Pre-Production: Planning Your Corporate Video

Pre-production is the planning, creative, and logistical stage the precedes actually turning the camera on to record.  Pre-production can happen for all types of video, including corporate video and blockbuster films. We highly recommend attention to detail during this stage – some people are skilled enough that they can fly by the seat of their pants and come up with something exceptional (Casey Neistat is one of them). But they are few and far between.  So in order to be effective and not waste a bunch of time fiddling with a camera, it helps to have a script and a plan.

Good video and film starts with a good script.  Especially good corporate video.

Start with words. But not just any words.  The first few seconds should have a hook that grabs your viewer’s attention.  Then you can move into your elevator pitch where you talk about the sheer brilliance of your mission, value, and company direction.  Offhandedly mention the product, and close with a call to action.

This is important, so we’ll put it in there twice – Call To Action.  You want your viewer to do something, like click or register or subscribe.  If you don’t ask them to do that, it may slip through the cracks.  You can even plan your corporate video around a call to action to motivate viewers.

Keep your viewer and their needs in mind.  While they’re watching your corporate video, they’re curious to know what’s in it for them.  So whether it’s a free content offering at the end, or an invitation to subscribe for more tutorials and informational videos, present your viewer with the answer to their question.

Have a plan.

If you need someone to speak on camera, it helps to ask them in advance and tell them what they’ll be saying.  With advance notice and some practice, your on-camera talent will feel more comfortable and that will show.

You’ve got your script, so you can look at your script and assign corresponding visuals. It helps to sketch them as well in sequential – this process is called storyboarding.  This will also act as the basis of your shot list, which is what it sounds like – it details the number and kind of shots you need to make your corporate video.

Be open to different ideas.

You may know exactly what you want.  Scripting a corporate video usually happens late at night or at a bar on a napkin.  But your flash of brilliance may need some polish.  So it helps to brainstorm with partners – they may come up with something you would have never thought of.

Even when the best-laid plans go awry, try not to sweat it.  Some of the most interesting viral videos have come out of spontenaity and impulse.

Image courtesy of Sean Sullivan, a Utah storyboard artist.  Check out the video he storyboarded for the Utah Film Commission.