ChappellRoberts crew members preview captured video footage

Before the Lights, Camera, Action. Pre-Production.

Video and photoshoots have a dazzling effect. We’re mesmerized by the end result we see across our social feeds, TVs and devices. Shoots are also often glamorized through behind-the-scenes sneak peeks – after all, they’re how your investment in creative concepts comes to life.
But you know what people rarely mention?

Pre-production: the weeks and days leading up to your shoot. A 12-hour day or even a long week of production will be gone in a flash if not planned through, and we often only have one opportunity to capture what we need. It’s like an old adage a beloved colleague often recites:

“Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance.”

Keep scrolling for a few of these pre-production essentials to ensure your production investment reaches peak performance.

Woman pilots a drone through a remote control
Behind the scenes of a photoshoot for Marina Pointe in Tampa Bay
Man captures photography at a construction site
Woman capturing video of yoga students
Crew members capture photo and video at a construction site
Woman share shotlist on a white board at a photoshoot
Photoshoot crew members wear hard hats at a construction site

1. Don’t trade pre-production time with your shoot day!

Pre-production is designed for building out a detailed shot list, assembling the team and tools, and resolving issues before you are on set. The investment in pre-production time will ensure your team, agency production partners, lights and talent are working — not waiting around while problems get solved that could have been addressed before shoot day.

2. Make time for talent and place.

Production brings a written story to life. It has the best chance of resonating with your audience if the world and characters you create are thoughtfully designed. Scouting for locations or planning the design and build of your set ensures you will have the perfect backdrop for your story. Casting allows you to spend time with the talent to know they can confidently bring the right range of emotions to their performance of the story.

3. Build a plan made for creativity.

Pre-production allows you to have a focused day, but it doesn’t have to be rigid. While a script may have been written and storyboards have been drawn up, the talent, the camera and the crew will bring new energy to the story beyond what you imagined. By having a detailed plan, you make room for creativity to ensure your production will reach its full emotional potential.

4. Don’t overload your schedule.

Every shoot will undoubtedly throw you a curve ball that can transform a smooth-running shoot to a chaotic nightmare. When your shoot calls for a sunny day and then it rains or your talent has a medical emergency, packing your schedule too tight leaves no room for you and your crew to solve for these unknowns. Invest in the time to think through as many what-ifs so you leave room for contingencies.

5. Have fun!

Pre-production allows you to go into your shoot day knowing you have as many details covered as possible. When your agency and production team have all the bases covered for you, your team and the crew are set up for the perfect production environment. From here: sit back, watch the director and talent do what they do best, and enjoy the magic of being behind scenes.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be set up for success at your next shoot. Who knows – maybe you’ll even find the very elusive extra time through your awesome planning!

Need help with your next production? From concept to finished product, we’ve got you covered. Send me a note to learn more.