become non-issues. The goal of planning is to determine what questions to ask and how to proceed with the decision-making

Keep these goals in mind:

Minimize risk

Video productions tend to be more expensive than most types of creative projects.  This is due to the larger crew sizes and more expensive gear, as well as the longer postproduction times. You’ve got people in front of the lens, people behind the cameras, and even more behind the scenes. Video projects are complex with multiple stages of approval along the way.  You need to control things and have a plan (and even another plan for when that one fails). Making efforts to minimize risk early in the process can reduce the changes of wasted efforts and money.

A proper plan can ensure an organized production. This can improve the chances of a stress-free production with better outcomes.

Satisfy client scope and schedule

Project Management is not unique to video, but it is a critical skill due to the complex interconnected nature of video projects.  It is important to learn how to balance the scope of the project, track your resources, and maintain the schedule you’ve built in advance. You should also put the scope of the project into writing as well, this way you can track progress and tie the billing to progress of the job.

Achieve quality goals

Creating high-quality video is becoming the expected standard.  Improvements in technology and education as well as camera technology have empowered creative professionals to push beyond former limitations.  Through proper planning, you can improve your chances of making the most of the resources of the project.

Video productions often involve a team of professional to provide proper coverage of image and sound.

The partnership concept

Video is often referred to as a team sport. This is the hardest message for most photographers to accept. You cannot truly make a professional video in isolation. Video is too complex for one person to be able to simultaneously focus their attention on acquiring proper exposure and focus, along with clear audio and a strong performance by your subject. When it comes time to put all the pieces together in post, specialist may also come into play.  Whether its a graphic artist to add titles or an audio engineer to sweeten the sound, outside help can go a long way.

Consider the following:

  • Video projects often have firm deadlines – Whether it’s an air date, a live event, a corporate meeting, or a project launch.  Deadlines are standard in the world of video, having a team means bench strength and safety in numbers.
  • You’ll make more money doing what you do best – How many photographers are magazine publishers? Do they sell the advertisements and write all the stories? What about when publishing a book… do they fire up their personal printing press?  The point here is that a photographer should do what they do best.  That tends to be direct the talent, pick the locations for shooting, lens the project, and carry their creative vision through the editing and graphics stages.
    You can always find people who want to do parts of the job you are weakest at… plus they’ll likely be far faster than you.
  • The creative mind is like a hive – Adding additional people that you trust can really lead to a better product.  Having other professionals around  can keep you from slipping into old/bad habits.  It also leads to creative discussions that push the envelope and generates a better outcome.

Up next is Preproduction

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