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Stories From Behind the Camera

What to Expect During Pre-Production

Posted on May 26, 2022 by Molly Berrens

When most people think of video or film production, they probably think of the lights, cameras, and a director yelling action.  Being on set is a glamorous scene, but it takes a lot of planning to get there. If you’ve ever been involved in planning any type of project, you may have heard of the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Creating an impactful, high-quality video is no different.

As a producer, I’m involved in the project from script-to-screen. Before a single shot is captured, a lot of things have to happen to bring the idea to fruition. This phase is called pre-production and includes all of the steps leading up to the big day on set. Pre-production helps to ensure the rest of production and post-production runs as smoothly as possible. It’s the playbook and resource guide that helps drive the creation of the video.

The first step of any project is a discovery meeting. In the meeting, I’ll work with clients to find out more about their needs, such as:

  • What is the goal of the video?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • How will your content be distributed? (ex. broadcast, social media platforms, live events, etc.)
  • What is the timeline?
  • What should the tone be of your video?
  • Who will participate in the project?

It’s our chance to learn more about your brand, your community, and your goals. It helps us identify which approach is best for your story.

Scripts, Storyboards, & Outlines

For narrative and creative videos, this process includes a script and storyboard. The script and storyboard are the blueprints for how your video will look, sound, and feel.  The script lays out the dialogue, visual cues, and setting for where the video will take place.  Once we have an approved script, our Director of Photography will begin to pre-visualize the content. A storyboard is a sketch of how the video will look including framing and movement.  The script and storyboard are the first opportunity to review the vision we have for the video.  


For documentary and testimonial videos, that approach may be different. In place of a script, we create an outline and interview questions. This allows the interview to be unique to the subject’s perspective and feel more candid and authentic.  In place of storyboards, we may create a shot list or description of b-roll. B-roll is a term that describes supplemental footage to help tell a story. If an interview is talking about the mission of a non-profit, the b-roll may show volunteers interacting with the community. 

Mr. Yeti, I'm ready for my close-up

So who is going to be in this video? The cast may be real people sharing real stories, professional actors playing a role and helping shape the story, or even a voice artist providing narration. Our team will help identify the best talent to help bring your story to life.  We’ll gather custom auditions, headshots, and demos to make sure they’re the right talent for your story.

The talent isn’t limited to what is on screen. It takes a crew to bring each project to life. While we have experienced, talented crew members on the team, some projects may require specialized professionals such as make-up artists, set decorators, audio engineers, and others. If the project needs it, we’ll assemble the best crew for the project using our network of professionals.

Location, Location, Location

A location can have a huge impact on the quality of the video. Some scripts may call for a specific setting, some videos may be interviewing employees in their business, while others may be perfect for filming in a studio. Finding the right location is not just how it will look through the lens, but how it will sound and how it will impact the budget too. Once a location is identified, our team will often scout the location to make sure it’s the right fit.  Is there enough space? Is it next to a busy highway with lots of noise? Is it safe? 

Location_Image_AviatraOn set for the Aviatra 10 Year Anniversary video.

The Schedule

There can be a lot of moving parts on a production day: talent, crew, locations, props, transportation, etc. An actor may be in one scene, but not another.  An event may have an established run-of-show. One interview may be at one location, and another interview across town.  The producer will will help develop a production schedule and make sure that the talent, crew, and locations are available and ready to go.

Pre-production sets the scene before the camera is even turned on. It’s the game plan before kickoff, the blueprint before construction, and the sheet music before the first note is struck. It may not be as glamorous as being on set, but it’s a critical step to make sure your project stays on time, on target, and on budget. The producers at Spotted Yeti Media are here to help you during every stage of production.


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