Acclaimed French film director Francois Truffaut was famously quoted as saying, “Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”
This chaotic filmmaking philosophy may have suited avante-garde film directors of the 1970s. But it’s the opposite of how we work at Dream Engine. Our video production methodology is based on a smooth, predictable series of processes that move your project from concept to delivery.
Unlike Truffaut’s stagecoach analogy, your production should feel like a trip in a self-driving car: Once you’ve boarded your vehicle and set your destination, you’ll be guided in the most efficient, comfortable and logical way. And you’ll enjoy the journey!
Here then, is a template to help you ensure that when you embark on your next video production journey, you’ll have a pleasant trip, and get to where you want to go:
Allocate the Right Amount of Time to Pre-Production
In an ideal world, you’d set your production schedule months ahead, giving you lots of time to plan your next video project. The reality is, as busy humans, with lots of things competing for our attention, we tend to get started on video projects only once we feel the pressure of an impending deadline.
That being said, even working within these constraints, it’s still possible (and vital!) to plan your project properly. Once you do, it will pay dividends. You’ll end up with a video that does what you want it to.
So the first step is to clarify exactly what your objectives are:
What do you want your video to achieve? Who are you communicating with? What do you want them to do once they’ve watched the video? What resources and people do you have access to? How will you get your video seen once it’s ready?
This is where Dream Engine comes in. You’re not expected to work all this out on your own. We’ve been making videos for close to 20 years. We have a great process to clarify these questions, and help you come up with the answers. It’s our role to prompt and question you and generally get you thinking so that these answers come into clear focus.
We then create a blueprint for the project: A script, a list of shots we need to get, a schedule, list of locations, and interview questions. Now we have a plan, and we’re on the same page.
Bring in All of the Stakeholders Early
Everyone involved in the process, and with a stake in the outcome, needs to be part of the planning in the early stages. There’s little worse than someone’s boss, or boss’s boss, coming in for the first time once we get to the second edit and ask for things that weren’t specified in the production blueprint. It’s really important to get everyone on the same page early on.
Resist the Urge to Micro Manage
Empower your video production crew. You selected us to make your video because you decided that we’re the best team for the job. Once you’ve been through a thorough planning stage, and you’re happy with the preproduction process, resist the urge to micromanage. Have us get on with what we do best. When I think about the most successful videos we’ve worked on, they’ve been productions where our clients have communicated strong belief in our abilities, and been ok with loosening the reigns.
The important thing to remember is that we’re working from a planning document that you defined. We’re carrying out your plan. We don’t take this responsibility for granted. We work hard to win and retain your trust and belief.
One Point of Contact for Video Editing Feedback
Once the shoot’s over, and we’re editing your video, it works best to allocated one point of contact to work with our editor, and provide feedback. So, if there are multiple stakeholders that are viewing drafts of your video and giving feedback, select one person to collate all of the feedback. This will ensure that your video is more coherent, and delivered sooner.
Get your Video Out There Properly
The right time to think about how you’ll distribute your video begins in preproduction. Will you share it through social media, the company intranet, an email campaign, a video brochure etc. It’s heartbreaking to see a well executed video not get the exposure it deserves. Since you’ve invested in your video, its vital you get maximum return. Once again, we’re here to help with this.
You also need to plan how you’ll measure and track the success of your video. Whether it’s view count, play rate, click through rate, conversion etc, it’s important to select some metrics to measure how your video is performing.
So, when it comes to making your next video, the choice is up to you: stage coach ride or self-driving car (hint: choose the self-driving car :))
Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2001, and specializes in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-proﬁt sector to connect with their audience by using video.
About us and this blog
Based in St. Kilda, Melbourne, Dream Engine is comprised of a small, close-knit team of energetic video production professionals.