My Production Process
Recently I have been thinking of ideas that I would like to make videos for. I have some short documentary ideas, comedy sketches, music videos, and a few other short video that I would like to produce at some point. This got me thinking about my production process and how I would go about making each one of my visions a reality. It takes time and I just would like to share my process and possibly figure out how it differs from others.
Pre – Production
Everything has to start in the pre. First things first, there needs to be an idea. Without an initial idea you’d just be going in circles until you finally come across something you think you want to pursue. So I really try to think of an idea that I would have fun making and also something I know that I have the ability to make. Being an amateur, I’m pretty limited when it comes to equipment and talent, so I need to always keep that in mind. Once I have an idea then I will sit down and start scripting and storyboarding. I always prefer using a script and planning out my shots rather than storyboarding (because I draw like a five-year old). I will say I have been getting better at storyboarding and my sketches get slightly better each time. With my script I will jot down all the ideas I have for dialogue and shot placement. Also when I initially have an idea I’m thinking of what friends I have that could play the parts and then I continue to script my idea as they would play it.
Location. Location. Location. I always like to have scoped out a place where my idea can really come to life. I will scavenge buildings and the outdoors looking for areas that would suit my project. Once locations have been decided upon then it is just a matter of organizing the shoot. I have discovered that the most difficult part of this process is getting all the talent and equipment together at one point in time. I feel like it is virtually impossible sometimes. Everyone is busy and has “more important things to do”, but when everyone does get together and cooperates, it is great.
Now we are finally filming. Everyone is together and we just have to set up the equipment. I always make sure my camera setting are where they need to be and set up all the lighting that is necessary. I find lighting to be one of the trickiest things about production. This might be because I’m just not all that used to it yet. The lights need to be in the proper spots with the right intensity. There’s also the matter of determining what kind of lights are best for the shoot. Do I want a harder light or a more soft and diffused light. They usually both need to be used to create the perfect scenario. So get those lights set up, put your talent under them, white balance that camera, and shoot away. I always try to create exciting shots, but on my budget I can’t afford all the fancy rigs to create them.
What I’m about to say next I found to be very helpful from tutorials I’ve seen and I hope they help others as well. Your tripod is your best friend! There are so many way to utilize a tripod. Don’t have a steadicam for that stable moving shot, use your tripod. Need a short dolly shot but no dolly? Tripod. To create a dolly effect with a tripod just retract one of the legs and sort of lean the tripod forward or back with the camera. It works and can be combined with other moves and look great. If you happen to be filming somewhere that you can drive, then use your car as a dolly while you film from the trunk! But be careful! If you’re worried about the engine in the background then slap that baby into neutral and get some buddies to help push it to create this dolly effect.
Sometimes I believe it is all a matter of experimenting. Throw the camera in several different spots if you feel the need to. Who knows what awesome shots you might discover? Experimenting is half the fun but when you have talent standing around they might not be up for you running around to 10 different spots just to capture one scene. When I am filming, I like to get at least three takes of the same shot. This gives me options when I go into post production. There may be something I missed in one shot and there could certainly be better takes. Who doesn’t love having options?
Once last thing I’d like to stress about my production process, I always try to keep it simple. It is easy to get carried away and possibly start thinking about all kinds of special effects in the shot and trying to do something crazy with the lights or some kind of wild shot sequence. Things just need to be taken one step at a time. If everything is planned out before hand it is easy for me to set up. This is when it is great to keep the script and storyboard on hand because it keeps me from getting too out of control and it makes me focus on what I originally planned.
Post – Production
I now have all my footage shot and it is time to edit. This is always my favorite part. I will go into Premier or Final Cut (preferably Premier) and import all my clips. Here is when I really look back on my script and storyboard to set up the shots the way I wanted. This is when decisions need to be made as to which shots are the best. Be bold with your decisions and always stand by them. They could make or brake the project. Once i get all the shots in the order I want then I move on to some color correction and make each shot have the look I feel is appropriate for the production. Color correcting I feel as though can be a very tedious process because sometimes you have different shots at different locations so they are all going to look different. Its not like you can just copy and paste the correction to each clip. That would look ridiculous, trust me I’ve tried it to get something done quick. It wasn’t worth it.
Sometimes I’ll try to experiment with some special effects in After Effects but that’s something I still need some work on. I’ll mainly use After Effects to create some exciting titles, I find it great for that with the animations it provides. There is so much that could be done in post but sometimes you have to limit yourself to only doing what is needed. If you just keep tossing effect after effect on top of each other it will create a much longer editing process, unless you have the RAM to accommodate it (I however do not). If you know the effects well enough you can usually get what you are looking for with just using a few select ones.
So there you have it. That is basically my entire production process when I’m thinking about projects. Let me know how yours differs at all and what you think of mine!
Posted on October 9, 2013, in Productions and tagged camera, Film editing, Post-production, Pre-production, process, production, Special effect, Storyboard, tips, tripod. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.