The Video Production Timeline

7 Jun 2017

video production timeline

When you first start collaborating with a video production studio, you may wonder exactly how long this process takes. Whereas many marketing schemes can be finished within a week or so, video marketing can take substantially longer. But exactly how long is your production going to take?

The answer to this question lies in the nature of the video production schedule, which is split into three parts — pre-production, production and post-production. The length of each of these production stages varies based on the video length and type, which will be explained in more detail below.

What Goes into a Production Timeline?

Pre-Production

Pre-production is, in essence, the planning stage of a video production. This step ensures that both the client and production group know what the goals of the video are and what the production team can achieve before the shoot gets underway. How long it takes to shoot a corporate video depends a great deal on the pre-production stage, because planning streamlines the process and reduces the incidence of reshoots due to client dissatisfaction.

Generally speaking, this production stage lasts anywhere from two to six weeks. The length of time it takes to complete this stage will primarily depend on how quickly the client communicates with the production team and how large the production is going to be.

The pre-production stage includes the following processes and steps, each of which contributes to the video production timeline:

Crew preparation

The production company must first establish the people who will have the biggest roles in the production to start the pre-production phase. An account manager will typically be the go-between for the client and the production company, selecting and introducing the client to the members of the crew. These include the director, who is the creative lead of the project, the producer, who prepares and supervises, the production manager, who manages practical aspects of the production, and the camera and sound directors. Depending on the size of the production, one individual may take on several of these roles.

Cast selection

Selecting the talent for your video is the next important step in the video shoot planning stages. The client may choose professional or internal talent for the video, each option presenting different benefits. In the end, the client selects the best choice for their vision of the video.

Concept

The concept of the video is the idea the client wants to get across, which is the most important part of the project to establish early on. If the client doesn't already have the concept nailed down, the writer has to determine this by speaking with the client or a representative before starting on the script. This can take time, so if expediency is a big concern, businesses should determine their video concept beforehand.

Research

After learning the concept of the video, the writer needs to do the research necessary to flesh out the script and determine potential shooting spots. This may require visiting the client's worksite, meeting people in person or over the phone and reading up on the company's history and activity to get a better idea of the company's personality and biggest selling points. This is especially necessary if the video is going to cover a more technical subject.

Scripting

After they've finished the research stage, the writer settles in to work on the shooting script, which becomes the base of the production. This will give both the client and the production crew a basic feel for the video tone and is the first stage at which a customer can review the production company's work and make any changes.

Storyboarding

The next step of the process is to storyboard the script. A storyboard is a visual mock-up of the shoot, which looks similar to a cartoon strip when it is finished. The piece outlines everything scene by scene, creating a visual representation of the video before shooting starts, so the crew knows what they need to set up. While some videos, like talking head videos and testimonials, likely don't require this step, more technically sophisticated videos like documentaries need it. This is the next pre-production stage where a client can review the work and request changes.

Coordination

This step is the final pre-production step, where the producer sets everything in motion for the shoot. Once the storyboard is finalized, and everyone is happy with the result, they take the information from the script and storyboard and make the shoot possible by getting filming permissions at off-site locations, acquiring equipment, setting up shoots and contacting the cast and crew for film dates and times.

Production

This stage is the actual filming stage of the production, where the cast and crew collect the segments to be used in the final production. Depending on the complexity of the project, this can take as little as half a day, but can also take several months to complete. It depends entirely on the type of production.

For example, when you consider how long it takes to shoot a minute of video for a talking head versus a documentary, you get two very different answers. The minute of a talking head video can take as little as a minute to shoot, since there are few cuts in the video, and it's usually a continuous shot of the film. For a documentary, a single minute of video may include shots from multiple sets and locations, each of which may take hours to collect.

Post-Production

The final stage of production, this is where the shots collected from the production stage are edited or added to with animations, culminating in the final video. This is often the most time-intensive part of the process, depending on the response speed of the client, the video editing time ratio and the amount of video shot. It can take a few weeks or it can take a few months, depending on how many hours of editing is required per minute of video.

The first edit

The first edit will typically arrive within a week or so, depending on the final length of the film. This will be immediately sent to the client for review, with any placeholders clearly indicated. This is the first chance for the client to request any edits or changes before all the graphics and animations are included.

The second edit

After receiving feedback from the customer, the production company takes the video and revises it to fit client expectations more closely. In this version, the graphics and animations will also be included. Depending on the extent of graphics and animations, this may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to accomplish. Once finished, this second version is sent to the client for feedback.

Picture lock

Once the next round of comments comes in, the production company completes final edits, resulting in a picture lock. This version is then sent to the client for final review to ensure there are no errors, typos or glaring problems with the production.

Sound mix & color correction

Once the picture is finished, the audio components of the video are adjusted and the colors fine-tuned. This will usually include mixing music and voice levels to an ideal combination and correcting saturation levels and lighting to make the visuals pop. This will often take up to a week, depending on how much video needs to be edited.

Delivery

Once everything is developed and finalized, the video is delivered to the client in high resolution, ready for distribution.

This general overview of all the steps of the production process can give you a general sense of how long it takes to shoot a corporate video, but the timeline may vary widely depending on a few key factors. 

What Factors Affect a Production Timeline?

Though most videos will typically require a few weeks of production time, some may run a little longer or a little shorter than what you expect. Your production timeline primarily depends on the following three factors:

Video Type

Does your video include animation, a live video or a green screen? The more effects and post-production processing your production needs, the longer it's typically going to take. Live videos, for example, require no post processing and therefore need only a little time to accomplish. Animations, on the other hand, require extensive pre-production in the form of storyboarding and character design, and even short animations can take weeks to develop.

Video Length

It should be a no-brainer that a longer video may need more time to shoot and edit than a short video – an hour-long training video will require more extensive editing and may need a reshoot or two to make it acceptable, while a shorter video will require much less time to process at each stage.

Video Style

The style of the video will also tend to be a factor in your final timeline. A talking head video, for example, requires a few continuous shots, while a documentary will need multiple shots from different locations and areas. The more shots needed, the more production time your project will probably take.

Do you have more questions about video production scheduling? Contact NextThought Studios today to learn more about the video production process.

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NextThought Studios

NextThought Studios is a premiere Oklahoma City video production company. The NextThought team offers high-quality post-production services that create positive learning experiences for students, trainees, employees and more. Our varied video production services can help you create solutions that provide optimal information retention and skill acquisition. With expertise in everything from corporate video production to producing educational and learning videos, NextThought Studios can create a video experience to meet any client's needs.

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