MJTVGirl.com ….Your Comprehensive Production Checklist
Use a concept. A plan helps you shoot less and use your time and resources more efficiently. The more time you spend developing your concept, the easier your production will be. If you have a crystal clear image in your head – write it all down – and you’ll be ready to move to the next step.
Identify your audience, message and treatment. Whom do you want to reach? What do you want to say?
A “treatment” is literally how you are going to “treat” the material. Will it be an interview? Will it be all voice over with graphics? How are you going to say it? And why.
Brainstorm. All ideas are equal — no bad ideas. Pick the best and evaluate. Go with the one that most effectively and creatively meets your message, audience and resource criteria (budget, time, experience, etc.)
Storyboards. The storyboard is the visual map of the action you intend to shoot. (Scene by scene) – try and visualize your finished product and put that down on paper. You will have to communicate this to other people, so try and verbalize/visualize it for yourself. This doesn’t need to be art – it just needs to communicate clearly to your videographer. I am assuming you are the director. Direct.
Script. The script is the written portion of your production. I would recommend you not script anything too tightly – you are not putting on Shakespeare. What are the key topics and then the points you MUST hit during the video. If you are interviewing someone, write out a list of questions and follow-ups before you sit down – even do a little preliminary interview on the phone.
If you are not the “talent” – the onscreen talent, anyway – you need to give your lead talent their marching orders. What do you expect them to do and say? You may need a few sentences for them to get into and out of the “piece”. In news, these are called lead-ins and tags – write them and then offer bullet points. Each talent is different – some may want it all scripted – some would rather run with the concept. You must determine who you are dealing with.
Determine resources needed to complete shoot:
- People (both on camera and behind camera)
- Locations (permissions, transport, light, noise, accessibility)
For Video (Master Class)
Study and be aware of all features of the camera you are using before you take it out on location.
Be especially familiar with these items: tripod, auto-focus, record button, zoom, battery pack.
It is best to shoot with the light behind you. Put your subject facing toward the light.
Always charge your battery pack overnight and have an extra one for backup.
You can use the camera on a tripod, cradle the camera for a low shot, or steady the camera on your shoulder. The key is to always stabilize your camera.
Overshoot your scenes. Better to have too much that not enough footage.
Using special effects is fine. They can add to your production, but be careful not to overuse them. They can be too gimmicky.
Use zooms with caution! The further you zoom in, the shakier the shot gets. Take too long, not very dramatic.
Physically moving the camera like humans see can be an interesting point-of-view shot.
Composition (Master Class)
Be interesting; shoot film style. Don’t just let stuff happen in front of the camera; use it to tell a story. Think about editing as you shoot. Always be thinking, don’t go on autopilot.
Types of shots. (Master Class)
There are three basic shots to use in video production. The close-up (CU), the middle shot (MS) and the long shot (LS).
- Close-up — Face only
- Middle Shot — From the waist up
- Long shot — The whole body
Keep in mind that these shots can include one person, two people or a whole group.
Variety of angles. (Master Class) A cover shot captures all the action (safety net). Over the shoulder shots are good for conversations. Cutaway shots show what’s being talked about. Don’t be afraid to get in there.
Point of View. (Master Class)
Can be first person (I/me), second person (you), or third person (they).
Audio (Master Class)
Go where it’s quiet. Try to have your mike as close to the source as possible — more signal less noise. Have people speak louder and project their voices. If you can’t get close, you may have to dub in voice/sound later (tricky to do convincingly).
Music. (Master Class)Sets the mood. Sets the pace. Sets the tone.
Sound Effects. (Master Class) Add impact. Add realism.
Editing (Master Class)
Edit video to your audio. Lay down voice-over track first. Then sound bites. Then “fill holes” with B-roll (extra footage that you have already shot).
The Six Commandments (Master Class)
1. No video or images from copyrighted sources! This includes just about anything you can think of!
2. Get Release Forms From Everyone On Camera!
3. You Have 60 Seconds. That’s It!
4. Follow your plan.
5. Keep message simple and focused.
6. Have Fun!
◦ It’s just TV, not brain surgery!
◦ Learn. There’s no right or wrong way to do your essay.
◦ Look at how others do it; learn from their work.
◦ Be creative! Ask, “How else could we do it?”
Copyright 2012 MJTVGirl.com