Like in real estate where “location, location, location” is the most important thing in terms of buying a property, pre-production is an important element of any video production. Sometimes it is as simple as having a short meeting at the beginning of a shoot day with the crew and everyone involved on the shoot to lay down all the logistics. For more complicated projects, pre-production is a set of meetings that occur weeks, even months before your production.
Why is pre-production so important? It can save you time and money! All the script revisions, location scouting, equipment logistics, hired talent, crew and everything else that is involved in a production are best decided well in advance of your production days.
There are always unforeseen issues that come up on every production. We traveled to Los Angeles to pick up some shots down on the beach as part of a bigger project. This project came in way late and while the ideas and concepts were fleshed out, there was no time to do a thorough production plan. When we arrived at the beach there was a fog over the bay. No problem. We would wait a bit until it lifted. We requested a model (sight unseen) from a trusted resource who would look good on the beach to help drive home the concept of women’s styles in warmer climates. We were expecting your typical California beach girl with sun drenched hair and a no-nonsense California attitude. The model showed up and she was pasty white, a tad overweight, and looked more like someone off of 5th Avenue, NY. Oops. We had very little time that morning to get the shot before we needed to move on to other elements of the production. While we couldn’t control the weather (by the way, the fog didn’t lift until 2pm), we could’ve controlled which talent was sent our way. And, we also should have been more educated on the seasonal weather patterns in the area. We had no plan B.
With a lack of planning time, it was like working in the fog (literally and figuratively). I urge all my clients to spend some time ironing out all the details. And while we don’t have crystal balls to foresee all the variables, we can mitigate most of the treacherous time and money wasters.
Incidents like that are bound to happen. It is just part of dealing with nature, human error, and the many moving parts of a video production. And while we didn’t get that shot, we were able to make something happen in place of it. Pre-production planning aims to weed out most of the issues that can plague a production. It is a mere pittance compared to the cost of crew and talent waiting around on a location while an issue is rectified. Would you build a new house without a blueprint? Spend time and money on pre-production to save time and money on your next video production!