The 5 Stages of Video Production That You Should Know About

What are the steps involved in video production? And why should I even care? As a client, you may not feel the need to know each step of the video production process, but being aware of the overall approach translates to better communication with agencies, better feedback during and after the shoot, and it helps set realistic goals.

Knowing the stages of the video production process is useful for marketers because it allows you to understand what’s behind the scenes. As the name itself says, it’s a process - it’s not a one-time event where you get everything on a platter. The film production process requires good organization and time management so that everything goes as planned. It’s not necessarily an arduous or a lengthy process - but it requires careful planning and execution.

Hopefully, this guide will help you understand why specific steps are necessary and how, by knowing this, you can help make the entire journey flow more smoothly. 

Phase 1: development
A star is born
Phase 1 presents the birth of the entire project. Why is this so important? Because these first few decisions are crucial for the overall success.

At this stage, you will:
1. Brainstorm and put pen to paper - aka creating the video production brief;
2. Send out briefs to potential creative and production partners;
3. Choose who you want to work with.

As simple as it may sound, this stage requires a lot of careful consideration and preparation. Creative ideas, video brief creation, choosing the right agency for the job - these are just a few among the many decisions you’ll have to make that will influence the success of your project.

Phase 2: pre-production
T‍wo is better than one? Not always.
At phase 2, you’ve already decided who’s making your video and whether you want to hire one or two agencies for that purpose. That mainly depends on whether the agency has both creative and production capabilities or just one. If the latter is the case, you will need one agency for creative purposes, and the other for production. The typical scenario goes like this: you hire a creative agency who then hires a production company to do the work they envisioned.

Lately, more and more people are choosing to go with just one agency for two simple reasons:

1. No middleman which translates to less money down the drain;
2. A single point of contact means more straightforward and faster communication among parties.

As the name says, at this stage, you’re doing everything that needs to be done before you actually start shooting, editing, and fine-touching.

During this stage, the client also has certain responsibilities. For example, if you’re involved in the shoot, you need to prepare the products that will be filmed, inform the employees about any upcoming interviews, secure locations and permits if necessary, etc.

The pre-production is the planning phase that requires a ton of work. From writing the script, making storyboards and schedules, finding the locations, assembling the entire production crew (director, director of photography, camera assistant, hair and makeup artists, sound recordist, etc.) to auditioning talent and preparing the cast for shooting.

This is where you get down to the nitty-gritty. But if all goes well at this stage, your video is very likely to be a success.

Phase 3: production
Lights, camera, action!
Now, this is where the magic happens. At this stage, you put all of it into action - all the time and energy spent in the pre-production stage now culminates into something real and tangible.

To make sure everyone’s doing their best, it’s essential that everyone is satisfied with the working conditions and that it’s all on schedule.

Even though everything has been pre-planned, it is still a good idea for the client to be present so that the production is on par with the expectations. Why? Simply because it is more cost and time-effective if minor details are fixed during the production stage than in the post-production stage.

Phase 4: post-production
Signed, sealed and delivered.
Now things are finally starting to shape up, but it’s still a long way from the final product. You have a rough cut that needs to be edited time and time again.

At this stage, the production team digs deep into the editing process of both video and audio footage. That usually includes a music selection or original composition, voice-over placeholder or basic text animations and motion graphics, etc.

At our agency, we typically offer three rounds of feedback, meaning four versions of the footage before the edit is officially locked. When we say locked, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be edited ever again, but it’s pretty complicated and costly to edit the video after the post-production phase.

That said, we encourage that you (the client) and anyone else involved speak your mind so we can strike while the iron is still hot, so to say. This is the time when you need to speak up to avoid making unnecessary and expensive changes afterwards.

Once everything is signed and sealed, we deliver the master files via WeTransfer or some other online service of the client’s choice. We also keep a backup of all raw data at two different locations for six months just in case. 

Phase 5: distribution
Content is King but distribution is Queen.
This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for - time to set the bird free. At this phase, the client is supposed to release the video out in the world - on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, or other platforms such as websites or paid media platforms.

What matters the most at this stage is to keep track of the video performance on relevant social media platforms and distribution channels so you can know what works and what doesn’t for your target audience. 

Key thing to remember:
Everyone needs to be on the same page right from the start, which is why the client must be aware of and involved in all of the five stages of the video production process.

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