Video Deliverable Projects – Where Do I Even Begin?

Laura Burkholder, Project Manager

At first glance, a project with a video deliverable or a video-focused project seems like it will be pretty straightforward: film, edit, and deliver the final product. But once you get into the planning, you’ll find there are a lot of pieces that must come together before you can create the final product. I’ve found that, despite dabbling in the video industry for the past 4 years, it seems that at every video shoot there is always a new lesson learned.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself and a few things to keep in mind to help manage all the moving parts as you embark on your video project.

  1. The client – What does your client know about video? Is there a budget set aside for this; specifically for video development or a deliverable? Does your client know WHY doing a video would be beneficial to their cause or project and what they are trying to accomplish with a video? Is there a creative treatment in mind? Who is the target audience for the video and is there any additional information on how the audience will access it? How will the video be served up (i.e., YouTube, company services, Vimeo, etc.) and what formats will it need to run on (i.e., DVDs, mobile devices, websites, Blu-ray players, computers, etc.)?
  2. A plan – You definitely need a plan, whether it is just a few paragraphs shared with key stakeholders or a formal document that includes scheduling, findings, and more. A plan will make sure expectations are set on pricing, turnaround times, themes, and a variety of information that will be driving the video development.
  3. Schedule – Most videos take a lot of time. You may shoot for an entire day just to get 8 minutes of footage and depending on the type of treatment, the time needed to shoot and edit may increase significantly. If you have to secure talent, both for on-screen and the production crew, you’ll need even more lead time before you begin to shoot. If you are doing a motion-graphics based video and need graphics created or stock footage purchased, that will also need to be factored into the schedule. In addition to factoring in post-production time for editing and fine tuning, appropriate review cycles will need to be considered.
  4. Contracts – Most companies that offer video services may not be able to offer the gamut of resources and equipment needed due to the cost of keeping that type of staff in-house, you will most likely be working with subcontractors including services vendors, equipment rentals, talent agencies, and studio spaces. The media industry has its own share of contract terms. By planning ahead, you will be able to negotiate terms that work for all parties and that are within your needed timeframe. Keep in mind, however, that net 30 payment terms are typical, regardless of the terms you have with your end client.
  5. Script/Shot List/Storyboards/Shooting Script – When filming, the script―or a variation of it―helps keep you efficient and accountable. Having a script before shooting will set expectations of what content will be filmed before the actual shooting, so time is not wasted in filming; especially nitpicking over wording, etc. The storyboards allow your client to see the script next to the acting points or graphic elements or animations; minimizing surprises when you deliver the video with all of the moving parts combined. In some cases a shot list, which calls out the main types of shots; angles; and distances to be captured in the video footage will suffice. The shooting script ensures that everything discussed with the client is captured from the shot list/storyboards.
  6. Location – The location will drive the success of your shoot. You need to ask yourself, do the area acoustics make sense for the video? Is the backdrop suitable? What kind of lighting is needed? Do I need permits?

    If you film in a studio, will you need to build a set? Will a green screen suffice? What additional services do you need (e.g., craft service, makeup room, client area)?

  7. Editing – What about closed captioning, graphical elements, master list, string out, rough cut, alpha, beta, fine cut, polishing, and audio? Have you planned for all of these?

Lastly, take my advice with a grain of salt. The options for video and editing treatments, creative direction, and production needs will vary depending on the video subject, client, budget, turnaround time, and creative direction. However, smart thinking and up-front planning can make this type of challenging project enjoyable for the entire team.

Laura Burkholder
Project Manager

Laura has 6 years of experience managing projects and 4 years of experience working with clients to achieve engaging video solutions.