Before the cameras start rolling, there’s a crucial phase that sets the foundation for a successful video production. This phase is known as pre-production. Sometimes underestimated, pre-production is the meticulous planning and preparation that happens before shooting begins and it’s this behind-the-scenes work that ensures everything runs smoothly on set while saving time and resources.

In this guide, we will delve into the world of pre-production and provide you with a comprehensive checklist you can use to ensure you’ve set up your next video project for success.

What Is Pre-Production?

Pre-production is the initial phase of video production that encompasses all the planning and coordination activities before filming begins. This is where ideas are transformed into actionable plans, taking the project from the concept stage through to its execution.

Some of the key elements of pre-production include scriptwriting, location scouting, casting, and budgeting. It’s safe to say the success of a video project relies on the effectiveness of its pre-production phase. Without prior planning, you’ll likely find yourself dealing with a lot of headaches during filming.

Your Pre-Production Checklist

To help you master this phase of bringing your video project to life, here is a simple pre-production checklist you can follow along with:

1. Define Your Project Goals and Objectives

What goals are you hoping to achieve with the video project you’re creating? What purpose does it serve your company? It’s important that you clearly outline your goals and objectives so you know what you’re working toward. As part of this step, you’ll also want to identify the target audience you hope to reach so you can tailor the content to them in the hopes it will resonate strongly.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Script

A crucial part of any pre-production checklist is developing your script. While it can be fun to go on set and “wing it,” it’s not the most practical decision. It’s better to thoughtfully plan out a script that aligns with your project goals and effectively communicates your company’s message.

Ensure your script includes not just dialogue for your talent, but also scene descriptions. This will be a massive help when you’re scouting locations for filming so you can get the environment right.

3. Create a Budget

An unlimited budget would be nice but isn’t realistic for any company. Be sure you’ve taken the time to estimate the costs associated with the entire production. Factor in the cost of renting or buying equipment such as cameras, microphones, and all the lighting essentials. You will also need to determine how much you can spend on talent, permits, and post-production.

Having a budget in place allows you to allocate funds according to priority. Just be sure to keep contingencies in mind since you never know when unexpected fees might crop up.

4. Assemble Your Production Team

Because you can’t go it alone, you’ll need to identify and hire key crew members of your production team. You may want to look at hiring a director, producer, cinematographer, and some production assistants. Your team will make or break your video project, so be sure to hire skilled professionals.

Once you’ve made your selections, clearly communicate roles and responsibilities to everyone involved. This ensures your team is well-coordinated and everyone knows what they should be doing and when.

5. Schedule Your Shoot

The next step in your pre-production checklist is to create a detailed shooting schedule that includes dates, times, and locations for each scene. You need to know which scenes are being filmed, as well as when and where it’s happening to ensure each of your team members arrives on time. Plus, they’ll be able to block off those days for your project and avoid scheduling conflicts with other clients.

You will also want to account for potential weather or logistical delays and factor in some buffer time. This is especially important if you’re planning to film any scenes outdoors.

6. Conduct Location Scouting

When creating your script, you likely had some ideas in mind for the locations in which you’d like to film. You’ll want to visit and assess potential locations to ensure they fit what you had in mind. As you do this, be sure to note any permits or permissions you might need to obtain before filming can begin at each of your desired locations. You don’t want to run into any trouble in the middle of filming a scene.

7. Cast Your Talent

Next, you can begin conducting auditions or casting calls to find the right actors for your project. As part of this process, make sure you confirm their availability and ask if they’re able to commit to your pre-planned shoot dates. Ideally, you want to find someone who can work with your schedule, but you can always make some changes if you find someone you’d like to work with.

8. Secure Necessary Permits

A key element of any pre-production checklist is identifying and obtaining any permits that are required for filming in public spaces or private locations. You must ensure compliance with local regulations, otherwise, you might run into trouble while filming on location.

9. Create a Shot List and Storyboard

Before the cameras start rolling, you’ll also want to develop a shot list that details the specific shots needed for each scene you intend to film. The best way to do this is by creating storyboards that will help you visualize the framing and composition of the key shots of your project. This will allow you to see what footage needs to be captured so you’ll have everything you need in post-production. The last thing you want to deal with is reshoots, so it’s better to come prepared.

10. Gather and Test Equipment

What kind of equipment will you need to bring your video project to life? Make a list of all the equipment you’ll need to purchase or rent so you can get everything ahead of time. This includes cameras, lighting, sound equipment, and any other necessary accessories.

Once you have everything on your list, don’t forget to test everything out beforehand. This allows you to ensure everything is in working order before the shoot.

Want Help Tackling Your Pre-Production Checklist?

Diligently following a pre-production checklist can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if video isn’t your area of expertise. If you’d like some help bringing your video project to life, turn to the experts who can help you lay the groundwork for an incredible production experience.

Our Orlando Video Production Company, NG Production Films, can communicate effectively and efficiently to produce high-quality video production. We have over a decade of experience in producing the next video production project for your organization. Call NG Production Films today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 407-233-3236 or fill out our contact form for a prompt reply.