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  • toby wray

Video Tips for Marketeers #3 Prepare to Film



You have this amazing idea for a sequence, but how do you describe it? Here’s a few ways.

You may have to work with others in your team, let someone know what you’re planning and why or perhaps you’re commissioning someone and you both need to know you’re on the same page. Everyone works differently.


Text

Just like a novel you can write your story down as short or as long as you need. Bear in mind structure and the focus of your piece.

It may be useful to you, before going on to writing your script, to write what is called a ‘treatment’. A treatment serves two functions; the first is to make a record of the idea in written form. The second, and most important, function of a treatment is to communicate the idea to others.

The first part of a treatment should contain basic information regarding the film or video. This could include the approximate target length for your video and the intended audience. The main body of the project treatment contains the basic story concept, with little or no dialogue (this isn’t a script). The over- view should contain only significant highlights that convey the general concept and the project treatment should be brief and to the point – no more than around one page in total length. This is a useful way of focussing on your idea, communicating your project idea to others and is often used to gauge interest in projects following the ‘pitch’ one-liner.


Storyboarding

A storyboard doesn’t have to be elaborately drawn, it’s great for communicating the shots and required camera angles etc. This is especially so in a time sensitive shoot, where the director needs to ensure that the crew can set up the shots with a minimum of verbal instruction.


You don’t need to be brilliant at drawing; stick figures will do although it helps to indicate which way characters are facing. Text underneath the frames helps explain it further and can indicate sound and camera movement. A good way to indicate which way characters are facing on stick figures is to simply draw a triangle for the nose to show which way their face is pointing.


Why do it?

It helps you think about how your film is going to look. You can work faster on set and, as pictures communicate better than words it will allow your colleagues to know which parts of the location are going to be in shot and understand how the overall project will look. It allows you to experiment quickly and cheaply, testing out different versions of how a scene may look and play on camera.

Storyboarding is especially useful for complex visual sequences whether it’s movement within the frame (actors walking) or the frame moving itself (camera panning etc).


Shot lists Shot lists are like a description of the storyboard in its most detailed form. It is very handy for scheduling later on as similar shots (for example all those in the same location) can be scheduled side by side (out of sync with the story) for ease of filming. You can combine it with the storyboard, or write out a separate list to use during filming.

In a nutshell, a shot list is exactly what it implies. It is a list of shots you intend to take. It serves as a reminder during filming. Write down the shots you want to get during filming in a list and number them so that they can be quickly referred to on the shot list and during editing.


Scripting

The most well known way of putting down ideas, following a fairly formal format. It is worth learning the format as it helps divide aspects of the production into scenes, dialogue and instructions for camera and actors and also the duration of piece.

If you want to save money and time I also recommend the following items.


Shooting Schedule

  • 1 Sort shots into locations – shots in the same locations can be filmed at the same time, even if they don’t happen next to each other in the story.

  • 2 Coverage – use all the available angles. Film everything you need and more if you have time.

  • 3 Arrange the shots so that people/volunteers are needed first, or keep their tasks/interviews etc. as close together as possible, so that the time they are contributing is minimised.

Location Scouting

I strongly recommended you have a look at a location before filming if possible. Make sure it’s accessible, safe and think in advance about sound (always overlooked) and light.


Agreements

This is the legal bit. Get them before you start, especially from key people. You may need permissions to use locations, music, etc.



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