The First Step in Videomaking

Put your camera down and pick up that pencil! That’s right, it’s pre-production.

The best stories and messages that come through the screen come from the writers that take their time actually writing their thoughts down. Even artists draw their ideas on rough cheap paper before they decide to use the expensive pen and paper to create their masterpieces.

Let’s say that you have been hired by a local restaurant owner to make a short promo for his business. You can try to jump head first into this project and pray the stars are aligned to aid you in your process. But this is just testing your luck out to the edge of an extensive failure. There are a few tips I would recommend to take into account besides establishing the target audience, budget, target video length, etc. (we will discuss this at another time). You can try these steps out to create a concept around your project.

  1. Know your Client. Literally go and have a chat with the person who hired you. Not only do you build positive relations with them, but you can find out about their business/product. This can give you inspiration towards planning your video and (if you do a good job) the client can give you a favorable review and recommendations.
  2. Write your initial ideas and theorize. It is important to write your concepts down to consider the all possible opinions. Openly discussing the pros and cons about each concept with a third party is a method that can narrow down the listing to find that the couple of approaches you can apply to the video.
  3. Overestimate your time. Add a few hours to the evaluated amount of hours you tell your client to avoid having to ask for more paid hours and project delays. Both of these things will upset your client and begin to run a risk of the client canceling the contract.
  4. Release Forms. The only thing worst than an upset client is a copyright suit against you. If you are filming anything that involves a company, location, music, people, and even animals, you need to make sure everything and everyone has a respective release form that video.  Failing to have a form signed off by the client and talent could end up costing you a considerable amount of funds if a person believes that you don’t have the right to use their property(s) and or image.
  5. Respect and patience. Clients will be pushy and can be quite demanding towards any videographer. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to bend to their will for every requests; after all, they hired you due to your skill in videomaking. Respect the client’s visualization of their video and discuss with them that their idea can be adapted or conflicts with other factors. Knowing how to talk to your employer is a valuable skill that will boost a videographer’s value in the industry.
  6. Communication. In pre-production, talk to the client as if you will never see them again (because this is partly true). Discuss concepts, review shoot times, deliberate over equipment, talk about everything that you are going to do and need for the production phase. You should double-check the talent, location, and assistants a few days leading up to the shoot dates. In overview, make sure everyone knows what is happening at what time with whom at all times.


These are a few tips that I have experienced that I wish others have told me sooner. These tips are a little biased towards client-based projects, but the approach can be applied towards other video arrangements. There are more pointers to the pre-production phase alone; however, those can be found easily online. I have included a few links that may aid you in your quest to gathering more knowledge into this process.

20 Pre-Production Steps to Successful Video Content

Basics of Pre-Production Planning for Video 

Pre-Production Checklist: 11 Steps to a Successful Project


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