Pre-Production, Is It Important?

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On January 12, 2015, Posted by , In Business, By , ,

What Is Pre-Production

Movie Shoot


You may already be asking yourself, why is this even a viable blog post let alone anything that has to do with Video Work. For starters, the word photography comes from the greek word φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), and γραφή (graphé). When you put the two words together it translates to “drawing with light”. As a very important first step in pre-production, you need to know where the light is coming from, how will it be managed, is it a harsh light or a soft light…lighting is a crucial first step to knowing how your scene will be depicted by your audience after your footage has been edited in post-production. If you study the early masters such as Rembrandt, you may have seen his work and never known what it was that set his work apart from the rest. Rembrandt was a master of light. He painted his scenes in a way that would create triangles of light. It’s important to note how you will light your subjects in any given scene. Proper pre-production will help you see where to place your lights and also your fill/bounce lights to illuminate your surroundings and subject.

Joel Grimes discusses lighting starting at about 20 seconds into this clip below

Thousand Oaks Video Production

Here in Thousand Oaks, we have some of the best weather known to man-kind. The warm sun makes it perfect for your year around outdoor videos…or does it? The only concern with the sun here in Thousand Oaks is the mid-day sun. The sun at mid-day is directly over-head which causes strong shadows under a persons eyes and is not the prettiest light to shoot in. It is easy to fix for an individual or a small group of people but can become tricky when dealing with larger groups of people. To solve this, it may be necessary to use lighting, possibly a fill/bounce card or go the opposite direction and put a large scrim (a large white sheet) overhead to soften the shadows.

Do You Need A Permit?

Arguably one of the most overlooked pieces of pre-production is getting a permit. Here in Southern California, there is a lot of Video Production always happening. Obviously, there are movies being filmed, TV Commercials are being shot everywhere, Music Videos…you name it. The police know what a video production looks like. Bottom line is, Get A Permit!

Tweet: The police know what a video production looks like. Bottom line is, Get A Permit!

Video Crew

Why bother doing a video at all if you aren’t interested in doing it right. There are people who have honed their skills over the years as make-up artists, audio technicians, producers, directors, camera-operators… It is important to know that each piece of the puzzle fits and that they are the right person for the job. Many of the people we work with are people we have known and worked with for over a decade. Knowing that these people are available for a shoot is a critical part of our pre-production.

Is That A Dumptruck In The Video?

We have all seen it, you are watching the news and all of the sudden a firetruck goes racing by with its horns blaring. You cant understand a word the reporter is saying. It is really hard in the news world to plan for those moments but it is easy to plan ahead in the corporate world to know where the bad audio might come from. Its always a good idea to visit the location of the shoot early to see if by chance there is construction happening nearby. Its also good to know what day is trash day, what the hours of typical deliveries are: Are there semi-trucks dropping off groceries nearby? What time does UPS/Fed-Ex usually arrive? If you want decent audio in your production, make sure to plan accordingly.

Famous news interuption sample…

Video Gear

Most of us get into the video world because we love our gear. Having said that, there are times when you want to take a sledgehammer to it. Making sure your gear is working before a shoot will save a lot of headaches. Before a shoot, we always test our gear to ensure it is properly working. We even test our 9 volt batteries to make sure they are fully charged before putting them into our packs. We typically do a mini setup of what we will be shooting so that we know our audio is working, our lights are working our color is balanced…and so on.

As you can see, we haven’t even scratched the surface on this subject but thought it would be an important list to show how important planning for a shoot is. Hopefully this list will help explain why we feel it so important to know everything we can before going into our production. Have you had any experiences with pre-production? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!