From high-quality marketing and promotional spots (or commercials?) to informational programs or training courses, video is the king of online content. 60% of marketers use video content across different distribution platforms for internal and client-facing purposes.
Quality video content can be a challenge to produce, however. It is a multifaceted art and a technical science that requires a diverse skill set provided by talented, creative, and professionally trained people working collaboratively to achieve. Choosing the right video production team can make or break your project.
VIDEO PRODUCTION PHASES
As we’ve described previously, video production is broken into several distinct phases including:
The Video Producer is the project manager. They oversee the budget and schedule and coordinate between the clients and the production team. At a high level, producers determine the creative approach and direction of the project based upon the time and money available. Ultimately, the Producer is the single individual responsible for the success of the project. For large projects, the Video Producer may also have an Assistant Producer.
Assistant Video Producer
Assistant Producers (AP) typically handle a subset of the larger project. They manage organizational details such as task scheduling, materials research (such as stock footage or music), and organizing teams such as the production crew or editorial staff. APs also manage the logistics like production travel, location bookings, and auditioning and casting talent, hiring crew, and equipment rental.
Video Script Writer
The writer on a video production team works with the client and Producer to develop story content that ensure that the messages in the final videos support the final goals and purpose of the project. Script writers may interview subject matter experts, they research content materials, and they craft the story. Script writers must understand the production process to ensure what they write is producible on time and within the given budget.
Video Directors are in charge of both visualizing and achieving the creative goals of a video. The Director plans and determines each production day’s shotlist. They block scenes and direct the on-camera acting talent. They are in charge of what is being shot where and when. They have an important hand in making cast selections. They may direct the design and construction of a set, scout production locations, and determine the types of props and wardrobe required. They are the overall person-in-charge on set. A director is not only an expert at the visual art of creating a video; they also have to be aware of the resources and timelines they have to work within. . On some smaller projects, the Video Director may also be the Director of Photography, though being a Director is more of an aesthetic position and a DP is more of a technical one.
Director of Photography
The Director of Photography (DP) directs the technical aspects of the production. While a director may say, I want the camera positioned here and I want the mood of the shot to be that, it’s the DP who understands the technical aspects of camera and lens set-up and placement to include movement, and the lighting required to create whatever mood the Director wants. The DP also directs the camera assistants and lighting crew. They make and are responsible for the technical decisions that influence the creative outcome y of the final footage.
A camera assistant, also called an Assistant Camera or A/C, is a technical position. The Camera Assistant’s job is to make sure that the camera is built and configured to the DP’s requirements. .
The camera assistant helps with lighting, positioning the equipment, and operating the camera. On shoots with more than one camera rolling, it’s the A/Cs job to ensure all cameras are set up the same. The A/C is also often responsible for media management — dealing with the loads of digital media generated on shoots. And finally, the A/C is often responsible for managing the Production Assistants, to ensure log notes are accurately kept, that the shotlist is managed, that takes are properly slated, and that technical aspects such as room tone and color charts are captured.
Lighting is a critical element in shooting eye-popping, compelling, video. . Good lighting is the first sign of a professional marketing video project.
The Lighting Director, or Gaffer, works closely with the DP on designing and executing the overall lighting plan for each production. The Gaffer often has their own crew to help with lighting, grip, and electric aspects of location or studio production.
The Lighting Director supervises the installation of lights, maintains electrical wiring, uses a variety of techniques and grip equipment to control illumination and shadow during production. Importantly, the Gaffer ise also responsible for maintaining a safe environment around all lighting instruments on the set.
Sound Recordist/Audio Engineer
A Sound Recordist is in charge of the audio quality and sound captured during production. . They are experts in the application of different types of microphones for different kinds of filming conditions, and in microphone placement to enhance clean audio signals and diminish or eliminate extraneous noise. The may use hidden lavaliere mics or boom mics in order to capture dialogue and/or ambient audio. They also operate the audio mixer on set and coordinate with the camera assistant to ensure the audio and time-code signals are linked to the camera.
An Audio Engineer or sound mixer is responsible for mixing and sweetening the sound tracks during the post-production process. They operate multichannel soundboards and use a variety of techniques to ensure all sound elements are equalized and narration, dialogue, sound effects, and music are properly balanced.
The Production Assistant, or PA, is on set to support the production team , and talent. They take care of administrative details, keep track of scripts, they use a clapper to mark shots, they take log notes they even take care of craft service and lunch. They are on set to help out the various other departments and to ensure the more technical people are best able to do their jobs without distraction.
The Production Assistant works with all departments like camera, sound, lighting, and outside vendors to ensure everyone has what they need for the day.
The Video Editor plays a crucial and central role in post-production. . They must understand the Producer and Director’s vision as they set out to build the various production elements into a cohesive program. It’s important the Editor understands the audience for the project and the goals of the finished video. The Video Editor works through the post-production process, as described in another blog post, employing a variety of tools — editing software, motion graphics and photo editing applications, sound editing and mixing applications, and compression tools to create iterative versions of the program — from an initial string-out to a rough cut, fine cut, finish cut, and ultimately a final program master.
Video editing is a highly technical, detailed, and exacting process. It takes a certain kind of person who is unafraid of diving into what can seem like a mountain of media — raw and stock video, sound files and narration, motion graphics and animations, text, sound effects, and music, all from a variety of sources — to be successful.
The Right Video Production Team for Your Project
Not every project needs an extensive video production team. The project’s goals and budget define the size of the video team. Hiring the right video production partner improves video ROI by saving time and money while ensuring higher quality output.
It is essential to know what to look for in a video production partner. This can seem overwhelming to clients at first, but in reality, the best projects are taken one step at a time, according to a plan.
The first step is to define the audience and project goals. Rock Creek Productions’ video teams have the deep expertise to help you scope out your project goals. Contact us today to learn more.