Professional videographers know what they are doing, but they do not know all the ins and outs of your business which they are making a video for. This is why it is necessary to get them the right information in pre-production to help streamline the video-making process. So what exactly is helpful information? What do they need to know? It's your job to help them help you.
Media companies will already have a mind full of ideas of how they could produce a video promoting your company or product, however, they need to know what it is you want. Having some ideas going into any pre-production meetings can help provide direction, so they know what to aim for. They want to make you happy, but you’ll have to help them know how to do that. However, don’t be closed off to ideas the videographers may suggest, after all, they are professionals and know how to piece together a well-crafted video. With that said, here are some ways to prepare before you meet with a video production company:
Type of Video
Familiarize yourself with different types of marketing videos, and try to get an idea of what you would like. Is it a product launch or review, a Q&A interview, or an informational video about your brand? If you aren’t sure, try checking this article: “20 Video Types to Improve Your Online Marketing Strategy.” Once you know what type of video your business needs you will have a more narrowed scope of vision and direction for the video you want produced.
Know Who Your Audience Is
Make it clear who your audience is, to everyone involved! Knowing who the audience is can help the videographers better cater to that demographic. Never forget the people you are making the video for. The video production company is trying to make you happy, but it is up to you to communicate how to make your audience happy, as they are the ones the video is for.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Most high-production videos are going to come with a lot of pre-production and brainstorming. Businesses who don't anticipate this process will have a hard time once they show up for production day. Your production team is there to help you know what's possible, and to best prepare you however they can. However, it is vital that the first thing you do before locking down a video schedule is have your content, script, and ideas mapped out. Then, practice those scenarios out loud! Sometimes we don't realize our script is overly robotic, or doesn't sound natural. Practice, edit, and fine tune your ideas with your team before you get in front of the camera so you can feel confident in your material. Make sure to keep that audience in mind as you practice! It's so important to speak to them.
If the video production team is not familiar with your company’s culture, you'll need to introduce them to it to ensure they are able to capture the vibe you want your video to have. Fun, inviting, professional - whatever side you want to be shown, make sure the media team knows. The last thing you want is a video that doesn't capture your business culture and portrays a false image of your company.
Visual Do’s and Don'ts
Be clear about how you want your brand represented. This may include certain artistic elements like what they are and are not allowed to do with the logo or colors, or other stylistic elements like topics or shots to avoid that could clash with your business's image. This can get as specific as what colors you or styles you decide to wear, or the type of hair and makeup you want your talent to go with. Giving guidelines on the front end gives direction from the start, letting them know what they can and cannot do.
Key Player Time
Because of how much prep videos can take, give your key players plenty of time to prepare and schedule. If you are filming at your office, factory, or shop, and want to get some candid video of workers it’ll be good to make sure it is on a regular workday; however, if the space where people are working is the best location for a fun product promotional video, it could affect the productivity of both your business and the video team's filming. If you already have some ideas of who you’ll feature in the video, consider their availability as well. For example, if the CEO is going to be interviewed, it’ll be good to know his schedule beforehand to help you nail down a schedule during the meeting.
From Your Company: Remember the videographers aren’t the only costs when making a video. To keep it on budget you’ll need to know when to pull from what you got and when to outsource. You may have a great idea for a video, but it could fall short of what you may be imagining if you don’t have the right actors, props, or sets. Let the video company know what resources of yours they have access to, to ensure they can make the most of what they are given. Are they allowed to move the focus from the lobby into the shot to make the background more dynamic? can they film in that other room where the lighting is better? Can they have 25 boxes with your logo on them that they can use for a cool opening shot?
From Your Production Team: Your production team likely has access to special camera equipment and add-on options that will make your vision come to life. For example, if your video could benefit from a drone shot, your team can make this happen with some preparation. Or, if your video speakers could use a teleprompter to deliver their content better, this is something you'll also want to prepare you and your team before. See if you can book the teleprompter a day or two in advance so that your team can practice off camera. There are so many options available to help you deliver excellently when the day comes.
Location & Set Space
You may have a small, cozy office spot in mind for the interview video you have planned, but if the production team shows up with lighting equipment and wants to shoot from multiple angles, you may need a bigger space. On the flip side, having a location that is big and complete bare can also feel sterile and be difficult to decorate without plenty of planning. Find a happy medium of a space that's well decorated, or plan to have a set designer capture what you're needing in a larger space. Have multiple spots ready just in case, as even the time of day could affect how the natural light spills into the frame, which may affect the shot. Consider bringing some pictures to a consultation to let them know their thoughts on location options. And -- if you're completely in the dark here, often production teams have access to location scouts to help you find and rent the perfect spot.
Media & Script Files
You'll need to plan for and provide media files that you will want your production team to use and edit into the video. The most obvious one is a png file of the logo, but could also include music files if your company has a jingle, a slogan, or a song you want included in the video. Letting your team have these in advance, before you get on set to film, not only helps them pace the video right to anticipate those assets, but it helps you prepare to reference them to the best of your ability as well. If the video is going to include interviews with multiple people, give the names and position of each person interviewed along with an accompanying picture if necessary.
Whitaker, Rebecca. “Step-by-Step Guide to Working with a Video Production Company.” Vidyard.com. 13 December 2019 (visited 23 June 2022)
De Rauch, Mia. “Tips for Engaging A Video Production Company.” 25 October 2021 (visited 23 June 2022)